One of the first things you learn as a child, apart from how good chocolate tastes, is that if you do certain things without asking your mother first you’re going to be in trouble. Not all things but some. This is a lesson I think Windows Vista needs to learn.
What are you doing?
My development machine is just that, mine. I use it for at least 8 hours every day and, without sounding too weird, have a close affinity with it. When performing a task I have a pretty good idea how much pain the machine will be in, I can hear the hard drives working, I can see the CPU temperature increasing, I can feel the responsiveness of the machine slow. It’s all cause and effect. However, when I hear the computer working without my instruction, like a mother who’s just found her ever helpful toddler trying to put the carving knives away, I have to ask “What are you doing!?”.
Since I’ve been running Windows Vista there’s been a lot more of this surreptitious moonlighting. In fact as I write this my computer’s hard drive has been thrashing away for about 20 minutes and I have no idea why. I’m sure if I look in the performance monitor I’ll see something related to a system process but I’m still not sure exactly what. There’s something so… niggling, irritating, uncomfortable (I can’t quite think of the word) about the sound of the hard drive grinding away. Maybe it’s because it’s normally associated with the computer running much slower, maybe it’s the control freak in me, but either way it’s frustrating.
My recommendation to Microsoft is that if Vista needs to do something that might slow my work down for more than a few seconds then ask me first. Put something in the task bar to remind me that a system administration process needs to occur and I’ll pick when I want it to run. Maybe when I go to lunch. Maybe when I switch the computer off. But whenever it is it needs to be at my schedule. Window’s Vista isn’t bad* but I think it could be a lot better if it remembered that sometimes you need to ask first before you do something.
* The major incompatibility changes, which caused us a not insignificant amount of work, were a necessary evil to make the OS and 3rd party applications more secure. (Why Vista requires quite so much more resources is not so understandable.)