Vista: Very, very hungry

I run Windows Vista at the office. Generally I get along with it just fine, and our company’s software plays pretty happily with it. But every now and then in my daily work I hit some kind of wall. Sometimes it manifests as a problem with Microsoft Outlook: when I try to launch Word to read an attachment, it starts up the Office Installer instead, then complains that it is suffering from “Windows Installer error 1450” and can’t proceed. Cancelling or clicking OK brings me to the same place: a copy of Word that complains that it hasn’t been installed for the current Windows user.

Other times, the problem manifests as a refusal to open other software applications, even Notepad, or to open new explorer windows. When I hit this point, even clicking on the funky little restart menu to try to get to the restart menu option won’t open the submenu. I have to hold the power key down to force the power to cycle.

It feels for all the world like the bad old days of Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 when one of the system resource heaps would be exhausted. But that shouldn’t be happening in Vista, or any post-NT OS, for that matter.

What’s weird is that applications that are already open, e.g. Firefox, appear to run just fine as long as you keep them running.

I can’t find anything on or on the web at large about the issue, so I’m posting something to jog my own memory the next time I run into the problem.