Windows Vista Review

Windows Vista ReviewMicrosoft Windows Vista Overview

The most important advice that I can give you in this Vista review, is to absorb the whole package.  Not only is the sum greater than the individual parts, but also each feature enhances other features.  For example, Vista menus are more logically designed than their XP equivalents and the new Aero Glass effects add to the clarity.

This page is an overview giving first impression of Vista; for a detailed review of specific new features see here.

Windows Vista Review Topics


Keep in mind the whole Vista package. 

To digress for a moment, I am more interested in sport than art, nevertheless I can appreciate an old master painting.  My point is this, what I enjoy in a painting is the whole effect.  And so it is with Vista, I cannot emphasize enough that you have to take on board the entire product rather than merely absorbing a list of features.

This holistic view is important in two respects, features like Aero graphics are good, but they are over-hyped by Microsoft lovers.  On the other hand, Microsoft haters slate features such as the new Control Panel because they are not yet acclimatised to its new ways.  To them I say, remember Arthur Schopenhauer’s adage:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Vista’s Versions

I have been fortunate to review Vista’s top-of-the-range version is called the  Ultimate edition.  However, there are 6 versions or editions, one for each type of user (and each type of budget!).

1) Vista Ultimate (Best)
2) Vista Enterprise (Only for SA or EA customers)
3) Vista Business
4) Vista Home Premium
5) Vista Home Basic
6) Vista Starter (Simplest) See more about Vista VersionsWindows Vista Review

The inevitable road to Vista. 

Remember that now that Microsoft has launched Vista you are going to see it in a home or at a workplace near you.  My reasoning is this, once people experience the new Vista, human nature dictates they won’t want to go back to old XP.   The killer reason for updating will be that Vista’s security is so much better than XP’s.  What will happen is these safety concerns will provide the ammunition for IT managers to blackmail financial directors into paying for the migration.

There is one other possibility, Vista will flop.  Do you think that Microsoft will let that happen?  Can Microsoft’s marketing and technical teams persuade people that they should replace XP?  I think the answer is yes, Vista will gradually replace XP just as XP succeeded Windows 95.  While, I can see a future where we have much simpler local operating systems, with everything web based, I don’t think the masses will be ready to make that switch in 2007 or 2008, instead the majority will go for Windows Vista.

This page is but an overview, I see my role as getting you ready for Microsoft’s next desktop operating system.  For example, if you are buying a new machine or printer, make sure that it will work with Windows Vista.  Are you planning for the 64-bit version?  If so, then consider the availability of 64-bit drivers as many manufacturers are developing 64-bit drivers only for Vista and not for XP.

My greatest joy is in helping you get started with the new features, for example, how to get the most from the Control Panel, what to look for in the new Windows Explorer and understanding the User Account Control.

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Security – An impossible trick?  Windows Vista Security

The more I see about Windows Vista, the more I see a beautiful swan on the surface with Microsoft developers paddling like mad under the water.  For example, Vista claims to be more secure.  Then in the next breath, it offers the ability to find and connect to nearby devices.  I deduce that the trick of getting the best of both worlds, is to discover whether those nearby devices are secure before you allow Vista to connect to them.  More importantly, to screen other devices before you allow them to connect to your Vista machine.

User Account Control (UAC) you may love it or you may hate it.  In Vista you have the choice, you could turn it off via group policy, or leave the default settings and click ‘Continue’ in the dialog box.  Review of UAC.  Remember this is just an overview and so it’s easy to be glib, but each item of Vista has been redesigned for security,  From Services Hardening to BitLocker each component has received a thorough security review.

More intelligent than XP.

Expect Vista to bring improvements with new twists.  You could predict that any new Microsoft operating system will boast of being more secure and reliable.  The good news is that with Vista, you get the sensation that artificial intelligence is looking over your shoulder.  You press a button to print, occasionally it fails, in which case, the Vista operating system says, ‘hmm, that’s not working, let us try another way’.  Or if nothing works then at least Vista displays a useful message such as ‘Give me a chance, plug in the network cable’.  Even better – don’t quote me on this – the operating system could produce a message saying. ‘Would you like me to turn on the printer for you?’

Longhorn and Vista have similarities, but Microsoft are developing each operating system into separate entities.  Dream of Longhorn as a successor to Windows Server 2003, but think about Windows Vista as an critical replacement for XP.Windows Vista Review

Networking – Credit to Microsoft. 

With WfW (Windows for Workgroups) networking was a hasty bolt-on.  From there we can trace the continual evolution of networking through Windows 95, NT, XP and now in Vista.  My point is that with each new operating system, Microsoft embrace new networking technology, thus Vista has built-in support for Wi-Fi and Network Access Protection Framework.  Inevitably, Vista generates new acronyms, for example, PNRP, Peer Name Resolution Protocol and WWAN (Wireless Wide Area Network).

Clarity is the buzzword for Windows Vista. 

Microsoft are great at projecting a vision of the future.  Thanks to AERO, Vista has high definition graphics and a see-through glass appearance.  However, the slicker interface is only part of Vista’s new deal; the most exciting vision is for a more organized desktop with less clutter than its XP predecessor.  Vista opens up the Theme concept to developers, the result is that all programs can have co-ordinated colors, fonts and icons. 

Summary of Windows Vista Review

Windows Vista is greater than the sum of the individual parts.  The operating system has been re-designed from scratch with security given the highest priority.  For once easy of use, while improved with the new Aero Graphics, comes second to keeping the operating system running free of glitches.  Next review specific new features for Vista

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