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Windows Vista Turns 1

The six-word summary of today's column: "Windows Vista after one year: meh."

My opinion of Vista has soured a bit since my review a year ago--thanks in large part to the reports I've received from readers about their own experiences with Vista. My own interactions with Vista's anti-piracy features haven't made this system look any better either.

It's not that Vista is the catastrophe some people make it out to be. It's no Windows Millennium Edition, that much seems sure. But with all the time it took to ship, this operating system could have been so much more. And its performance in the market seems to reflect that (you can see the total-PC-sales figure for 2007 that I cited in this Gartner summary; in turn, I got the idea of comparing Vista sales to total PC sales from this Information Week article).

Some parts of Vista should improve over time. As new PCs ship with more storage and faster processors, for instance, Vista's performance issues will fade away. Updates from third-party developers have chipped away at Vista's compatibility problems. And the Service Pack 1 update due in the next month or two will eliminate Vista's punitive "Reduced Functionality Mode," in addition to consolidating bug fixes released to date into a single download.

But none of these changes will eliminate the most obnoxious parts of Windows computing. You'll still have to sit through prolonged program installs and uninstalls and hope they don't derail, wonder what all those weird icons in the system tray are up to, decipher inscrutable .exe files flagged by your firewall, dig through invisible folders to find where your mail program hid your messages and hope that you don't have to edit the Registry to fix some deep-seated system ailment. Vista is a better Windows--or at least is on its way to becoming one--but it's still Windows.

After writing the piece, I wasn't sure how readers would view it. Would I be seen as glossing over Vista's obvious defects, or as beating up on Microsoft? Most of the people who have e-mailed so far think I was a little too kind (although a couple said they liked Vista's home-networking and digital-photo tools, which I didn't get into in the column).

Now it's your turn: If you've purchased Vista, either separately or with a new computer, do you have any regrets about it? Or do you not miss XP at this point?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 24, 2008; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  Windows  
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