Vista's Reputation Precedes It...

Question: I got a laptop that runs Windows Vista, and I've heard many rumors about vista... not good ones.

Here are the main specs:
XPS M1530
Intel Core 2 duo processor T8300 (2.4GHz/800Mhz FSB, 3MB Cache)
3GB Shared Duel Channel DDR2 SDRAM at667 MHz (2 dimms)
Hopefully this is all you need to figure out if i may or may not have problems.

-submitted by codify

Answer: Things haven't been good for the folks at Redmond since Vista debuted. With any major OS revision, in this case the move from XP to Vista, there are always going to be problems. The Internet boards haven't exactly been kind to Microsoft's latest; spouting off problems, issues, and complaints at every major corner. Some of these can be substantiated, others are just dribble posted by the Apple fanboys of the world or those who fear change (you know... the folks who like things the "way they used to be.")

I've had the opportunity to play with Vista for a while, and while I too can be frustrated with it, it's typically not because the OS has major flaws, but because it doesn't work exactly like the OS I've used for nearly six years. Vista really isn't that bad (in fact, I like it better than XP in many ways), but it definitely takes some hands on time to get it down.

I'm no Vista fanboy... it does have its problems, but so does XP for that matter. We've just all learned how to get around XP's shortcomings. Of course, there are some things you need to be aware of when making the move to Vista, including some of Vista's top complaints.

Things you should know about Vista:

* 32-bit vs. 64-bit - Windows Vista comes in two flavors: 32-bit and 64-bit. It's important to know which you're getting when you purchase a Vista system. Windows Vista 64-bit marks Microsoft's first real attempt to move to a 64-bit architecture.

What makes 64-bit systems different is technical, but the general gist is it's all about memory. 32-bit operating systems (like most versions of XP) can only handle upt o 4GB of physical RAM (3GB realistically). It may have been enough back in the day, but these days it's not uncommon to want 8GB of RAM in a computer. 64-bit systems have the ability to address 16 exabytes of memory (that's 17.2 BILLION gigabytes or 16.8 MILLION terrabytes for those not used to seeing anything past the terrabyte mark.)

This higher memory cap lays the foundation for faster computing on many levels, and some benefits can even be seen in computers without 4GB or more of RAM.

There are some drawbacks though, and that has to do with a world that's still primarily operating in the 32-bit world. At some point you have to cut off the past, and that means that older hardware may not work with Vista unless you can find 64-bit device drivers for your product. If your laptop ships with Vista 64-bit, then your hardware will work fine. For those looking to upgrade or build something new, be sure 64-bit device drivers are available for your hardware.

* Software compatibility - One common Vista rumor is that regardless of which version of Vista you get, your current software won't work. In reality, the vast majority of software you try to install will run just fine on Vista, in both 32 and 64-bit flavors. Vista 64-bit won't support older 16-bit installers or any 16-bit code for that matter, so really old software may have some problems. There are exceptions on programs that won't play nice with Vista, but the vast majority will work fine.

*Gaming -If you've been reading the boards, you've no doubt heard that gaming on Vista yeilds lower performance. I don't argue with benchmarks... Vista does run games slower compared to XP on similar system configurations. For anyone other than the hardcore, the difference of a few fps won't mean much.  Plus, Vista supports DirectX 10, which when fully embraced by developers, will mean you'll see higher detail and more realism when gaming on Vista. It also wasn't nice when hardware accelerated DirectSound 3D support was removed (for those with certain power user sound cards), but this doesn't affect everyone and won't be an issue much going forward on future gaming titles.

*Vista's performance -You've also heard that Vista just runs slower because it has super-high system requirements. I'll agree that Vista does feel a little slower than XP, and it does have dramatically high system requirements when compared to XP. There's eye candy, effects, and a whole lot more going on in Vista than in XP. Does this make Vista bad? 

NO! Let's face it. XP is old, and it was designed during a different time of computer hardware specifications. In fact, I remember running it on a 450Mhz Pentium 2 and complaining that it felt slow compared to Windows 98. When you throw XP on a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, a processor that exceeds XPs minimum requirements by about 20+ times, you bet it's going to feel peppy. In five years, when there's 8 10GHz cores in your processor, Vista's going to feel peppy, too. You can disable much of the candy that ships with Vista to help rev it up, but it looks like the specs on your notebook will handle Vista just fine. Having solid graphics capabilities is much more important than it used to be, even for the non-gamers, particularly if you want all of Vista's UI effects running.

*UAC (User Account Control) - You've heard that UAC is annoying. You're right, it is. But...

Not everyone is a PC guru. Grandmas, small kids, and many other "regular" people don't understand it and don't want to. They don't want to learn the computer, they just want it to work. XP was almost too open from a security perspective. Users would do stuff that could seriously harm their PCs and never know it.

UAC is a good idea (even Linux has something similar), but it needs to be refined. It pops up too often and gets very easy to ignore.  Hopefully in time this will get better, but for now the above average computer user will find it irritating. If it bugs you that bad, turn it off.

*Vista hides stuff from the user - This is both true and false. Microsoft has put some effort into making advanced user stuff more difficult to find (see UAC above for an idea why), but at the end of the day, it normally turns out that it's just not in the same place on Vista that it was on XP. I've found just about everything I've needed (advanced or otherwise) in Vista, it just often takes a little hunting. 

Better in some ways?

I could put together a pretty long list of the things I like better in Vista, but here's my top five:

1. Included Windows Media center - If you get Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate, you also get Windows Media Center. Tie it with a remote control and it's pretty awesome. 

2. Sleep and Hibernation -  These functions actually work WELL in Vista. For a laptop owner, sleep and hibernate make a huge difference in how quick you can whip out your notebook.

3. Better Wireless Networking support - I find it much easier to locate and connect to Wireless Networks than I did with XP. It's simple, and it just works better... also important for laptop owners.

4. The UI - The additional eye-candy in Vista does take up more resources, but it really does look light years better than what came before it. It's not critical, but it sure does make using it more fun.

5.  Integrated search - The search tool in XP is archaic. The indexed search capabilities in Vista work really well.

This is one man's take, and of course, others have differing opinions. What do you like and not like about Vista? Post your comments below.

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well im not a stickler about how "slow" vista "seems". maybe this is because my XP running desktop is SLOW and the eye- candy on the XP is macafy and other pop ups=:( (not to exciting) also i think eye- candy will make useing vista more exiting, considering i had to change my background and color so i don't fall asleep when im waiting for things to load... now i am a lil bit of a computer guru so an hour playing with vista should get me situated. when i saw that bit on the gaming my hart sank for a lil but its beck where it belongs now=:)i do do a lot of gaming on the computer, i don't bother with x-box, i don't feel like paying just to use something i get for free on the computer. (note to self complain with Microsoft about x-box live)

so thank you for your time makeing this post for me, and i will get back to you about vista from my vista laptop when it arives. that is the only bad thing YOU HAVE TO WAIT, and i ordered it 1 full day before labor day weekend.

thanks again



I'm impressed by your very fair shake of Vista. I agree that many of the complaints about the OS come from people who don't like change. I remember when XP was released... Many of the people who feel Vista is evil and now want their XP back are the same people who hated XP and wanted their NT back years ago. Change is ultimately good, even if a bit painful.

Rock on!

"Failure is not an option -- it comes bundled with Windows Vista."

just to not be completely biased=:)

well i love change, buying new things is my thing (unfortunately) also a lil eye-candy will be great so i can actually enjoy watching windows pop up=:) i wonder if in bill gates free time he watches his vista system perform just to be entertained by eye-candy.

i can see that=:)


hi matt!!!
my laptop has arived!!! it is cool. and vista is amasing!! it will take me a wile to get all the keys down but it shouldent take long=:) i thank you for all your help and thank you ask the experts!!!


I really like vista a LOT! I used XP for awhile but I like all the new features. In fact, I don't understand why people say it runs slow or doesn't run games well. I play games like Star Wars Battlefront 2, Battle for Middle Earth 2, Command and Conquer Zero Hour, and even newer games just fine. Usually when people complain about it working bad, my first question is 'What did you do to screw up your computer??' because in my experience, that is usually how it goes. People go to websites that give viruses, spyware, or malware, or install too much information or what not, and then it slows the computer down. Well, DUH is what I say to those people. I love vista, and no matter what people say, I will continue to.


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