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Is Windows 7 so wonderful? – Is Vista so b...

James (Jim) Hillier's Photo James (Jim) Hillier 25 May 2009
I must start off by warning that I am an unabashed Vista fan, in my opinion it is the best Windows operating system ever and I have used then all extensively. I firmly believe Vista was the victim of poor timing plus lack of support from both software publishers and hardware manufacturers.

At the time of Vista’s release I was running XP on an old Dell machine with Pentium 4 CPU, 1gb RAM and a little 64mb ATI graphics card. I installed and ran Vista alongside XP in a dual boot system so had a wonderful basis for comparison. The result was declared a no contest (well, in my house it was anyway). Vista was faster and much, much nicer to work with, it made XP look and feel old and clunky. Eventually, after about four months, I transitioned over to Vista completely and have never looked back. These days I run Vista on a more modern machine, Intel core duo CPU, 3gb RAM and NVIDIA 512mb graphics card…..man, what advances have been made in such a relatively short period of time.

Now, with the release of Windows 7 final version looming large, many are saying it is everything Vista should have been. One thing I do know for sure, Windows 7 is getting the support from software publishers which was strangely absent for Vista. Another very common assertion is that Windows 7 is a cut down version of Vista, a sort of Vista Lite. If that is a given then why is Windows 7 so wonderful and Vista so bad? Apart from Windows 7’s ability to run successfully on older machines with lower hardware specs, it would appear they are very similar. Here is a typical comment:

“In a backhanded compliment, experts say Microsoft’s next operating system, called Windows 7, is all the things Windows Vista should have been in 2007, but wasn’t. “Windows 7 is designed to fix the major problems in Vista,” said Rob Enderle, a San Jose, Calif., technology consultant who has been using test versions of the new operating system for months. “It’s a massive roll-up of all the changes made to Vista since its introduction, without changing the underlying Vista computer code.”

I take that to mean that, basically, there is little difference between the Vista I am currently using and Windows 7?

I have installed Windows 7 release candidate, time hasn't allowed for a real mother’s look as yet but I have seen enough make some early observations. It is very nice to work with; fast, smooth and responsive. The revamped graphical user interfaces will be liked by some and not by others; I fall into the latter category and especially dislike the new Control Panel. That is all subjective though and the cosmetic changes do not detract in any way from what is a very good operating system.

Yes, I do like Windows 7 and I believe it will be popular but…is it actually Vista with some components omitted and a facelift? What do you think?
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marko's Photo marko 25 May 2009
I'd probably have to differ on Vista Jim to be honest, when it first came out I gave it a try which was more to do with my work than anything and took an instant dislike to it. One of the annoyances was the nag screens "are you sure you want to do this" .. "are you sure you want to do that" and so on. The familiar controls of XP were gone, and while I'm 101% for change and innovation I felt Vista offered me nothing more than XP, in fact it was holding me back if anything, having to familiarise myself with a whole new setup which, in my opinion should have complimented it's predecessor, not scrunch it up and toss it firmly in the bin :P

From a compatibility point of view, Vista was out far too soon and many people were not ready for it, much like the Playstation3 issue where the software hadn't kept up with the hardware and the minimum specs meant many people with everyday normal computers which worked fine on XP were now outdated.

As a whole, it only took a couple of bad points for me to make my own mind up, and with the forceful addition of Windows Defender in the operating system I had, by that time, had enough and avoided it like the plague, and still do to this day!. However, I have heard many good things about Windows 7 and will be giving this a whirl myself - anyone else can also download the RC version still available HERE.
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James (Jim) Hillier's Photo James (Jim) Hillier 26 May 2009
It would be a dull existence indeed if we all liked the same things Marko and you do make some very valid points:

"having to familiarise myself with a whole new setup which, in my opinion should have complimented it's predecessor"...agreed but, given W7 is very similar to Vista would not the transition from XP to W7 entail almost the exact same familiarisation process?
"From a compatibility point of view, Vista was out far too soon - software hadn't kept up with the hardware"..definitely, but was that Vista's fault or were the software publishers/hardware manufacturers to blame?
"minimum specs meant many people with everyday normal computers which worked fine on XP were now outdated."...again agreed. Unfortunately Vista did get caught up in the natural progression of computer technology. I wonder though would that still apply, in so many cases, today?
"I have heard many good things about Windows 7"...yep, that was my primary point, many who disliked Vista are now talking about W7 in glowing terms...but are the two really that different?

Vista's overall behaviour did improve markedly with the release of SP1 Marko; since then it has been the most stable, trouble free Windows I have ever used. I feel certain W7 will continue in that vein.
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marko's Photo marko 26 May 2009
It would indeed Jim :P

given W7 is very similar to Vista would not the transition from XP to W7 entail almost the exact same familiarisation process?
I guess the advantage W7 now has is that Vista has almost 'broke it in' so to speak, we're no longer making the leap from XP, but moreso from Vista, although many like me probably didn't take to Vista well, we still know what it's like and have expectations based on it. The thing with Windows is that the majority of us use it, and despite there being some truly wonderful open source operating systems around, the fact remains that MS is the first and natural choice for most which means they will always get away with mistakes and the odd 'clanger' and will always be given a second chance which is probably because we all know at the end of the day if we want 'mainstream' accessibility from our PC's we need MS!.

was that Vista's fault or were the software publishers/hardware manufacturers to blame?
That's an interesting one, but from what I saw I think MS closed the proverbial door after the horse had bolted, or in this case after they released Vista, releasing they had probably been a bit premature in it's release which did really surprise me to be honest as it's unusual for them to make hasty decisions like this. I also think they were extremely complacent in the release of Vista, simply expecting everyone else to fall in line with it whereas the software developers didn't expect what they saw, and to an extent didn't appreciate it, but they also knew they had no choice if their software products were to continue being used by Windows users and so the scramble began often resulting in mistakes by them also and teething issues with their new releases!.

I wonder though would that still apply, in so many cases, today?
I think the thing that annoyed me most about their minimum specs was the fact that it was almost to suite MS's own bloat in the operating system, and didn't actually provide any credible use. Hopefully Windows 7 will make better use of RAM and cut out the unecessary clutter as well as definately give users the option NOT to run Defender which in my opinion can't touch the likes of Spybot ro Adaware :P

I am looking forward to trialing W7 and will keep a slice of optimism about me when doing so but I reckon MS will have learned their lesson from Vista and won't want a repeat performance of the negativity they managed to generate which is why I guess we're already hearing good things about it. Here's to the next one!
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Guest_Jim at Balmoral Motel_* 13 Jun 2009

View PostJames (Jim) Hillier, on May 25 2009, 10:43 PM, said:

I must start off by warning that I am an unabashed Vista fan, in my opinion it is the best Windows operating system ever and I have used then all extensively. I firmly believe Vista was the victim of poor timing plus lack of support from both software publishers and hardware manufacturers.

At the time of Vista’s release I was running XP on an old Dell machine with Pentium 4 CPU, 1gb RAM and a little 64mb ATI graphics card. I installed and ran Vista alongside XP in a dual boot system so had a wonderful basis for comparison. The result was declared a no contest (well, in my house it was anyway). Vista was faster and much, much nicer to work with, it made XP look and feel old and clunky. Eventually, after about four months, I transitioned over to Vista completely and have never looked back. These days I run Vista on a more modern machine, Intel core duo CPU, 3gb RAM and NVIDIA 512mb graphics card…..man, what advances have been made in such a relatively short period of time.

Now, with the release of Windows 7 final version looming large, many are saying it is everything Vista should have been. One thing I do know for sure, Windows 7 is getting the support from software publishers which was strangely absent for Vista. Another very common assertion is that Windows 7 is a cut down version of Vista, a sort of Vista Lite. If that is a given then why is Windows 7 so wonderful and Vista so bad? Apart from Windows 7’s ability to run successfully on older machines with lower hardware specs, it would appear they are very similar. Here is a typical comment:

“In a backhanded compliment, experts say Microsoft’s next operating system, called Windows 7, is all the things Windows Vista should have been in 2007, but wasn’t. “Windows 7 is designed to fix the major problems in Vista,” said Rob Enderle, a San Jose, Calif., technology consultant who has been using test versions of the new operating system for months. “It’s a massive roll-up of all the changes made to Vista since its introduction, without changing the underlying Vista computer code.”

I take that to mean that, basically, there is little difference between the Vista I am currently using and Windows 7?

I have installed Windows 7 release candidate, time hasn't allowed for a real mother’s look as yet but I have seen enough make some early observations. It is very nice to work with; fast, smooth and responsive. The revamped graphical user interfaces will be liked by some and not by others; I fall into the latter category and especially dislike the new Control Panel. That is all subjective though and the cosmetic changes do not detract in any way from what is a very good operating system.

Yes, I do like Windows 7 and I believe it will be popular but…is it actually Vista with some components omitted and a facelift? What do you think?

I have to say that Vista underwhelms me! The silly UI changes are a problem to me......maybe us boomers are finding it harder to change the things we take for granted in our everyday life as we get older, but there is too much change for change's sake. But the big problem I have is Windows Search. What a piece of Monkey Poop!!! I have 20 years of files, documents and emails on my NAS and pretty much everyday I am looking for something - a name, an email address, a song, a document,...... the old search allowed me to find stuff by date, size, file type, part of the name, a fragment in the file, etc. It was quick and worked well. I wanted to do a search of the Vista machine and clean up the tmp files today.....the damned POS keeps telling me it can't find anything because it hasn't indexed the C: drive. Well, whose fault is that. Believe me, I've tried to add the drive but will it listen???

Today I have a second machine on my desk running XP so I can run XP searches and find things and then bring them up on my Vista machine. And what's with the stupid little pictures of each windows from the taskbar - are there really that many people out there running multiple open windows who can't read???? So, just what do they have open? Was Vista really made for illiterate gamers? That might explain the help system......
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marko's Photo marko 13 Jun 2009
I think another problem with Vista is that XP was just everything everyone wanted, and Vista is fighting to match it, XP had the versatility required along with the stability (eventually) whereas Vista was just too difference in both it's looks and it's ways, pile an unstable and unreliable (not to mention incompatible) set of events and you have a non starter. I've lost count of the amount of people who complained many applications didn't work with Vista. When something works, and works well, people are reluctant to change it, even if it is an advance, but when the change is too far removed from recognition it's just another reason for people to reject it and I think this is one of the main reasons why Vista has been rejected so badly!.
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James (Jim) Hillier's Photo James (Jim) Hillier 13 Jun 2009
Hi Guest Jim - Windows search in Vista includes much the same options as XP, you can search by; date, file size, tag, author, key words or name, include hidden files/folders. You can also select a specific location/folder or individual drive as well as choosing to search "Everywhere". It is also about 50x faster than the search feature in XP (maybe a slight exaggeration :P).

Open Windows Search and click on Advanced Search, now you should see all the available search options. The very first (top) option is Location which should see 'Everywhere' selected by default. From that location menu you can select any area, drive, folder, whatever to search. One option included in the location menu is to search Indexed Locations...perhaps you have inadvertently set that option as default?

It's strange you should compare that function in particular because it is one area where Vista is a distinct improvement over XP, especially in terms of speed. Man, I remember sitting there for 10 or 15 minutes waiting for that dog to stop wagging it's %$#*@ tail....lol.

I do not mean this as a criticism in any way but your comments do typify the comfort zone of familiarity which many users enjoy with XP. Hardly surprising considering it is, by far, the longest serving Windows version ever and a very good one at that. The transition from XP, which involves moving out of that comfort zone, is not an easy one and I can appreciate the reluctance...the devil you know syndrome. For me though it has proved to be well worth the effort.

Both XP and Vista are very good operating systems, in the end end Jim I guess it comes down to 'horses for courses'.


Hi Marko - Not having a go at you personally mate but, boy those sorts of comments do annoy me. XP has been around for almost 8 years, Vista barely 2. Most comparisons have been made with XP well established (for 6 years) and Vista relatively new on the scene....of course XP was more stable, had better software/hardware compatibility. A much fairer basis for comparison would be when both were at the same point. I still remember XP's arrival, the early problems and difficulties which were only overcome after time. Much the same as all previous Windows versions....except, of course, as they have developed in terms of functionality and sophistication so the degree of initial problems has expanded exponentially.

Yes, Vista was different, somewhat quirky and unstable but, as with XP, time has rectified most (if not all) those problems. Any issues with software and hardware compatibility are now long forgotten and, in my experience, Vista is even more stable than XP....that in just over 2 years. I can only imagine how reliable and stable Vista would be given a further 6 years!!

cheers mate....JIM
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marko's Photo marko 13 Jun 2009
Hi Jim, seriously mate don't worry about critisism cause if you seen some of the unapproved threads we have to deal with you'd know we have to have seriously thick skins as well as an open mind :P and although I agree with the basis on what you say regarding timescales for XP/Vista I think this alone may tell a story as XP was allowed to mature whereas Vista wasn't, MS themselves took the decision to work on an upgrade as Vista ASAP because it was so poorly received by the masses. XP hit the ground running from the likes of Windows 98/ME/2000 which were great operating systems in their own rights, all not without their own set of issues though, and I agree XP did have it's fair share of issues at the beginning too, then even with SP2 which caused a whole load of trouble if I remember right.

Reflecting on my thoughts for Vista I would have to say yes, there were many improvements made to the OS and the one area I found Vista actually improved was it's ability to install the necessary drivers for a computer, and where XP would gripe about not having the correct network driver or graphic/sound driver, Vista would install it no problem but the main crux of most peoples dissapointment with Vista was they made the operating system too different from XP, removing the comfort zone, some may say they were happy about that but going by the opinions of the majority Vista was grossly rejected because of it. XP for some, was difficult enough to navigate and configure but Vista just threw the whole ball up in the air big time with such area's as the Control Panel being radically transformed into a more aesthetically pleasing place to be but at the same time a more confusing place for some. I even remember a couple of Beta testers at the time quoting that MS had released Vista way too early as issues they had raised went ignored or features they felt should have been included/excluded were brushed aside, maybe a case of MS knows better?.

I guess at the end of the day it does come down to individual choice and where the likes of MS are concerned it's probably very much a case of "damned if they do, damned if they don't" because if they had have made Vista like XP they would quite possibility have been slated because of that then, personally I would have preferred this but for others it would have been another reason to reject Vista!.

I personally am of the opinion that we should build from success, not try to re-invent the wheel so to speak, and whereas they could have enhanced and progressed Vista from XP I think they tried re-inventing an operating system that was not ready to be re-invented causing more problems than even they could have figured on, but at the end of the day what's done is done and I think MS have learned a valuable lesson in all of this and that is they need to listen to their users, take on board professional opinions of those involved in the testing of their beta's and not expect third party vendors to do all the running on release but instead involve them too in the production process so when the new OS goes live it too hits the ground running, enhances users experiences and can be considered familiar and comfortable to most.

Cheers
Marko
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James (Jim) Hillier's Photo James (Jim) Hillier 14 Jun 2009
Hey Marko - You are quite right, of course, in much of what you say...both MS and Vista deserve criticism in some areas. It is the undeserved or unfair criticisms which tend to irk me..... and particularly coming from those who have no long term experience with Vista.

Also agree with some aspects of your 're-inventing the wheel' analogy mate...although, sometimes technology moves forward at such a pace that a natural progression becomes nigh on impossible and a re-invention is needed in order to keep up....not saying that necessarily applies here.

Anyhoo, one thing is for sure, it will be very interesting to see how well Windows 7 is received and whether or not it can succeed, where Vista undoubtedly failed, in converting the died-in-the-wool XP users.

cheers mate...JIM
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marko's Photo marko 14 Jun 2009
I had actually hoped to trial W7 myself a while ago Jim, but never managed to get round to it with one thing and another but hopefully I'll get to it at some point next week, here's hoping :P
Cheers
Mark
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