Windows Vista (Business Edition)

As a student, I am able to get free copies of various Microsoft products to help me with my course. One of these products is Vista Business edition. I have heard quite a few bad things about Vista over the past few months, and I decided that rather than just jumping on the bandwagon and proclaiming “Vista is rubbish”, I would give it a go and form my own opinions.

First of all, the installation was sloooooow. It took well over an hour to get from first inserting the disk to getting a usable system. The longest part was copying the data from CD to the HDD, and as it is spread over 5CDs (4 too many in my opinion), you did have to sit there and swap the disks over fairly regularly. The number of dialog boxes you have to fill in seems to have been reduced, and there is a graphical partition manager, so it is easier to set up than XP was.

When Vista first boots up, you get the impression that they spent a lot of time making it look “better”. Sadly, this seems to be the only thing they have spent time on. Vista runs slowly with the autodetected settings, which gives me the impression that it is tuned to run as much as possible rather than sacrificing a couple of effects for better performance. The problem is, the graphical effects just aren’t that impressive. OS X has had similar effects for a long time, and Beryl on Linux does a much better job than Vista. The effects in Vista seem to mainly be transparency on some parts of the window, and an improved window switcher animation. After using Beryl for a couple of months, this just doesn’t impress me.

A major annoyance is the pop-up box which appears whenever you choose an option on the control panel, and several times during the installation of each program. I know that Microsoft were meant to be making Vista more secure, but there must be a better way than this. I don’t want to be asked if I really want to change the font size. There is the option to disable these pop-ups, but this causes the Security Center to complain and prompt you to re-enable it. If this is the way that Vista hopes to combat spyware, I suspect it will be totally ineffective. Users will still just click through the pop-ups if there is a spyware-laden application that they wish to install.

The new start menu is just completely inconvenient. It is like a small file system explorer, which takes a long time to navigate if the link you want is nested inside more than 1 or 2 folders. I think that Vista would have been better off just keeping the old menu.

I also keep getting reports that “Windows Vista does not support NVIDIA(R) nForce(TM) Audio Codec Interface”, which seems to result in the inability to play certain tracks on my computer – Windows Media Player just refuses to start playing songs. As I almost always listen to music while I am on the computer, I will either have to spend some time trying to fix the problem, or it will seriously impact on any time I spend on Vista.

Overall, I am not impressed with Vista. There isn’t anything that I can do which I can’t do in Linux, and everything seems to much easier to do with Linux anyway. The main improvement over XP seems to be the visual effects and these are unimpressive compared to everything else around at the moment. I’m glad I found Linux when I did, because it beats Vista in terms of useability and features in almost every way (the one major exception being wireless networking). Combine this fact with the closed nature of Windows, and I will choose Linux every time.

1 Response to “Windows Vista (Business Edition)”

Leave a Reply