Contradict to my previous post (Why XP not Vista … read here), why don’t we shift our paradigm and look at different perspective. And start to ask ourselves, why should we consider Vista instead of continue to use our old and trusty Windows XP.
Let put out think hat.
Standard De Facto
Latest PC and Notebook come with pre-installed Windows Vista (Either Home, Business or Ultimate). Unfortunately, not many of these manufacturers provide Windows XP driver which will cause a lot of troubles to loyal Windows XP hard die fan. They need to googling here and there to find compatible driver, just want to make it working. So, here is one critical question. Does that driver is highly optimize for your PC or notebook hardware. There is no point to install Windows XP (if the objective is speed) if the drivers for your computer hardwares are not optimize.
Moreover, as we could see at office, university lab, internet café’ and even airport public wireless PCs are equipped with Vista. So, what will happen if we are not competent with this OS but our environment start to push us to use it? Where we could hide our face, as advance computer user or even computer savvy but still struggle to operate ‘the most user friendly (should be said as newbie friendly) OS in the world’. It happen to me, it might happen to others too. Couple of days before, someone ask me to setup a small networking (wired LAN and wireless LAN) for him. Most of the computers at his place use Vista and small number of them use XP. I have no issue configure XP box, but a bit crawl here and there with Vista. Pretty embarrassing. So, for the n’th (I lost count), I say to myself…dude, you need to learn how to configure vista proficiently….sigh.
Need For Speed
Actually, with proper hardware, Vista is not as slow as most of us used to think (including me). I discover this matter when I use Vista extensively with various kind of hardware. My notebook (core2 duo and turion base),(PC) Athlon XP 2500 at 3200, Pentium Dual Core 1.8 GHz and Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz. What I realize most, Vista not only depends on number of core but also depend heavily on RAMs + Motherboard Chipset performance. Old technology PC even with dual core CPU, such as Intel 945 base chipset, could experience some lagging in term of OS responsiveness. But, use Vista at C2D with 4 MB L2 Cache couple with Intel P35 or P45 motherboard chipset, Vista response better than Windows XP. Perhaps, Vista able to use latest hardware architecture advantage at it max.
So, IMHO, Vista could perform as fast as we expect and even beat XP if we able to provide it with latest motherboard chipset, at least 4 GB of RAMs and multi core CPU. This statement could be look as a disadvantage but when we consider, 4 GB of RAMs (RM 250), Quad Core CPU with 4MB or more L2 cache (RM700), P35 motherboard (start at RM 300), state of the art 3D card (Radeon 4850 = RM 550) and 500 GB 7200 Sata2 with 16 MB of buffer + NCQ technology are DIRT CHEAP (especially by US or Europe standard), why bother to use Windows XP if we could afford to buy these ‘cheap’ hardware.
Imagine, you are buying a new set computer (approx RM 3000+ with LCD display) which you need to buy a legal Operating System License, there is no reason for you to buy Windows XP when the price of Windows XP and Windows Vista are almost identical, right. But, if you are too cheapskate (like me for my non gaming rig) and your new rig use outdated 945 chipset, 1 GB of DDR2 RAMs and Celeron CPU (Pentium Dual Core lack of virtualization and 1 MB L2 Cache which will have a little bit negative influence for Vista overall performance), please, by all mean, use Windows XP instead. This statement is only valid if your new rig is up to date enough (safe bet, USD 1k PC or RM3000+).
Note : I start to realize this matter when I use Vista Enterprise + Quad Core Intel Core2 Duo CPU + 4 GB DDR2 RAMs + Intel P45 base motherboard at my office and believe me….that system is way faster than my Windows XP system at home (especially for Pentium Dual Core couple with 945 chipset base motherboard)
Note : Various trusted and proven benchmark show, 3d card manufacturer already able to optimize their drivers to take advantage of Windows Vista new architecture. Previous post which show 20% penalty in game is not valid anymore. I could safely say, current 3d card working under vista will perform as good as under XP.
Better Overall & General Security (For the rest of human population)
Vista has better security mechanism compare to Windows XP. Yeah, I know, I say it differently at the other post. However, please bear with me. My previous post is based on Windows Vista user, who annoyed by UAC (User Account Control) nag screen, and decides to turn it off. Sad to say, most windows XP experience users will feel UAC nagging screen too annoying. This kind of user doesn’t like to be treated as noob. They know what they are doing and they don’t like Vista decide what is safe and what is not.
However, virus and spyware maker & hacker out there are just waiting to exploit our carelessness. One wrong click, we will jeopardize our operating system security. So, Windows Vista UAC actually help to secure up our PC by blocking unwanted software to install itself and change protected setting, naughty noob who just love to change every single thing which he/she can click (extremely useful for public use computer, including university lab and office), auto virtualization which the system will redirect those files and registry changes to per-user key instead of global protected location. This virtualization is done automatically and behind the scene. User will not aware of this activity. In case of he/she screw up, administrator could easily fix or delete that noob account and recreate a new one.
Same thing goes to Internet Explorer 7. By default, IE7 run in protected mode which create a virtual environment like a sandbox. In case of the user accidently install malware thru IE, the damage could be controlled and will not affect the core system as IE7 in protected mode not directly connected to the system. And bear in mind, most of the user don’t even bother to use Firefox. When I told most of my female friend about Firefox, they will quietly shout…Fire What!? Clearly for them, Internet Explorer is the only browser in their mind. When we consider this matter, definitely Vista has better security mechanism for majority of computer user in this world. But for me, Firefox FTW, yeah.
Windows Vista comes with Windows Defender by default. And for computer which has internet connection, Windows Defender will be auto update either manually or via Windows Update. No big deal you say. We could always install Super Anti Spyware, or Spyware Doctor or Ewido, or even AdAware right. We could manually update if the free application not come with auto update right. Well, that is us. Most of the user doesn’t even bother what is spyware. Let alone know how to combat them. Windows XP user can install it, provided the license is legit. But, base on my observation, many of my friends or even public computer which use Windows XP don’t install any spyware buster software. Pretty weird huh. But that is the reality. Try to scout around and check how many computers have anti-spyware software. At least, when the investor or admin decide to install vista on their new computer, spyware problem is taken care.
So, how about certain security software like ‘WhatEverNameIs’ Internet Security which provides anti-spyware? Do we still need Windows Defender? Obviously, for most of home user, the answer is NO. But for small office or school environment, they don’t have the luxury to spend thousands or ringgit (or even dollar) every year just for annual subscription. Make sense right. Vista not so state of the art firewall is better than XP rubbish firewall. Comodo free firewall way better than both of Microsoft firewall, but same case with antispyware software, majority of the users don’t bother to install one.
Backup & Restore: Image and Shadow Copy
Windows Vista has better backup feature. I used to think, this feature is rubbish. Why the hell I need windows complete PC restore, system restore and even shadow copy when I can use my trusty Acronis TrueImage Home, right. The answer is RIGHT and WRONG. For home user, not having this backup features might not affect your productivity much. You could always use your favorite backup software either Ghost, TrueImage or even Nero. But, please note that this kind of backup need you to leave your PC and let it do its work. This is almost not possible for office, corporate or even computer lab environment. Time is money.
If that company has 1000 computers and complete backup using offline acronis true image require half an hour, mean, this company will lost 500 hours. Then, we need to consider, how often they need to backup their computer? Once a week? Once a month? And how about, how much money this company needs to spend for 1000 TrueImage or Ghost license? Or maybe, they should go for corporate version. Make sense, but still, throw out money. Solution, shadow copy. I do not notice this feature could really save my day, until one day, I accidently edit one of my files and suddenly my boss need an original copy. Who on earth keep making duplicate .docx word document every time they change it. Lucky for me, Shadow copy save my arse. Consistently save my previous copy behind the screen is one kind of online backup without stealing any productivity hour. In case of we HAVE to complete backup the PC, Windows Complete PC Backup Restore could save several hundred ringgit from buying dedicated backup software. But still, for my home PC and notebook, I use my very own copy of Norton Ghost 14 and Acronis TrueImage 11.
I turn off shadow copy on my gaming rig but turn it on for my working PC and notebook. Sooner or later, I know, it could save my ass as it did last week. Phew.
Parental Controls. Windows Vista allow parent to set how many hours their kid could use that computer and restrict what software can be use or not. Pretty convenient to control our kids especially when everything could be found from WWW, sex chat (IRC, IM etc) or game addiction. This feature has nothing to do to me, but when my daughter grows up, I would love to know that my operating system already has this feature pre-installed. No need to spend extra money for that…hehehe.
The Latest and Greatest Direct X only for Vista
Direct X 10 and above. Most top rank games titles nowadays already fully utilize direct X 10 greatness. You can visit GameForWindows website and see for yourself. Best thing is current 3D card which could handle direct x 10 game title easily already cheap enough. Radeon 4850 for example just RM500. 2 or 3 months in the future, I bet, the price will drop to even RM300. So, latest game title + stunning visual effect + cheap dx10 3d card + vista dx10 exclusivity = seem I need to install Vista 😀
Fool Proof yet Flexible Networking
Better Networking. For instance, Vista networking configuration is really almost fool proof. Setup and configure LAN or Wireless network with another Vista computer is no brainer. Just plug and click Network icon. Everything will be taken care. Sharing, privacy and security over network also improved. I love the way we could decide what features need to be on or not.
Notebook Friendly :
Windows Mobility Center is not a mandatory feature. But as candy or chocolate, having something which makes our computing life easier is always a welcome thing. Windows Mobility Center group up multiple windows tool in a single window. Perfect for notebook user. Either battery meter, presentation, Wi-Fi, Sync or even Display Brightness.
Better and efficient energy controller. Extremely usefull for road warrior. Sleep, Hibernate and the list goes on and on. Windows vista has extremely good hibernation and sleep mechanism. It pretty funny when I resume my notebook, the movie or music suddenly resume. It just seems I never hibernate that notebook. This thing can’t be done with my Windows XP. Windows Vista hibernation is faster than XP hibernation. I do not use any scientific method to benchmark this matter but I felt that way. Using vista (for my notebook, I always hibernate instead of shutdown. Maybe because I don’t feel any performance drops if I hibernate the system. For the record, multiple hibernation activity on Windows XP will start to decrease Windows XP speed and stability. However, Windows XP has faster cold boot start up compare to Vista. No doubt about that. (LoL, perhaps, that is why I prefer to shutdown if I use windows XP and hibernate if I use Windows Vista….subconscious thingy)
Automatic Transmission (Love it or Loath it)
Windows Vista allows us to tag our files. For example : For digital photos, all editions of Windows Vista include Windows Photo Gallery, which organizes photos in common image file formats. The Photo Gallery software includes basic editing tools to allow cropping, red-eye removal, and adjustments to color and exposure, but it’s most valuable feature of all is the ability it gives you to “tag” photos with keywords that are stored directly in supported image files. These tags and your ratings (on a scale of 1 to 5 stars) are fully searchable, which allows you to search for favorite photos.
What I love most (even I am willing to reboot my PC to login into vista) is its search capability. Fast, easy and convenient. Especially when I do spring cleaning, delete duplicate files etc. Google Desktop Search might do the same thing but any kind of 3rd party desktop search engine is known that they will tax our PC performance. Some of these products only activated during idle time which is smart. But Since I don’t like to install 3rd party search application and most computer user don’t bother to install it too, Windows Vista search capability is my only choice. However, if you are XP user, you can always install Google Desktop Search (one of many actually) to enjoy what Vista search can do. Best of all, it work with tags too.
I don’t know what feature it is but I love when I type something in Windows Vista Start Menu, it will quickly search application related to what I type. For example, I want to activate Paint application. I felt too lazy to find it one by one. Instead, I just type paint there, and press enter. Viola, paint is activated.
In windows XP, we could type certain application in run dialog box, for example calc for calculator. But it will not work for everything. This feature, will show anything related to your word (the one you type) and match it with every single installed application, registered in windows start menu. Sometime, I accidently type paint or notepad in windows XP run dialog box which obviously it will give me error message. Silly me.
Windows Media Center and Media Player are nothing to write about. Windows XP Media Center Edition has pretty much the same thing. But for certain user, having brand new movie maker, Windows Vista Media Center (as his/her home entertainment hub) is a big plus because Windows XP Media Center Edition is another version of Windows XP Home while Vista Home Premium seem the most sensible choice for most home user.
Windows Photo Gallery is a nice add-on. Windows XP user might use Irfan View (freeware) to overcome Windows XP limited picture viewer and basic editing. However, as I said before, most computer user will appreciate this tool especially they has no idea how to find good picture editing software (free). Adobe free or Picasa might help but base on my experience, there is a slight delay to fire up these applications while this delay almost not exist in Vista Photo Gallery. By default you can do basic photo editing such as red eye remover, crop etc.
Free Digital Planner
With all editions of Windows Vista, you get a collection of contact tools that work reasonably well together. The one you’re most likely to use is Windows Mail, the successor to Outlook Express. Don’t let the name fool you—Windows Mail also works with NNTP newsgroups. Clicking Windows Calendar from the Accessories group on the All Programs menu opens a bare-bones appointment and to-do list manager. Clicking Windows Contacts opens the Contacts folder, where information about individual contacts is stored in individual f les that can be opened and edited in a small viewer program. The Contacts folder serves as the Address Book for Windows Mail and Windows Calendar, but you can use it with other programs as well. Windows Meeting Space is a new collaboration tool that allows you to share documents, programs, and your desktop with other people over a local network or the internet.
More to come…in part 2.
PS : As I said before, this post clearly contradict with my previous post. I try to have paradigm shift and think out of the box. Something not too personal but more general.