I’ve debated for a very long time whether or not to express my feelings regarding Windows Vista. If for nothing more than to put the notion to sleep, I have caved to my inner voice and have just a few things to say amid all of this “Vista is terrible” propaganda. Ultimately, after extensive testing and by using appropriate (and affordable) hardware, I say thumbs up to Vista. Here are some things to consider for yourself…
An operating system for the most part is a personal choice – correct, you often do not get to choose the OS that is given to you on your work PC or laptop; but then again, that machine doesn’t belong to you and you likely aren’t tasked with supporting it yourself. That is why Apple people love Macs, why open source folks enjoy the various flavors of Linux out there, and why some people still use versions of Windows other than Vista.
Having said that, I chose to try out Vista as soon as it came out. I used an older desktop that wasn’t critical to my computing experience. Meaning, I did not upgrade my cutting edge work laptop, nor did I upgrade my primary home PC which is configured to provide primary functionality of just about every app I would need access to in order to be, “up and running”. My older desktop happened to NOT be Vista capable, ready, or any other term that is used to sell you a PC that you may not need.
Nope, my first Vista test system had 512mb of RAM and a single 2.4ghz CPU. Yes, it ran fairly poorly. Prior to installing Vista Business edition, the instance of XP I had on it was getting a little bogged down, so I fully expected that this was not going to be a permanently usable experience. All in all, though, the system did have enough horsepower to let me navigate through it and learn enough about normal experience that I was happy to have gone through the exercise. Browsing the web was fine, I was able to navigate through all of the new locations for common tasks, I was inspired by the new colorful and redone icons, and all in all had a good feel for it. This had to be around fall of 2006 when it was released, I believe. I started using the PC as I wanted to and had varying degrees of success with applications. As I found myself using the system more and more and installing more and more of primary apps on it, I just got frustrated with the slowness. I did purchase a memory upgrade, but 1gb was as far as that desktop would go, so for $20, I figured it couldn’t hurt. The memory boost helped enough to lure me into trying to use the system as a primary machine. As time went on, I eventually wiped out that test instance of Vista and put XP back on it in order to eliminate al the waiting around – but I fully understood what was going on. I am an experimenter, what can I say?
I fought with myself many times as to whether or not I should upgrade my work laptop to Vista or not. It was a dual-CPU machine with 2gb of RAM and I witnessed other co-workers doing it. I think all-in-all most things worked, but there were just some business apps that I need that were not going to work in Vista. So, whatever – to this minute I have not upgraded that laptop to Vista. But it has been the most reliable XP machine I have ever owned. It has the Vista capable sticker on it, but it rocks the house as an XP machine.
I did, however put 2gb of RAM into a 1×1.9ghz laptop and install Vista on it. After SP1, this laptop that we use around the house runs very well with Vista. It still lags at times, so that is frustrating, but we mostly use that machine for browsing the Internet, and that provides for a pretty good experience.
Recently I saw a deal for some clone PC’s through Costco. 4xCPU with 4GB RAM!!! I bought two of them for a project I had going on at work. They shipped with Vista Home Ultimate, so I figured I’d take Vista for another spin now that I had the right hardware to support. Oh yea, this baby is awesome! Whether it is Vista, Mojave, or whatever else you want to call it, it runs circles around anything I have ever used before. I now have a Windows Vista PC as my primary PC and couldn’t be happier.
And this is really why I broke down and put pen to paper on this. Given the right environment, Vista is a dream. So before you give the Vista bashing any credit, please try it for yourself under the right conditions.
Some of the key complaints about Vista –
- It is too restrictive – User Access Control (UAC) won’t let me do anything without constantly bugging me to confirm that I really want to do it! – Guess what, Vista is like that because when people ran programs willy-nilly in XP they got infected. Infected to the degree that Microsoft had to create a new support mechanism and educate people on patching their systems regularly. Windows Automatic Updater was born to protect ourselves from ourselves.
- My machine says Vista capable but it runs terribly slow – I understand that this topic is the basis for a class-action lawsuit in the works, but come on, did you read the minimum requirements for Vista before purchasing the desktop/laptop? Sure, the stores probably mislead you, but is is their job to sell you things. It is your job to spend your money wisely. “Caveat emptor” has been around way longer than “Vista Capable”.
- I’ll just wait for Windows 7 – Either Microsoft is going to finally put out a production ready OS on day 1, or the Windows 7 bashing will take the place of Vista bashing pretty soon. XP is almost better now than it ever has been. Vista is a solid, stable, workhorse that is just finding its stride as people are getting systems that can actually make good use of it. My systems from Costco cost about $500, so I affordability is not a good excuse at this point. (However, I have heard that Windows 7 will be built to require a little less horsepower than Vista, so any machine that you get today should be great for the new OS. It may even accommodate a direct upgrade from your higher-end XP systems due to the stabilization of hardware requirements.)
- My hardware drivers aren’t supported, so I have to replace my 1 year old printer or scanner for no reason – Let me tell you something: I have been able to make all of my junk hardware work with Vista. Admittedly, it takes some research and trial & error to get it done, but it is possible. Again, think about who is telling you that you need new hardware.
Ok, so for better or worse, I will not wake up any more thinking about my view on Windows Vista. I have witnessed all of the negativity and have spoken my word about trying it yourself before making a snap decision. Seems pretty basic, huh?
Whatever your choice, I wish you happy and successful computing!