I’ve just installed Windows Vista RC2, which makes me either stupid or a diehard Vista testaholic, according to The Register. Or possibly a tech journalist. Whatever, I like it; it’s an improvement on Windows XP in small ways and large. I’d like to migrate to Vista on release, but there’s a snag…
My RC2 machine is running sweetly, but two devices won’t install. One is an Adaptec 2940 PCI SCSI card with a tape drive hanging off it; the other is a Umax Astra 5400 USB scanner. Umax doesn’t seem to have heard of Vista, according to its support site, while Adaptec has a knowledgebase article entitled: “*TEST* Driver Update Patches for Microsoft Vista *Under Construction*” which says,
See (link to be added [sic]) for a list of products that are supported in Microsoft Vista.
Overall, I’m not optimistic about either of these products, though there is I suppose a glimmer of hope in the Adaptec link. It presents an uncomfortable but familiar dilemma: whether to discard working hardware for the same of compatibility, or persevere with the soon-to-be-ancient Windows XP for the sake of supporting old hardware.
I know of a company running Windows 98 on one of its PCs for exactly this reason – it supports a piece of factory equipment, and the supplier wants several thousand pounds for an XP-compatible software upgrade.
The long life of Windows XP has been a benefit in this respect. Almost everything supports it as a de-facto standard.
I can understand why vendors are reluctant to create drivers for old hardware. It ties up their developers for little benefit in revenue; and may even damage sales of the new stuff.
Even so, it’s disappointing that even with Vista likely to be released to manufacturing within the next couple of months, many support sites have little or no information on driver availability. Kudos to those that do. For example, Creative.com has a prominent link to information on Windows Vista and XP64. Unlike Apple’s site, which appears to lack any information about iPod/iTunes Vista support.