I’ve been running Vista on my work laptop and home workstation for a few months now and the experience has been substantially better since SP1 was released, although doesn’t it deserve a better product page than this confusing page. For a minute I thought Microsoft was selling laptops!
The upgrade to Vista from XP was painful. In fact, Microsoft should be ashamed for suggesting customers should attempt to upgrade XP machines to Vista. From my experience, the only way to install Vista is to do a fresh install which, for most people, means wiping the XP installation. Because I’m moving more of my work online (Blog, Gmail, Flickr, etc) I have fewer programs to reinstall and fewer files to backup.
So if you’re considering upgrading to Vista, here’s my take on why it’s been worthwhile:
SEARCH. SEARCH. SEARCH.
Vista’s best feature is the massively improved SEARCH. I can’t overstate how well it works. I use it dozens of times each day and it never fails me. XP search is so terrible that I installed Google Desktop which was an improvement, but is nowhere near as slick as Vista search. The best thing I can say about Vista search is that it just works. Windows users who have trouble organizing documents will find this a Godsend because every file is now only a few clicks away.
And that’s it. That’s the only substantial reason to upgrade to Vista. But search is such a helpful and oft used feature that it makes the upgrade worthwhile. Oh sure, there are other, less significant reasons to upgrade such as:
- Aero Interface – Vista is better looking than XP if that matters to you. It mattered to me for about 2 days.
- Photo and Music – If I drag a picture or mp3 to the desktop, Vista displays a thumbnail of the picture or album.
- Windows Update – I don’t know why but it works better on Vista and I don’t have to launch IE to run it.
- More Backup Options – If you’re running higher end versions of Vista (Enterprise, Ultimate) Vista offers a slick computer or file backup. Microsoft should stop the absurdity and put this feature into every version of Windows.
A word of warning: Vista demands newer hardware and runs best on when paired with a fast CPU like an Intel Core Duo or Quad. And even then, don’t expect much more than a small performance increase if any compared to XP. But Vista is stable doesn’t get in the way of things once you turn UAC off.
A few of my friends are going to be shocked, but I have to admit that Vista is growing on me each day. I wish it I could rip out all the features I never use (Movie Maker, Paint, Sound Recorder, Wordpad, etc) and only install a bare bones Vista. But overall, it’s a welcome upgrade to XP.
Plus, it runs Firefox just fine.
Why did you upgrade to Vista? Or are you going to wait for Windows 7 or move to the Mac?