In a recent article I gave you some tips on deciding whether you needed Microsoft Vista. A few days ago I had my first opportunity to see Aero up close, to experience the new User Account Control security features, and to decide for myself whether the advice I gave you made as much sense as when I first blogged it.
It still does.
Chris Pirillo tells it well albeit long in a 52-minute YouTube clip about why he’s decided to upgrade to Windows XP from Windows Vista.
Basically, there are lots of details and improvements that he likes in Vista but not enough updated software and drivers for him to continue being as productive as he is on XP. It’s hard to disagree – in only a few minutes at the keyboard for a family member, I ran into the same issues just trying to burn a CD, a very basic action for a PC in the past 5+ years.
Another reason to stick with XP is the speed. You read right – the speed of XP. Vista requires so much more hardware resources than XP to achieve similar performance so why bother? If you need a new computer, why not just use XP on it and truly reap the benefits of a faster machine? You’ll be amazed at how XP flies on a dual-core CPU and you’ll save a lot of money as the stores have put a price premium on Vista while they try to sell off XP discretely.
Some other Vista annoyances include the User Access Control system, which is so bothersome with its popups that you will probably deactivate it, thus completely defeating its purpose of protecting you from malware. There are also the issues of network configuration. Wifi? No problem seeing the antenna but good luck finding where to set the IP address for your network card if you don’t have DHCP enabled on your router.
Not all is bad. I like Aero’s translucent borders and deep shading, they really do set the tone for this next-generation operating system. Every aspect of the interface has been improved to make it more appealing to the eye, including the new icons that have more color and are finally beginning to resemble what Mac users have enjoyed for years. Too bad we had to wait so long.
My favorite new feature by far is the type-as-you-go functionality of the redesigned Start button that works like Quicksilver on the Mac. It’s so easy to find things that you will never bother organizing shortcut folders again. Taking things one step further, Brandon Paddock of the Vista team created Start++, which basically allows you to use that search bar to search anything – your computer, your network or the Internet all from the same, easy-to-find spot. For those of you who don’t feel like waiting for Vista to have similar functionality, try Find&Run Robot which although donationware is still very powerful (if you keep it, please make a donation and help donationcoder.com continue to do great work).
Overall, my opinion hasn’t changed. Although Vista is an improvement in many ways over XP, it still isn’t compelling enough to go out and buy. For the most part, you’re better off keeping your XP machine as long as possible and letting Microsoft and the industry settle down with its newest toy so that when you ultimately must buy a new computer, you won’t have to worry about which of your favorite applications is incompatible.
Have you used Vista yet? What’s your take – better than you expected, or a letdown?