Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is Windows Vista getting a bum rap?

Windows Vista, the latest desktop OS from Microsoft initially received and continues to be the target of undeserving and unflattering coverage. The negative coverage has been so shrill and persistent that one is almost led to believe that Vista is a horrible OS, unreliable and a pain to use. However, my experience with Vista has been pleasant and diametrically opposite to the horror stories bandied about. I have been using the 32 bit version of Vista Home Premium 32 for about 4 months and below in brief are my experiences.


The system has been extremely stable and has not crashed even once. The worst that happened was a restart of the graphics driver due to some error. The suspend-to-ram and hibernate work perfectly as configured. The system wakes up to perform the scheduled recording of TV shows and goes back to suspend state after the recording has been completed.


I have not experienced any performance issues on system. The menus are snappy. The thumbnails for various media types are generated quickly in explorer. The search function works so well that I did not have to browse the installed programs in the start menu even once, typing the name of the application in the search interface provides easy access to start the applications.


Vista's firewall by default is configured to protect incoming connections. However, it can be configured to block outgoing connections as well based on quite a few parameters. Hence, I think a separate firewall is not required. The UAC is another feature that enhances the security of Vista. It pop ups a window informing the user when an attempt is made to modify system settings. The user can either allow or block the change.


Vista improves upon the usability of XP. The two most important improvements for me are

  1. The search function in the start menu, which makes it easy to access applications and
  2. The ability to start program installation from accounts with limited privileges, which makes it a lot easier to use a limited privilege account for day to day use. The use of a limited privilege account for day to day in turn improves the security of the system.


The experience I have had while using Vista prompts me to suspect the objectivity and technical competence of shrills complaining about Vista. The most absurd are the iPersons who trash Vista while gloating about how much better OS X is based on the abstract and completely subjective criteria of the supposedly better user experience.