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Do You Need Windows Vista?

Wired News says “You Don’t Need Vista Now” (print version) with an explanation of why you don’t need to pay for the next operating system version of Microsoft Windows.

Vista’s power consumption superlatives aside, I would not recommend going out and buying Vista off the shelf or pre-installed on a PC when it becomes available. Users will likely suffer many headaches with missing peripheral drivers and a lack of backward compatibility with legacy software, and those headaches will not make Vista worth its hefty price tag.

If possible, wait a year or more after Vista’s launch to invest in the operating system. At least by then, numerous updates, hardware drivers and service packs will likely have been released.

As with all operating system upgrades, Wired reports that it’s biggest problems came from not having updated drivers for all the system peripherals, which can kill your printer, web cams, digital cameras, sound system, game equipment, and more. It’s a shame that operating systems can’t come with allowances for older equipment, after all, the older they are the simpler the drivers should be, right? 😉

The article, though, isn’t clear on exactly why you should wait, other than it’s always a good idea. I like to let them work out all the bugs and upgrade with all the patches before unleashing them on my busy work schedule and computer.

Vista scans your computer with what is called the “Windows Experience Index” in order to evaluate your computer system and set the operating system to “match” your system and its needs. A highly graphic and RAM-stuffed system will be required to use Vista as well as take advantage of it’s “highly graphic user interface”.

Security is one of the biggest bonuses Microsoft promotes with Vista, which is not a single fix. Even if they plug all the holes, there are evil doers out there with a microscope looking for more holes to tear open. Though, I have to admit the new Vista security system for installing software looks good. You can set up your system to require a key or password before anything can be installed on your computer, which might stop malware and spyware from installing when you aren’t paying attention.

An interesting twist to the security issues in the Wired article covers parental controls.

One flaw I found is that the website-blocking feature is not worth much in a multilingual home or office setting. Good ol’ American porn sites were blocked, but I had carte blanche access to the raunchiest of raunchy French and Spanish sites. I was also able to use Google to search for vulgarities in those languages.

I found this particularly aggravating since I live and work in France. Microsoft is able to detect my France-based IP address, and I know this because it imposes French-language web pages on me when I try to access its help sites. If Microsoft can figure out how to switch over to a French site based on my IP address, why can’t it make its website-blocking feature multilingual?

Good question!

From those I have talked to who have used Vista in pre-evaluation versions, they say it is close to Mac’s latest. Have you tried it? What do you think?

And if you have, would you say it was worth it to buy and install Windows Vista, or do you agree with Wired? Should we wait?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

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  1. Posted December 19, 2006 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    I have been using the final version of Vista for more than a month now on my 2 yr old Sony Vaio. Vista recognized and installed all my drivers during installation. Since the final code is released just a month back for developers and the actual release is more than a month away, I am sure the updated drivers will be released in time. I am loving it and cant think of XP again.

  2. Posted December 19, 2006 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Use Linux my friend…

  3. Posted December 19, 2006 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    There is probably no reason to immediately upgrade to Vista. It’s not an upgrade like Windows 98 was to Windows XP.

    The killer feature for Vista will be Directx 10. After a long day of blog posting who doesn’t love to land a 747 at LaGuardia. The only place you can do it in all it’s glory is on Vista.

  4. Posted December 19, 2006 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I agree with Bharath. I installed the vista beta 2 on my lenovo laptop. It recognized all the drivers (few of the drivers of xp were also accepted). The improved security and superb graphics are not the only 2 features i like in Vista. But then upgrade from xp to vista in not like xp to win 98!

  5. Michael
    Posted December 19, 2006 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t this say it all???
    I think that Linux will overrun Windows soon…
    Many gamers hate Microsoft now because Direct3D 10 will only run with Vista and all new games will be programmed for it. You could call it bullying because it forces all game lovers to invest >250€ (!!!) for a system with a great lack of stability, as we now it from Windows releases in the past. Think of XP when it appeared…

  6. Posted December 19, 2006 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I _lurve_ Vista. No, really.

    I’ve tried it on my crumbly old laptop, my uber desktop, and my medium Media Center PC, and it’s performed better than XP across the board. It’s pretty, surprisingly functional when you get to grips with it, and features quite a large number of handy features.

    Also, it’s difficult to understand how Vista’s compatibility can be knocked, when it’s the vendors themselves that need to produce newer drivers. Given that Vista won’t be available to consumers until the end of January, most vendors won’t have drivers available just yet – why should they?

    It seems incredibly fashionable to diss Microsoft – the various Linux distros and OS X versions floating about represent the underdog, and we all know the Internet loves an underdog – but I really wish someone would give them credit where it’s due.

    That said, they could release the Home Basic version for virtually nothing, and make their money from upgrades to more fully featured versions; that would give them a tasty slice of positive PR.

  7. Posted December 19, 2006 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Let’s face it: X.0 releases are never all that great. XP (ok, so XP was technically an X.1 release) was barely even usable until SP1, when most of its critical bugs were finally fixed and most vendors had hopped on the bandwagon.

    The real shame is that Vista represents nothing more than a “refresh,” really, and not the new paradigm that Microsoft has been promising for so many years. When feature after feature was deleted in the name of expediency, what we ended up with was a reskinned version of XP with some whizbang toys tied to the front.

    I’m a Linux proponent, but I hate “M$ sux hur hur hur” crowing as much as the next person. However, I think that even though the market might not see it, the technical advantage that Microsoft once enjoyed has been considerably narrowed. Microsoft hasn’t really added anything to Vista that Linux hasn’t had for years now—its advantage lies in its significantly larger application pool and mindshare.

  8. Posted December 19, 2006 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    that operating systems can’t come with allowances for older equipment, after all, the older they are the simpler the drivers should be, right
    May I call BS?
    Every basic driver that comes without specific hardware details will be recognized as standard driver. It will work just as Apple OS X and many *NIX recognize hardware.
    Many,. many and I really mean MANY drivers which have been correctly built upon the Windows SDK and been quality controlled (WHQL) will be standardly integrated among the Vista drivers (here again depending on what all comes with the hardware, obviously an all-in-one printer has own specifications and this would obviously bloat any OS, also would it mean that the hardware manufacturers open their code… same here for modern graphics cards, but they work the standard drivers just aren’t optimized)

    Security is one of the biggest bonuses Microsoft promotes with Vista, which is not a single fix. Even if they plug all the holes, there are evil doers out there with a microscope looking for more holes to tear open.
    Lets wait till Apple reaches 12% market share and have a look at the influence of popularity and the OS’s security then.

    Windows Vista already is a very stable OS and will gain very soon popularity. But blame the OS manufacturer because the hardware manufacturer doesn’t have a driver ready in a period of 4 months. BS.

  9. Posted December 19, 2006 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I’ll give my usual wait until after SP1 and most people are using it before I install.

  10. Posted December 20, 2006 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    I found the Wired article a tad shrill, but I agree with much of it in substance. In fact, I’m getting ready to roll back my installation of Vista Business on my home computer to Windows XP Professional SP 2 (that is to say, wipe the partition and reload the OS).

    I’m one of the unlucky ones with incompatible device drivers (Sound Blaster Audigy 2, among others). Furthermore, while I guess I enjoy many of the security improvements the Microsoft engineers made to the operating system, some of them are actually slowing me down a bit too much in my work (I haven’t hit my learning curve with Vista yet, so I get frustrated working around some of them).

    I agree with some of the other commenters. Better to wait and let Vista mature, and let third-party manufacturers “catch up” with device driver development for Vista.


  11. Posted December 24, 2006 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m a long time Mac user who uses Windows for work because it is the corporate standard and a Mac for everything else. If you really want a Mac, get one. Leopard (the next version of OS X for the Mac) will be out in first quarter 2007 and will be ready to use when it comes out. I’ll be installing it as soon as I get my hands on it. Looking forward to the roll-out of Vista at work because of the improved interface but it still won’t be a Mac.


  12. Posted January 12, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m willing but not ready. My computer doesn’t have enough RAM for Vista (and could use more for XP Pro too), and I bet that at least three of my components won’t work.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] Lorelle asks whether you need Windows Vista. She points to a Wired article which claims Why You Don’t Need Vista Now. I will not use it because I have not found any reason to upgrade, apart from bullying by Microsoft. I think a lot of people might want Vista, I am not sure if they need it. In fact with Vista I will need to spend more to get a newer hardware, that too for better graphics, not functionality. For my family who are used to Windows, the home laptop will stay at XP, and probably might get upgraded to Ubuntu later! I will stick with Kubuntu on my laptop. If you need more convincing read 25 shortcomings of Vista (via E@zyVG). After all this if you still want to continue, reading Amit Agarwal’s different avenues to grab a free Vista copy might bring relief to your budget. […]

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