Most of the technical reviews of Windows Vista I've read recently focus on speeds and feeds. But does that granular approach miss the real point of owning and using a PC? Can any stopwatch-based measurement of isolated tasks performed by individual hardware and software components really measure the worth of a technology investment? I don't think so. What really matters is usability, a subject I've been thinking and writing about for nearly two decades now. But what's the best way to measure usability? The answer isn't as simple as you might think.
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When I read my colleague Adrian Kingsley-Hughes’ epic account of his benchmark tests of Windows Vista SP1 versus Windows XP SP2, the first thing that struck me was how far apart his numbers were from those I was seeing. In fact, I went back and redid all my tests to confirm that I hadn’t missed anything along the way. They checked out completely. On my test bed, with only one exception, Vista SP1 was consistently as fast as or faster than XP SP2. Why the difference? I have a few theories.
Earlier this week I posted a FAQ on Windows Vista Service Pack 1. In the Talkback section of that post and via e-mail, I got a few additional questions. In this follow-up I explain why you don't need a product key and why slipstreaming a copy of SP1 into your existing Vista installation media is (almost) impossible. I also show how to reclaim disk space used by the backed-up copies of your old system files.
How many bug fixes are included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1? By Microsoft’s count, SP1 rolls up 551 separate hotfixes, in addition to 23 security updates rated Important and already delivered via Windows Update. A handful of those hotfixes were previously released via Windows Update, but most were available only to corporate customers and OEMs. If that sounds like a lot, well, it is. But it’s not out of line with the number of fixes that went into the first two service packs for Windows XP. I've got the full breakdown by category.
I’ve been working with Windows Vista Service Pack 1 for several months now, in beta releases and, for the last two weeks, in the final released code. I’ve put together this post to answer some questions I’m frequently asked about this long-awaited update. And if you're frustrated at the thought of waiting until March to get your own copy, skip to the end, for some good news about a possible change in the release schedule.
On Wednesday, FedEx delivered DVDs containing the final, RTM bits of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 to three ZDNet bloggers. My colleagues posted their results (and in one case an extensive correction). Here's my report: Six successful installations, with no problems to report.
The most common comment I've read lately by Windows analysts is that Microsoft has accelerated the development schedule of Windows 7 in a desperate attempt to replace Windows Vista. All of those predictions miss one big point: There's nothing "early" about the rumored late-2009 release date of Windows 7. Don't believe me? See for yourself.
Microsoft has belatedly gotten around to relaxing its licensing rules so that customers can install any edition of Windows Vista in a virtual machines, including the less expensive Home Basic and Home Premium editions. I haven't seen anyone document exactly how this change works yet, so I thought it would be worthwhile to run through the changes in detail. If you're thinking of adding a virtual copy of Vista on Apple hardware, the savings can be substantial.
It's easy to mock the over-the-top-ness of CES or the stuffed shirts that define some companies. But it's equally easy to forget that real people with real jobs lose sleep for months to get ready for this show. Gizmodo's CES stunt was obnoxious and mean-spirited. So my only question is who will be the first to give the Gizmodo Gang a dose of their own medicine?
More than 70% of Windows Vista copies sold in 2007 were so-called premium editions, which include Media Center capabilities. That's good news for digital media fans, who might not even realize that Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions give them a direct pipeline to stream high-definition digital music, photos, and videos into other rooms with a Media Center Extender. I've got details on a handful of new extender devices introduced at CES.