Microsoft to add better device support in Vista

Compatibility complaints involve "a relatively small number of drivers," exec says

Responding to low-level but persistent grumbling from users about peripheral devices that won't work with Windows Vista, Microsoft claimed Wednesday that its new operating system now supports 1.9 million devices -- up from 1.6 million at Vista's launch in January.

In a keynote speech at Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Los Angeles, Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Windows product management at the software vendor, blamed driver compatibility problems with about 4,000 devices for creating roughly 80 percent of the user complaints received thus far.

"It's a relatively small number of drivers that are driving most of the complaints," Nash said in an interview at WinHEC on Tuesday. He declined to identify which devices or vendors are most lacking in Vista support. "The key thing is that we have 95 percent coverage," he said. "It's good and getting better."

Companies such as graphics processor and card maker Nvidia have been heavily criticized by gamers and other early Vista users for poor driver support. Web sites such as zetafleet.com, CompatDB.org and NTcompatible.com have chronicled device and driver problems submitted by users.

Nash defended Nvidia, saying that the company is "working pretty hard" on supporting Vista in its products. He also said that the number of drivers ready at Vista's launch was much higher than with previous releases of Windows. That was in spite of the fact that Vista added new security and administration features, such as Microsoft's User Account Control technology, that broke the compatibility of many existing device drivers.

In addition, Nash noted that more than 9,000 devices have been submitted to Microsoft's "Certified for Windows Vista" logo program, which requires products to be tested for compatibility with Vista.

During a talk at WinHEC on Tuesday that was sponsored by Microsoft, Roger Kay, an analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, said the driver problems being experienced by Vista users are about the same as they were for early adopters of Windows XP -- except that now, "early adopters have a much louder megaphone in the blogosphere to air negative perceptions."

Nonetheless, as part of his keynote, Nash exhorted Microsoft's business partners to continue creating more device drivers. He promised that Redmond isn't punishing laggards. "We're not getting mad," he said. "We're sharing data with them to help them do a better job."

But some vendors are "making things broadly available, and some are saying you need to upgrade to their latest product," he added. "All are driving to some version of business satisfaction. Hopefully, they'll make the right call."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?