"Wait for the next version and hope it's better"2.0 starson by Alanwea
Pros: It's prettier than XP
Cons: Only a corporate IT administrator could love it
Summary: What's wrong with Vista? Behind the translucent windows, sharp graphics and desktop "gadgets" lies Vista security to prevent you from easily doing anything that Vista/Microsoft deems as insecure. Sure,
XP was insecure unless a user maintained constant vigilance and installed all updates, but at least you still felt like you controlled your own fate. With Vista the feeling of control is gone, now Vista controls you and everything you want to do on your computer.
Say you are a bit of a techie and want to take a hard drive from your old computer and put it into your new Vista compatible machine running Vista. After you get it installed Vista sees it, you can see it, but Vista prevents you from reading the drive saying that it is "not accessible" and "access is denied". In typical Microsoft OS fashion there's no information about why access is denied, no link to more information, nothing except for the sparse error message.
Go into Control Panel and choose "Add Hardware"; an annoying dialog box is displayed requiring that you give your permission to continue. Get used to this dialog box, you will see it over and over and over again and be required to click the "Continue" button each time. In Vista's security run amok world, things you could do in XP are now considered possible security violations and require your explicit go ahead.
What about new features? Oh, they are there and some of them are good ideas, but Microsoft has missed the boat on usability. New features are worthless without an intuitive user interface that works with you, provides help when you need it and links to additional helpful information. In Vista's case the UI suffers the same, if not worse problems, than XP's. Error messages are vague, UI paths to features are convoluted, help text is, for the most part, written in the same garbled techie language that plagued XP (and ME, 98, 95, for that matter).
I can hear Microsoft now exclaiming that they've rewritten help from scratch and it's the most comprehensive ever.Maybe so, but Vista help (like XP's) mostly just tells you what's wrong and then tells you to go fix it on some menu without telling you exactly how to get there.
The shame in Vista is that after 25 years of writing operating systems and supposedly improving on Windows, Microsoft is still making the same usability mistakes that have wasted our time and taxed our patience before. You'd think they'd get the idea that the UI and the user experience is at least as important as new features.
So, what has Microsoft been doing for the last 5 years besides making Vista hard to use for the common user? They've been adding features for the the IT staff at corporations. The IT staff will love the Vista features that give them new found control over every aspect of the computers they manage. Think of Vista as the secret police working on behalf of the IT department as they seek to lower the digital curtain (my apologies to whoever coined "iron curtain").
Should you purchase Vista? Not if you want to feel like you control your computer instead of the other way around. Your best course of action is to complain loud, long and repeatedly to Microsoft about their lack of regard for Vista users. Demand they do something about it instead of throwing a bunch of features together under a pretty, but incomprehensible UI, and calling it Vista.
If you complain enough maybe you'll find someone at Microsoft that still knows what "user friendy", "it just works" and "business at the speed of thought" really means. Otherwise, just buy a Mac (and being a long-time Windows user I don't say that easily), it will save you a lot of time in the long run.