This summer, a good portion of the work I was involved with took place on a Windows Vista system, so it’s only proper for me to have found out a few things about it. As I stated in my initial review, Microsoft’s latest and greatest left me somewhat impressed, but otherwise XP still rocks the house.
The first thing that many fear about Vista is the performance. We were running Vista on an HP laptop with a 1.8 GHz AMD Turion (whatever the mobile line is called) and 1.25 GB of RAM, and the machine almost never was significantly slow. Aero Glass performed nicely – the effects were never dropped, and Pinnacle Studio 11 Plus ran well most of the time. However, toward the end of the summer, Windows would frequently pop up dialogs alerting us that the computer was low on memory, although the system never crashed or hung.
The eye candy that Aero brings is certainly a welcome addition, but it doesn’t revolutionize the way you use the computer. Of all things, the transparent window frames are the least exciting part. I personally enjoyed the minimize and restore effects the most.
Vista actually does bring something in the way of productivity enhancements. The search box integrated into the Start menu makes it a breeze to find programs that could otherwise be buried folders-deep in the menu. Another useful addition is scrolling in the All Programs list, which lets you use the scroll wheel on the mouse to navigate through the list.
I’m still more convinced that even Mac OS X Tiger (but even more so Leopard) beats Windows Vista in terms of productiveness and design. Spotlight was around before Windows’ desktop search, Dashboard before Widgets, Exposé before Flip 3D, etc. I don’t want to go into Mac vs. Windows arguments, but I’m more than willing to give OS X a try.