I had been thinking about Vista for a while. On the one hand, I was pretty happy with XP. It's stable. My software all works with it. It's comfortable. I didn't really have any reason to go to Vista. I looked at the Microsoft website and couldn't even figure out what advantages it might offer. It promised things like "make your computer do more for you". Ah, could you be a little more specific? The improved graphics sounded cool, but it would be a year before many games were written for DirectX 10, and six months before graphics cards that supported it were a decent price. An nVidia 8800XTX goes for about a $1000S around here.
But in the end, I figured that I was getting behind. With time to spend to learn it, I really didn't have any excuse for being a generation behind in my knowledge of Windows. So I decided to take the plunge.
I went down to Sim Lim Square, which is the big computer mall here in Singapore. They have everything there. I shopped around and got a good deal - $140 S for a full version of Vista. I am pretty sure it is a real copy, not bootleg. OTOH, I suspect that it might have been an OEM version.
Installing Vista was pretty quick. It doesn't let you keep any data or programs, but I wouldn't have anyway. I wanted to start with a clean slate. I found Vista drivers for my onboard LAN, my graphics card and my sound card. That was about all that I needed. While I was at it I added a gigabyte of RAM to bring my system up to 2Gb. I had heard Vista was a memory hog.
I had trouble loading some of my games at first. Then I found out that it doesn't load DirectX at all when you load the OS. I don't understand that at all. Once I loaded it, most of my games work.
I originally intended to use my Vista system for games. I have a second system which still runs XP which I felt I could depend on even if Vista didn't work very well. I backed everything up to my laptop and rebuilt my XP system as well. I was really starting fresh! Now it looks like my temporary setup with both computers at my desk has become semipermanent.
I had heard about the Aero interface and seen pictures of the flip 3D and it looked really cool. I tried it and sure enough, it was cool. But I have found that even though I run with lots of programs open that's not how I switch among them. It does look cool but it's not all that useful. But at least it always gives you something to show someone the first time they see Vista.
No, I hate to admit it, but I just like the Aero interface look. But you need the full Aero interface. Shannon got a new laptop, but because of graphics limitations she can only run a partial Aero interface. She can do the flip, but she doesn't get the nice fade in and fade out of windows or the glass borders. They are totally useless, but after using my new system my old XP just looks ugly. I find that I moved more and more programs to my Vista system and only use XP when I have to.
All is not perfect. My system crashes about every other day. But hey, BSOD is kind of nostalgic. They were even good enough to keep the screeen blue. And I have two important programs that can't run for any length of time without crashing the system. NAV will always crash before it can do a full scan. And iTunes will usually crash within an hour. Maybe it's a comment on the kind of music that I listen to.
But I am going to stick with it. And I am slowly learning to use some of the new stuff. But if you are thinking about Vista, don't even consider it unless you have the graphics to support Aero. If you aren't sure, there are lots of websites that will let you download an analysis program that will tell you whether your system has sufficient capability.