Monday, April 30, 2007

Windows Vista – A positive review?



Windows Vista – A positive review?

There have been many negative reviews floating around the internet for Vista. I think that it must be an unwritten law that if you are posting anything you need to be an avid Microsoft hater and an Open source fanatic. This mentality on the internet has meant that most people are unwilling to give Vista a proper try and immediately write it off as just more Microsoft crap.

I have been using Vista since the Public Beta process and have grown quite fond of it in that time. I installed RTM in December and am currently using the Ultimate version. My initial impressions of the operating system were to be honest not much. It looked pretty and most things functioned that way that I thought they should however I just did not feel that it made a difference in the way I did anything.

2 weeks ago my work laptop’s hard disk died and the IT department rebuilt it with Windows XP. This was the first time I had used XP since December, I couldn’t believe how much I had come to relay on the new Vista features. How could I have put up with this operating system for so long? How could I have not instantly liked Vista? Well it is the little things that I miss most about Vista.

The Start Menu

The best feature of Windows Vista is the Start Menu. The integration of search as the primary method of launching programs remain one of the best innovations I have seen for a long time (Note I have never used a Mac and therefore haven’t been exposed to spotlight) while it was hard to retrain myself to use the searching rather than navigating through all the menus, it has been next to impossible breaking the habit of search and I am now often having trouble locating the exact program I wish to use.

Aero Glass

Well this topic has been covered to death; the new default theme is sleek and efficient. It is not too much needless eye candy but good functional use of composite windows. However flip 3D is complete overkill and not all that useful, it is still far more efficient to use Alt-Tab. I like the new theme and have found it hard to go back to the bright teletubby view of Windows XP.

Internet Explorer 7

The complete rewrite of IE has produced a vastly superior product to IE6. The addition of tabbed browsing, which is the finest new feature, along with the added security stoping the browser from executing code at higher privileges has made the browser worth using. I stop using IE when Firefox 1 came out however with IE7 I was using it more and more. Given that I am now back on XP with only IE6 I immediately installed Firefox again just to keep me sane.

Features I don’t like

1. Network and Sharing centre. I have found this to be really annoying; it takes 3 extra steps to do simple things like find the IP address.

2. UAC. This has been the subject of excessive hyperbole on the internet. It really isn’t as bad as many think, however it is still irritating when you are trying to install a few programs at once or when you need a program to permanently launch with elevated permissions.

Overall all the little things in Vista have made it a great product to use that is superior to XP in many ways. The real question is doesn’t it adequately represent 5 years of development at Microsoft, definitely not. It is more of a minor evolutionary upgrade than the major computing revolution that Microsoft’s marketing team would have us believe. I personally will be installing Vista again because I have found it to be better however I know many could not justify the price and to all of them I recommend that you stay using XP.