Windows Vista is the first new operating system from Microsoft in more than five years and the successor to Windows XP. However, it is not worth it to rush to buy. If you urgently need to buy a new PC (if your old PC has died or if you have waited and waited until the Windows Vista final assessment is released), do so in any case; there is nothing wrong with Windows Vista Ultimate Review. But there is no convincing feature within Windows Vista that requires switching, neither the improved graphics capabilities (Aero) nor the improved system performance attributes (truthfully, our Windows XP does not crash). As far as security is concerned, Microsoft’s biggest improvements in Windows Vista are within the Enterprise or 64-bit editions, editions that most home users will not run. Windows Vista is not the killer of Apple Mac OS X 10.4 that people were hoping for (or fearing). Neither are specific big-name software packages written exclusively for Windows Vista – most software available today is compatible with both Windows XP and Windows Vista. But due to the extensive links to Microsoft.com and Live.com and the many, many interdependencies of Internet Explorer 7, we were desperate for more (and often best-of-breed) alternatives. Hardcore Microsofts who live and breathe in the ecosystem of MSN, Live.com and Microsoft desktop software will be pleased with the release of Windows Vista, but for the rest of us who are product unsatisfactory, who use Firefox, Google Desktop, ZoneAlarm, Gmail and Corel WordPerfect, Windows XP SP2 is sufficient until a killer program requires that we all upgrade to Windows Vista.
There are six main versions of windows vista ultimate review; we assess four. We chose not to review Windows Vista Enterprise (only available for volume licensed customers) and Windows Vista Starter (available only outside the United States). Windows vista ultimate review contains everything, and this is the edition that gets the most promotion from Microsoft. It is not the edition that most people will find on their shiny new PCs or will end after upgrading existing hardware. To find out which edition is suitable for your specific needs, please refer to our list of job comparisons and view the following individual assessments for more information:
- Windows Vista Business
- Windows Vista Home Premium
- Windows Vista Home Basic
Setup and installation
The Windows Vista DVD contains a Windows Imaging (WIM) format of the code, so whether you purchase the Home Basic edition or the Ultimate edition, the code remains the same; only the product code unlocks your specific set of functions. This means that users who opt for the lesser versions can always upgrade (assuming they have the right hardware) by downloading an additional code and securing a new product key online. However, all functions – even if you have paid for them – depending on specific hardware configurations that are present; For example, if you do not have the right graphics hardware, you will never see Aero’s graphical effects on that old Dell computer in your basement.
Hardware requirements for windows vista ultimate review should be taken seriously. In a controversial action to collect positive reviews, Microsoft sent hundreds of bloggers (excluding CNET) free copies of Windows Vista Ultimate; Microsoft did not send boxed copies, but the software giant has pre-installed Acer Ferrari top-class laptops with the operating system. So even Microsoft seems to confess that the best performance is only available on the very best machines manufactured in the past year.
That said, many people still want to upgrade their current Windows XP SP2. This keeps all your current data and applications and will be imported directly into the new operating system. To see which edition (s) of Windows Vista your current computer can handle, visit the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor to find specific hardware recommendations so that you do not buy the wrong edition. Most people will find Windows Vista Home Basic or Windows Vista Home Premium as their best choice. Although Windows Vista backs up your previous operating system before you install it, it is always recommended that you back up your current Windows XP system yourself, just in case.
Instead of upgrading, we recommend that you perform a clean installation. With a clean installation, you keep all your data on the Windows XP drive and install only the data and applications that you want to run on Windows Vista. A clean installation can be done by buying a new PC with Windows Vista already installed, partitioning an existing Windows XP machine to boot dual boot in Windows Vista, or adding a new hard drive to an existing Windows XP -machine.
Our clean installations lasted anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the hardware in the system. It is almost an automated process, where the installer first copies the WIM image to the new hard disk or partition and then expands that image. Again we experienced an uncomfortable long plateau at “Expand: 27 percent”; As with previous builds, we waited between two and five minutes before the expansion was continued. About halfway the installation program restarts and the installation continues in Windows Vista.
During installation, Windows Vista loads the drivers that are part of the image, but it will also download additional drivers from a much larger database at Microsoft. However, it is assumed that someone has an always-on internet connection; Dial-up users will notice that some drivers are missing after completing the installation process.
Once Windows Vista is fully installed, it first asks for your country or region, then time and currency and finally the desired keyboard layout. Then choose a user name, a user icon and a password. Then select your desktop background and security settings: Automatic, Install only important updates or Ask me later. After looking at the computer’s time and date settings, there is another message: “Please wait while Windows checks the performance of your computer.” Here Microsoft reviews your computer on a five-point scale, with the overall rating based on the lowest score of your system (in our case that was for the video card).
Windows vista ultimate review includes new music tones written by Robert Fripp, an experienced musician. Compared to the familiar start-up tones of Windows XP, Windows Vista is lighter, almost spritely. The sounds for User Account Control and Logout are also perkier than those for similar security alerts in Windows XP.
New on the Windows Vista desktop is a welcome centre with links to frequently asked questions, such as “How do you configure your printer?” and “How is your internet service connected?” There is also room for some sales opportunities, either with specials from the manufacturer or online offers from Microsoft, such as the Windows Live OneCare service. Honestly, we think it’s better for you to look beyond the Windows ecosystem for email, Internet browsers and security applications.
After closing the welcome centre, you will notice that on the far right is a shady sidebar filled with three sample gadgets (“widgets” for everyone), small desktop applets that display content, such as RSS feeds. In one gadget a slideshow with images from the sample photo library view; in the next, the current time; Finally, there is a gadget for subscribed RSS feeds. We have downloaded and installed Firefox 2, Firefox our standard browser and quickly set up a number of RSS feed subscriptions. Guess? The Windows Vista gadget did not respond to our efforts and only showed the standard MSN feeds from Microsoft. Microsoft says the standard RSS gadget is powered by a shared store with RSS feeds in Windows Vista, and Firefox has not yet implemented the API for that store. You must use Internet Explorer 7 or choose a Firefox-friendly gadget. By clicking the + symbol on top of the sidebar, you will see a panel with available gadgets, with a link to the web to find more. They can be dragged across the desktop. And even the sidebar itself can be disabled to allow a full desktop view. An icon in the taskbar will restore the sidebar at any time.
The familiar Start menu contains some cosmetic changes for Windows Vista. Apart from the striking rounded icon, the Start menu now includes a built-in search function. We would rather have had access to Search from the desktop instead of digging up a level or two. The All Programs list now appears as an expandable/collapsible folder structure, something that Windows should have offered years ago. The new Start menu is divided in two, with access to documents, images, music, games, recent items, My Computer, Network, Control Panel, Standard Programs and Help on the right.
New in Start is also an Instant Off button. This button stores all your open files and processes in the cache, so you can quickly disable your laptop or desktop without all the “cleanup files” you see in previous versions. We love the function but on our Acer Travelmate 8200 Instant Off and the closing of the lid to overwinter sometimes produced limbo conditions where the laptop simply did not wake up, which meant we had to reboot.
In Windows Vista Ultimate Review it was noticed that files become incomprehensible from the traditional directory tree type. The more ambitious plan to include a whole new file system was demolished early on; instead, Windows Vista relies on meta tags, which are linked to files to make them searchable. With meta tags, you can create virtual file folders based on different search terms. Suppose you are doing a report about mountains, each file that is activated by keyword and contains ‘mountains’ is grouped in a virtual folder without physically dragging that file to a new location. The disadvantage is that older files (say that you have upgraded your system from Windows XP or imported data from an earlier version of Windows) must be metastatized for retrieval. Also different is the file path that is displayed in Windows Explorer. Gone are the backslashes, replaced by arrows that offer drop-down menus of alternative folders. We liked this efficient function.
Finally, there is a compatibility wizard buried deep in Windows Vista. Most Windows XP applications that we loaded did well. Windows Vista, working under the hood, convinces the original Windows XP applications that they use under Windows XP. If you want to run an older application, for example from Windows 95, you can use the compatibility wizard to adjust the screen resolution and to emulate Windows 95 for that program. For example, we have been able to run a game demo optimized for Windows 95 on our Windows Vista test system.
There are too many separate features within Windows Vista Ultimate Edition that you can call – seriously. Our feeling, however, is that most of the important bells and whistles are designed for the Enterprise-level customers, not for the home user. Having a large number of functions should not be confused with actually providing significant value for all users across the board. We would have preferred fewer functions than an uneven mix of this and that, a uniform operating system. And we disagree with the seemingly random division of Microsoft’s functions within individual editions.
All editions of Windows Vista are ad hoc backup and recovery, instant search, Internet Explorer 7 browser, Windows Media Player 11, Windows Mail e-mail client, Windows Calendar, Windows Photo Gallery, performance tuning and self-diagnosis, Internet protocol IPv6 and IPv4 -support, Windows ReadyDrive, maximum support of 4 GB of RAM on 32-bit editions (up to 128 GB of RAM on some 64-bit editions), Windows Sync Center for mobile devices, Windows Mobility Center for presentations on the go, User account Security protection management, Windows Security Center, Windows Defender antispyware, Windows Firewall, Windows Meeting Space for ad-hoc wireless meetings, Remote Desktop for working from home, XPS document support for PDF-like files, improved peer-to-peer networking, enhanced VPN support and improved power management. Included in certain editions (and therefore included in the Ultimate edition) are Windows Media Center, Windows Tablet PC, Windows Movie Maker, Windows DVD Maker, Parental Control, Windows SideShow for external gadgets, domain join for Windows Small Business Server, Group Policy support, client-side file caching, Roaming user profiles for remote server access, Windows Fax and Scan, Windows ShadowCopy to create file backups, Windows Rights Management Services to protect documents, Windows BitLocker hard disk encryption, integrated smart card management, and various Windows Ultimate extras that are mentioned later. Despite many changes to features in Windows Vista, Microsoft has maintained its original marketing promise to provide users with clear, confident and connected solutions.
For Clear, Microsoft cites its new Aero graphics. Aero is part of the Windows Presentation Foundation, a sub-group of them.Net Foundation Framework, an underlying foundation for developers to build new applications. An applet is the New York Times Times Reader, the first of many products written exclusively for Windows Vista, but hardly a compelling reason to upgrade. Although video playback and, yes, even the small icons on Windows Vista are now clear and colourful with Aero, unless you watch YouTube videos all day long, you do not really need Aero, nor do you miss the small preview windows which are enabled on your desktop display. Also new is Microsoft’s Adobe PDF-like file format called XPS (Extensible Page System); However, any Windows XP SP2 machine can view pages created by XPS with downloads from the.Net 3 Framework Foundation and the Internet Explorer 7 browser.
For Microsoft, Microsoft is relying on new security enhancements in the ultimate Windows Vista rating. You should not encounter any User Account Control (UAC) unless you change system configurations or install new software, and even then you would not – in this era of downloadable spyware – prefer to know when an executable file is about to be executed? While UAC notifies you of waiting system changes, this does not always require a password. The more controversial method of Microsoft to lock the system kernel, PatchGuard, is only available in the 64-bit editions of Windows Vista; most home users will not run these editions. Another celebrated security feature works only in Windows Mail, which most people probably will not use. And finally, the jury is still out on whether Internet Explorer 7 is safer than Firefox 2 for example. Windows Vista also includes a built-in but limited two-way firewall and free anti-spyware from Windows Defender, which scores poorly in competing for test procedures by Download.com.
For Connected, Microsoft refers to the new peer-to-peer opportunities, some of which are the result of the acquisition of Groove several years ago. From Windows Explorer (which displays different toolbar options for document, photo or music exploration), you can move each file to a public folder and then mark the file or folder to share on a network. In the business and ultimate editions, you can further mark individual files for external access.
After installation, Windows Vista reviews the overall hardware performance of each system, with the final score representing the lowest individual score of your system. This is useful. For example, if you suspect that everything is going a bit slow, your hard drive may be the lowest score. Windows Vista will then recommend a faster hard drive or a drive with greater compatibility. Usually, the video card will be the sore spot for most users. There is also an event log viewer that can be displayed, for example after a specific software installation has aborted system performance and the removal of the software may restore your overall performance.
Under the hood, Microsoft has removed the drivers for DVD burners and printers from the system kernel; Microsoft says that a majority of system crashes can be traced to incorrectly installed third-party drivers. So Windows Vista hopes to overcome the dreaded Blue Screen of Death that is common in earlier versions of Windows. Indeed, after testing several early builds, Windows Vista was remarkably stable and robust.
Together with the performance monitors, Microsoft has significantly improved the Help section. There is a static FAQ, but it also links to Microsoft online and provides access to other users for help, either via a forum or direct PC-to-PC help. We are very fond of a feature that is available on some, not all, frequently asked questions that allow you to automate the solution by running a script. This method does not teach you how to do it in the future, but it will accomplish the task that is obvious. For example, if you update a device driver, Windows Vista will make the desktop darker; highlight and open the Start menu, Control Panel and Device Manager; then pause to ask which device you want to update. It is as if you have a technician on your desktop as you walk through the process. There is an increasing dependence on user-generated support forums, which leads us to believe that Microsoft is moving away from its own live technical support. During the press, Microsoft’s definitive support policy was not available.
Perhaps we are spoiled, but after more than five years of development, there is a clear “Is that all?” feeling about Windows Vista. Just as an info dump in a book report crams the night before it has to come, there are certainly many individual functions within the operating system, but the real value lies in their execution – how the user experiences (or does not experience) this – and just like the info-dump, we came away and shook our heads disappointed. Compared to Mac OS X 10.4, Windows Vista feels awkward and not very intuitive, almost as if it is still based on DOS (or at least the internal logic that makes up DOS). Despite the addition of a system-wide, built-in search and several attempts to get rid of the stiff old directory trees, you still have to go down one level to even go to Search. And there are far too many dependencies of Microsoft products; this is not a very objective operating system since the preference is always given to Microsoft products (of which there are many), from MSN Search to RSS feeds only from Internet Explorer. But is Windows Vista a bad operating system? No. It is only a disappointment for PC users who hoped that Microsoft would deliver something really exciting to finally jump for Apple. They failed. But stay around; this is just Windows Vista 1.0. In Windows Vista Ultimate Review, we’ve noticed that Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is coming sometime before the end of the year. Windows Vista SP1 promises to fix that is known to be wrong in Windows Vista and should provide some concrete reasons to switch.