Windows 7: What a disappointment.

So, I got a new computer. The old one, a 6 year old custom built Asus/AMD finally is starting to show its age, and when the power supply gave up I figured it was a good time to get a new system. I called my local computer store, explained what I wanted and signed the work order. It’s a graybox i7 with 12gb ram. Very fast, very slick.

The big question was the OS: Windows XP 64bit or Windows 7 64bit. I’ve used Windows 7 on a virtual machine on my old XP box and really like it (even without the Aero interface, which the old machine wasn’t powerful enough to support.) So I booted up the virtual machine and installed all my work-a-day apps on it: Cakewalk SonarAdobe Premiere and FXHome  VisionLab Studio being the really important ones. Each ran – though the FXHome product has to be run in XP Mode – and so I fired off an email: proceed with Windows 7.

I have since discovered what a mistake that was. Granted I should have done more thorough testing: I only started each package to see if it would run without error, which each did. Now, having done some additional research trying without success to work on a project, I’ve found the following things:

Recording “Stereo Mix” (a.k.a. “What U Hear”) off your sound card isn’t simple any more. On my new PC, it’s simply not an option. A Google search for a fix showed me that many others have had the same problem. The recurring theme was, “It worked fine in XP, but when I upgraded to 7 (or Vista), it didn’t work any more.” Many solutions were tossed out, like upgrading/reinstalling sound card drivers, right-clicking in device properties and checking “show disabled”, none of which worked for me, although I could be forgiven for asking

Why the hell should that even be necessary?

Sorry, I’m a little miffed. Seems to me that for content producers like me and others, this task should be a fundamental assumption so why should we have to work so hard to do it after “UP”grading? Microsoft in bed with RIAA..?

Ya think?

Yes, I can use the stereo mix to record stuff off YouTube…yes, that’s a violation of copyright…yes yes yes yes friggin’ yes. However, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to record the Stereo mix – not the least of which is a mix-down of audio tracks and MIDI-controlled audio output from my keyboard, something I do ALL THE TIME.

Or at least, I used to.

In XP.

Yeah, okay, now that we’re here, there’s MIDI. Same issues: worked fine in XP, doesn’t work now. Even the company that built my PC knew that 7 doesn’t support legacy MIDI interfaces, though they let me choose 7 anyway.

Which is why I’m miffed. No, not miffed. Pissed off.

I’m a user. I don’t build PCs for my living. According to what I’ve read this morning, audio/MIDI issues like the ones I’m facing now were introduced with Vista, so given that track record, my PC builder – who knows me and what I do – should have known about these issues and recommended – no, insisted on – Windows XP.

That I am discovering this now, mid-project, that I will have to take two hours out of my day to take the PC back and have it fixed (twice, if I have to drop it off and then go back), that I will have to reinstall all of my applications, another four hours gone: for all these reasons, I’m pissed off.

 

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