One Month with Windows Vista

One month and still going strong. I guess. One month ago, I pledged that I would try Windows Vista on my new PC for a month before deciding whether I would keep it or revert back to Windows XP as my primary desktop OS.
Written by Jason Perlow, Senior Contributing Writer

One month and still going strong. I guess.

One month ago, I pledged that I would try Windows Vista on my new PC for a month before deciding whether I would keep it or revert back to Windows XP as my primary desktop OS.

The verdict? I'm sticking with Vista, begrudgingly.

Since I resolved my initial issues with the machine, obtaining a faster video accelerator to do digital photo and video editing and upgrading to the 64-bit edition with all of Dell's crapware removed, its been running pretty smoothly. Of course, I've tweaked the box considerably, disabling UAC and adding a number of other housekeeping programs such as Advanced SystemCare and Norton Internet Security 2009 (Which I will note is a MAJOR improvement in terms of performance and systems overhead over previous Norton programs in the past, it's practically a complete rewrite). Besides photo, video and sound editing with Open Source applications such as GIMP and Audacity I primarily use my Vista box for running Microsoft Office 2007 and Internet browsing. Recently I've been experimenting with TVersity which is this slick free multimedia gateway application that allows your PC to be the central video, audio and feed hub for all your consumer electronics devices, such as DVR set top boxes, PS3s and XBOX units.

Still, there isn't much I do on that Vista machine that works any better than on my Windows XP systems. None of the software I run "requires" Vista. My company issued Lenovo T60 laptop runs on XP and most of the same software, although it's only a 32-bit Core Duo and not a 64-bit Core 2 Quad, so naturally it's not as snappy. My 4GB Athlon 64 X2 that my wife is using to run many of the same applications as the Vista box is also running smoothly, although it can only take advantage of 3.5GB of its total memory due to 32-bit limitations in the OS.

My servers all run various virtualized versions of Windows Server and different flavors of Linux, running the hypervisor of the week that I happen to be playing with, whether it be KVM, Xen, or Hyper-V.

I have no intention of reverting to XP on my Vista machine because at this point it would be a major hassle to re-install the system now that everything is stabilized. But that doesn't mean I am necessarily HAPPY with Vista or that I think my current computing experience is any better than my previous setup. I'm simply resigned to stick with it because there would be no net benefit for me to downgrade at this point. The machine was designed to run Vista, and its working, so I'm not going to mess with it. I'll note however that with 4GB of total system memory, I hover between 50 and 60 percent RAM available when I have Norton, Skype, Pidgin, UltraVNC and Advanced SystemCare running in the background with Aero fully enabled and my wife's 3.5GB  XP machine is 70 or 80 percent free with the same system processes running.

Now the question begs, do I intend to upgrade any of my other PCs to Vista? No, at least not until I need to get new desktop PCs. My wife is happy with XP SP3 and I have no desire to disrupt her perfectly stable computing environment  -- but if it goes south at some point, I'll probably put her on a combination of Linux and virtualized Windows applications using some sort of Thin Client.

My laptop Windows XP OS is corporate managed, and my employer provides me with patches and updates. I have a removable hard disk that I can use to run Linux on it when I need to, and the company I work for supports Linux for most of our internal applications, so I might consider migrating to it as my full time work OS once we get all the Microsoft Office format issues licked with Symphony to the point where we can completely eat our own dog food and safely exchange files with customers without things getting botched in the process. But in my current role as a Systems Architect I pretty much live in Visio and many of our customer deliverables are in complex Word and PowerPoint documents with lots of embedded stuff, and I just don't feel like virtualizing XP or or running CrossOver to make that stuff work in Linux on a 2GB laptop to futz with it right now. Maybe when they give me a new laptop that has 4GB of RAM on it.

Have you too "begrudgingly" accepted Windows Vista? Talk Back and let me know.

Disclaimer: The postings and opinions on this blog are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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