At the heart of my dislike for Windows Vista has been a recurring problem with wifi. The spread of free wifi, notably thanks to McDonalds has been a godsend to someone like me, living well outside London (ooh, nice double entendre there) but spending a lot of time in it. But too many times, I’ve connected to a wifi network only for Vista to tell me: local access only.
I’ve finally found a cure, but typical Microsoft, it’s hard to find and even harder to understand. All it involves is a bit of registry tweaking: follow these (fairly simple) instructions on their support site. It worked, and I’m relieved. (For what it’s worth: I opted to disable the ‘DhcpConnForceBroadcastFlag’ completely, on all the GUIDs listed in the registry. It worked for me, but it may be better for others to follow the ‘DhcpConnEnableBcastFlagToggle’ route.)
But this issue causes me real concern as regards Vista. The Microsoft wording infers that it’s a feature, not a fault. That it’s deliberate on their part. That it’s the wifi providers’ fault for not supporting its new feature… not that it’s Vista’s fault for not being automatically compatible with (in my experience) most public wifi networks. And I just don’t think it’s fair or realistic to expect the typical laptop buyer to start hacking the registry, especially when Vista goes to such great lengths to scare you away.