From the point where I knew that Vista RTM was on its way, I had a nerve wracking time in MS Connect. I had already downloaded Office 2007 earlier in the day, and was now pacing the floor, continually stopping at the screen to see if Vista was there.
At maybe 21:00 hrs on the evening of November 17th 2006, Vista RTM was in the right position, and the ISO download began. An hour and a half later, the ISO having being securely saved, XP and Nero 6 performed their final task on my computer, creating the Vista RTM installation DVD.
I set the boot order to DVD – HDD, and rebooted. Twenty four minutes later, the computer booted up to a new dawn and no tears. Office 2007 was then installed, and all was done by 00:30 of November 18th 2006.
Scans of Vista Betas, RC1 and 2, and software/hardware web sites had shown that some programs might not work without updates or entirely new versions, but all hardware was looking good.
My Canon scanner installed using the ‘XP’ drivers, my printer was networked via an XP machine on the home network, and my wireless MS Optical keyboard and mouse were functioning well but without any on screen presence.
I followed up by installing all of the other applications I regularly use, and all of them worked. The only major problem I had was with the ability to burn to optical media. While I recognize that Vista does have ‘burn’ capability, I like to use 3rd party utilities, and it took me a while to find something on the Internet that worked as I wanted.
Putting aside slow file transfer rates across drives and the home network, and the annoying ‘Windows is calculating the time to calculate the time to do not a whole hell of a lot’, general operation has been silky smooth and relatively pain free. It became even more pain free after disabling UAC.
Windows Vista Update is the mechanism by which improvements and fixes have been distributed and installed. The system has worked very well so far with fixes, patches and updates coming through at regular intervals. Manufacturer web sites have been carrying Vista hardware drivers and software updates for some while now, at least those who are willing to support older hardware/software.
Back to XP?
Absolutely not a chance. The Vista learning curve is not too bad. For sure, some changes have been made but it is still essentially Windows as it has always been. Almost all elements can be customized way more than was possible in previous Windows version if the default settings are not acceptable. Windows search is faster than it has ever been and, for all that is said about Windows Explorer, it does the job.
Vista has introduced ease of use, good looks, slick operation and security in a way that XP never did. It comes at the price of requiring more resources, hard drive space, RAM, video card ability, but anybody who was around at the time of XP’s introduction will know that users were faced with the same issues.
A computer costs no more now than it did five years ago. Arguments pertaining to a necessity for greater resources just don’t hold up because the base computer available these days starts with a much better specification.
Upgraders should note that upgrading the OS is only just one part of the upgrade process, this being as true now as ever it has been. Trying to get Vista to run on mediocre hardware that pushed XP along is not going to work anymore than getting XP to run on mediocre Windows 98 hardware did.
Vista will not work for everybody. Some will have to invest cash in new hardware and software such that they get the best out of the new operating system, and it is a decision that the individual user has to justify. If XP works, then stay with it, but remember that development of XP has essentially ceased. There is an SP3 roll-up on it’s way, but plans for XP beyond SP3 are non existant.
There is no doubt that XP was successful, and over its time has been very well supported but, as a base for a continued future, it has come to an end. The Vista core is a better more secure platform for the future.
Entering the Vista arena at SP1 will make for an easier transition than for those of us who were there at the birth, but think of all of the fun you have missed watching ‘a small child’ grow.
I have used Vista exclusively since its birth and I don’t regret any part of this last year. I will be using Vista exclusively as it matures in its second year, and will continue to use it until my time comes around once again to take part in the testing and birth of the next Windows version.