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Windows Vista – the forgotten OS?


As the new kid on the block Microsoft is pushing Windows 8 hard.  They are also trying to get people still on XP to upgrade to either Windows 7 or even Windows 8, however there is no mention of that other OS Vista.  Now I know that Vista isn’t liked very much (by both the public and Microsoft itself) and Microsoft would rather it went away but the fact is it is still used by millions of people worldwide.  So lets take a look and see how bad it really is.

First the good points.

1. New flashier interface.  Vista looks good especially with the new Aero interface.  The icons look snappier and navigation around the menus is good.

2. The Network Center.  At last Microsoft put networking at the centre of the OS.  Setting up either a wired or wireless network on Vista is a breeze.

3. Security.  Vista is a lot more secure than its predecessor Windows XP. In XP the user runs with administrative privileges by default which means that if the system gets infected with a virus and that virus compromises the user account it would then have administrative privileges for the system.  This could not happen on Vista because of the UAC (User Account Control) which asks you to specify a password before you carry out administrative tasks.

4. Reliability and Performance Monitor.  I love this and was surprised Microsoft dropped the Reliability monitor from Windows 7.  The ability to produce reports about the current state of the system is invaluable from a troubleshooting point of view and coupled with the ability to monitor the system over a period of time using the Reliability Monitor is priceless.

Now onto the not so good stuff.

1. Resource hog.  To run Vista you require much beefier hardware than what was required for XP.  Vista loves memory and if you don’t have enough of it to say it is slow is an understatement.  You can run it on 1 Gb but watch what happens when you try installing software and actually using it.

2. Drivers.  When Vista came out it wasn’t compatible with a lot of the peripherals (eg printers) that users were using at the time.  This should be largely sorted but the damage to its reputation has been done.

3. Pricing.  Vista came in 6 different versions starting from Basic and ending up at Ultimate which cost a whopping £160 (approx).  This was more than its predecessor Windows XP.

4. The interface.  Yes the Vista interface was better but it was also too different from XP for a lot of customers.  Customers didn’t want to relearn how to use the system.

5. The UAC.  This was the biggest complaint from users by far.  When you try and do any administrative task in Vista the UAC appears and asks for a password (usually preceded by a blank screen) and shocks many users.  It is very intrusive and a lot of users turned it off which kind of defeats the purpose of having it there in the first place.

6. Windows 7.  Basically Windows 7 is what Vista should have been out of the blocks and because of this many people and businesses are bypassing Vista on their upgrade paths and going straight to Windows 7.

From a personal point of view I would rather work on a Vista system than an XP system anyday. With the inbuilt troubleshooting tools it is much easier to diagnose problems and fix them plus everytime I have had to reinstall XP on a system it never loads all the drivers. Vista doesn’t have this issue.  I will probably miss it when it eventually goes but I know of many that wont.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

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