Please excuse the geeky post, but it has a public-service component: Citizens, you need not fear Windows Vista! I recently got a computer with Windows Vista, and feared the worst. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised. Before I get flamed in the comments, let me say that I know there are other, more elegant operating systems out there, and that the people who design and use them are good and kind. However, I’ve gotten so used to working with Windows I can’t really change now.
I had a lot of misgivings about Windows Vista, but so far they’ve proven unfounded. All of my old programs work, although some needed a bit of tweaking. Vista sometimes slaps a huge warning across the screen saying the program is "not compatible," but it will let you install it anyway. When you run programs the first few times, the screen goes dramatically dark and asks you whether you (as opposed to a Romanian hacker) really asked for that program to be run, but this behavior stops after you say ‘yes’ a few times.
I also had feared that the new operating system would continue Microsoft’s annoying habit of giving you a nice, shiny graphical GUIs while burying the really important files you needed to access in obscure locations such as /applications/local settings/Version32/App/. Not so. You can get to a standard Windows Explorer interface pretty quickly, and the file structure is actually quite simple. The search function is available inside pretty much every application, and it’s truly lightning-fast.
Microsoft has left a lot of the functions the same, and in the same place, which makes the transition easy. A files-and-settings-transfer program called Windows Easy Transfer is provided. It’s actually not all that bloody ‘easy’ unless you buy Microsoft’s special "cable," but it does let you use other options, such as wireless transfer, or burning your files onto CDs. Oh sure, it says it will also work with DVDs, but the spectacularly unhelpful program wouldn’t do so and wouldn’t tell me why. Anyway, if you can get it to work (I had to burn 12 CDs!), it will transfer a pretty astonishing amount of personalized data, including Word macros, initialization settings, and every single aspect of how Outlook works and everything you’ve ever stored in Outlook.
Finally, Windows Vista is pretty. It looks bright, unfussy, and logically laid-out. The buttons are big, moist-looking and shiny, like fresh Gummi bears. Switching between applications, or monitoring ongoing processes, is a lot easier, since tiny windowlets pop up to let you know just what a program’s doing in the background. So far, Vista has been surprisingly stable, even as I’ve used some pretty involved applications that were not designed to run under it.
I never thought I’d say this, but I, for once, am perfectly satisfied with a Windows product.