#1. No Wow, No How: Windows Vista
Five years in the making and this is the best Microsoft could do?
It's not that Vista is awful. The integrated security and parental controls are nice, and the Aero interface is as whizzy as it gets. Searching and wireless networking are much faster and easier than under XP.
It's just that Vista isn't all that good. Many of the innovations the operating system was supposed to bring--like more efficient file and communications systems--got tossed overboard as Microsoft struggled to get the OS out the door, some three years after it was first promised. Despite its hefty hardware requirements, Vista is slower than XP.
When it debuted last January, incompatibilities were rampant--in part because hardware and software makers didn't feel any urgency to revamp their products to work with the new OS. The user account controls that were supposed to make users feel safer just made them feel irritated. And at $399 ($299 upgrade) for Windows Ultimate, we couldn't help feeling more than a little gouged.
No wonder so many users are clinging to XP like shipwrecked sailors to a life raft, while others who made the upgrade are switching back. And when the fastest Vista notebook PC World has ever tested is an Apple MacBook Pro, there's something deeply wrong with the universe.
We have no doubt Vista will come to dominate the PC landscape, if only because it will become increasingly hard to buy a new machine that doesn't have it pre-installed. And that's disappointing in its own right.
PC World contributing editor Dan Tynan used to be disappointed, now he tries to be bemused.