Vista and the Curse of the Rotating Blue Bagel

March 28, 2007

One of the biggest changes on upgrading from a 7 year old PC running XP to one that has 1Gb of RAM and an AMD x2 4200+ processor running Vista is that you are no longer subjected to long frustrating tests of patience, staring at an aggravating white hourglass, every time you try to do anything non-trivial.

Indeed. You now get to stare at an infuriating rotating blue/green bagel even when you are doing something entirely trivial, like using email.

The rotating bagel is, at least, beautifully rendered in Aero Glass.

To help you share in the experience, here is a rough animated mockup (sorry it’s a bit wobbly – put it down to my imperfect Adobe ImageReady skills):

Vista busy cursor

Just stare at the rotating bagel for several minutes at a time and you will start to live the Vista experience.

I’m serious about email being a problem. There is something wrong with Windows Mail, the email client built into Vista. It sometimes goes into suspended animation, displaying the bagel (officially the “busy cursor”), for quite a few minutes at a time for no very obvious reason.

The first victim was my wife who wanted to save an attachment from a recent email. That was enough to send Windows Mail into freeze mode. I was out of the house – she rang me (on my hands-free, I’m legal) while I was driving our daughter to school. I guessed she might have done something wrong but not being able to get my hands on the PC in person there was no way to tell.

But then something similar happened to me later in the day. And all on our first day with Vista.

I Googled in search of an answer and found this. It mentions Outlook 2007 rather than Windows Mail but it sounds like the same root problem. And we have to wait for Microsoft to sort it in their own time.

Incidentally, Windows Mail looks to be nothing cleverer than a lightly made-over Outlook Express. All the menus and options are just as I remember them.

Even then, on day 1 of our encounter with Vista I was starting to be tempted by thoughts of the comforting XP install disk waiting in readiness on the shelf.



  1. Just went through your pages. Do you feel a vested interest in my perverted edition I have a nice fresh joke for you people) Have you seen Quasimodo? I have a hunch he’s back!

  2. This explains why my local Apple store was serving blue bagels with cream cheese at the Leopard launch!

  3. Thanks John. For what it’s worth I’ve long since given up on Windows Mail. I’m now mainly a gmail user but for non-webmail I’m using Outlook 2007 on Vista and this has been stable and problem free for a while. The curse of the rotating bagel has not been in evidence for ages.

  4. I’ve had a few Vista customers of late with Windows Mail corruption problems. Seems like the problem is made worse by certain antivirus products e.g. McAfee and Norton – do people still by these?!!?

    The best solution to Windows Mail problems is NOT to use it, instead use something like Mozilla Thunderbird.

    If you continue to use Windows Mail then ensure you make regular backups!

    More info:

  5. Eudora is probably fine. To be honest, despite being hugely disappointed by Vista I’m getting on OK with the “groundbreaking” Office 2007 and Outlook 2007 works very well on XP Pro. What’s making the most difference is Cloudmark – it really does kill all spam. Very, very occasionally one bit of spam gets through and I “mark” it as such for the benefit of the “cloud” – well that’s how the concept works.

  6. Here’s a good question – does Eudora work in Vista?

    Oh sweet – it does. And it’s totally free – they’re going open source.


    Ironically enough, they mention that you should disable UAC for it to work.

  7. MS TechNet has a long thread with several steps for a fix to Outlook 2007.


    Removal of RSS feeds, the netsh command, and removal of corrupted 2003 to 2007 import files are covered.

    It seems the size of the PST/OST files is not that important.

  8. By way of an update, I tried “netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disable” and straight away iTunes stopped being able to download podcasts. It may be unrelated but I did not leave it that way long enough to find out if email was any better.

    I did find out that the command to reverse the change is “netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=normal”, not that it was very obvious.

    Email has in the meantime settled down. We’re still using Windows Mail and have not been plagued with a freeze since about day 3 of Vista.

    I’m now tempted to leave things as they are, but keep a watching brief.

  9. Let me know how that works out for you.

    Also feel free to comment on any Vista bugs or feature requests on this blog entry:


    I’ll pass them along to Microsoft on the user’s behalf. Other people are at risk of getting hit for their big support fee when reporting issues!


    Roundtrip Solutions

  10. John

    Many thanks! I’ll try that, and getting more RAM sounds like a good idea.


  11. Hello Everyone,

    Thanks for the link to my article. I hope it helps as many people as possible until Microsoft produces the fixes by way of hotfixes and service packs.

    You may find the following will cure your Vista network problems:

    Go to Programs -> Accessories and right click on command prompt and select ā€œrun as administratorā€

    Then type in the following:
    netsh interface tcp set global autotuninglevel=disable

    This seems to be a common issue with the new Vista networking stack!

    It is also worth checking if there is an updated firmware / driver available for your router / modem. There are known issues with some network devices and Vista.

    BTW: Vista runs like a dog with only 1GB. Get yourself at least another 1GB and it will run much better.


    Roundtrip Solutions

  12. Haha, I don’t mind – I’m sure you’ll make it work. I trust you. :-p And there’s planty of disc space on Darth to make it all work!

  13. Thanks, Jonny.

    You’re really worried I might come round to tolerating Vista?

    I’m actually toying with moving to a dual-boot arrangement, at least pro tem. Would that do you?

  14. Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  15. Hilarious article Dad – this is a great little site! My one fear is that, in order to keep this blog going, you’ll be tempted to stick with Vista, rather than switching to XP. Another few years of none of my programmes working … šŸ˜¦


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