Microsoft has an article called Wow: 100 reasons you’ll be speechless which of course refers to their new operating system, Windows Vista. Scanning the top ten reasons on the list, it seems there is a lot more hype than really significant improvements.
1. It makes using your PC a breeze. Well that is entirely subjective. Most people have a hard time getting used to even minor changes when it comes to computers. Put an entirely different operating system in front of them and they are likely to freak out.
2. Because all of your music is just a remote control click away. This can be done numerous ways now, even without Windows Media Center Edition.
3. It's the safest version of Windows ever. We’ll have to wait and see if this proves to be true. New usually means exploitable so I’d give them some time to fix the holes before claiming to be the safest version yet. Not to mention that many of the features such as built in Windows Defender and IE7 are already available as options on Windows XP SP2.
4. See your world in a whole new light. This refers to the nice visual effects on the desktop windows. Not exactly at the top of my list when concerns about operating systems come to mind.
5. It can find your stuff. Again, a nice built-in feature that provides a way to search your files through indexing, but nothing that hasn’t been done already, see: Google Desktop.
6. Because you're always on the run. Vista supposedly has features that will allow me to do more away from the desk. Yet I can already stay connected just fine with Windows XP.
7. Because you can freeze time. Cool, I like super powers. Wait, they are talking about organizing your digital photos. Ummm yea, not as cool as super powers.
8. Your PC can take care of itself. Vista has more built in diagnostics and repair tools. Great if they work but third party tools have always worked better than internal tools when diagnosing problems. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.
9. Unchain your mobile PC. Wireless Networking? What’s new about that?
10. Surf more safely. Internet Explorer 7. Thanks, but I use it already with Windows XP. It gives me problems quite a lot. I still prefer Firefox, but ask me again in a year.
A few others worth mentioning:
Because your PC remembers to back up for you. Why is this new? Windows XP has the same function to backup on schedule.
Play the hottest new games. Maybe, but more likely you won’t be playing a lot of the hottest old games which have compatibility problems.
Because your PC will stay up to date, automatically. Another Windows XP SP2 feature that is being presented as new and noteworthy.
There are a couple of other things that may hold you back from upgrading to Windows Vista. It takes a lot more memory to run then Windows XP, so if your system isn’t running at least 1GB of RAM, I would upgrade the memory first. Also, 50 million+ lines of code tends to take up a lot of space, so make sure you have sufficient space on your hard drive (15 GB of free space recommended). Don’t even think about running Vista if you have anything older than a Pentium 4 processor.
This is obviously a skeptics view of Windows Vista. I don’t think anything has been unfairly called into question however. As with most new software the safest thing to do is let them work out the bugs, and keep note of what others are saying. If everything is looking good this time next year, maybe Vista will be worth a try.
Alan is the owner of iSharpe Computer Solutions , a computer consulting business in Burlington, North Carolina.