NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, November 2007
Update to Vista? Maybe!
By Jim Sanders, Vice President, North Orange County Computer Club, CA
vicepresident(at)noccc.org (click to email author)

Obtained from APCUG with the author's permission for publication by APCUG member groups.

The old adage never buy version one of any piece of software, is beginning to look like it should be applied to Windows Vista as well. I have read a number of articles from different sources talking about the problems that people have had trying to implement Vista. I have run into a few myself. The latest involved helping a customer move his documents from his existing Windows XP machine to a new HP computer with Vista Home Premium preinstalled. He was using the Windows Office 97 version of Outlook and wanted to transfer his e-mail, address book, and contacts to the new machine. The problem is Office 97 is not compatible with Vista. So the first thought was to go to the store and buy the Student-Teacher Edition of Microsoft Office 2003, which includes Outlook 2003, while I worked on the machine.

So he drives to his local friendly OfficeMax store to find that they no longer have stock on the old 2003 Student-Teacher Edition of Microsoft Office. However, they do have the new Home Office and Student 2007 version. At the same $150.00 price as the old 2003 version, that seems like a good deal and is still reasonably affordable. Except, the Home Office and Student 2007 suite does not include Outlook and the next version up that does, costs another $100.00.

A little research found another problem, the 2007 version of Outlook does not know how to import from the 97 version. Seems you can only accomplish that goal by first exporting to Outlook Express. The new computer came bundled with Microsoft Works. Works is not as full featured as Office, but good enough. So in effect, he would be spending $250 dollars for Outlook. So we looked at the Vista replacement for Outlook Express – Windows Mail. Same problem, it does not know how to import from the Outlook 97 version.

As Eudora knows how to do that import function, and is of course free, I down loaded it to the new machine. It seemed to install OK, and opened when I clicked on the icon. I needed to learn how to do the import, so I clicked on help. A small error window popped up that said “Cannot open file.” To keep a long story relatively short, I eventually Googled the fact Vista has deleted support for the .hlp files. I do not know how many thousands of programs use those files, but unless they are a current program that the author is willing to update, you have a problem if you are using one of those programs. After a bit more research, I found a reference that said Microsoft has condescended to allow the proletariat to download a crippled version of those support files.

In a related scenario, if you are a user of Adobe’s software, but not the latest version, you will probably have a compatibility problem with Vista and your program. Adobe has a PDF file on their web site that gives the details of this issue. The location of that file is: http://www.adobe.com/support/products/pdfs/adobe_products_and_windows_vista.pdf. The way I read that file, new and very current releases of Adobe’s software will work or be updated for free. Somewhat older versions of Adobe’s software will have Vista updates that you can purchase. Even older versions of Adobe’s software will not have updates available at all. As one looks at the up front cost of the Vista OS , the cost of updating one’s hardware to meet the decent performance requirements of Vista, and the cost of updating ( if you can ) your existing software, sticking with XP for a while is looking better and better.

This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).

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