Windows Vista was released nine months ago (at the end of the month), but is still plagued by incompatibilities in both hardware and software. Printers, bookkeeping programs, photo editors… You name the category, there’s at least one product that claims to support Vista but doesn’t. And that doesn’t include the devices and programs that don’t support Vista at all.
Part of the problem is companies’ reluctance to support a product for a nanosecond longer than they have to. Another piece involves the decreasing time-to-live of the average product revision, or model. New models and upgraded versions of existing products are coming out with increasing frequency, and manufacturers end up having to write new code for more products, which, if they don’t want to bother, will leave you in the lurch in the case of an upgrade.
Of course, the worst thing is when products advertised to be compatible aren’t. Products like the Brother MFC-5860CN multifunction printer and Corel’s Ulead VideoStudio 10 software, both listed as “Certified for Vista” by Microsoft, have certain features missing. Brother’s printer can’t fax from the desktop (XP-only feature) and the included OCR software is incompatible. VideoStudio contains advanced features only available under XP. The “Certified for Vista” program is supposed to certify software and hardware that are fully compatible, with no missing features or functions. VideoStudio is listed on Corel’s site as meeting the requirements for the “Works with Windows Vista” program, which means some features are missing, but the software may still do what you need.
This business of compatibility is a real pain, but on the plus side it’s causing resistance to upgrades in the consumer market. Maybe Microsoft’s certification bungles will help Linux take over…