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Ask the Micro Doctor - To Vista or not to Vista


Last updated 4/19/2007 at Noon

Microsoft raised a few eyebrows last week when it announced that its new operating system, Vista, had surpassed the 20 million mark in the first 30 days of sales. Some claimed that the boys from Redmond were somehow rigging the numbers to put Vista in a favorable light, but what does this mean to you?

You really need to ask yourself: “Is Vista for me? Can my system run it without major surgery? Is it even worth the hassle?”

First, if you are buying a new PC, there’s really no choice. Vista Home Premium comes bundled with most systems you can buy today.

Is Vista for you? Well, Microsoft spent $10 to $15 billion to make the darn thing. Was it worth it? Besides some pretty “Aero” cosmetic interface changes (“glassy,” translucent widows frames, 3D previews and thumbnail views of open windows on the taskbar, for instance), the real difference with Vista is on the inside.

The main internal Vista improvements come in three categories: search, multimedia and data security. Search has been integrated into the desktop, and it is very fast, even across network drives. For example, we have a network sever with over 200GB and 60,000 MP3 files. Opening this folder can take almost a minute. With Vista, it is instantaneous.

Vista Home Premium and the more advanced Vista versions come bundled with an improved Media Center. It is designed to support up to five concurrent sessions for streaming audio or video content to the living room, den or kids’ room.

Security is the big deal with Vista, and although nothing is perfect (after all, a perfectly secure home is one without doors or windows – heh, heh), Vista is a vast improvement over XP. You really have to want to get your machine infected to cause problems for a Vista-based system. Automated backup software is also included.

A big parental concern today is whether home computer systems are open doors for child predators. Sophisticated protection software is built into Vista to give you total control over your child’s Internet experience.

Our next column will cover whether your computer can run Vista and whether it’s worth the hassle.

Rick Aldana can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


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