Over the weekend I finally upgraded iTunes to version 7.1, the one that supposedly solves most of the problems in Vista. (Notice the important “supposedly” in that previous sentence. Well, here’s my results:
I downloaded the update and ran the installation program. (Side note, why can’t iTunes update itself from within the program like most other software today. Why oh why do I have to re-download the program every time there’s an update?) The first oddity was the fact that I was required to shutdown Microsoft Outlook in order for the install program to continue. I was also running the Outlook widget in the Vista sidebar and I was required to shut that down too. (Oh wait, I just realized that I had set iTunes to sync my Outlook contacts and calendar so maybe that’s why…) Other than that the install worked but seemed to take twice as long as it usually did. (More on speed later.)
Once the install was completed I was given the option to run iTunes automatically. I chose that option and waited a good ten minutes, disk thrashing the whole time, before finally giving up and running iTunes via the desktop icon.
I was asked to accept the license (typical of the first run of iTunes after any update) and was then informed that it was “updating iTunes library…” Twenty minutes later, this was complete. (I don’t have the largest iTunes library in the world, just 3712 totaling 16.47GB so this seemed to take much longer than it should have.)
Once I was actually able to use iTunes I started to update my podcasts. Every few minutes I would receive an error that said it couldn’t update my library due to not having the correct permissions. I continued to click through the errors and once the podcasts were done downloading I closed and restarted iTunes and this error has not come back since.
As for the display problems, some of them seem to have been solved. For example, the add artwork bug has been fixed. However, all of the other display problems do still occur but after a longer period of time than before. According to Apple, “iTunes may display text or graphics incorrectly on your screen. Resizing the iTunes window should correct this issue.” However, I’ve noticed that once the display problems start, the only solution is to close the program (which does then crash) and restart. Any attempt to resize or minimize locks the program forcing me to go to the Task Manager to kill the process. My theory is that iTunes is incompatible with the Aero interface that I’m running. However, running iTunes in XP Compatibility mode doesn’t solve these problems and since compatibility mode turns Aero off, this may not be a logical conclusion.
I eventually noticed that since I chose to make iTunes my default player during the installation process, the default player error has not returned.
Finally, having made sure I followed all of the warnings on the Apple site, I decided to actually connect my iPod to the laptop. The short answer is that it synced as it should. The longer answer is that it seemed to take forever to start the syncing process. Seriously, I plugged it in, Vista made it’s horrid “bonk” indicating the presence of a USB device, and my iPod appeared in iTunes within seconds as it should. But, it all just sat there for the better part of ten minutes before any syncing actually started to happen. (I’ve since synced my iPod a few more times with the same wait each time.) My iPod is in working condition and I lost no data that I’ve noticed.
So, my conclusions: It’s better but serious problems still exist. The known display problems are something that need to be fixed immediately. (I’m assuming that fixing the display problems will solve the crashing issues since it only seems to crash after the display goes wonky.) The other item that must be fixed is performance. I now feel like I’m working under water while in iTunes. Importing works at normal speed but everything else either is or just feels slow, especially the sync function.