Windows Vista Home Basic
"You will hate 8, wait for 9" - CNET
"A desktop OS for tablets and a tablet OS for desktops, Windows 8 is guaranteed to disappoint nearly everyone" - InfoWorld
"Bad" - The RegisterDroves of Windows users have started looking at Linux as an alternative. My article "How to install Ubuntu alongside Windows 8" has over 10,000 views every week. Potentially tens of thousands of people looking to leave Microsoft every week or at least considering the idea of another operating system.
Windows 8 however, is not the worst thing to come out of Microsoft. That accolade goes to Windows Vista Home Basic.
In 2007 my wife bought a new laptop. It wasn't cheap. The laptop was a Samsung R20 which boasted 1 GB RAM and a 100 GB hard drive. The operating system on the laptop was Windows Vista Home Basic.
I don't know who was most to blame for this travesty of a computer. Was it Microsoft for providing the most inept, watered down, impossible to use piece of rubbish or was it Samsung for providing a laptop not even capable of running the most inept, watered down, impossible to use, piece of rubbish.
Vista had only just been released and there was clearly a rush by the computer manufacturers to get Vista on their machines to make them sell better.
The truth is that this sorry piece of equipment would have been much better with Windows XP on it. It is woefully short on specifications to run Windows Vista.
1 GB RAM should have been ok back in 2007 but that 1 GB incorporated 256 GB of built in graphics. I upgraded the RAM to 2 GB which made it slightly better but this machine is poor, very poor. Samsung should never have gone on to be more successful after releasing this sorry, good for nothing hunk of junk.
Windows Vista was bad enough with its User Account Control (UAC) system which forced you to type your password in for almost everything you did and at least this was substantially improved after the service packs were released.
The annoying thing for me is that you hear Windows users say the statement "But Windows just works" when you get into any kind of discussion about operating systems. Really? Then you were never unfortunate enough to have a computer running Windows Vista Home Basic.
Windows Vista Home Basic does not have any software for burning discs. If you want to burn a disc you either have to buy disc burning software or download a freeware package off the internet. Most Linux distros have a disc burning tool installed by default.
Windows Vista Home Basic does not have a tool for creating a system image. On a machine so poor security wise, there wasn't even a method for creating a system image. The only protection you have against failure under Home Basic is your own wits and the system recovery point.
Anybody who used Windows in the past knows that the system recovery point would often become infected on friends and families machines.
Note that whilst Vista was bad, this article is specifically pointing out how bad Windows Vista Home Basic is.
No method for burning discs and no method for backing up the operating system. What about going online? To be fully protected from nasties on Windows you need to install a firewall and anti-virus software.
That operating system that just works requires you to go and pay more money so that you don't get a virus. Of course you can go online and download free antivirus software but that means going online unprotected whilst you go and get protection.
The free antivirus and firewall developers aren't exactly providing perfect solutions either. Try installing free antivirus software without getting a toolbar added to your browser and your home page changed.
So what did you get with Windows Vista Home Basic? Internet Explorer 7. I remember a time when everybody wrote web pages to conform to Internet Explorer and then wrote hacks to work with other browsers. God, those days were fun.
As well as Internet Explorer 7 you are given Windows Media Player which was at best ok.
In Vista Home Basic there is no office suite, not even the decidedly average Microsoft Works. Games? Minesweeper (yawn), Solitaire (yawn). Those games were there from Windows 3.1.
There is a Wikipedia page that covers the criticism of Vista very well.
So what is the point of this article? Telling people something that they already knew or is irrelevant to them because they long since moved on from Vista.
There is a lot of coverage in the press at the moment due to the fact that support is being discontinued on Windows XP. What nobody mentions is that there are thousands of people that bought laptops and desktops in the late noughties with Windows Vista on it.
How many people were sold these awful machines with Windows Vista Home Basic pre-installed? If you were really unlucky like me then you were not just given Windows Vista Home Basic but it is an OEM version.
The point of this article is to tell all those people that are running Windows Vista and especially those running Windows Vista Home Basic that there is a solution. There is a way that you can install an operating system in just a few easy steps which will rid you of this diseased mess.
In the next couple of weeks I will be running a series of articles showing how to install an operating system that will work on most machines capable of running Windows Vista. I guarantee that it is easy to install and you will not need to learn any command line options. (A myth perpetuated around the Windows world is that you need to be proficient in shell scripting to use Linux).
All you need to do is bookmark this site or subscribe to this blog by entering your email address into the box on the right hand side.
It is sad to think that there is a generation of people whose first computer came with Microsoft Vista Home Basic and now the new generation of computers being built comes with Windows 8.