Vista's Improvements: A Real Difference?
Like Windows XP, Windows Vista improves marginally on its predecessors. My esteemed but mildly delusional colleague Ed Albro asserts below that marginal improvements aren't enough to warrant an OS upgrade. And he may have a point.
I certainly wouldn't recommend that everyone run out and buy a copy of Vista to install on their aging PCs.
Revolutionary OS upgrades are occasionally necessary to keep the industry moving forward, but they inevitably cause problems for end users working with legacy hardware and software--and sure enough, the historic launches of Win 95 and OS X left users around the world griping over their suddenly obsolete gear.
Of course, if Ed had his way, 92 percent of us would still be glumly clicking around in a heavily patched and repatched version of Windows 95. But at least we wouldn't have had to upgrade any of our hardware to support pesky new-fangled multimedia features.
I concede the points that Vista runs slowly on older hardware and that it has compatibility problems with aging devices and apps. I feel for anyone who has had to
And marginal as they are, the improvements in Windows Vista make a real difference to end users (even though many users may fail to notice it).
Most important, Vista is quantitatively more secure than XP. Yes, the User Account Control feature is annoying, but it does protect hapless users from inadvertently loading their PCs with system-wrecking malware. If anything, the UAC isn't annoying enough, since you can still all too easily to click 'Continue' without considering whether you really want to allow some random process to access your hard drive's boot sector.
But we can't have it both ways: Either we accept an OS that nags us when something we're doing is likely to cause trouble, or we keep living in the malware-ridden universe that is XP. Rather than assault Microsoft for trying to strengthen Windows' system security, I'd prefer to encourage the company to continue hardening the OS.
Vista looks better than XP, though that isn't saying much. While the silver trim of XP Pro is tolerable, I find the forced cheeriness of XP Home's blue, green, and red color scheme fundamentally offensive. And though most users have grown accustomed to XP's clunky menu system, I find Vista's more compartmentalized (and customizable) Start menu far simpler to navigate.
In addition, Vista beats XP hands-down on everyday features like photo management, multimedia entertainment, networking, working with mobile devices, searching for files on the hard drive, and calendaring.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Windows Vista is amazingly great. But Vista is certainly competent enough that when XP finally fades out of my life, I don't think I'll miss it one bit.