Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My delve in to Vista

As part of my school work I need a Windows machine to run Microsoft programs. The good thing is that our school provides us with XP or Vista for free. I went ahead and requested Vista since it is suppose to be the latest and greatest. On Friday night I finally got it installed.The first problem I ran in to was partitioning my hard drive. Partitioning a hard drive is the process of breaking your hard drive up in to separate logical hard drive. So my 500 gig drive can be split up in to smaller drives. My Ubuntu install is on a 200 gig partition. In the Vista installer it starts out with letting me add partitions. I added a 20 Gig partition, but when I selected to have it Vista installed on the partition is just made it told me that it couldn't find a partition that met it's requirements. It did not mention what the requirements where. On my laptop I searched the MS website and it said the requirements where that it was an NTFS partition. The partition was in fact an NTFS partition so that didn't leave me with an answer.I have a CD that Stephen gave me that will boot Windows XP off of a CD. I did that and partitioned the 20 gigs using the XP partitioner and than rebooted. Vista liked XPs partition and continued.Aside from that blunder, the rest of the install was amazingly easy. When I say amazingly, I mean in the sense of a Windows install. In the past, to get even basic functionality out of your Windows computer you had to search around for the disk that comes with all of your hardware and install the drivers. This can take a lot of time and be very frustrating. This is not a problem in Ubuntu. In Vista all of my hardware worked out of the box except my scanner. My graphics card needed it's drivers, but functioned quite well without them. I consider this a major improvement.Next came configuring my system. Just like XP, a lot of the defaults are crap. The default Start menu is the worst. It's very difficult to navigate and I find that it confuses many computer users I help. That was changed to default first.As I moved on to change other settings I found that the settings where very scattered.One problem of any operating system or program that has enough functionality is that it's difficult to place settings in a logical and easy to find manner for the users. This is a problem in both Windows and Linux. But it is much worse in Vista. This is definitely a rollback. It's not a matter of I don't know where things are, it's that trying to find the logical place it may be is more confusing than ever.The look of Vista is very nice. It is sleek and very pleasing to look at.Stability has not been a problem so far either. I have had no crashes or hickups so far. Of course, it hasn't been running for very long either. It's currently only used for school work, and for video games. Being able to break out my old PC games has been fun.The one thing I am left wondering is what does Vista offer that XP doesn't? The only answer I can give to that is the look. Aside from that, the hundreds of dollars Vista is going to cost you is most definitely not going to be worth it. I can't even imagine paying for Ultimate. You also still have to have antimalware on your PC to keep it from being infected.On a business perspective there is actually incentive to not go Vista. With Vista you need a more powerful PC just to get the base system up. This means chucking the old PCs and purchasing new ones. I have heard of horror stories from people trying to just have Vista simply run on PCs that are not top of the line. So business will need all of their PCs to be top of the line just to make their OS run stable? That seems pretty crappy. If business choose XP they get to keep their hardware (saving themselves hundred of thousands of dollars) and still get all the functionality they get from XP.Of course, businesses could be smart and run Ubuntu which will run well on both old computer and new computers. This eliminates the need to worry about malware, allows for great remote management, allows security updates to be installed in a more manageable medium, and provides the satisfaction knowing that your current hardware will enjoy a much longer life cycle than if you used Windows.