"Vista Capable" Stickers Causing All Kinds Of Problems For Microsoft

Around this time last year, computer manufactures were trying to convince people not to wait until Vista came out to buy a new computer. To that end Microsoft devised what was (and still is) considered to be one of the most confusing marketing campaigns ever.

Some computers could only run a very basic version of Vista that did not include all the fancy “Aero” windows. Other computers were able to run any version of Vista. These computers were given stickers that either said “Certified for Windows Vista” or “Works with Windows Vista.” The latter meant that the computer would technically “work.” Maybe not with all the features, but it would work.

We wrote a post explaining the various stickers and urged people to be careful when they bought a new computer. Some people didn’t get the message, and now they’re suing Microsoft, seeking class action status. They claim that because there was a sticker that said “Vista capable” on the actual machine (separate from the aforementioned “Certified for Windows Vista” and the “Works With Windows Vista” stickers) the computer should have been able to run every version of the new operating system. They believe they were deliberately tricked into buying a computer that was already obsolete.

We recently got a complaint letter about the issue. Reader Craig writes (to Howard Stringer, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sony):

Dear Mr. Stringer,

I am writing to express my frustration, anger, and resentment at what I view are dishonest selling practices by Sony. Last year I left the Navy (US Navy) and began taking classes to enter Dental School. After my old Vaio laptop gave out from all the sand and humidity it occurred in the Gulf, I decided to purchase another Vaio that would carry me through Dental School. I choose a ultra portable VGN-TX750P, paying around 2100.00 American for it. Even though it had windows xp on it, it had a sticker saying it was Windows Vista Capable – which assured me when vista came out I could put it on my computer. Well, I have tried to install Vista and while it can be installed, Vista is in crippled state that doesn’t allowing some of the newest and innovative features of vista to function (like Aero windows).

As a loyal Vaio user for 5 years, I feel as Sony lied about what it was selling. To me, “capable” means “able”, and since there were no limiting factors on the sticker (which is/was on the computer itself) I think this is false advertising. I could understand if Sony was told one thing by Microsoft and sold items predicated on that incorrect information. But once the original information was learned to be incorrect a refund should have been available so customers could return the item for a refund and then upgrade to a product that was truly “capable.”

I am not going to sue if that is what you are thinking – first I am not that type of person and second I am too busy with school and taking care of my expecting wife. I just think you should know that your shadowy selling practices do have an effect even on a once “loyal” customer. What I can do is cc a few people so they may understand how Sony operates.

Sincerely,
Craig

Was Microsoft being deliberately misleading, or are they just incompetent?


Microsoft criticizes “Vista Capable” plaintiffs for focus on tiny sticker
[Ars Technica]

PREVIOUSLY: Getting Ready for Vista

Comments

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  1. ideagirl says:

    deliberately misleading

  2. NightSteel says:

    It’s surprising that you even have to ask the question. Of course, think of the alternative: A whole range of Vista stickers, for which version is supported, and the Vista Experience score.. that’d be great for techs, but disastrous for the average user.

  3. mandarin says:

    Before you got Vista, did you read what are the hardware requirements? They’re usually listed what is recommended and what are the minimum requirements. My guess is you didnt check them out. Anyone who spends 5 years consistently buying Vaio’s tells me you’re not the kind of person who watches what he buys.

  4. ptkdude says:

    Deliberately misleading *and* incompetent.

  5. Falconfire says:

    It was such a piss poor implementation on the behalf of Microsoft AND the manufacturers. One of the best things in the world about Apple, is that you KNOW the next OS is going to work with all but a handful of the oldest machines.

  6. mrmaxmouse says:

    The problem@mandarin: @mandarin: The problem isn’t that they bought vista and didn’t read the requirements. The problem is that they bought computers BEFORE vista came out that said “Vista Capable”. The requirements list for all the features wasn’t even finalized at that point yet.

  7. Zgeg says:

    It does matter what sticker you put on it, the truth is that Vista will not work with either simply because Vista is crap.. I had it for about 2 weeks on my laptop that was Vista Certified and then some and it still ran slower (if it ran at all) than the molassess cliche… I “Upgraded” back to XP and then kicked myself for not getting the Mac…

  8. full.tang.halo says:

    Why would you want to ruin a perfectly working XP box by putting Vista on it before SP1 has been released?

  9. seanism says:

    Its really in that grey area. Technically it is capable of running Vista. Visuals aren’t as nice as with a newer computer. So technically it can run *any* version of Vista it’s just some of the gfx things aren’t supported.

    It’s sorta like if you buy a machine that advertises being able to play games. Yes its capable of playing games but some games and games that come out in the future won’t run with all the features turned on.

    But yes all in all I think Microsoft could’ve handled it better. Perhaps with a disclaimer somewhere or being a little more descriptive about being capable of running Vista.

  10. humorbot says:

    Or?

  11. cef21 says:

    Aero on a laptop is horrible idea anyway. Normally, if your computer isn’t doing anything, a laptop will go into a low-power mode, where the CPU basically just sits there doing nothing. The problem with Aero is that it’s constantly doing something — all that animation keeps your CPU active. That’s not really an issue if you’re on A/C power, but will chew through your battery if you’re not.

  12. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Heh, I *knew* my Acer would never, ever run Vista, no matter what the sticker on it said. In fact, as soon as I an get DSL out in the boonies where I live, I’ll be upgrading it to Ubuntu.

  13. mbgrabbe says:

    Microsoft probably doesnt think they were misleading people. They just did an awful job creating a system that has such drastically larger system requirements over XP. Vista is overly user-friendly, it requires massive resources, and its creation was completely unnecessary. But Microsoft needed it to create something “new” so they’d stop losing market share to Apple. It completely backfired.

  14. smitty1123 says:

    Vista runs on his computer, so his computer is “Vista Capable”. I’m not going to feel sorry for an incompetent consumer.

  15. Rando says:

    uh, I’ve seen Microsoft win harder battles than this.

    you won’t win

  16. Hoss says:

    Designed for Windows XP, Vista Capable sings: “Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman”

  17. Canadian Impostor says:

    @smitty1123: Exactly. I don’t see how the fancy animations not working means his computer doesn’t run Vista.

  18. cashmerewhore says:

    I have vista and have no idea what aero windows are…

    And holy overpriced, I’d expect a $2100 laptop to still be able to run Vista decently!

  19. cashmerewhore says:

    @cef21:

    Ok, now I know what Aero is. And on my laptop it turns off after like 5-10 minutes. I rarely run it without a constant source of power, and when I do, I downgrade the settings and don’t leave it idle long enough for aero to start…

  20. ThomasD3 says:

    It was widely known that Vista would require quite new machines. Sony’s laptop were never that good to start with (but they have a bit of the apple ‘who care about the specs, it’s cool’ thing going on).

    To me, this is not misleading: vista does work and something like aero is just a fraction of the OS. It’s more a case of the user not doing enough research.

  21. Indecision says:

    @ideagirl: “deliberately misleading”

    How, exactly?

    His laptop is perfectly capable of running Vista. His laptop is not capable of running Aero, which is nothing more than flashy fancy eye-candy. Turning Aero off doesn’t lose you any actual features, just glitter and glamor (which slows things down anyway).

    If the sticker said “Aero Capable” he’d be right. But it didn’t — it said “Vista Capable,” and his laptop is indeed capable of running Vista. Fin.

  22. faust1200 says:

    Don’t feel bad, you aren’t missing all that much with Vista. Besides with a Intel Pentium M 753 (1.2GHz)and 512 of RAM you are going to want to be as streamlined as possible. You did get hosed with the marketing but on the other hand everybody knows that each new Microsoft OS is increasingly obese. I would think you would have heard about all the performance issues Vista has and realized your PC is at the bottom of the performance barrel. I’ll let you come over at oogle my transparent windows if you want – the thrill dies fast.

  23. mike1731 says:

    Just a minute… somebody WANTS to upgrade to Vista??? That’s a new one. Everything I have seen about Vista — driver incompatibilities, slower than geologic time, etc — makes me wonder if not going to Vista is really more of a blessing in disguise? Just a thought.

  24. Red_Eye says:

    I had a similar issue years ago with Tyan and their Tomcat motherboards. They listed USB as ‘optional’. I ordered my mb with it and when it came time to start using it (usb was brand new at the time) it didnt work on my stepping of the Intel chipset on the MB. Tyan made a bunch of excuses about it being a ‘manufacturing option’ to have the USB and the order I placed (despite coming with the USB header) didnt include USB functionality. After much screaming online for months getting other roused to the cause they eventually offered to send me an updated board if I would just shut up. I turned them down and a friend who owned a shop sent me one instead.

    So those who feel slighted, do what you feel it right!

  25. Bladefist says:

    capable in my mind doesnt seem like a real strong positive word. You wouldn’t hire someone who is just capable of roofing to put a roof on your house. It is what it is. This guy needs to cool out and do his research. The sticker would have said “Makes Vista its bitch” if the PC was good enough to do so.

  26. MadtownTim says:

    His Vaio must be utter crap. I’m running Vista Home Premium with Aero fully enabled on a 3 year old Dell Inspiron 6000. Pentium M 1.6, 2gb of RAM, crappy 128mb ATI video card, etc. Basic system, runs Vista without issue.

  27. Bladefist says:

    also vista haters – Take it somewhere else. This isn’t about vista. It’s about marketing and scamming.

  28. Landru says:

    Misleading. It doesn’t say “Vista capable, but only partly so.”

  29. boandmichele says:

    @Bladefist: you mean, like windows Me 2? er…i mean vista?

    if he’s upset about the lack of Aero, i can attest its one of the most useless things ive ever seen. my new dell, far more than capable of running vista premium (and came with it from dell), has yet to see me anything that is advantageous over xp. i miss xp.

    so i am dual booting ubuntu and just using it instead, until a decent service pack comes out.

  30. cashmerewhore says:

    @Bladefist:

    Seriously. But while we’re stirring the vista hate pot, I’d like to point out it was more secure than OSX during the first few months post-release.

  31. m4nea says:

    If these people had looked at the computer BESIDE the one they bought, they would have seen the other sticker (Vista ready) and perhaps would have seen the difference. That, or they should have educated themselves as to the requirements of the “better” versions of vista with the fancy graphics.
    To me, “capable” does NOT mean “able.” Capable has the connotation, as bladefist said, of not being 100% able. I think the stickers were very clear.

  32. spinachdip says:

    @Bladefist: The two issues aren’t mutually exclusive. For all the specs and features, an OS should be ultimately be judged for the user experience. Marketing certainly is a small, but not insignificant part of the user experience, in that it sets up expectations for the user experience.

    When a simple “Vista compatible” sticker requires qualifiers, or you have to nitpick the diffeerence between “capable” and “able”, then the user experience is off to a bad start.

    It comes down to one of Microsoft’s (and its apologists’) major problems, that they think more features and bigger specs are necessarily better. So they spend 7 years developing a bloated OS that’s not fully operational on computers that are less than a year old. Seriously, when you have to check to see if an apparently “compatible” computer meets minimum requirements, the OS might be a bit overloaded.

    If they’d just focus on creating an OS that’s self-intuitive and secure, then every 12 to 18 months, they’d be able to release a new OS that is a little more efficient and has a couple of new useful features, and people would happily pay $100 to $150 each time around.

  33. vaxman says:

    Here is a “New Idea”…

    WORLDWIDE TESTS
    Are you smart enough to own a computer??? This isn’t the first time this has happened, and really, as a computer tech, I do blame the users. The number of times I have to tell a client they wasted 2, 3, sometimes $4000 on a useless device because “it said it could do this”…

    DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BUY, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS YOU’RE BUYING!!!

    If everyone put as much thought into purchasing a computer (or any other big ticket item, a car for example) as they do to their regular shopping decisions, a lot of these problems would go away.

    Scratch that, I just realised that they are making the same research efforts as their normal shopping decisions.

  34. nutrigm says:

    Vista isn’t capable of doing crap really. What a useless piece of OS. What were they thinking? Let’s make a PC for mickeymouse?

  35. Bladefist says:

    @spinachdip: hmm what OS did you attempt to describe? oh apple. oh well, you + me gives consumerist balance between pc/mac.

  36. Trai_Dep says:

    Within 1.5 weeks of OS X Leopard being released, and the same week that my school’s store has Leopard-configured laptops in-stock, I bought a bottom-of-the-line MacBook for $999. Half the price of the LW’s laptop.

    I feel cheated since I didn’t need a slide-rule to discern which flavors (business, consumer, basic, ultimate) to pay extra for. Feel doubly cheated since there was no “Leopard Capable!” sticker on the box. Or “Compatible”. Or “Ready”.

    Or stickers for “Business Compatible”, “Works for Business”, “Ready for Business”, “Consumer Compatible”, “Works for Consumer”, “Ready for Consumer”, “Basic Compatible”, “Works for Basic”, “Ready for Basic”, “Ultimate Compatible”, “Works for Ultimate” or pant gasp pant “Ready for Ultimate”.

    Just booted up my bottom-of-the-line, under-$1,000 laptop in and everything – everything worked out of the box.

    Damn you, Apple. Damn you!!

  37. spinachdip says:

    @m4nea:
    The point of a sticker is to convey a message in a simple, easy to understand way. It’s not meant to be a riddle or a clue in a scavenger hunt. If understanding a sticker requires you to look at *other* stickers, or differentiate between “able” and “capable”, then I say the sticker’s doing a pretty shitty job.

    @vaxman:
    I’m all for consumers educating themselves, but when companies seemingly go out of their way to overpromise and mislead, it’s hard to blame the consumers. Again, the point of marketing should be to simplify the message, and the PC industry for the most part does the exact opposite.

  38. bilge says:

    Reminds me of the time I bought a G3 tower because I was assured that it would run Apple’s next-generation OS when it was finally released. It did run MacOS X. Slowly. And MacOS X was pretty half-baked until a few point revisions came out.

    I built myself a PC and switched to Windows.

  39. STrRedWolf says:

    Want to have some fun? Apply these stickers over the MS stickers: [www.cyberciti.biz]

  40. Andy S. says:

    @m4nea: If you’d RTFA, you’d see that ALL of the computers had stickers that proclaimed the machine “Vista Capable”. The stickers that differed, namely the “Vista Certified” and “Works with Vista” stickers, were on the packaging only. Looking at the computer beside the one you are going to buy nets you nothing, because they have the same sticker on the PC. In order to discern the difference, the shopper would have to compare the packaging for the two computers, and I don’t know when you last shopped for a computer in a retail store, but most stores don’t just stick computers on the shelves for customers to toss into their shopping cart, they keep them stocked out of the way.

    In other words, the customer won’t even see the “Works with Vista” or “Vista Certified” sticker until they have committed to buy a PC, and are unlikely to see the two stickers side by side unless they are either a) informed ahead of time, or b) purchasing two sufficiently different PCs at the same time (and are observant enough to notice the differences in a 1×1 square on a large box).

    I’m all for pinning blame on stupid consumers when it’s appropriate, but in this case, MS has gone out of its way to confuse customers with needlessly and deceptively vague and arcane branding.

  41. SpdRacer says:

    The company I work for doesn’t even recommend Vista, where waitin’ for the new version, Vista Personal Operating System or Vista POS. (I completely stole that joke, but it’s the best one I have seen.) The part about not recommending Vista is true, we have told all our cust. to wait at least a year.

  42. vaxman says:

    @spinachdip: The automobile industry is kinda the same thing (yeah, i know, everyone knows how to work a car, vs a computer but…) Everyone can go buy a car, no matter how luxurious it is, or how much of a POS car it is (ahh, everyone’s first POS car… the stories, the stories…) but at the end of the day, you can’t use it unless you can pass the test and get the license.

    Think about it… you need a license to prove that you are educated enough (maybe not formally educated, but you know what you’re doing) to use a computer… Maybe instead of clicking yes to everything that pops up on the screen and wondering why your computer suddenly gets infected with 20 viruses (which are now only going to spread to other people), you’re trained to know that a RED STOP SIGN on your screen means “No No, you must stop and think” and the virus never gets to make it onto your PC in the first place.

    In the case of vista, Microsoft did put out lots of marketing as to what each version of vista could do. While they did not specify that vista capable meant may not run the highest version of vista, they shouldn’t have to. One of the reasons for multiple Vista versions was because users complained that the current lineup of windows was to restrictive. why buy XP Home when it’s a piece of crap, but why spend an extra 100 to 150 on pro that comes with features you don’t need or want… Tons of marketing and education to resellers was provided as to the different versions, who they were intended for and what hardware platforms would be expected to operate at running the different versions.

    I’m starting to ramble i think, but basically, I don’t blame microsoft for this. I blame the resellers and users. Resellers who did not give correct information to the users buying the product from them (the same people (users) that didn’t do any reading on the matter before hand when the material was provided), then passing the buck on to microsoft to deal with the backlash.

  43. magus_melchior says:

    “Was Microsoft being deliberately misleading, or are they just incompetent?”

    They’re at the point where the 109th tentacle doesn’t know what the 30th appendage is up to, and they want total control over what they sell to home and business users. In other words, the decision to do this was a result of the feature creep that is Vista, and somewhat is a result of the empire preservation mentality. Hence the “edition” scheme, which Joe Average can’t make heads or tails of.

  44. backbroken says:

    @trai_dep: Everything worked out of the box…except for 85% of the software on the market. Oops!

    Ok, ok, sorry. Don’t want this to get into a mac/win fight.

  45. topgun says:

    C’mon Bill. Just kill it and bury it next to B.O.B. and Windows ME

  46. vaxman says:

    @topgun: HAHA ME and BOB… Microsoft doesn’t like to acknowledge those ones lol

  47. Neurotic1 says:

    @trai_dep:

    Yeah, like Apple’s not having problems right now with Leopard. Good luck on the upgrade.

  48. SpdRacer says:

    Leopard did/does have problems. But Apple has already released fixes, haven’t seen the SP for Vista yet and probably won’t for another 6-8 months.

  49. Roundonbothends says:

    Well, gee, I like my Vista machine, but it has a 5200+ AMD 64×2 processor and 3 GB of RAM.

    I would NEVER think about putting Vista on my 1.73 gHz Pentium M, 1 GB RAM laptop. The thing’s already excruciatingly slow in XP. I can’t imagine what it’d be like in Vista.

  50. @ptkdude: Ditto.

    [www.m-w.com]

    Nothing about the definition implies that capable means 85% able instead of 100% and I’ve heard the word used both ways.

    Any average Joe that doesn’t know about the different stickers isn’t going to assume 85%. They’re going to assume 100%.

    Yes, people should research their computer purchases. But if the thing has a sticker saying it’s capable of running Vista are you really going to ask the store employee, “Hey, will this thing run Vista?”

  51. jbalsle says:

    @Patrick J. Roulo:

    That’s funny. Vista has a large number of fixes already released, and the expected release time of Vista SP1 is within this quarter…3 months on the outside edge, and very possibly within weeks.

    Before you shoot your mouth off, you should know what you’re talking about.

    Leopard is right where Vista was back in February of this year: New and shiny, with bugs aplenty and fanbois clustering all around it. But don’t let the shiny luster fool you. It’s a brand new OS with bugs to go around, and Apple is not any less susceptible to the ‘push it out now!’ feelings than Microsoft is.

    This is being said from a user who runs Vista on both of his home machines, is satisfied with their performance, and doesn’t mind when Vista shuts down its Aeroglass features to ensure compatibility with some old application he’s running.

  52. yagisencho says:

    Vista should never be loaded onto systems that have less than 1GB of RAM (ideally 2GB). OEMs should never have sold systems configured with only 512MB. But OEMs are all about bullet points. And last year at this time, ‘Vista Capable’ sounded to them like a great bullet point.

    Thankfully, RAM is cheap, and I was able to upgrade my ‘Vista Capable’ laptop to 2GB. Now it’s perfectly usable. Personally though, I can only recommend running Vista on machines with multi-core processors. Vista runs loads of services, and more cpu cores means fewer threads stacked up on each.

  53. jbalsle says:

    Oh, yeah. Vista Capable vs. fully able to run all features of Vista Ultimate.

    I look at the specs of a machine and am thinking of putting Vista on it. No, I’m not going to ask the salesperson if a 1.3GHz Pentium M with 512MB of RAM will run Vista. I know for sure that Vista will operate on that. I may not say Vista ‘runs’ on that, because to me, running implies that it goes fast, which Vista certianly wouldn’t do on a 1.3GHz cpu with 512MB of RAM.

    Aeroglass is a nice feature, yes, as is Flip3D. Both of these features are turned off on computers whose GPUS (graphical processors) are not able to do the work needed to support them. However, Vista runs whether Aeroglass or Flip3D are enabled (in fact, many hard-core computer users turn those features off because they keep the GPU buisy, and on a Laptop, force the GPU into a higher power use level, shortening battery life.)

    Likewise, Vista cannot capture TV shows if your computer is not equipped with a TV capture card. Does that mean that it’s not Vista Capable? Of course not. Vista still runs, you can run programs on it, and it functions for its primary purpose. Vista can’t record DVD movies without a DVD recorder either. It’s still Vista Capable. It can’t play sounds without a sound card, it can’t play high end games without a gamers card, it can’t do physics calculations for games without a physics card, and so on, but the machine is still Vista Capable.

    Not-Vista-Capable would result in an error during install saying that Vista cannot install on this machine for whatever reason. IMO, the guy hasn’t a leg to stand on at all.

  54. ironchef says:

    msft fanboys speechless. LOL.

  55. lostalaska says:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~Your computer is now Vista Handy-Capable ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    What those worthless stickers really boiled down to was manufacturers were in an uproar over the fact that for at least six months prior to Vista’s release people didn’t want to buy a computer that might be obsolete once Vista was released. Manufacturers didn’t want to see a large decrease in sales especially leading up to a major holiday they wanted some way to entice buyers to purchase current machines. That’s how the entire Vista Capable sticker was handled.

    Buying computers is inherently complicated. For the average customer a series of hardware specifications listed next the computer tells them very little. A simple sticker saying it was capable of running Vista would help to push sales leading up to Vista’s release. Of course for the average computer shopper those stickers could easily be misunderstood to mean 100% Vista Compatability.

    If you’re in the IT field and have to keep up with all the news we knew before the final specs were released that pretty much any machine that has an integrated graphics chip would have to run Vista in some kind of neutered way since Aero pretty much requires a decent PCIe graphics board that supports Direct X.

    In the end, if it went to court Microsoft would most likely win on the basis that the machine could run Vista, it just wasn’t “capable” of all of Vista’s bells and whistles.

  56. StormyBkln says:

    DO RESEARCH! If Vista is running on the laptop, then the sticker was correct. It is… capable… of running Vista.
    I know, I know, everyone loves to bash Microsoft. But it’s not MS’s fault that people are stupid and regret their purchase later.
    Let’s face it, $2100USD is not a lot for a laptop. Just because there are bargain basement laptops for ~$500, doesn’t mean you’re getting a state of the art machine for $2k.
    Want a laptop that is READY for Vista Ultimate? Go get a $5000 Alienware or XPS with RAM drives, multiple 11k RPM RAID5 SATA hard drives, 512MB video, 4GB RAM, 7.1 surround sound and a quad core proc.
    Spend about $3500 on a desktop and you have your Aero *capable* Vista *ready* box.
    There has been talk of Vista for a very long time now. Word has spread about how memory and processor intensive Vista is. If you haven’t heard, you live under a rock. I personally hata Vista with a passion. XP is much better, and will run on worse specs than “minimum”. Vista will not.
    But, I digress. In terms of technology, I guess Microsoft must cater to the lowest common denominator.

  57. ThePlaz says:

    If you read the fine print on all of the ads it says that “Windows Vista Capable” does not necessarily mean it can run everything in Vista. They have another sticker that mentions something about “premium experiences” or something like that.

    I like that there are some features in there for powerful computers. When Windows XP came out, computers were slower and some of the cheaper ones has trouble with XP’s visual style. Today the cheapest new computer runs XP just fine. It will be the same thing in Vista.

    As to the price he paid for the computer – he paid extra for an ultra-portable. He should have known he was paying for its size (or lack of it). Its not a cheap computer, but the speed is comparable to (much) bigger machines costing a fourth of the price.

    As for the Apple comparison: Apple doesn’t sell to the lower end of the market – or have a true ultra-portable.

    And games too – they will “work” with the minimum requirements on the box, but will be pretty slow. Most products (including Vista) come with “recommended” specs.

    Everyone should know that a faster computer will run stuff better. Do they have to add that disclaimer to the fine print? (The more they add – the harder it is to read it all – burring the important stuff – don’t more people want less fine print?)

    -Michael [theplaz.com]

  58. vaxman says:

    @ironchef: Fanboy nothing… I don’t like microsoft as much as the other guy, but atleast i’m will to be fair. I was bombarded with marketing materials, educational materials about vista about a year before it was released so i had time to educate myself.

    But lets face it, you can call every MS supporter a fanboy, but if they’re supporting a product, maybe it’s for a reason…

    I didn’t have to learn how to program in order to use my OS (unlike every single one of you linux users). I like my OS to do things for me, not me having to do things for my OS.

  59. jamar0303 says:

    My computer is a Panasonic T5 with 1.2GHz Core Solo and 512MB RAM. It got a “Vista Capable” sticker. I know the sticker doesn’t guarantee that everything will run, but with these specs, what will? I installed OSx86 instead- Tiger runs faster than XP on this computer. Rather sad, really.

  60. elmyc says:

    All I have to say is:[www.cnet.com] and bump up the volume :)

  61. spinachdip says:

    So maybe for the original poster, caveat emptor may have been the lesson of the day. But that doesn’t make “Vista capable” sticker any less misleading or confusing.

    The bigger question is, why put the sticker there in the first place? It’s borderline insulting to savvy consumers, and essentially putting a sign on a computer saying, “It’s okay, but it’s not that great!” And sure, the less educated consumer should be more educated, but the whole point of point-of-sale signage is to inform and simplify. This does the exact opposite. If a potential buyer has to do more research to understand what it actually promises, and your levels of compatibility are “ready” and “capable”, you’re doing a shitty ass job of communicating with the consumer.

    Granted, I think those stickers they put on PCs and other electronics are ugly and distracting, but shit, at least “Intel Inside” is perfectly clear about what it promises.

  62. Mr. Gunn says:

    trai_dep: Not everyone is having the same experience as you. In fact, it’s widely acknowledged that Leopard was a poorly thought out release which has caused more problems than it solves.

  63. Valhawk says:

    I suppose the obvious question for me is why would you want to install Vista. The only reason I would ever use it over far superior XP is if it came preinstalled.

  64. Jesse in Japan says:

    My computer runs Vista just fine (to the extent that such a thing is possible), but I’d still trade it in a second for a computer like his with XP on it.

  65. camas22 says:

    this is just another frivilous lawsuit. companies cannot be blamed for people’s incompetence. This is like the McDonald’s hot coffee labeling. What other two words would have more accurately described the situation? Why does everyone is society have to sink to this shmuck’s level who hasn’t even woken up from the eighties and still blindly buys sony’s?

  66. SwampAssJ says:

    Sounds like what the PC game companies do. “Mininum Requirements” also a euphemism for will install and load but don’t expect it to be playable.

  67. S-the-K says:

    Maybe MS was misleading with their “Vista capable” sticker, but I agree that a resonable person cannot assume that “Vista capable” = “certified for Vista”. Especially when it says “certified for XP” right above the “Vista capable” line.

    The complicating factor is that there are a half dozen versions of Vista to choose from.

    Yes, the OP’s computer *is* capable of running Vista. It just can’t run it with all the bells and whistles. It’s like buying a sub-$500 computer and suing that it doesn’t work as well or as fast as a $2000+ computer.

    And not reading the recommended hardware requirements of Vista and comparing them to your own computer to be sure that your computer has the hardware and horsepower to run that version of Vista with all the bells and whistles, is purely user incompetence.

    @Camas22: I agree. The schmuck woke up from the 1980s and had to buy Sony. He probably wanted to buy an IBM (I remember when IBM PS/1 computers were sold at Sears back in the day) but couldn’t since they are all called Lenovo now. Since he still has his Sony Walkman cassette tape player, he went that route.

    Based on my experience experimenting with Vista in a corporate environment, Vista sucks big time.

  68. j0hnnyb0y says:

    I am not a fan of Microsoft. I bought an Acer laptop that was Vista Capable deliberately. I never expected Vista with Areo to work on my laptop. I knew that Vista was a bloated piece of junk and wisely went to the superior XP. I also dual boot Linux. Either Xp or Linux is an upgrade to Vista First Edition. Don’t cry about not being able to install Vista. Just skip it. It is the worst first edition of Windows yet! Maybe Windows 7 will come up with a new file system and a more Unix type of kernel that would be much more stable. Until then stay with Xp or switch to Xp, they might give it to you for free if you machine came with Basic Vista and you press the matter.

  69. disavow says:

    If a product is being marketed to Joe Blow, it should be labeled in such a way that Joe Blow can easily understand the differences. Buying a computer shouldn’t require a thesaurus or deciding what the definition of “is” is.

    It’s the same crap mutual funds and Internet providers and Bob knows who else try to pull. Make a claim about a product or service, throw on an asterisk and bury the specifics somewhere in the small print–disclosure in a very undisclosed way. Well, credit card companies have to be upfront about fees etc. thanks to the Truth in Lending Act, and Congress is (last I heard) pushing legislation to force mutual funds to do the same. Computer/OS manufacturers should have to do the same.

  70. ogman says:

    Deliberately misleading, AND they are just incompetent.

    First, they are always misleading about what hardware it takes to run their OS. This has been going on for years and anyone denying it is simply not paying attention. So-called “minimum hardware requirements” have NEVER actually reflected the true requirements.

    Second, they are incompetent because the put out an OS that will it’s supporter claim you have to have some very powerful hardware to run. This is the number one answer given by angry Microsoft fanboys, “You don’t have the right hardware so don’t run Vista and don’t bitch about it.”

    Why would anyone want to create an OS that requires huge resources and offers little or no reason to upgrade. I mean, just this morning on the last machine I own that had Vista on it, I watched it tell me that a file transfer would take 36245 DAYS! Of course it took slightly less time, but how amateurish can they get?

    As I type this, XP is being loaded on that last computer. I suspect Vista is destined to set a record as the most removed OS in history.

  71. cerbie says:

    Warning: tl;dr!

    “They believe they were deliberately tricked into buying a computer that was already obsolete.”

    They were, and it’s SOP. Intel GMA, nVidia Geforce 6100+, and any Radeon Xpress, can run Aero fine. But, hey, somebody had to be sold IEG (pre-decent Intel graphics), older nForce IGPs, and those VIA and SiS IGP boards that vendors had sitting around, and Mobile Radeon notebooks. My regular experience with Vista in on a PC that’s about four years old, and it runs it well (Athlon XP 1800+, 1GB, Geforce FX 5200, nForce2 or SiS 746 chipset–I forgot which).

    Now, having tried to get Vista properly running on a Viao notebook that had full support for Vista (but came with XP), it does not surprise me that the letter is from a user of a Sony. It was futile. The same client’s Thinkpad had less official support (basically none), it was just a matter of Googling for a couple drivers, and it all worked.

     
    @cef21: actually, this can be dealt with pretty well. The above-mentioned Viao would only use the IGP if booted from battery, and could swap (though a reboot was required) from the Geforce Go to GMA. I’ve read some makers have it where Aero can be turned off on battery, thus also reducing the GPU load.

    Vista in general, even when it works right, is another story, and I think it’s stupid to move until MS stops making XP security patches in a timely manner.

     
    @mike1731: all that crap has been taken care of. Early drivers for a new OS suck. Who’d a thunk? It’s all really fine now, and Vista runs very well on hardware a few generations old, up to the newest stuff out there.

     
    @Andy S.: last time I was shopping for a monitor, the boxes were near the PCs. Sam’s and BB didn’t keep them far. They had some that were, but that was just to save floor space.

    In BB, too, the bright, high-contrast brochures definitely made mention of being able to upgrade to Vista, and some sales fliers did. On Northwood Celerons. With IEG2. *shudder*

     
    @StormyBkln: or get used Thinkpad just new enough to have GMA or a 6+ series Geforce Go, with 1GB+ RAM. Or, spend $600 on a desktop ($527 shipped from Newegg as of last night, including OS, with no attempts to save money, beyond being X2 instead of C2D).

     
    @vaxman: you don’t have to learn to do any programming to use a nice Linux distro. It just attracts us folk who like to tinker. I’ve not written any programming code while using Linux yet, including regex. I intend to change that soon because I want to, not because I have any need to. You do need to be or know a techie who likes Linux, though :).

     
    MS is at fault, because they could have done a far better job at this, or not done it all. But, the vendors penny-pinching is where a bigger problem is, and consumers buying POSes, too. I could have built machines at similar costs that would now run Vista well, save for a little DRM, but most people didn’t get those machines, and very few machines in stores had balanced configurations for their prices. HP seems to be very good about that now, from what I saw in BB when I was monitor-shopping.

  72. mavrc says:

    Of course they were being misleading. “Mostly Windows Vista Capable” doesn’t sound nearly as good.

    Also, if you got a new system with Vista ULTIMATE or BUSINESS and you really wanted XP, check into getting XP. You should be entitled to it, as OEM Vista Ultimate/Biz have downgrade rights to XP Pro. Odds are pretty decent you’ll have a heck of a time getting your OEM to help out with this, but it’s worth a shot. (If you bought Vista Home Anything with your PC, then too bad for you, according to Microsoft.)

  73. Trai_Dep says:

    @Mr. Gunn: “In fact, it’s widely acknowledged that Leopard was a poorly thought out release”

    Snicker. Au contraire, if you read neutral sources (Infoworld: “Mac OS X Leopard: A perfect 10″; Pogue, NYT: “Stunning”, etc.), Leopard was a well-received release. Regardless, Tiger has more advanced features and is more secure than Vista, which is sad to contemplate. If you’re a MS fanboy. Granted, the MS forums and related fanboy sites are a different story, but consider the sources.

    It’s also worth noting that the problems that a small number of users had were already fixed by the patch that autoinstalled less than two weeks after Leopard shipped (how many months – years? – of updates has it been for Vista and in spite of all these “fixes”, why are so many Windows users rejecting Vista in favor of XP?) That’d be unfathomable on the Mac world.

    More to the point of what I said, I bought a laptop for less than one half of what the LW wrote, and ALL of the features worked fine, out of the box. If I wasn’t a lazy cuss, I’d be able to install Leopard on my two-year-old iMac and it also would be able to run the entire OS, nothing turned off, with no problems. It’s what every computer user should expect, but I guess in your topsy-turvy world, it’s okay that only Mac users that can do so.

    There’s still a large number of PC boxes on the shelves today that this can’t be said of. And that is simply pathetic. Not PC users (c’mon in, the Mac waters are fine – really!). But of Microsoft.

  74. vladthepaler says:

    Microsoft didn’t do anything wrong here, the blame is on Sony. They put the misleading sticker on the computer, Microsoft didn’t. It was Sony’s decision. Consider: If I gave Sony a sticker that says “Sony sucks!” and told them to put it on all their laptops, they would probably say no, because they disagree with the statement on the sticker.

  75. Trai_Dep says:

    …But using the same logic, Microsoft approved a sticker (well, one of dozens, apparently, cross-referenced in the 3D matrix spanning several poster-sized pages that “clearly” outlined which sticker went on which model on which version of their OS for which users using what kind of PCs) that they delineated how manufacturers to use. And (no small thing) developed an OS that required said stickers.

    If they simply communicated truthfully, “Vista approved for high-end Alienware PCs and their ilk only,” no one would be complaining that Vista runs slow. Of course, that’d cut into Microsoft sales, so they didn’t.

    End-users profit! Err, not.

  76. Mr. Gunn says:

    trai_dep:neutral sources (Infoworld: “Mac OS X Leopard: A perfect 10″; Pogue, NYT: “Stunning”, etc.)

    If you consider those neutral sources, there’s really no point in trying to re-educate you, but you might take a gander at the mac support forums, The Register coverage, etc.

    If I wasn’t a lazy cuss, I’d be able to install Leopard on my two-year-old iMac and it also would be able to run the entire OS, nothing turned off, with no problems.

    Try it, and let us know how it works out for you. You might want to read around on the forums, first, you know, just in case.

  77. Trai_Dep says:

    Hmm, an unrestricted blog or forum commentator has more reliability than professional tech trade reviewers or the leading US newspaper’s technologist?

    Y-e-a-h… Good luck with that.

    And, 9/11 was caused by martians allied with the US government, right? Cuz it’s on the Internet, so it HAS to be true.

  78. Fizzle000 says:

    I’m soooo glad I waited for public feedback to decide on ‘upgrading’ from
    Win98 to XP back when it first came out, decided then NOT to. I still use
    98SE at home, and only use XP at work because it came pre-installed.

    I can see the differences and 98 is far faster and works better in most
    cases. So far only a few games like ‘Empire at War’ fail on 98. What really
    irritated me was why 98 would crash when loading Empire… Wasn’t
    the fact the OS couldn’t support the game itself, it was in some wierd anti-piracy
    routines in CD-ROM calls to a .dll that were absent in the 98 version.

    Most software that claims ’2000/XP’ only will work fine on 98. I play
    Battlefront II and it complains about my insufficient operating system yet
    plays very smoothely after I click through the warning. I rarely got the
    audio/video stuttering that most XP users were bitching about.

    That fact alone kept me from getting Vista despite the initial claims of it running better.

  79. Schmeg Peg says:

    The dumbass probably just doesn’t have drivers that support 3D acceleration for his laptop’s onboard video installed – they certainly don’t come with Vista, nor did they come with XP (they were just preinstalled on XP by Sony).

    “Oh no, my computer doesn’t work with 100% of features enabled by just popping the disc in and not actually doing any configuration! I’m going to SUE MICROSOFT!”

    Also, last time I checked, Vista Basic runs fine on 512MB of RAM and doesn’t have Aero – and last time I checked, Vista Basic was still Vista, and thus the “Vista Capable” sticker was right on the mark.

    I should sue Volkswagen (or, to more accurately model this situation, Apple) over my car’s built-in iPod connectivity (and the advertising they did for this feature) because it doesn’t come with an already-connected, fully configured iPod preloaded with music.