Vista still plagued by incompatibilities

Nine months since its release, lots of hardware and software products still don't work with Microsoft's operating system, including some that are certified as Vista compatible.

When 'certified' isn't

And sometimes, as with Brother's multifunction printer, even products that are advertised as compatible with Vista just aren't. Microsoft includes Corel's video editing software Ulead VideoStudio 10 on its list of products that are "Certified for Windows Vista." The "Certified for Vista" designation is supposed to mean that the software or hardware has been tested and is 100 percent compatible with the OS.

However, Corel's support page for Ulead VideoStudio 10 outlines some advanced features that work only with XP. The company states on its site, though, that VideoStudio does qualify for the "Works with Windows Vista" designation. In marketing doublespeak, "Works with Windows Vista" means that a product isn't 100 percent compatible but may work well enough to meet your needs.

Don't blame Microsoft?

Ben Reed, product marketing manager for the Windows Vista Logo Program, says that Microsoft has worked more extensively with its hardware and software partners on ensuring Vista compatibility than it did with Windows XP. He says that over 7000 products have been certified to work with Windows Vista or have been given the "Works with Vista" logo. He points out that in May, the PD Group stated that 48 out of the top 50 consumer applications work with Vista.

Nevertheless, the compatibility problems are apparently fueling a reluctance among consumers to upgrade to Vista. This comment to PC World's community forums from user stealth694 is not unique: "Compatibility is the main problem [with Vista]. Just how compatible is Vista with Windows XP and Windows 2000 programs? Personally I am sticking with XP for at least another year to two years [to] see what happens. Vista has an aroma like [Windows] ME, and I am not interested in getting sick again."

But many software experts say consumers shouldn't be angry with Microsoft. "Microsoft did its best under incredibly difficult circumstances with Vista," says Stephen Baker, analyst with the NPD Group. "If you're going to spread blame for Vista headaches, there is enough to spread around the entire computer industry," Baker adds.

If you're considering upgrading to Vista, you should maintain a healthy amount of skepticism about the prospects of your current hardware or software continuing to work properly. Before you upgrade, study the support pages of the products you depend on, or search the Web for the name of your product and "Vista compatibility." Otherwise, your upgrade may end up feeling more like a downgrade.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Spring

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?