"XP vs. Vista"on by dosminutos
Pros More elegant, refined experience: slick looking interface, smoother transitions, added convenience, improved accessability, and added security.
Cons Demanding on system resources, enhanced security features present minor annoyances.
Summary This is a review for the 97% (yes, that's MS' world market share!) of us that are currently using Windows and are interested in seeing how the new version stacks up to XP. I'm not interested in how Vista stacks up to OS X or Linux and will not discuss it here.
I've been using Vista for several weeks now and I like it MUCH better than XP. The overall experience is really quite similar, but Vista offers a more polished and user friendly computing experience.
After spending time using Vista, going back to XP feels, well, kinda dorky. The best comparison I can think of is upgrading your car from a Toyota to a Lexus. Even though the Toyota was good, getting back in it after driving a Lexus...it just doesn't satisfy anymore.
Improved features: visual effects
"Aero glass" effects (transparent window borders) are a drastic improvement to XP's "Playskool" borders. They feel sexier and more mature--very slick. Another nice visual improvement is the smooth fading effect during screens and window transitions, which makes for a more pleasing, less abrupt navigation experience.
Improved Alt+tab functionality displays thumbnail images of active windows instead of only an icon, plus the new Windos+tab feature offers a very cool rolladex-style window selector/switcher that flips through screen shots of each open window.
Vista also adds "Gadgets," (aka widgets) which are mini programs that run on your desktop and display information you find useful. I was running a similar program in XP and am glad to see it integrated into Vista. Gadgets I chose to run include a stock ticker that updates periodically, a CPU/memory guage, a "my pictures" mini slide show, an RSS feed, and a mini poker game. The gadgets make your desktop more interesting and eliminate the need to continually navigate the internet for often accesses information.
The downside of these visual "bling" features is, of course, higher demand on your processing power, which may slow down systems not designed for heavy lifting.
Improved features: Start menu
The Start menu in Vista is greatly improved in my opinion. A "Start Search" feature added at the bottom allows you to find programs and files with a few keystrokes and eliminates the need to click through multiple menues or folders to get what you want. This can be a big time saver, but the feature further taxes your processing capability because a search indexer runs constantly in the background to make it possible. I think the extra load is worth the added convenience.
If you're anything like me you find XP's flip-out folders in the Start menu annoying. I was VERY glad to see that MS did away with that and replaced it with tree-style menues that stay within the confines of the menu panel so you don't have to chase them all over your display--thank you MS!
Improved feature: security
Some reviewers find it annoying, but I'm glad to be bothered by the new "permission" screen once in a while. Every time a program attempts to install or wants permission to extract information from your system Vista goes to a black screen that asks you if you want to grant permission to the program. This means you always know what is running on your system and which programs have access to your information--only the ones you want!!! Compare this to beefed up post 9-11 airport security: a worthwile hassle? Arguably so. One change I hope MS makes here is the option to grand "permanent" permision to programs like your anti-virus software so it doesn't have to ask you every time you boot up.
Microsoft has beefed up its security suit in Vista to the point where you only really need to run anti-virus software. This has meant less hassle and increased simplicity for me, as well as $$ savings when it comes to software purchases.
There have been a lot of other subtle changes such as the way you access options in the control panel and the size of icons on your desktop. It takes some getting used to, but things are generally more accessible and easier to use in my opinion. It's a fairly big change from what we've become accustomed to, however, so if you don't like change, this may be a source of frustration for you.
Other improved or new features are auto defragmentation running in the background (keeps your system from slowing down over time as files become spaced out on your hard drive), better assistance with and troubleshooting for failed drivers and programs (Vista will search for solutions for you and often direct you to an updated driver, software, etc.), and a cleaner, less cluttered look and feel.
Overhauled versions of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer are included in Vista. I like the changes to both of them, but I won't review them here.
Vista won't blow you away, but it offers a nice set of improvements over a stale XP operating system. The look and feel are greatly improved and many of the annoying little things about XP have been dealt with. It's not going to convert any Mac or Linux users and that shouldn't be a surprise. It's that age old business story--MS has just gotten too big to be the most innovative company out there. Let's just be glad that there are companies like Apple out there that have a small enough customer base (1.43% of the market) to spend time being innovative. Give MS credit for at least getting up to speed with Vista and even offering a few new and innovative features and improving the overall experience.
As a side note, it's amazing how many Mac and Linux users use reviews to try and convince themselves and everyone else that they are smarter and cooler than the 97% (!!!) of the world's computer users that are using Windows. I'm glad you are cooler, give it a rest!
Pros The Aero interface, new search, flip 3D, live thumbnails, new windows explorer, xbox connectivity, ease of wireless connectivity, windows calender, windows media player 11, enhanced security features
Cons frequent pop-ups from security center, no ipod support, excessive horizontal navigation in media center, aero-glass interface available only on high end pcs
Summary First of all, I would (also) like to point out that barring the new aero glass interface, Vista is not a copy of Mac Tiger. It really does go far beyond in several ways. And compared to previous versions of MS operating systems and their beta versions, Vista has really outdone itself, which makes me glad that MS has been listening to users for the most part. Yes there are a few significant kinks, but this is the beta version, and MS has seven (may be more?) months to wipe them out before releasing the final product to the end-user.
Pros Almost looks and feels like OSX
Cons It's not OSX
Summary Seems like Microsoft is taking a lot of ideas that have already been implemented in OSX and is giving them new names...years after OSX. No thanks, I'll stick with the original and keep my Mac.
"DRM and HDPC Anyone?"on by bbfn11
Pros Cleaner look, better navigation
Cons DRM, HDPC and locking down how we use the computer
Summary Besides haveing a cleaner look and better navigation, this OS is the start of locking down audio and video content on the computer. One day you will never have to buy a disk to have Windows you will only be able to rent it by the hour. I know I may sound offbase but that is where Microsoft would like to take it. That is, out of the hands of consumers and only controled by Microsoft itself. Think if it this way, Microfsoft would never have to make another disk. Instead it would lease the operating system outright.
Pros I like some of teh new features, it's slightly easier to use, and Aero Glass looks nice
Cons Performance, Stability (slightly), there are not a lot of new features, and so on
Summary It's not bad, but it isn't really all that good either. Here's a breakdown on how I rated Vista (1 being worse than XP and 9 being better - remember, Vista is only beta and this is not the latest build):
Stability: 5 (it's actually lower, but provided that it's a beta, I let it slide)
Ease of use: 6
Now I don't see where people say it's the biggest change since Windows 95, as high level, it's still virtually the same design. I was surprised how Vista picked up my Canon i560 the second I plugged it in, unlike XP that needed the Canon drivers. Almost all of my hardware and software worked on Vista. Here's a breakdown on how that went.
1.5GB of DDR PC-2700 RAM
Ati Radeon X1600 PRO with 256MB of GDDR2 video RAM AGP 8x
AMD Sempron 64 2800+ @ 1.6GHz
WD 80GB 7200RPM IDE 2MB cache HD (Windows XP)
WD 120GB 7200RPM IDE 8MB cache HD (Vista)
Creative Audigy 5.1 24-bit soundcard
19" Proview monitor (CRT)
Canon i560 (printer)
Sandisk Cruzer Mini - 512MB (pen drive)
Generic 8-in-1 card reader
Rio S35S MP3 player (use XP drivers)
Visioneer 5800 scanner (USB) (use XP drivers and restart the computer before using)
Rio Music Manager 2.9
Logitech Wingman (controller)
Lavasoft Adaware SE Personal 1.06
Mozilla Firefox - tested on 1.5 and also works on 2 beta 1
Microsoft Office XP & 2007 Beta 2
GAIM 1.5.0 (crashes when inserting a picture)
HP Photosmart Photo Printing 184.108.40.206
Print Artist 8.0
DAZ Bryce 5.5
Microsoft Picture It! 10
Quake III Arena (I recommend not using full screen)
Adobe Photoshop 5.5 (Works better with glass disabled but will work with it on)
Avast! antivirus 4.7
What partially works:
Creative Audigy soundcard (used the kx drivers and also used the old Creative drivers for an old build of Vista - got a BSOD from that, but worked after a restart)
Microsoft Plus! for Windows XP (Error during install and Labyrinth game doesn't work, sounds in screensavers also do not appear to work)
What Doesn't Work at All:
Microsoft Picture It! Premium 2001 (program starts but crashes after doing much more than that)
Asus Probe (all versions) (Get a 'NTVDM encountered a hard error when trying to install' message.)