Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Why Windows Vista is Doing Better Than You Think

This afternoon I had a very interesting conversation wih Dave Wascha, Director of Microsoft’s Windows Client Partner Platform group. Apparently, Microsoft can't release stats about Vista sales due to the SEC or something, so I'm going to look into that. He gave me a bunch of other stats that you may have heard before, but here's some you havent:

  • As of yesterday, there are over 1.9 million devices supported in Windows Vista. That number is up from 1.4 million at launch
  • Any device that has over 500 "driver not found" errors worldwide is put on a priority compatibility list.
  • There are currently only 4,000 devices on that list, and those devices encompass 85% of the "driver not found" errors that Microsoft is seeing.
  • Microsoft has seen 21% fewer support calls for Windows Vista than in the same period (100 days) for Windows XP.

Some stats from the testing process:

  • 355 test servers in Redmond
  • running 10,000 tests a day
  • have tested 12-14 hundred of the most popular applications
  • and have run over 10M tests

I asked Dave for some details about Vista adoption in businesses, and he couldn't tell me much. But he did say this: Since February, there have been over 150,000 combined downloads of BDD 2007 and the Application Compatibility Toolkit.

Dave said that he surfs the blogs all the time, and any time he sees someone with a Vista problem, he checks with Microsoft for a solution. He says that most of the time, there is a solution available to the problem, usually in the form of updated drivers on the vendor's website.

He also said that he wants more people to know about how important it is to opt-into Windows Update. He said they should also opt-into the Customer Experience Improvement Program, and send crash reports to Microsoft whenever possible. Apparently there is a portal where Microsoft ISVs can check to get detailed information on the any crashes their applications are causing, and the information you provide (anonymously, of course) helps make those apps better.

Personally, I check the "Problems and Solutions Center" at least once a week. One day I hope to find a solution for IE's constant crashing. Maybe the Cumulative Update for IE released today will solve that problem? We'll see.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to send an e-mail to the SEC to find out why Microsoft can't report their sales numbers.



  • Cam Resu said:

    "...find out why Microsoft can't report their sales numbers"

    Its because in reality, the sales numbers are depressing and poor. Dave Wancha gave pretty much all the information that is pointless. The real information, and the value, is how many "RETAIL" copies (not OEM, but RETAIL) did Windows Vista sell? This is the number that everyone wants to know. Not the fact that it can support so and so amount of drivers. Whats the point of all that irrelevant information when the OS itslef is not selling?

    "     * Microsoft has seen 21% fewer support calls for Windows Vista than in the same period (100 days) for Windows XP. "

    Considering the fact that the amount of Windows users worldwide has increased significantly (more than a 21% increase from 420 million in 2001 to 660 million in 2007 - source Cnet, which is a 63% increase) since the launch of XP in 2001, this means that vista is infact getting more support calls, not less, than what XP did. This is just the usual Microsoft's "bending the numbers so it looks good" trick. More and more users are starting to look right through that and see the reality, and this is the very reason why Vista isnt selling like it was projected to.

    May 8, 2007 9:56 PM
  • With regard to the IE crashes - are they Flash related, I'm seeing them more and more and they're all the same crash within Flash - others seem to be seeing it as well.

    May 8, 2007 10:40 PM
  • Dan said:


    I'm having problems with Flash and Vista as well- YouTube videos stop randomly while playing and various flash games lag hardcore. I've searched around Adobe's and other's sites but I haven't seen any concrete solutions.


    Why does everyone want to necessarily know the Retial numbers? Most people are going to go buy a new computer at Dell or wherever anyway.

    Secondly, Microsoft acknowledges that Vista (or any program/os) is not perfect. There are always going to be problems, and I don't think Microsoft is trying to cover anything up.

    May 8, 2007 11:11 PM
  • Cam, you don't know what you're talking about. The statistic is based on raw call numbers, not a percentage based on total sales. And speaking of sales, Microsoft sells more copies of Vista in a week that OS X sells in a month, so why do you think sales are doing badly?

    Michael, it's not a Flash problem. I am using the latest Flash. It's something else. The "Problems and Solutions" applet says that Microsoft is researching the problem.

    May 8, 2007 11:45 PM
  • Danny said:

    I had auto update on but then on night I was working late and the pc just started to shut itself down - the auto update had kicked in and, without warning, started going about its business. The fact that vista couldn't tell (or, I guess even check) that was actually being used is inexcusable.

    Sorry but the SEC excuse is bunk - they have reported sales numbers in the past.

    May 9, 2007 1:50 AM
  • Danny, actually they haven't reported numbers on any kind of consistent or predictable basis. I went through and tried to track them for another research project, but I couldn't find any specifics in any of the SEC filings I looked at. And the numbers they DID provide have never been at a consistent interval (IE some figures were released 5 weeks after launch, some 8 weeks, etc.)

    May 9, 2007 2:10 AM
  • My problem with Vista and the numbers you've given me is this... WHY does Vista have problems with these drivers?  XP ran all (or at least most) of these things with no trouble.  Shouldn't Vista be able to at LEAST run what XP could run?  If I create something for a client then go back and "improve it," it has to be able to do everything the first generation could do and more.  How is it Microsoft is exempt to this (pretty standard) rule of development?

    May 9, 2007 8:13 AM
  • Cam Resu said:

    "And speaking of sales, Microsoft sells more copies of Vista in a week that OS X sells in a month, so why do you think sales are doing badly?"

    You cannot compare OS X sales to Windows sales, because of the number of users for each operating system. Its not a fair comparison at all. I explained why the sales are doing badly by anwering this quote below from another member

    "Why does everyone want to necessarily know the Retial numbers? Most people are going to go buy a new computer at Dell or wherever anyway."

    I wouldnt say everyone, but an increasingly number of people doubt the actual sales numbers. The reason why the retail sales number is more important than the OEM number is becuase of the choice. The choice that people choose when they truly want Windows Vista. OEM numbers mean nothing becuase it comes with the system by default, whether the user likes it nor not, and therfore does not offer a valid representation of the demand for Windows Vista. Retail numbers comprise of the desire on part of the user to actually like and purchase Vista. This is why a lot of people want to know the retail numbers, which Microsoft so convienently is hiding thus far. The OEM numbers do nothing other than inflate the actual sales numbers.

    May 9, 2007 1:01 PM
  • J Kevin, I would normally agree with you, but Microsoft rewrote many aspects of the driver model to improve security and reliability, so XP drivers won't always work. It's been so long since the last OS release that we tend to forget that this happens every release cycle.

    May 9, 2007 2:00 PM
  • May 9, 2007 2:06 PM
  • Keith Hill said:

    Robert, if you ever find a solution to your IE crashing problem please post it.  I don't know if I am seeing the same problem but IE crashes on my fairly frequently although it is usually when I'm exiting IE (go figure).

    May 9, 2007 3:21 PM
  • TechBlog said:

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    May 9, 2007 7:19 PM
  • May 11, 2007 2:31 AM
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    May 11, 2007 3:51 AM
  • May 12, 2007 1:25 PM
  • Russell said:

    I'm am now experiencing several popup messages "FCU has stopped working" (Vista's Forefront Client Security?) since I installed the Vista-version Flash last night from Adobe's website. Nothing serious, I just dismiss them, but it seems too much of a coincidence since I have not seen this message before.. This is on 32-bit Vista Business edition.


    July 2, 2007 10:46 AM
  • Georgios said:


    July 10, 2007 6:56 AM
  • Cosmo said:


    July 10, 2007 9:46 AM
  • Adonis said:


    July 10, 2007 8:40 PM
  • Dieter said:

    I am having the same problem as michael is having, youtube is stopping every 5 seconds and flash games like the ninja game lag terribly. Please help!!

    July 12, 2007 11:11 AM
  • Herakles said:


    August 6, 2007 7:05 PM