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Responding to Vista criticisms

Mike Doolittle's picture

I've spent my last couple of blogs talking about the pros and cons of Vista. Due to my frustration with nVidia's current feature-anemic and performance-degraded drivers, I opted to return to Windows XP for now. I'll return to Vista eventually, but only when I can be certain my games will perform as well or better on Vista as they currently do on XP.

Anyway, I've come across a number of Vista-bashing articles on the web, with titles in the vein of "Ten Reasons Not to Buy Vista" or "Why Vista is the Dumbest Thing Ever Made By Anyone" (okay, I didn't see anything like the last one, but that seemed to be the jist of some of the articles I saw). Having used Vista and being fully aware of the good and bad of it, I wanted to take a moment to respond to some of the more common criticisms of Vista.

Complaint: Vista's just a flashier version of XP, because its biggest features were stripped.

I've seen this one a number of times, and it's referring to stuff like WinFS, EFI Booting, and PC-to-PC synchronization. These are cool features that will be useful to some people, but these are not by any means critical features. Vista still offers tons of features not available in XP, which vary somewhat based on the version you purchase. Most are very useful and noteworthy improvements over XP.

Complaint: The search function is "buried".

I've seen this tons, and I don't understand how anyone can take themselves seriously as they say it. True, the search is not on the desktop. You click the Start menu. Wow, what a workload! "Buried" my butt. One click on the Start menu, which you'll be using tons anyway, is pretty freakin' easy to access. What's more, the search is much better than any downloadable desktop search for XP because it's fully integrated into the OS. Every single page in Windows Explorer, without exception, has not only a file tree detailing where you are, but a search bar as well.

Complaint: It's too hard to find stuff

Microsoft has done a lot of things to make Vista more user-friendly. Now, personally I find XP to be perfectly user-friendly. But I can see how someone with little or no computer experience might not feel the same way. I've seen people complain about trivialities such as the desktop display settings being changed from "Properties" to "Personalize", under the complaint that it's "too vague". I don't think that, for the average user, "Properties" is any clearer than "Personalize". Quite the opposite. This is a classic example of simply being accustomed to doing things a certain way. Vista is attempting to be more user-friendly for a broad cross-section of people. It doesn't take a power user much effort to dig around and figure out the new phrasings and locations of various features. In fact, I actually figured out some features of XP I hadn't known were there by poking around in Vista.

Complaint: User Access Control is too intrusive

Well, Microsoft can't win. People maligned XP for lacking top-notch security. Vista is the most secure OS ever developed, and now people are complaining that it's "too" secure. The UAC asks you to verify that you know the software developer before an executable is installed, or verify that you are an administrator before certain system-regulating files and programs can be accessed. Apparently some people find there to be too many layers of security. You can always disable User Account Control. But why? I've never had a single virus or spyware on my PC, but Vista will be one tough force field to crack for malicious users, and that's a good thing.

Complaint: Only Ultimate has the good stuff, and it's too expensive

The fact is, for the vast majority of home users, Home Premium will do more than enough. Most home users do not need a full image-based backup and restore system, an encrypted file system, an automatic file archiving system, Windows Meeting Space, or other business-oriented features. Conversely, business users do not need stuff like Windows Media Center to download TV shows and listen to music. That's why Vista has different versions – so people don't pay for things they won't use. If you decide you have to have it all, then you do have to get Ultimate, and it is expensive. But no one is forcing you to buy it.

Complaint: Doing this or that sucks in Vista

Gaming sucks in Vista compared to XP. A lot of devices and programs may not work right. But ultimately, this isn't entirely Microsoft's fault. nVidia for example has had at least a year to develop its drivers, and they were still a month late with WHQL drivers – and the drivers still suck! But that's why it's important to know what you are getting into before you upgrade. Make sure that you can do what you want to do the way you want to do it. If not, stick with XP. There's no reason to rush into Vista.

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The fact is, for the vast

The fact is, for the vast majority of home users, Home Premium will do more than enough.

For the vast majority of users xp will do more than enough.

That "tons of features not

That "tons of features not available in XP" link you have links to a lot of crap features. Windows Media Player 11? Already available for XP. User Accont Control? Don't even get me started on this one, suffice it to say unless you don't ever tinker with your computer you'll be turning this off. Flip 3D? Um, yeah; looks good to impress people and that's about it. Games Explorer?...

Some things are kind of cool, like the Windows ReadyBoost, but by and large XP is still a good OS for people. And as the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't spend $200 to fix it."

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