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Comment: MS Windows Vista - Should You Buy?

Posted: 30th Jan, 2007 By: MarkJ
Today is the day Microsoft launches its new Windows Vista operating system (OS), but should you buy it? We had been writing a review, yet ended up dropping the idea since there were plenty of others around and people probably wouldn’t read ours. However, having tested the OS through beta and receiving my final retail copy earlier last week, I feel the need to pass comment.

To cut a long story short, Vista is not ready and in my opinion it’s an OS best avoided, at least until the first Service Pack is released sometime this summer. There’s a serious lack of refined hardware drivers and general software compatibility has been far worse than at WinXP’s launch over five years ago. Typically this is based on personal experience.

Don’t be swayed by all the marketing claims, Vista will not make your Internet connection 25% faster (that’s a misread of the adjustments made to MS’s TCP/IP protocol) and turn plastic into gold using only a toothbrush. For the most part, even on a top-end system, I found the OS generally slower and more cumbersome in some areas. Its new memory management also means that, in some situations, it will consume up to 700 or 800MB of physical system memory even while idle.

There are good elements though, with the new Aero user interface (not available on all packages) making the whole OS look incredibly nice; provided your graphics hardware can run it. However Laptop users may find that enabling aero causes increased power drain.

Microsoft has also added lots of new security features, although I found some of them (User Account Control) got in the way of the experience by constantly spamming you with pop-ups before performing even relatively benign actions. Ultimately there’s a lot to like about Microsoft’s new OS, but the performance, compatibility and driver issues need time to mature.

So unless you’re buying a pre-built PC with Vista, my advice is to wait 6 months for the software to mature. Performance, software compatibility and driver issues are always ironed out in the long run, but for now they’re too problematic.

This is also interesting for those looking towards the cheaper "Upgrade" version - READ.
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