Through my University’s MSDNAA program I was able to obtain a copy of Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows Vista. The download was a chunky 2.4 GB and turned out to be the Business flavour of the operating system. I was sort of moved by the experience of installation and I decided to post a personal review. I realize that there are quite a few Vista reviews, but take my word for it, mine will be better.
I currently run Windows XP and have all my daily programs installed on it. I ventured to install Vista only because I wanted to see what all the hype is about. Chances are you’ve heard two types of hype. One side is that Vista will be a great product which probably should have come out earlier but we won’t complain. The other side can be summarized by one word “Linux” or perhaps “Mac” or maybe even a combination of both. I always believed in Microsoft’s ability to produce quality software. Software that “Just Works” and is easy to use and so I’d like to believe that this Vista branch is their step in that direction.
After I downloaded the iso, burned it, popped it into my DVD-drive and restarted, the installation began. Unfortunately I did not keep track as to the duration but it seemed speedy. Perhaps that was an illusion caused by the lack of user input required. Seriously I think I was only prompted to enter the serial number, chose the time/date and create an account. The rest was completely automatic and required barely any input (other than clicking stuff). The whole install process was windows-like, with pretty windows and nice colors. Once the installation was complete, to my amazement, everything was installed and configured. Vista even set the optimum display resolution for my monitor! I was obviously instantly able to surf the web. Not to mention how considerate Vista was when it even let me chose my desktop wallpaper out of a few possibilities. I was overjoyed to have a system that installs by itself and understands my computer hardware as well as I do. However the interface and the location of some options and settings has changed since XP, so it took some crawling around the Aero interface to find what I was looking for. Perhaps my only gripe with the system is that it comes with too much turned on by default. Then again, I’m an experienced Windows user and I have very specific taste so perhaps expecting it to read my mind is a bit too much.
The user dialogs and message prompts are very self explanatory and you can’t get away with adjusting critical system settings without confirming your choices/mistakes. Even though the graphical aspect of the OS (Aero) seems like it would require lots of memory and lots of CPU time, it is surprisingly responsive and pleasing to the eye. I attempted to switch back to the Classic theme in hopes of perhaps improving performance, but quickly realized that Vista was born beautiful and it would be a shame to treat it like anything else. While using Vista to make minor tweaks and changes here and there I noticed a few features that make using Vista a pleasant experience. For example the “Switch between windows” feature is pretty fancy and really helps when sorting through a dozen windows.
This Vista experience will definitely be a progressive one so I expect to have little quirks and features to report on as time goes on.