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Home » Software Reviews and Comparison

My Personal Windows Vista Experience (so far)

Submitted by on Monday, 14 July 2008No Comment

I thought sharing my experience would somehow enlighten some of the new users of Windows Vista. I must admit though, at first i was hesitant to publicly share my experience with Vista, bearing in mind that if you can’t say good things about a certain topic then you shouldn’t say anything at all. However, as Vista matures and become sufficiently stable i think it would be fair enough if i give some due credits to this futuristic operating system (OS). After all, i’m getting used to the functionalities of Vista already and starting to like them. =)

directx

You see, I upgraded my year old laptop just about 8 months just Vista came out in public. And guess what happened… it was wreck havoc! i got it installed in my Toshiba Satellite M100 Notebook having a dual core processors with an initial 512 MB of RAM and a low-end GPU. Initially, it was bundled with Windows XP Home Edition (as part of the package when i bought it) and then eventually decided to make an upgrade to Windows Vista Ultimate Edition. At first, I thought the “Windows Vista Capable” logo patched on the palm rest of my laptop was fairly enough to make such an upgrade decision. But i was totally wrong. You have to consider the minimum recommended system requirements set for every Windows Vista Product before you think about upgrading your current PC. And for Home Premium / Business / Ultimate Vista versions, you need to satisfy this recommended system requirements (as seen on Microsoft Website) or else you expect/witness a slow pc performance (the same experience i had before.)

1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 GB of system memory -> the more memory the better!
40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
Support for DirectX 9 graphics with:
WDDM Driver
128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
32 bits per pixel
DVD-ROM drive
Audio Output
Internet access (fees may apply)

While I was waiting for my order of RAM DDR2 PC667 Memory to arrive courtesy from my sister who bought my SDRAM 2GB in singapore for about SGD$179 (i.e. 179*30 =PHP5370 – yes it was still expensive), I got to experience the Windows ReadyBoost, one of the built-in functions available in Windows Vista Ultimate. I had this feature set to automatic “on” in my laptop during boot up.

“Windows Vista introduces Windows ReadyBoost, a new concept in adding memory to a system. You can use non-volatile flash memory, such as that on a universal serial bus (USB) flash drive, to improve performance without having to add additional memory “under the hood.” – Microsoft Website

3_09performance_04

For a while, it gave a significant system responsiveness in my laptop. I had to use full 2GB flash drive storage for this readyboost feature to work smoothly on my laptop as i was crying for its initial speed. Soon after, i have my SDRAM 2GB installed which summed up to 2.5GB worth of available speed for use (2GB + 512 MB). Now, I got the speed and response that i needed but it wasn’t really that satisfying – well to me at least. But somehow i could say it is now tolerable… much better unlike before. On a side note, it appears to me that Vista really likes memory, and the more you can feed in your machine the happier you’ll be. So maybe i’ll try to purchase another set of 2GB to reach around 4GB, but by the time i have reached this end, a new series of laptops would have been introduced in the market especially the 64-bit ones. So, I guess i would just have to wait for the prices to mark down a bit. =)
Back then, I was undoubtedly excited to witness as how Windows Aero could bring a new level on my desktop experience. Needless to say, i also get a lot of other OS features bundled with this product like the BitLocker Drive Encrytion( full disk encryption feature – w/c is still under my experimentation), the pre-enabled shadowing (you can retrieve old files if you lose/overwrite them accidentally), Windows Dreamscene (nice 3D-moving desktop wallpaper), the new IIS7 (for web applications development), backing up feature which was better replacement for ntbackup and other cool functionalities which can only be found in this edition.

One improvement to Vista i noticed since my last update was this unfavorable characteristic of Vista when it comes to file copying and file transfers (especially when copying multiple files). I had this problem for over several months and somehow they managed to improve it as i did my weekly/monthly security updates.

Program Compatibilities & Hardware Issues

One of the early problems i got with Windows Vista Ultimate was the set of installed programs and drivers which i needed to update to comply with the Vista operating system. Not to mention, the business applications built on these programs have to be tested as well. It was such a huge headache -at least for me since i got to test every running application to this OS. If you were a business applications developer/ programmer like myself you need to seek extra time and effort to retest all the applications you’ve created. I ran a bunch of programs which consisted entirely non-microsoft products-> Lotus Notes Domino, Oracle, Sybase, TOAD, Adobe, Cognos BI, Java, NetBeans, Antivirus, etc. The good thing about these past few months is the growing number of Vista users and support coming from these 3rd-party vendors. As a result, a lot of references/fixes can be referred anytime when system crashes unexpectedly or glitches appear on screen.

One of the most commonly asked questions is about UAC (short for User’s Account Control). I know a lot of developers like myself turn this off especially when installing programs and doing administrative tasks like a simple copy/paste function on their PCs. And sometimes this gets to be annoying when doing multitasking so i turn it off (- see those dialog box that appears every time) . But when connected to internet as much as possible I turn it on as i heard from Microsoft Media that this is security feature that must be in place in your PC. Bear in mind that viruses, malware and spywares roam around the internet so this is a must thing to do -> Set UAC ON! But for as long as you know what you are doing, then its your right to disable it although most experts would advice not to set this off as damage can be done especially if virus attacks to your system without warning. Instead, you can try and use Tweak UAC Program ( download TweakUAC) to manage UAC. Just select Option 2 :“Switch UAC to the quiet mode”. By doing this, prompts can be minimize on certain level of privilege, plus you don’t risk your computer’s full security feature. This can be an alternative to disabling UAC.

tweakuac-main-screen

  • Turn UAC off – Disable UAC completely and system will no longer display any elevation permission prompt anymore. User accounts with administrator rights will run with full administrative credentials.
  • Switch UAC to the quiet mode – Suppress “Windows needs your permission to continue” privileges elevation prompt. When administrator users attempt to do an administrative task, the task will be allowed to proceed automatically without prompting. However, all other features of UAC is still enabled and enforced, such as the programs will run with the standard user permissions by default, and the standard users will still see the elevation prompts as quite mode only works for the administrator accounts only.
  • Leave UAC on – Restore or switch back on UAC to the original behavior of UAC.

There seemed to be a lot conversation about this in the community. Just want to share this video i got from youtube video. Something

As my final words, if you have a relatively new machine with high-end hardware specifications and lots of RAM in it, then I think Windows Vista is a fine OS for you, even good for a developer or a gamer. But if your machine is more than a few months old, has less than 2 gigs of RAM or has an older GPU, I’d recommend to stay with XP Professional … Wait til you get a better machine. (*** Think about investing! ) Who knows you might be jumping up to Windows 7 already but that’s another story! =)


(For those living in Manila, Philippines, I still have one original Windows Vista Business and one Windows XP Professional. Prices are negotiable subject to change with the dollar rate. Just message me privately for the prices – Many Thanks.)

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