And now to the question on everybody’s lips: should you upgrade or stick with XP?
For anyone into gaming the answer is straightforward. In fact the question isn’t whether you should consider upgrading, but when to do it. Once DirectX 10 games become widespread, there’s going to be no alternative. I’d be tempted to move over only after two or three updates to your graphics card drivers have taken place just to on the safe side, though.
For the rest of us, the question of whether to upgrade or not is more tricky. If you’re happy with what XP does and don’t fancy upgrading an ageing system just yet, there’s really not much reason to upgrade. With the move from Windows 98, the choice was more obvious – XP was a world away in terms of stability and for that reason alone it was worth making the move as soon as was humanly possible. Adding extra hardware may push the price to a level that just isn’t acceptable to you and, obviously, if Vista won’t run software that you absolutely must have, then you’re best advised to stick with XP. If you’re not confident in installing it without the safety net of technical support then I’d also advise staying with XP – at least until you can enlist a friend to help, or buy a new machine with it preinstalled.
But I’m not going to say don’t bother with Vista because it’s a hardware hungry beast, or because it’s just a pretty version of XP. Why? Because for the asking price of £65 for an OEM copy of Premium, this is an awful lot of software for the money.
The extra security tools and new applications are worth the money and the hassle of the upgrade alone, and there are enough improvements to the interface and basic productivity tools to make living with it a lot easier than earlier versions of Windows. Compared to XP, Vista is a breath of fresh air.
Others may disagree with me, and they’re entitled to their opinions, but I like Vista, I don’t want to go back to XP, and I’m prepared to give it the thumbs up.
Score in detail