Beware of the Sleeping Mountain (Windows Vista)

Beware of Windows Vista and its sleeping ways. I have come across students who have found PCs asleep and when powered on they are back into the previous users account. This means open web pages (like email accounts, facebook, myspace etc.) can all be accessed as well as the users email account.

Why does this happen? Once again Microsoft has done something amazing. It has redefined the world wide and well known OFF button.

 Vista Sleep Button

Without researching and testing on real users, they have gone and defined the OFF button to a sleep button (above figure). Therefore when students hit this button their machine sleeps and does not shut down. The sleeping Vista is then waiting for the next student to wake it up and carry on with the previous users account.

How to avoid it: select the ARROW to the right of the SLEEP (not OFF) button and select LOG-OFF OR the best and easy way is to hit CTRL+ATL+DELETE and select LOG-OFF

Beware of the Sleeping Mountain (Windows Vista)! You have been warned !!!

When changing the button to a Power-off button it will look like the picture below.

Vista Power-off

Many thanks to Gareth for pointing out the problem.

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16 Responses to Beware of the Sleeping Mountain (Windows Vista)

  1. Vasileios D. says:

    Dear Tassos,
    As I can see is that you have some knowledge in electronics and that the button really means open circuit (stand-by) rather than shut down. So I am pleased that it wasn’t much of a problem for you to recognize it, though in real life not all of us are specialized in electronics to know and recognize those electronic symbols. In fact you are dealing with the variety of people having different needs, knowledge and age than you.
    However for your information the specific symbol is being used in many electronic devices (e.g. PC monitors) that’s why it’s confusing, but anyway let’s say that the symbol is correct…
    Now really do you think that Microsoft’s UI designer programmers and testers put a lot of effort to design it? And are you telling me that this design was the best that they came up with, by “hiding” the shut down button and making the sleep button to be confused with the shut down button?
    You said that Microsoft decided that the users should choose the sleep button instead of shut down for faster load ups rather than having the PC to boot-up from the beginning. Well it is true that once a PC is in sleep mode it resumes faster since it saves everything on the RAM. Though that option is great if you are a laptop user because it saves battery power, but what happens with the desktop multi-computer users or even the laptop users that really want to shut down their machines? They should click the start menu then the arrow and then the shut down just because Microsoft decided to force the users to choose sleep?
    Well fortunately there is a way to change the start menu button setting from sleep to power off. So you just have to go to the Control Panel -> System and Maintenance and under “Power Options” choose “change what the power buttons do” Once you change the “When I press the power button” from “sleep” to “shut down” the start menu button icon changes its appearance and operation.

  2. Tassos says:

    Dear Grigorios,

    I agree totaly with you, too. The thing that i want to say is that i believe that all these arent mistakes from Ms, but are done on purpose. I dont think that a brand like MS does mistakes easily…
    Its true that a brand new good pc is working much more faster with Xp than with Vista. But its not something new. A brand new pc also, at most cases, will working faster with win 98 or Me than with Xp. Of course this not means that we must install Me. I agree that now the windows xp are of course better for today’s pcs, because the windows Vista are made for the pcs we will have at 1 or 2 years later. Also of course arent so tested as xp. But when xp had newly published were much worse that Vista. Surely, i believe that Vista are good, with much more new capabilities, with better graphics etc. So i think that arent Vista bad but Xp are very good nowadays, very tested and its something we are got used to it day by day. Its like when a new model of the car is released. Most of the times, newly released models have some problems that the previous models hadnt, but this not means that are worse from the previous models.

    To come to a conclusion, i belive that Vista is a good Os, of course you can/must replace you xp with Vista, but in my opinion its not recommended yet to all users and for all purposes. Of course computer sience students, pc technicians etc must use Vista, because this is the future. Students must work on the latest in order to do the future better. This not mean that you must remove xp, you may have them in dual boot mode,( as i have done).

  3. Tassos says:

    Dear Vasileios,

    this signh means open circuit, not stand by. Stand by means that the circuit is still close but the device is sleeping. The sighn means that the electricity is cut off. So its right both if its for spleeping or for shutting down, because the electr. is cut off at both cases. Its very good that there is the choise you have just written,(it is such a good Os that allow the user to take it to his needs!!!). If someone wants to use the shut down instead of hibernation, this choice will be very helpful, BUT in my opinion i dont think that is recommended, because i think that its no good to have the shut down button so exposed at the start menu. Its highly possible to use it several times by mistake, and if you use it you will have to wait a lot of time for the pc to shut down and to start it again…

  4. Grigorios Fragkos says:

    Dear Tassos,

    I liked the example of comparing the new OS distro with the release of a new car.

    I totally understand that a new car might have problems and many times we see companies like Hyundai, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, SAAB, Audi and others recalling their cars in order to be fixed. Rarely a Mercedes will be called for a fix. Finally you almost never see a BMW to be called for a fix. So, what you pay is what you get.

    – Paying all that amount of money for vista when usability is low at the current state is worthless.

    – Enforcing this distro to be adapted by the users by stopping the XP licensing is even worse.

    – Finally, Assuming that you can so easily change what people have learned to use over the past 15 years because it took you almost 7 years to release a better version of your OS (mainly writing an extra service that loads graphics on top of the previous window manager) it is irresponsible and arrogant.

    And yes, MS have made many mistakes in the past which they have admitted in public and they will keep making mistakes, it is inevitable. I don’t disagree that in 2-3 years time it will be fine to use Vista, but until then MS will have paid the price. Dell and HP rolled back from Vista and provide an option in what OS their computers will be running natively upon purchase. Consider this, having a company, and you have paid a lot of money some third party to develop software for your company. If this software was written in VB6 (which is the case for many companies) you are basically doomed. You need your software re-written in .net. That is simply because you cannot install VB6 on vista, so you cannot recompile your already written application. Oh, and you cannot import your VB code into .net anymore, they stopped that!

    Mainly my main argument is not with MS specifically or whatever S/W development case or product, etc. My main argument is that the Vista distro is NOT an OS anymore. It is a whole platform that utilises your system for no good reason that forces you to go with specific options without having any alternatives. (See any definition of the term Operating System). They just had to give as grief so they can make more money. They knew that none would go with a changed interfaced and junction files in the OS structure, resource thirsty and the need for hardware upgrades if you had an alternative. They just wanted to set the point of where there is no roll back after a specific point in time.

  5. Grigorios Fragkos says:

    Dear Tassos and friends,

    I totally agree in the way you are trying to explain why MS have done that.
    So the valid statement is that MS did that in order to push users towards hibernation (stand by mode), and, as you mentioned correctly the reason for that is to minimise the shut down and booting up time.

    ..and I wonder, why is that? Is it because a simple OS has been expanded in ways that it shouldn’t? Having a vanilla installation of Vista takes 522 MB of RAM to run. If you add IE7 to access your e-mail, and boot office to type a document you are up to 1GB of memory. Is this over-consumption of resources the reason why the OS required an under the scenes “stand by” mode (not too hidden, not to obvious) to balance out the performance? In the following lines I will try to explain why I strongly believe why this button was put there in purpose.

    As hardware is getting cheaper by the year I want to be able to buy a computer nowadays that is really fast and the performance in all areas is up to high standards. This MS approach which says that I must run an OS that takes up most of the systems resources because hi-spec computers are cheaper to buy today doesn’t satisfy me.

    Based on a specific budget which you had 7 years ago, try to compare the performance of your computer today which you bought a corresponding budget to buy it. For example, in year 2000 you could spend £1000 to buy a Pentium III 733 MHz with 512 MB of RAM with a 40 GB and some nice peripherals. If you were lucky to be running Windows 2000 on that computer (and not Win Me) the performance (speed, utilisation, etc) was good enough. Now that hardware is cheaper and you get more for your money you end up spending more money in order for the final computer performance to be “good enough”.
    So my point is that if I buy a computer on January (when there will be no more XP licenses available) and install XP with the SP3 that will be available by that time and I twink my OS the way I want I will end up having a computer that has a lot better performance than Vista and for longer.

    An example that seemed silly to me is the Vista rating for the latest hi-spec HP pavilion laptop. This laptop costs about £2000 and comes with Vista. Vista rates the overall performance of this laptop with 3.1 out of 10 when the specs of this laptop are very good. The native installation of Vista in this laptop utilises 700MB of memory. In order to upgrade your laptop by downgrading it to XP SP2 makes it fly. And because XP allows you to twink the OS, the laptop reaches high performance. Plus, it boots and shuts down overall in the same amount of time that takes Vista to hibernate and wake up.

    So my point is that I won’t support Vista for now, just because MS wants to introduce the new era of ECDL certificates. I will refuse to have to spend a significant amount of money at the moment in order to end up with less performance that I have now with my Win XP installation.

  6. Tassos says:

    Dear Konstantinos,

    I have read you article and i like it. I found it really helpful, and it will surely save a lot of people from bad results, but I disagree with you that this is a mistake from MS. Its something dangerous, but not a mistake.

    The specific sighn at the button means off (open circuit – stop the electricity). This (the elctricity cut)is done both when the system shuts down and when the system falls at hibernation. So its not wrong.

    So you may tell me: “yes, ok, but why they have put it in this way? Its like saying to the user to switch of his pc from this button”
    Here there isnt a mistake,too. The modern attidute is that the pc will be more and more hours on (this attidute you may see it also by the automatic defragmentation and automatic updates at night ours for example) and the shut downs will be less and less. So they have put this button here, because they want you to use more often the hibernation that the shut down. Of course, it speeds down a pc if you dont shut down its OS but in this way you gain some time, because the hibernation takes much less time that the shut down and starting. Its a new attudute we must adopt.

    Also, if the user wants, there is an option that you can configure so that when a user attempts to resume the computer, he is prompted for the password of the user currently logged on.

  7. Tassos says:

    Dear Grigorios,

    as i understand you dont like Vista so much:):)

    Relative to the cars, the things arent as you describe. An expensive one the most of the times is more possible to recalling it’s cars in order to be fixed because a bad firm hasnt the money to do such a good feedback and hasnt the money to change so many spares for free. Also an expensive brand is trying more new things and so it may be needed for recalling. For example Mercedes has more recalls than ZAstava.

    I agree with some things you are writting. For example this one with the vb is true, and of course its not the only one.All theese you are writting are commercial things and c. Science. Of course there are some thing that are moving for financial reasons, in every company and of course in MS.

    Yes, of course there are some mistakes at MS the las years, but there are so many good and new things that all the mistakes is only a very low rate.

    Its true, that nowadays the computer systems has begun synonymus to MS. The rate of Linux, mac and other OS is very low. Also, its true that Ms has done the revolution of pcs.

    Lets see how long will keep Dell and HP their roll back from Vista.

    At the end, let the facts speak theirselves. I m working as a pc technician, all my customers are changing their Os from xp to Vista, one by one. Yes i agree that the price of Vista is high, but thats because there is no antagonist. Almost anyone is uses windows. Even you, i dont thnink that you are now online and you read my message from non a MS OS…!!!!!

  8. Grigorios Fragkos says:

    I think things are working differently in Greece. In the UK and in the US (as can be seen in the major developer’s forums online) people are begging for their PCs to be rolled back to XP. Because there are no available drivers for the new hardware for XP and need to be extracted and reconfigured from Vista, customers are actually queuing to find technicians (they charge twice the price also) that can do that. I personally had many people asking but don’t have the time to do it.

    FYI: it is a non-MS and it is lynx

  9. Vasileios D. says:

    Dear Tassos,
    As I said the button is confusing for the average and even for some expert users since it means as you said power off. But ok let’s say that Microsoft decided that the sleep is better than the shut down though in my opinion is not the best choice since the new sleep from M$ uses the RAM and after a while the HDD for swapping, so it makes large swap files making the system slow after some time.
    About the fact that the shut down is not the best choice to have it exposed on the start menu and that it can be pressed accidentally and shut it down, well that doesn’t mean that it is a good OS because you should have been asked if you are sure to turn it off. Now you are going to say well why ask you for something that is done by you? Well the UAC ask us every time if we are sure of what we are going to delete… adjust, etc…

  10. Vasileios says:

    Tassos quote: “Lets see how long will keep Dell and HP their roll back from Vista.
    At the end, let the facts speak their selves. I m working as a pc technician, all my customers are changing their Os from xp to Vista, one by one.”
    The fact that HP and Dell will stop the roll back from Vista to XP after a while, it is not because there wont going to be any customers to buy XP, it is because M$ will stop the licensing for XP. So your argument is totally wrong.
    About that more and more users are going to you to change their OS to Vista is because again some of them are force to, see DirectX 10. Also now in the university you hardly find students that are going to change their OS to Vista (apart from the gaming programmers)…which BTW the M$ did not release a version for XP though there is way to install it… 🙂

  11. Sue Burnett says:

    What can you expect from a company which is so out of tune with the average (ie, non-technie) user that it expect you to press ‘delete’ to start and ‘start’ to shut down?!!

  12. Smock says:

    ARGH! I can’t read the comments, they’re all out of order!!!

  13. Smock says:

    Just to clear things up though – Lynx is a browser, not an OS. Examples of non-MS OS’s that can be used to access the internet are Linux and MacOS (there are more, but very small % of use). As for browsers; Netscape, Firefox, Opera, Konquerer, and many many more browsers are available as alternatives to Internet Explorer.

  14. Vasileios D. says:

    Sue Burnett quote:
    “What can you expect from a company which is so out of tune with the average (ie, non-technie) user that it expect you to press ‘delete’ to start and ‘start’ to shut down?!!”

    That’s why they removed in Vista the word ‘start’ from the start menu… 🙂
    So, to clear on how much innovative M$ is, please watch this video on youtube:

  15. Kosta Xynos says:

    The correct order of the posts up to 8 are:

    6, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

    From there on the posts are in the correct order. The ordering was messed up by the system which I have no control over.

  16. Grigorios Fragkos says:

    My answer was: “it is a non-MS and it is lynx”.
    I was answering to two things. Firstly, about the type of the OS and then about the type of the web browser. That is why I used the word “and” within the sentence.
    Sorry for not clarifying it any better. My fault. Geeky talk!

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