C'mon, Vista really isn't that bad

Summary:Picture the scene. A small country pub in Canterbury, a warm, autumn evening, surrounded by friends drinking and smoking in the beer garden; relaxing after a difficult, hard day at work.

Picture the scene. A small country pub in Canterbury, a warm, autumn evening, surrounded by friends drinking and smoking in the beer garden; relaxing after a difficult, hard day at work. The birds are singing, the breeze is light and feathering our very souls. This is heaven.

And then the nerds arrived and I was already preparing my 8 feet of rope and looking out for a ceiling fixture. Within minutes, they'd taken no regard to the peace and quiet, solidarity and gentle nirvana we had around us; they'd started to talk about Vista as if it was serial sex-offender, part-time puppy and kitten contract killer, who deals crystal meth to teenagers.

I thought I'd kick off another testing conundrum, in previous search engine style. With these different tests, I want to show you that Vista really isn't that bad after all. Sure, some won't ever be satisfied, some will bitch and moan and claim Linux, UNIX, Mac or even OS/2 to be the best operating system in the world...(bless). To the lot of you, don't bother. It's not important. The point I want to make is that after years of criticism, Vista is pretty good.

Consideration 1 - Security Microsoft products are "renown for having security issues". There are many parts to this:

  • Worlds most used operating systems: more chance of an attack as a result. Bigger user base, bigger target audience.
  • Easy to plug-into: the Windows operating system is really easy to develop for, thus making malware easy to work.

Not only that, many don't use anti-viruses which ultimately causes problems. Then again, you'll always get the porn addicted idiot who installs every plugin they see. I used two computers, my desktop with Vista SP1 and my laptop with XP SP3 for 24 hours, switching between them every 30 minutes or so. Browsing, email sending/receiving, downloading, researching; the results of malware detected I find quite interesting.

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Kaspersky scans more files and detects less malware on Vista than XP. Many debate whether Vista is more secure than other operating systems, however the facts speak for themselves when Vista has less vulnerabilities per month than XP, unlike almost double for Linux and Mac OS X. Let's just brush under the table that Windows 2000 is more secure than the lot of them...

Want more?

Consideration 2  - Reliability Being reliable includes many factors: not crashing, crash-recovery, overall stability, running smoothly, being able to access something on-demand, and problem solving. Vista has all of these.

When people say "Vista's crap, it crashed twice last night" or something similar, I can almost guarantee it's not a problem with the operating system; rather likely a problem with the hardware interaction. Maybe I'm lucky because I'm running a specialist system? So many people have said that Vista is slow, sluggish and doesn't work as fast as XP, but then again there is a fairly simple explanation for this.

Back in the day when Vista was being rolled out, computer's were not as fast as they are today. Buying an upgrade package back then was practically idiotic as the computer running XP probably wasn't even near up-to-spec as Vista needed. Without any factual evidence or even bother to Google, I honestly reckon that most people whinging about Vista now are running machines which are at least or close to 2 years old.

Get a new computer; it's about time anyway. Failing that, revert back to XP because if you're whinging and bitching about it so much, you're still using it - aren't you?

Consideration 3  - Networking

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There are two flip-sides to this - the user interface and the ways of connectivity I personally find a bit convoluted and complicated. I don't particularly like the fact it loads up a different window for each option I want to change, but hey - I'm picky. If something goes wrong, it'll tell you why. If something doesn't work, it'll help you fix it. If it can't fix it for you, it'll give you steps to solve it.

Sure, it's a long way off giving me a foot rub and running me a bath, but at least it makes an attempt to fix the problem for me. Another thing people whinge and whine about is how slow things are being sent over a network. Well, if you'd turned on Windows Update or installed Service Pack 1, you'll find you can send a 1GB file over a wireless network in the space of 5 minutes; copy an entire movie onto a flash drive in less than 2 minutes, and all down to an entire rewrite of the network stack.

Consideration 4  - Compatibility I don't have too many applications on my computer but I have the usual ones. Naturally you'd expect the Microsoft applications to work, and indeed they do. However when you start looking at older applications, third-party products, network application and services, things could well get a bit patchy.

Or so I thought. I've had one single problem with compatibility since using Vista, and I've been using Vista since it was called "Longhorn" and build 5112. The only application I've found that doesn't seem to work properly - is Theme Hospital. Not really surprised because it's 9 years old and runs in DOS still.

Many will have had compatibility issues - so I'm not ruling this one out completely but it just doesn't seem to be much of a problem. Vista SP1 has a great compatibility roll-back feature which emulates previous Windows operating systems which I've used from time to time, but I just don't see a major problem.

Just don't start on the whole "Apple" and "iTunes" things. It's clear to me and many that Apple simply can't write software for Windows very well.

Consideration 5  - Collaboration/integration

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You can't deny the fact that Vista really does help with getting people, things, items and files together. Windows Live plugs into Vista like a hot knife through butter, your hand through water or Brad and Jennifer Angelina. Windows Meeting Space is often overlooked but can make life so much simpler for those on LAN connections, even though there's no mention of it in Windows 7.

With Vista on a laptop, you can literally plonk it down anywhere in an enterprise, and connect to a wireless projector and start presenting. This used to be made possible with confusing and expensive third-party applications, and has now been simplified into a Start menu shortcut.

My personal conclusion, even though you couldn't care less So, after all this, I can't complain too much about Vista. Sure from time to time Windows Explorer will crash or freeze for no reason, and sometimes by mouse will freeze and I'll have to plug it into another USB port, but these are probably through my own doing.

Vista, two years on from initial release, isn't that bad at all.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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