Windows Vista is the latest operating system released by Microsoft. It took over 6 years of development and countless delays, but it’s finally here, at least for PC manufacturers. Consumers like us will have to wait for its official release on January 30th 2007.
There will be several versions (editions) of Vista:
Each version differs by its installed applications and features. It’s Microsoft’s way of having price flexibility for those who don’t want to pay for features they don’t want and don’t need.
I got my hands on a copy of Vista RTM (The version Microsoft sends to PC vendors to be installed on their upcoming systems). Don’t ask me how I got it 😀 . Installing Vista is fairly simple. Just put the installation disc into your DVD drive and reboot. Yes, Vista is now on DVD, so if you’re planning on upgrading you’ll need to get a DVD drive. The installation will only request your product key , time setting, and the default language. I installed Vista Ultimate on my system. Vista Ultimate is the version that contains all the features and applications for Vista, which incidentally will be the most expensive when released, $450.
The Vista installation was able to detect most of my hardware and install their drivers, which I was very impressed. And those that weren’t installed were immediately resolved via internet once you login into Windows, given that you have an internet connection.
It’s very apparent that Microsoft has focused on the new look of the new operating system with bright flashy images and icons. It has a very Mac-esque feel to it, but it’s definitely Windows. If you thought the change from Windows 98/2000 to Windows XP was big, then Vista can be a bit overwhelming. Many of the names you normal recognize have changed. Microsoft has axed out “my”. So instead of My Documents, My Music, and My Computers they’re just Documents, Music, and Computer. It may not sound that big of a change, but if you’re use to the previous OS setup then it will take you some time to get use it.
One of the new features for the OS is that Vista is now able to utilize your expensive graphics card. This only applies to the versions that have the new Aero Interface. With the Aero interface your OS will have a glass-like feel. The windows are transparent allowing the background image or other windows to show through. With all the new features Vista requirements are steep. If your system is older than 12-15 months, then chances are you might need to upgrade your system to take full advantage of the new Vista features. Vista also comes with Internet Explorer 7 and Windows Media Player 11, but these applications are already available for download for XP, so you can check them out now and get familiar with them.
The most important features of the new OS is it’s security and stability. Microsoft has designed Vista to be less vunerable to system attacks and malware installation. Installed application data are stored away from the core files of windows which keeps those core files safe from files that may cause problems to the OS. Even when logged in with an administrator account you are always being prompted to verify your actions whether it’s to delete a file, change configurations, and or even accessing certain programs. It can be annoying, but fortunately feature can be turned off.
Other features include a new sidebar where users can install “gadgets” such as a clock, weather indicator, calendar, etc. Each gadget are modules that can be easily added or removed. Another cool feature is the new way to cycle through your windows and applications. If you’re the multi-tasking type that has tons of applications and windows loaded on screen then the feature can come in handy. It’s basically the Alt-Tab feature but with a 3D touch.
So there you go with the preview of the new Windows Vista. If you’re planning on buying upgrades for you system look to upgrade the CPU, RAM, or your video card because those are what going to make a difference in terms of performance.
Vista might be the new “gotta have” piece of software for the PC industry next month. Don’t hop on the bandwagon quite yet and go in your impulse buying-mode and upgrade your system for Vista. Keep in mind that Vista is brand new which means not all of your current software will be compatible, or even your hardware.
There are a few noticeable bugs that are in the RTM version, and I’m hoping they will be addressed by the time of its official consumer release. So if you’re looking to upgrade your OS try to hold off at least 4 – 6 months to have the bugs and glitches ironed out as well has the vendors to push out patches and drivers for their application and hardware.