Enough of the nonsense Vista talk

I’ve been stunned recently by the number of Vista-bashing articles online. Microsoft’s new OS might be really late and it may have the usual buggy bits, but bored of it already? Willing it to fail on a huge scale? Some so-called ‘experts’ are just lazily following the crowd...

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By  Matthew Wade Published  February 13, 2007

|~||~||~|Even since Microsoft went so quickly from being a geeky start-up to sprint down the path of global corporate domination, Linux-loving anti-authority techies have slated Mr. Gates and co. at almost every turn. In the early days such nay sayers had some very real issues upon which to base their disdain: whilst groundbreaking in its blend of features and market reach for instance, Windows 95 froze more often than an underdressed Eskimo, early versions of Word often left you in ‘tabbing hell’, Windows Media Player was arguably the squarest app of its time, and then there was the dreadful Windows ME… let’s not even get started on that. However Windows XP – when it finally appeared - was a giant step forwards. Much more stable, with workable remote connectivity, decent help, and smoother device and internet connection, this OS did – and largely still does – meet the needs of its millions of users well enough. So expansive are its myriad of features, options and settings in fact that several years after its launch a great many users are still regularly learning new XP tricks. Judging by the results of our first Windows Middle East test, Vista– whilst arguably not as giant a leap forwards as XP was – is another move in the right direction. Its near-omnipotent search function for one is an excellent inclusion and makes the process of tracking down the info you want a doddle, its file organisation features are much, much simpler and more effective than XP’s, and the Aero interface included in Vista Premium and Vista Ultimate looks a treat (in that its quite Mac OS-like but PC users will be able to work their way around it within a week rather than a month). Which is why the raft of over-the-top online Vista rants clogging up cyberspace seem to me a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to defend Microsoft - if I was, I wouldn’t have informed Middle East readers immediately about the latest regional Vista delay, or mentioned our sister mag IT Weekly’s latest story about UAE users being advised to hold off deploying Vista by Etisalat; instead I’m here to tell it like I see it. And the way I see it, much of the anti-Vista vitriol being spewed around cyberspace at present appears to have been written to fill editorial word counts rather than to educate readers. Maybe the disgruntled Ozzies over at APC magazine for example are still bitter about the Vista wait. In their ‘10 reasons not to get Vista’ they shout, “You don’t actually need it!”. Well blow me down; no of course you don’t, XP works fine, but then Windows 98 wasn’t that bad, so why did they upgrade to XP in the first place? Do you need a computer at all? Slate? Check. Chalk? Check. Job done, surely? Cutting edge opinion theirs ain’t. Our alleged competitor PC World is also filling page space with such invaluable thoughts as ‘Don’t upgrade, it’s not finished’, due to a Service Pack (SP) being apparently in the works all ready. I’d argue that this isn’t really news, as all Microsoft’s previous Windows versions have featured updates and more comprehensive service packs (batches of fixes and updates), so I don’t find it a surprised that Microsoft is already working on its first SP. MaximumPC meanwhile, first makes the very valid point that Vista requires a powerful PC, but goes on to rather taint its credibility with its ‘Vista is kind of annoying’ reason. And these are just three of the links I spotted yesterday, never mind the numerous others I’ve bookmarked in my browser over the last month. So what am I saying here? Should you consider when you see Vista in the shops later this week? Is it worth going near? I’ll speak from experience and say this: during our recent review, it impressed us. Its approach and features are impressive and it has a tone of geek appeal purely from the point of view of having a whopping new soft-toy to play around with. If your PC has some grunt then, it’s worth a look. (To this end, you’ll find our step-by-step upgrade guide here). It’s true that on the software compatibility and hardware driver side there are still some gaps to be filled, so if you’re worried about any of these – particularly if you use your PC for crucial work and can’t afford the slightest problem - and you have some technical know-how, why not just set up a dual-boot system by partitioning your PC’s hard disk and running XP on one half and Vista on the other? That would give you the chance to compare and contrast at your leisure. Will you buy Vista later this week? Have you been using a pre-release version? Whenever and however you try it – or not – let us know your thoughts. My team and I are here, looking forward to all your feedback, on windows@itp.com. ||**||

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