Vista the debate

Deputy editor, Cleona Godinho and WinLabs editor, Jason Saundalkar argue whether Microsoft’s latest operating system is worthy of your machine or not.

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By  Cleona Godinho and Jason Saundalkar Published  June 30, 2007

Deputy editor, Cleona Godinho and WinLabs editor, Jason Saundalkar argue whether Microsoft's latest operating system is worthy of your machine or not.

PROS: Cleona Godinho

1. Made with gamers in mind
If you're a hardcore gamer you need to dump XP and opt for Vista instead. This is because DirectX 10 is only supported by Vista and not Windows XP. Additionally, a wide range of gaming titles have already been announced only for DirectX 10, such as Footage of Crysis and Lost Planet: Extreme edition. Now you cannot deny that DirectX 10 takes gaming to a whole other level in terms of immersive gameplay and graphics.

2. Search made easy
We agree that there are already tons of desktop search apps such as Windows Desktop Search as well as Google Desktop , but once you start using Vista you will realise the important of such functionality being built into the OS. Now when your when a friend or co-worker calls saying she's misplayed a file that they've been working over the weekend, you can just tell them to look in the start menu by just typing the name of the file in. Simple, isn't it?

It looks the part
You cannot deny that Vista looks and feels ten times better than Windows XP ever did. What do I mean exactly? For one, its Aero interface is super-slick and is a pleasure to work with. And since we all spent countless hours using ours PCs it's key that we work with nicely designed interfaces. As you all know, an interface can make or break an app. However, Microsoft have nothing to worry about because Vista's sleek and Mac-ish interface gets a thumbs up from me.

4. Top security for your data
I reckon one of the top reasons you should get Vista is because of the newly added ‘Bit-locker' functionality. So what does this feature do exactly? Bit-locker - which is only available on the Ultimate and Enterprise versions of the OS - is essential a data encryption feature, which is designed to prevent a thief or hacker from stealing your data from your hard drive even if they physically have the drive. Therefore, if you are a business professional who travels a lot, Vista should definitely be on your laptop.

CONS: Jason Saundalkar

1. Stability troubles
If you're like me and frequently upgrade your machine or install loads of apps and games, Vista will be the bane of your existence. I've experienced tons of crashes, random reboots and more in Windows Vista in the last two months than I've had on my XP machine in a full year of use. In fact, my XP Service Pack 2 installation is now over a year old, has seen tons of hardware and software come and go, and yet remains rock solid.

2. Gaming and DirectX 10 support
Based on the in-house tests I've run using number of games, first under Windows XP and then under Vista, I can report that XP generally has the edge in terms of frame rates; it leads Vista by between 3fps to 10fps depending on the game being played. This may change as component drivers for Vista are released but if gaming is your life and you care about every single frame, XP is still the OS of choice right now. Third parties are also working to give XP DirectX 10 support, so by the time more next-gen game titles are released, they may work on XP.

3. Networking woes
Microsoft says that Vista's network code is more robust than that of XP, but after using Vista for the better part of five months, I'm not convinced at all. When using two Vista -based machines I've noticed that browsing the other machine's hard drive sometimes causes my machine to freeze up for several seconds. Moreover, backward network compatibility with XP systems is nothing short of horrible. At times I can never find XP machines on my personal network and when I do connect to them, browsing folders, copying data and watching videos remotely is far from quick.

4. Requirements, requirements
Vista looks great and has some nifty functions but all this comes at a price. The minimum requirements suggested by Microsoft will let you run the OS but don't expect a good experience; it honestly won't be as quick as XP.

5. Windows Vista - a techie's worst nightmare?
Microsoft has gone to great lengths to ‘dumb down' Vista's interface so that it's inviting to less techie users. Unfortunately this means that power users have to deal with a really convoluted process when tweaking settings. The most annoying ‘feature' is Vista's User Account Control, as whenever you try to run a program you've downloaded or change a setting, it will persistently ask your permission before continuing. Even to disable this ‘feature' you must hunt it out first.

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