Joined: 13 October 2006
Five reasons to love Windows Vista
1. New graphics system
Windows Vista includes a new graphics system known as AERO. Microsoft has done away with vector graphics on icons and thumbnails in Windows Explorer. Here, you see actual images of the photos in a folder on Windows Vista. Other image enhancements include the ability to preview open tasks along the taskbar, more stable DVD playback, and the ability to flip through a stack of open tasks using the Tab key plus the Windows key.
2. Built-in search
Included within all editions of Windows Vista is built-in search and tagging. This allows you to create virtual folders of searched content. Say you're doing a report on mountains, any file that is keyword-enabled to include "mountains" will be grouped into a virtual folder without requiring you to physically drag that file to a new location. The downside is that older files (say, you upgraded your system from Windows XP or imported data from an earlier version of Windows) will have to be retroactively metatagged to be searchable.
3. Enhanced Windows Media Center
Windows Media Center, using an extender on a Microsoft Xbox system, allows you to play rich multimedia content from your computer on your home gaming or theater system. The new Media Center can also record TV shows, subscribe to online-only TV broadcasts, and view or play images or music stored in libraries on any Windows Vista computer on your home network.
4. New file system
Although the ambitious new WinFS file system was scrapped early on, Microsoft hints at its future functionality within Windows Vista. Gone are the backslashes and the directory-tree structure. Now you can save your favorite searches as virtual files to create ad hoc collections without dragging and dropping files. You can also make files public to share with others.
Perhaps the first feature you'll notice is the new sidebar on your desktop and the three default Gadgets, Microsoft's version of Apple's Widgets. The default Gadgets display the current time, photos from the library, and any Internet Explorer 7 RSS subscription feeds, with an option to add more Gadgets to suit your needs.
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1. Lack of native apps
Because Windows Vista was delayed so many times, hardware and software vendors are scrambling to make existing code work with the new operating system. The lack of a compelling software that requires Windows Vista should cool the heels of those hot to upgrade--why not wait?
2. High price
Windows Vista is very expensive. Although upgrade prices are somewhat lower, and you may be able to find special prices on the street, the Microsoft recommended price for a new copy is rather high: $400 for Ultimate; $350 for Business; $250 for Home Premium; and $200 for Basic. And that doesn't include the top-end video card, the processor, and the extra RAM you'll need to install to get the most out of the new operating system on your old PC.
3. The edition of Vista on TV is not the one on your computer
After you've seen features found in only the $400 Windows Vista Ultimate edition running on top-end hardware, you may be disappointed with the way Windows Vista plays on your old PC. Most people will get Windows Vista Home Premium, which includes only a select subset of features found in Ultimate. Even worse, Windows Vista Basic, designed for really old hardware, doesn't even include the AERO graphics system, nor does it have many of Windows Vista's new features.
4. The closed Microsoft ecosystem
The Windows Vista Welcome Center doesn't have to be charitable, but we can't help but feel crowded by the all the Microsoft-owned choices, such as Live.com, MSN, and Microsoft.com. The default RSS-reader Gadget on the desktop sidebar works only with Internet Explorer 7 RSS subscriptions (your Firefox subscriptions will be ignored). Talk about stifling the competition, Google isn't even an alternative search-engine option within Internet Explorer 7; you'll have to add it yourself if you want it.
5. Search is buried
Undoubtedly, the Microsoft gang saw the built-in search within Apple Mac OS 10.4 and wanted it themselves in Windows Vista. Windows' search function performs a lot like Apple's Spotlight, but Microsoft makes you dig down a layer from the desktop to access it.
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