Six reasons you'll hate networking in Windows Vista

Author finds some details 'maddening,' 'brain dead' and 'laughably rudimentary.'

With Windows Vista, Microsoft finally began to get networking right, as I wrote about in Seven things to love about networking in Windows Vista.

Unfortunately, it got plenty wrong as well. Want to network Windows XP PCs with Windows Vista PCs? Then accept my condolences. Looking to back up files across the network? Don't even think about it. As I'll show you in this article, there are plenty of reasons why you'll hate networking in Windows Vista.

Poor support for Windows XP

Plan on running a mixed Windows XP-Windows Vista network? Then be prepared to feel some pain. Windows Vista's support of XP-based PCs, and PCs with even earlier versions of Windows, is anemic at best, at least with the RC-1 release, although Microsoft claims the shipping version of the operating system will clean up some of the problems.

Start with this: Windows XP PCs may not show up as being present on your network, even though they're there. Or they may appear and then mysteriously disappear. Or you may see them while you're using one Windows Vista feature but not while using another.

For example, Windows Vista's Network Map feature draws a detailed map of your network and shows you the location of each device on the network topology. Windows XP devices don't always show up there, and even if they do show up, they won't be listed as part of the topology. Instead, they are displayed at the bottom of the screen. The nearby figure shows you the Network Map on a mixed XP-Vista network. The XP-based PCs are along the bottom of the screen.

The Network Map

The Network Map can't properly locate XP-based PCs in the network topology.

(Click image to see larger view)
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