• Recommended by TR
Windows Vista


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It's been five years in the making. Hundreds of thousands of man hours have gone into its development. Millions of words have already been written about it. Some have already written it off, others can't wait to get their hands on a copy.

Finally it's here. This is the latest episode in the Microsoft soap opera. This is Windows Vista. Has it been worth the wait?

On the face of it, Vista has its work cut out. There's no doubt that the move from XP to Vista was never going to be as dramatic or ground shaking as the move from the much-derided Windows 98 to XP, no matter how hard the Microsoft spin machine worked at convincing us it was. After all, there's not nearly quite so much to fix with XP, which has, by-and-large, done a decent job of running home, business and, latterly, entertainment PCs throughout the land for a good while now.

There has been the odd security bump along the way and, sure, it has the odd annoying foible, but apart from the fact that it's beginning to look a little long in the tooth, XP is still in rude health. Has Vista got enough in its locker to persuade millions of users to make the switch? Read on to find out…

Just Window Dressing?

Cynics will tell you that Vista is just XP with a brand new wardrobe - underneath it's just the same old operating system. And yes, to a certain extent that's true. But in the case of Vista's rather swish-looking Aero interface, it's more than just pretty version of XP. This is a makeover that's worthy of the name.

If your PC or laptop has the hardware (we'll deal with this issue in more depth later) you'll get transparent windows that let you see through them to what's behind and much more sophisticated animations than with XP. Minimised Windows fade out and gracefully slide into the taskbar, live previews appear as you hover over minimised application buttons in the taskbar, and the whole look and feel is a lot more mature than XP. If you've downloaded and used Windows Media Player 11, you'll already have a good idea of how Vista shapes up – it's slick, no doubt about it.

There are other ways in which Vista shows off its new 3D capabilities though, apart from the transparency and glass effects. There is now an alternative to the old Alt-Tab method of switching between applications called Flip 3D. Hit the Windows key and Tab and instead of flat, anonymous icons, you get previews of all your currently open windows stacked in 3D. Hit Tab while holding down the Windows key and the stack smoothly cycles through each one, just like a virtual Rolodex. The more frivolous sidebar is a nice touch too. This takes a similar - albeit altogether more attractive - approach to Google's Desktop sidebar. You can dock various 'gadgets' here, including a clock, sticky notes, an RSS news feeder, a photo slideshow, contact list and various other handy mini-applications.

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Paul Tasker

July 19, 2008, 5:55 am

Initially I wasn't that impressed with vista premium. I thought it slower to use than XP and more resource hungry. But it learns how you use it and now my system runs really quickly. The opposite of XP which slowed to a crawl the longer you used it. Vista service pack 1 seemed to make a huge difference and now if I use a computer with XP it looks and feels dated. The sidebar is great, I have many weather, monitoring and photo slideshow gadgets and its 100% stable. Not once has it crashed, rebooted, or frozen in 6 months of use!!!! I'd be lucky to get through a week with XP!

100% recommended so long as your computers up to it. I'd recommend 2GB memory, makes a big difference.


January 4, 2009, 7:57 pm

So after all that has happened with Vista, any regrets/thoughts TR?


September 16, 2009, 5:09 am

I am using computer since 1994. with DOS. then Microsoft introduced windows 95. open a new ear for PC. then best ever version 98-SE. Windows ME. Windows NT. Windows 2000. finally windows XP with its server pack 2..the best ever WINDOW till today !

I used windows Vista Ultimate for two months but fed up with that. I am using core 2 duo 2.56 with 3'GB RAM. Intel desktop board DG31 PR. but Ultimate gave me worst performance ever. I can not download more then 50 MB software with my broadband 2mbps speed. always gave me problem. very slow can not open more then two programs together its hangs a lot. disconnect many times.

but i believe that its having best security features no doubt its only for multimedia users. that means you can do small amount of work on that. not very graphical work or hard core work with required more speed support. still I prefer to run windows xp with service pack 2. support all software !

mostly I am using chess playing software. that software s required to cop up with operating system and processor to give its best to search best result out of millions games. like GM Kasparove played with deep blue of IBM.

I think Vista's era will come to an end with windows 7. lets hope for the best !

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