The laptop I bought my kids 6 months ago is rapidly becoming the worst purchase I have ever made. Not because the laptop is bad, but because of a momentary lack of diligence I bought one with Vista installed. It has been a never-ending disaster trying to get this computer to work. A while back, I put XP on a partition and my kids spend most of their time on XP since, well, it works. Vista does not. It is the Paris Hilton of OS's -- looks pretty but does not work.
In particular, the networking is an enormous step backwards from XP. The wireless networking was a real pain to get set up in the first place, in contrast to XP and my wife's Mac which both worked and connected from the moment the power switch turned on.
Now, we are getting two new errors. First, at random times, the computer will stop being able to connect to the internet. It will have a good wireless signal, and see other computers on the network fine, and the other computers on the network will see the internet, but Vista does not. Just rebooted the computer into the XP partition, and XP sees the Internet fine -- its just Vista that is broken.
Second, and perhaps even more inexcusable, I have to reinstall the printer driver in Vista at nearly every log on. There is a bug in Vista such that laptops that move off the network and come back will find that the network printers are now marked "offline" and there is nothing one can do to bring them online short of reinstalling the drivers. Really. I thought I was doing something wrong, but searching the web this is a known problem. None of the suggested workarounds are working for me.
Vista is rapidly becoming the New Coke of operating systems. I have had every version of windows on my computer at one time or another, including Windows 1.0 and the egregious Windows ME, and I can say with confidence Vista is the worst of them all by far. More: corporate demand for upgrading to XP from Vista; DRM hell in Vista; how I set up dual-booting on a Vista machine; and what happened to the File menu?
Looks like the XP partition is soon going to be the only partition. But recognize how serious this step is: Laptops, unlike desktops, have more model-specific device drivers. For example, instead of one Nvidia graphics driver for all cards, you tend to need the driver for your specific card in your specific computer model. The computer I have has never and will never publish XP drivers. I have found drivers that work for XP for most things, but not for sound. So I will be giving up a substantial piece of functionality -- sound-- in exchange for never having to swear at Vista again.