It’s been about half a year and I think that it’s time for a positive Vista review. That’s right, Windows Vista (released January 30, 2007) isn’t as bad as some computer professionals will say. For the basic user, and even the power user, it has vast improvements over XP and is an excellent operating system.
I hate to jynx it, but Microsoft seems to be taking a hint from Linux. Their development of Vista was a bit less secretive than past releases, they made the desktop much sexier, reinstated many options, and even improved security. Altogether, they have put together an extremely usable OS that merely requires a day or two courtship before winning you over.
As a Linux user I am very well acquainted with learning curves, and I must say that Vista has the easiest learning curve yet. One thing that is immediately noticeable is the fact that there are a million ways to get to any single menu. You almost don’t even have to look for anything anymore. No digging through sub menus and slide out boxes. Whatever you need is just there. The new Aero interface guarantees that it will there with style too. Everything is curvy, translucent, and your favorite color. No, really, you can actually choose your window colors from more than three color choices.
Say what you will about the whole authentication dialog stuff. Not running as administrator is one of the smartest changes ever made. Linux systems have been run like this forever. You shouldn’t need to be administrator all the time, and having this access makes your computing experience even more dangerous. Now it is true that Vista asks for permission in some odd cases, but these cases are the exception and not the rule.
With all the good noted, it is time to address the bad or at least what used to be bad. First and foremost is the slow boot time and slow program response. With the last update the former has been slightly improved, and the latter seemingly fixed. The OS still boots slow, but most desktop users will seldom turn off their PC and laptop users can improve speed by putting their laptop to sleep or in hibernate mode. The general speed of the OS once booted has been significantly improved since it’s launch. I had originally abandoned Vista in February when it took an hour to unzip a file. This problem has been fixed and I unzipped the same file in just 4 minutes last night.
The fancy graphics of the Aero interface can take a toll on older systems, but without Aero Vista was able to run on an old DELL laptop with only 512RAM and 64mb dedicated video memory. Also, remember to check out the ReadyBoost feature if you’re a little low on system memory. This excellent feature let’s you use a compatible flash drive to expand your memory.
All-in-all Vista is a great system although it is still hard to justify the its cost. Your best bet is to purchase a new system or find an OEM edition. You could also pirate it… but the Fish doesn’t condone such a thing. If you’re low on funds simply pick up a copy of Ubuntu.