The Top 5 Things I Like About Vista

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I've taken my shots at Vista in many past blog posts, and deservedly so. But I thought I would balance that out with another perspective and talk the things I like about Vista. This isn't a technical or in depth review of all the intricate changes or new things buried in the internals of Vista. I'm talking about the things in Vista that I use or help me everyday in my work, using Vista as the OS on my daily work computer.

Why I Like Windows Vista

1. Vista Worked, From Day One

I've had Vista running on two machines I use pretty much every day, almost since Vista's introduction in early '07. The first machine I installed Vista on was a custom built rig my son Phill and I built, the second was a newly purchased HP laptop with Vista pre-installed.

I approach technology differently that most users probably do. I try new products until they either win me over, or become sufficiently frustrating to use that I move on to something else. I like to experience what most organizations will be deploying for their users and developers so I regularly use Windows boxes along side Linux, networking, VoIP and other security gear.

With relatively few problems, I've been able to use and stick with Vista since its introduction. I'm pretty surprised that's been the case. I wouldn't have predicted it. That's better than many Mac OS X Leopard users can say.

2. Sleep and Hibernate Are Much More Reliable

My everyday computer is an HP Pavilion Intel laptop. I'm constantly putting it to sleep and moving between my home network, office networks, and local coffee shops. I prefer to put the laptop to sleep and then pick right back up again where I left off when I arrive at my new work destination.

Most of the time, sleep mode works perfectly - far better than what I experienced in Windows XP or other operating system versions. Only occasionally does something get out of sync (like the network connections not passing data) and I have to shutdown and restart the system. I've not experienced the long resume times that other Vista users have complained about.

Sleep and hibernate mode might sound like a strange thing to list at #2 but I use it all the time and it is much more stable on this HP laptop running Vista than previous Windows operating systems.

3. Search Built Into Windows Explorer (And Outlook)

I rely heavily on searching the content of files. I loved Google Desktop Search when it first came out, that is until I did some research about some poor security practices implemented in Google Desktop Search software. Since then, I've come to rely heavily on this search capability. Integrating search into the Windows Explorer file browser makes my job easier. I like product features that improve my productivity and still allow me to work the way I like to work.

Occasionally I get annoyed at Vista spinning my hard disk drives like it's performing some kind of hard disk speed test, but most of the time it's not a problem. It also helps that I upgraded the hard drives on my laptop to 7200rpm drives, and I use Diskeeper to keep them defragmented and optimized.

4. Broad Hardware Driver Support

I've installed many different video cards, printers, keyboards/mice, Bluetooth devices and I rarely have an issue with finding or locating a hardware driver. Most of the time Vista has the proper driver unless its a high performance video driver I need to download from Nvidia or some other vendor. Again, I know others have had some issues with driver support but my life has been easier with Vista's hardware support than with previous Windows OSs. Installing Vista from scratch is a snap because of it (and it's much faster than other Windows OSs too.)

5. Handy Tools, Security, Software Updates and other Doodads

I'm a gadget person. I like tools and utility software that tell me what's going on with my system. I love the Windows Sidebar (though it likes to reorder the gadgets, and doesn't always adjust properly when I hook up another monitor to the video out port.) I'm always running gadgets for process monitoring, reporting the wireless connection state, battery life, processor and memory utilization, a clock and calculator. I wish Microsoft would put serious thought into redesigning the desktop metaphor so the Window Sidebar at least makes the commonly used tools and information I want right there on the desktop.

I also love the new Reliability and Performance Monitor. It provides a wealth of information about what's happening in the OS. OneCare anti-virus and firewall production are well built and work with the OS well. I like the new Windows Update, which does a great job of keeping my system up-to-date with required and option patches and upgrades.

There You Have It

I know it's not fancy. It's not all the features and buzzword topics Microsoft would promote about Vista. But it's what makes Vista usable and an improvement upon Windows XP and Windows 2000. It's kind like an everyday, blue collar top 5 list but these are the things that make Vista an improved operating system over my Windows XP and 2000 desktop OS experience. Now, I could start into the things I don't like about Vista but in keeping with my stated intent for this blog post, I'll just leave it at that.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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