Saturday, May 12, 2007

Getting to grips with Vista

My new computer came with Microsoft's latest operating system Vista.

When the machine first arrived it would stall for about 10 - 20 seconds every few minutes or so. Not the sort of thing you expect on a new computer. Fortunately there was a simple solution to be found on Dell's website which cured that. The problem apparently only occurs with Vista and lies with the Intel chipset.

There were a few programs that I used on my XP machine which won't work with Vista. Some had updates available others I just had to ignore. I also had to abandon my scanner and web camera which were too old to have Vista drivers written for them.

The computer loads up a lot faster than my previous machine and runs a lot faster but then so it should -it has a dual core processor, 2Gb of RAM and the hard drives are in a Raid 0 array. The aero interface is a lot less boring than XP's - more like Apple's OS 10.

It is hard to say whether the machine would have been as quick running XP and I certainly don't intend to reformat the drives to test it out!

So if you are considering upgrading or a new machine - Vista is obviously going to be the future system. Be aware though that not everything will works as you expect it.

Now my next challenge is how to record the footage from my video camera on to the hard drive.


Pete said...

I don't know Keith. Vista is certainly the future for Windows, but I doubt the corporate clients as a whole will adopt it within 12 or even 24 months. I haven't even tried it, but it seems to look very much like a 'bells and whistles' upgrade. It doesn't appear to do anything new, just the same things in slightly different ways.

Whilst it is certainly the future system for Windows, that doesn't mean everyone has to use it. As you know, Apple is gaining some ground, but Linux - as pundits suggested years ago - is the one to watch. The reasons are compelling. It's free. But you get so much more than an OS. With the right distribution you get one CD and twenty minutes later you've got a fully functioning computer. You don't start buying and installing your apps because they're already there. Office is there. Graphics software, publishing software, all there. And it's all GOOD.

Linux always used to be horrifically confusing because of all those different flavours and alphabet soups, but Ubuntu has done some consolidation, and given a strong and recognisable brand that gives the whole thing confidence. I'd venture that it's now easier to install and use an Ubuntu system than a Windows one. And you're not compromising functionality. At the release of Vista I decided to install Ubuntu and vowed that I would stick with it, through thick or thin, for a month. Four months on I'm still running it.

And if the aero interface really does float your boat then it's been around for Linux for years in the shape of Beryl. A quick search on Google Video will show you how insane that can go in terms of 'shininess'.

I'm not trying to be a zealot, I'm just a happy user. Windows still fits the bill for lots of people, but it's nice to not have to pay for software and not feel bad about pirating it.

And congratulations on the new machine, I hope you're enjoying it!

Keith & Pam Williamson said...

From the BBC

"Microsoft is counting on Vista to drive its future sales growth
Microsoft, the world's largest software company, has sold close to 40 million copies of its new Vista operating system, chairman Bill Gates has said.

Mr Gates said sales had been quicker than Microsoft expected, and made Vista the firm's quickest selling software.

Vista was released on 30 January to replace the Windows operating system, and there had been concerns that take up may be slow, hurting profits.

Microsoft's operating systems are used on more than 90% of the world's PCs.

"I'm really thrilled at how this has come together," Mr Gates said at a company conference in Los Angeles.

He added that one of the reasons for the strong sales was that many consumers were looking to increase the amount of digital media they used, a central feature of the Vista package.

The software aims to make it easy for consumers to set up home computer networks, and to manage and share digital content such as photos, videos, music and documents.

Vista is Microsoft's first new operating system in five years, and the company said that more than three quarters of its sales have been for the software's premium versions. "

I used to be a keen fan of Apple Mac OS. Like Linux it has many virtues not least it's simple interface. Once I'd moved over to Windows and started building up a suite of applications though there was no turning back.

Once XP was past SP2 it became a stable, well supported system. Hopefully Vista will follow the same route.