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Windows Vista is the latest edition of the Windows operating system by Microsoft. It has some pros and cons just like any other Windows, and I will discuss some of these in detail. But first a brief history. Vista had a code name, “Longhorn,” was finished on November 8, 2006, and later released worldwide on January 30, 2007. It comes in three versions, including Home editions Basic and Premium, and corporate edition Ultimate. Bill Gates has previously put out 23 windows versions, such as popular Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and plans on putting out Windows 7, codenamed Blackcomb (then Vienna), in 2010. Vista’s release was pushed back numerous times over three years as Windows XP was given many security updates and improvements. Which is also why XP has retained much popularity, perhaps.

Fewer than one in 10 developers are writing applications for Microsoft's Vista operating system, according to new statistics from analyst house Evans Data. Security may be the root factor, as its importance has increased in the past couple of years. (CRN)

Slow Adoption/Reception
The intended business OS purchase rate from the Q2, 2008, is roughly 18% Vista, 55% XP, 8% Leopard, with Corporate satisfaction heavily favoring Leopard over Vista. “Within its first month, 20 million copies of Vista were sold, double the amount of Windows XP sales within its first month in October 2001, five years earlier. However, PC World reports that adoption of Windows Vista is going at a much slower rate compared to the adoption of Windows XP. Within the first year of its release, the percentage of Windows XP users visiting PC World's website reached 36%; in the same time frame, however, Windows Vista adoption reached only 14%, with 71% of users still running XP. Due to Vista's relatively low adoption rates and continued demand for Windows XP, Microsoft is allowing continued sales of Windows XP and has extended XP's support lifecycle to April 8, 2014.” (Wiki)

    The Pros
  • The Search Feature. Instantaneous searching of your entire computer for any sort of file. This is the greatest benefit to someone who has hundreds of documents, as you can search by a key phrase or title.
  • Updated Graphical Interface, called Windows Aero as well as Windows Shell.
  • Multimedia creation tools within the interface, Windows DVD Maker, and Roxio products.
  • Better networking and computer-to-computer communication. Peer-to-peer technology has been included.
  • Vista gadgets is probably worth a mention, Google has a vested interest with their own Google gadgets.
  • Backup and Restore capacity.
  • In summary, it just looks better, feels smoother, and is more techy than any previous system
”Vista includes technologies such as ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive which employ fast flash memory (located on USB drives and hybrid hard disk drives) to improve system performance by caching commonly used programs and data. This manifests itself in improved battery life on notebook computers as well, since a hybrid drive can be spun down when not in use. Another new technology called SuperFetch utilizes machine learning techniques to analyze usage patterns to allow Windows Vista to make intelligent decisions about what content should be present in system memory at any given time.” (Wiki)
    The Cons
  • Bugs, bugs, and more bugs. This is no new complaint, however, as every Microsoft product is targeted by hackers nonstop.
  • High system requirements. If you don’t have 2 gigs of ram, don’t bother getting Vista. It requires about .7 gigs of ram just to run itself, and you need some play room, yeah?
  • Lack of compatibility, and more Microsoft monopoly type of ploys, making their digital rights management targeted criticism
  • User Account Control. Although easily disabled, for those who do not find Vista user friendly, this can be the most annoying problem they face. Anytime you install something new, you get prompted, even when running certain programs. It generally doesn’t seem to add much protection, as an auto run script virus I had even bypassed this, but ESET NOD32 Antivirus picked it up for me.
  • If you search Windows Vista news, a large majority of it is negative press.

Service Pack 1 was released on February 4, 2008, which improved performance and support for new hardware and software standards. It also allows for third party desktop searching, improved wireless networking, and an update to DirectX 10.1. We will likely see a Service Pack 2 forthcoming.

I suggest checking out http://windowsvistablog.com/ for additional goodies, gadgets, toolbars, and backgrounds.


Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_vista
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/default.aspx
http://www.crn.com.au/News/78911,developers-shunning-windows-vista.aspx

I have used Windows Vista ever since I got my current laptop in August of 2007. I hate it. It is shit. I want to go back to XP but it won't let me unless I do a reformat and start again. And I don't have anywhere to back up all my stuff to do that. Nor can I be arsed to spend days reinstalling all my stuff.

Windows Vista began to annoy me the day I first booted it up with its ridiculous "Aero" interface. This is basically the gimmick where your windows all have transparent frames and you can look through them and have them all cascade in a 3D manner. Accusations of ripping off Apple aside, I think I can do without that particular piece of resource-stealing gimmickry. If I wanted to see what one program was up to while I was using another I would press Alt-Tab like a normal person. So I immediately loaded up my desktop preferences and went back to the "Windows Classic" theme. This is the good ol' grey boxes affair that we've been used to since 95. It's not pretty but it works and there was no reason to change it.

Except there is, because for reasons best known to themselves, Microsoft tweaked it so that if you use Windows Classic, you don't get assistance from your graphics accelerator in drawing the desktop. This is unlike XP, where you did. As a result, you're using real processor power on this - processor power that could be better deployed in doing something useful or fun. I only discovered this today.

At least there's a middle ground, "Vista Basic", which does use your GPU to assist in drawing it but isn't a resource thief like Aero. Though I suspect that in Windows 7 this middle ground is probably gone.

Vista further annoyed me by having THOUSANDS of unnecessary services turned on by default that nobody needs. Why, pray, is "Smart Card Reader" a necessity for most people? Yet it's enabled as standard. Similarly, the indexed search feature that Heitah refers to above might sound good on paper, but actually indexing every folder swallowed yet more system resources. Turning it off is highly recommended. The same applies to "Computer Browser," which apparently is something for seeing who's on a network but we don't know what exactly. And then there's the gadget bar at the side, otherwise known as that pointless clock the size of a £2 coin. I know what time it is, it says so in the task bar. This also swallows resources.

Once I'd got all the nonsense that I didn't need dealt with, there then came the secondary nonsense. The fact that Vista is totally hopeless at copying and moving files. It's just so slow. It's so poor, in fact, that cut-and-pasting from a Zip folder once caused Windows Explorer to stop responding. Moving files about one's disks, a job that in XP took seconds with all but the biggest, lumpiest files, became a major undertaking.

Then there was User Account Control, otherwise known as the window that asks you if you're sure you want to do everything. That's switched off now. I know what I want to do, say thankya.

THEN, as if that wasn't enough, THEN, there's the fact that it's generally just so cumbersome. It's taken me years of casual tinkering just to get Windows Vista into a state where it doesn't cause me computer rage.

In short, it says a lot about Vista that people still stick with Windows XP, which is now 10 years old. XP might have been sneered at when it first came out, but it's lasted for 10 years, has most of the security holes bunged up tight as long as your antivirus is up to date, and doesn't have all the unnecessary fluff that Vista seems determined to plague your life with. And it's not such a resource hog that Vista is.

In fact, Windows XP was, in retrospect, so good that when I get my new lappy, if it comes with Windows 7, I might just reformat and shovel XP Service Pack 2 back onto it. What's the worst that can happen.

(And before anyone says, "well get a Mac then," the answer is no. If I had £875.00, which I don't, I wouldn't spend it on a spongy-keyboarded designer laptop that has the specs of a £600.00 PC laptop. No thank you. Also, may I add that some of you folks would buy a sloppy turd if it was white and had a glowing piece of fruit on it.)

But then again, I'm also told that Windows 7 is actually better than Vista and apparently solves most of the problems Vista has. I'll see that when I believe it, but watch this space.

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