During the holiday sales, I acquired an HP Pavilion dv9408 laptop running Windows Vista Home Premium. A discontinued model, it was a bargain at only $400, and it is my first time to use the new operating system.
Bootup was a slow process, taking the laptop a full 2 minutes to start, which is about twice as long as Windows XP. It took another 2 minutes for all the programs to start up. As usual, the PC came preloaded with bloatware such as Vongo and Muvee Autoproducer. Naturally, the first thing I did was uninstall about 10 different applications to cut down on the junk. After removing all the junk, the only application slowing the computer down was Norton Antivirus, and bootup was only slightly longer than that of XP’s.
The most obvious improvement is the new Aero interface, which aims to be “Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open”. I imagined that this eye candy would prove to be a distraction, but it was so than XP’s overbearing Luna theme. The animation effects were subtle and stylish with seamless transitions and fades. Other heavily touted features such as live thumbnails and Flip 3D turned out to be novelties, and not as useful as Mac’s Expose.
Windows Explorer is vastly improved and spawns fewer popups for different settings, opting to integrate them into the window instead, cutting down on the clutter quite well. Most of the ancient interfaces from the Windows 9x era have also been refreshed, replaced with new Aero cons, greatly enhancing the overall feel of the OS. XP’s useless task pane has been replaced with the significantly more useful favorites and folders panes. Navigation is now more efficient with thanks to breadcrumb navigation. The details pane at the bottom was also a much needed addition, saving time I otherwise would have spent right-clicking to check properties. After using Vista, Windows XP feels decidedly old and difficult to return to.
Users pay a price for all the new features, since memory usage is massive. Even after removing bloatware, my new Vista PC used 600MB of memory, a level Windows XP rarely reached. Consumer response to Windows Vista has been hostile, as even individuals who can hardly turn on a computer readily spout rant about how terrible Vista is. Although Windows Vista is not without its flaws, much of the bad publicity is due to the bandwagon effect. Vista is a worthwhile upgrade, and definitely not worth removing to install XP over.