Thursday, July 23, 2009

Windows Vista SP3...I mean Windows 7

by Cylinsier

Yesterday, Microsoft announced that the code for Windows 7 had been finalized and that they are on schedule for their October 22 launch. And everywhere, the Vista haters rejoiced...or something.

The claims of improvements over Microsoft's much maligned XP successor include improvements to speed, appearance, performance and compatibility. Now we'll get to those in a second, but I have a bone to pick here.

Let me set the stage for you first. I am what you would call a "power user." My home PC is built from scratch. I purchased a case, motherboard, video card, ram, hard drive, etc. etc. and screwed my machinery together myself and then installed all my own software. Why did I do this? Well, besides being a geek, my reasoning was that I could save a little money, get exactly what I wanted in my machine and avoid all the useless junk that computer manufactures install on your computer that you don't need and will never use. When it came time to pick an operating system, I chose Windows Vista Ultimate 64. This was several months after all the negative reviews of the system had been out, but I figured that the reviews were just a result of people being apprehensive towards change and basically not knowing how to use a computer as well as they thought and that after a year or so, people would soften to the OS and in another 6 or 7 years, we'd be having the same fit over the next big step. And guess what? I was right.

Well, almost.

See, people got so bent out of shape over being too lazy to learn (and by learn I mean stop being whiny bitches) Windows Vista that Microsoft folded to their whims and moved up production of the next Windows. All of a sudden, Vista appears to have been stuck with the stigma of being the next Windows ME instead of the Next XP as it was supposed to be. And I don't blame Microsoft for this; it was the smart move on their part. What do you do when the consumer doesn't like the product? Well you don't keep trying to force it to them, that's for sure. Microsoft did the only thing they could. They moved on.

But what about the few of us, and I can't be the only one, that weren't Vista retarded? Look, Vista isn't perfect and I do understand some of the negative reaction. For one, Vista was built to take advantage of the 64-bit architecture and then butchered into a 32-bit version for those who didn't want to commit to a 64-bit system. The 32-bit version doesn't really get the job done. On the other side of the coin, the 64-bit version, which works like a dream by the way, does have the occasional compatibility issue (much rarer than its made out to be, though). This is more a result of the architecture and not so much the OS itself, and 64-bit IS the future, so everyone needs to get used to that now. But the point is, Vista is not that bad an OS. In fact, I've been using it for over a year now and I think its fantastic.

Let's take a look at some of the claims of improvement that Windows 7 promises.

Microsoft freely admits that 7 is built on Vista's skeleton. However, they tout improved visual features that make it easier to handle your desktop. That's fine. In fact, that should be expected from each new incarnation of an OS. But Vista wasn't confusing to look at. To use? Maybe, if you aren't willing to learn anything new. But to look at? No, Vista was visually an easy system to observe. If there are still a lot of you out there using XP that think 7 is going to magically return many of the interaction traits that Vista took from you, you have another thing coming. Software changes and you have to adapt. This is how things get better.

Microsoft also claims quicker startups and shutdowns. This is one I can appreciate. Vista is a slow beast sometimes, but I just attributed that to the power. 64-bit systems have been slower since XP so I knew what I was getting into.

Really, there isn't much else that is supposed to be drastically improved. Things are going to be different from Vista, but that doesn't mean the same as XP. However, Microsoft has wisely predicted that people will forget all about the missing XP features. They will only be happy that its not Vista. But the thing is, it IS Vista, just with a bow on its head like Malibu Stacey in that old Simpsons episode.

The reason I can tell you this is because I've run an RC of 7 on my machine. Like I said, computer geek. I managed to snag one of Microsoft's demo copies and gave the thing a run and I'm telling you right now, Microsoft is selling you Vista with a new name and a bow. And frankly, good for them. That's what they should be doing because the Vista backlash is one big self-driven disappointment. Really, the only thing that's wrong with Vista is that its Vista. So Microsoft is changing the name, a couple colors, and doing a tweak and reselling it. You will buy it. You will like it because its not Vista. But just be aware, you are basically paying the price for a full OS and getting a Service Pack.

Now as long as we're all happy, who cares, right? Well, what about the few of us who did get into Vista, did recognize its positive traits, and are now faced with watching the OS we supported and genuinely liked go extinct way before its time? I hope Microsoft will consider us in its pricing of this version of Windows. All I'm asking is for a little thank-you to those of us that supported Vista by offering a reduced price upgrade. Considering how few of us there are that apparently liked Vista, that shouldn't set them back too much. As for the rest of you, grab 7 when it comes out if you are ready to upgrade and enjoy it, but just remember in the back of your head that Microsoft is turning the backlash of Vista into a highly lucrative rebound move, and you Vista haters have no one to blame but yourselves. Sphere: Related Content


Ellipses said...

That was wonderful! I especially liked the whole "paying for an OS and getting a service pack"--- since some of the mac fanboys are creaming themselves over Snow Leopard, which is the apple equivalent of a service pack for OSX

Cylinsier said...

Mac didn't even change the name. They just put a noun in front of it, and then convinced Mac heads it was an adjective. I can't believe they gave it a new version number. It should be 10.5.01. But yeah, that move is two-fold. Mac had a bit of a backlash with Leopard and its problems much like Vista. They also probably feel the need to get something out there to compete with 7.

Lauren Kelly said...

Nice article. I personally am a mac user but my work laptop that I keep at home has vista on it. Seems fine to me.

Cylinsier said...

Thank you for the comment Lauren! See, I knew I wasn't the only one out there. Even the 32-bit version isn't horrible, just subject to some weird quirks, but the 64-bit one is a huge improvement over XP in my humble opinion.

Lori said...

I am not a geek and I can't tell the difference. My husband has XP and I have Vista. It came with my lap top I bought for school. It must be the way I drive.