For Your Safety

Posted by Garth on Thursday, July 26, 2007

Vista. Need I say more?

Vista has all kinds of crap built into it which is apparently meant to provide an extra level of safety to dumb users. This, in and of itself isn't a bad thing. But it becomes a bad thing when this "protection" can not be disabled and impedes application developers. UAC is an obvious example, but if you know what you're doing you can disable this. Ironically, I haven't yet, as I actually don't find it very intrusive. However I did have an issue when installing Visual Studio and all its components that the Windows Mobile 5 templates didn't install properly (i.e. at all). Apparently this is a problem caused by UAC. I read somewhere (wish I'd furled it) that the reason this fails is that some script tries to run during the install and since it's a separate process from the installer it runs under normal rights, doesn't know enough to ask for elevated rights, and fails. Silently. This isn't a huge deal as this particular install was my first Vista install, so I'm bound to reinstall (correctly) at some point in the near future. But it's a PITA.

So the other day I wanted to set up MaxiVista so that I could extend my laptop's display to my HTPC (projector). If you don't know what it is (and you're not running Vista) check it out. It's a really cool app that lets you use a second PC as a secondary monitor. Sure, you can't run games or video on it, but it still comes in really handy. Specifically, I was reading a PDF on my laptop and just wanted to throw it up on the projector so that my buddy could read it. But I didn't want to have to copy the file, remote control the HTPC, install Acrobat (cuz who the hell installs Acrobat on an HTPC) and load the file. Way too many steps. Anyway, back to the rant. I d/l the demo of MaxiVista to try it out, and it says very clearly that "Windows Vista is only supported in classic display mode with XPDM drivers". When you dig in a little what this means is

  1. MaxiVista does consequently not support the Aero display mode. (or essentially any driver that does support Aero, whether running Aero or not)
  2. Windows Vista generally does not allow you to log on to remote PCs using any 3rd party software "for your safety". This means, that the new MaxiVista feature to use the viewer program as a service and to log onto the secondary PC via the remote control feature does not work.
  3. Windows Vista x64 disallows to install software with unsigned drivers "for your safety". As MaxiVista drivers are not signed, it does not work under Windows Vista 64 Bit OS.
Now, #3 isn't a huge deal, as there is a way to tell Vista64 to allow unsigned drivers. Not sure where I stole this from, but if you need to do that, here's the steps:

run CMD as Administrator
bcdedit /set loadoptions DDISABLE_INTEGRITY_CHECKS

But #1 and #2, afaik, are impossible to get around until MaxiVista updates their product. Now, I understand that new OSes will cause compatibility issues and such, but any "feature" that is in place to protect the end user should have the option to disable it. MS isn't using this computer, I am. And if I want an "unsafe" or "unprotected" experience, I should be allowed to have that.

Message to Microsoft: You're not in the condom business. Stop trying to protect me "for my own good" and give me some function.


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