A Fresh Look At The Vista Of Today

Earlier this year Microsoft launched Vista and the reviews it received at the time weren't all that great.  A common theme amongst reviews was that there was a lot of potential and interesting technology, but it was being held back.  Not everyone agreed what was holding it back or why, but who wants to play the blame game?  The question of the day is: How does Vista stack up today?  Here's a brief list of pros and cons from the article:
  • The user interface. This is perhaps my strongest reason for sticking with Vista. Last night, I was selectively moving a lot of digital photos around, and the larger thumbnails made life substantially easier. The breadcrumb feature alone has made file system navigation almost painless.
  • The Start Menu. I wanted to call this out separately from general UI improvements. The start menu is now much more usable, particularly if you have a lot of apps, like I do.
  • Sidebar gadgets. I only use a fairly basic set, but it's great having a calendar permanently visible, have a tiny, ever-changing gallery of my photos and sticky notes right on the desktop. The CPU and network utilization meters are handy, too.
  • The promise of DirectX 10 and Windows Live.

  • The aforementioned driver issues. The situation has improved, but it's still got a ways to go.
  • Odd crashes. Services stop working, sometimes for no discernable reason. Also, while Vista is, in general, more stable in heavy use than XP, it can still crash hard. All that stuff Microsoft told us about application crashes not freezing the OS is so much hooey. I've had to push the reset button several times, mostly when games crashed hard.
  • Game compatibility. I have a pretty speedy system, so the performance hit going from XP to Vista hasn't been all that noticeable. But what's been an issue has been running some games. Some of those are driver issues—Gothic 3 began to run after a driver update. It's an evolving situation.
  • The promise of DirectX 10 and Windows Live. Right now, this it's all promise. As we've begun to see with existing DirectX 10 benchmarks, the current state of affairs isn't promising, with DX10 games adding minor visual enhancements at the cost of massive performance hits.
It seems that Vista has come a long way, but gamers interested in giving Vista a try may want to consider a dual-boot configuration for now.