From what I can tell, the general opinion of Windows Vista is that it sucks. And to be honest, when I first tried Vista on my Dell laptop, I also thought it sucked. It was slow, it crashed all the time, and I couldn’t see any compelling reason to upgrade my desktop system from XP.
But a couple months ago I bought a new desktop system that came pre-loaded with Vista, and much to my surprise, I like it. I’ll be the first to admit it’s not the slightest bit revolutionary, but I still like it better than XP.
Of course, getting it pre-installed on a new system with Vista-compatible hardware is a big reason it’s more reliable for me than it was. One of the things that hurt Vista out of the gate was poor driver support. In particular, buggy graphics drivers destabilized the OS, leading many people (myself included) to revert back to XP.
Now that I’m running Vista on a decent system, I find it even more reliable than XP. And now that I’ve had enough time to explore the “new” OS, I’m finding a lot of things I like.
So what’s my favorite Vista feature? It makes my software look better (yeah, I’m vain). The latest versions of FeedDemon look so much nicer on Vista than they do on the cartoony XP – especially the FeedDemon 2.8 Beta, which adds a number of Vista-specific UI improvements. I cringe every time I have to test FeedDemon on XP because it looks crappy by comparison.
As an aside, I noticed a huge lack of developer interest in Vista, which certainly hurt it as much as buggy drivers did. When Windows 95 was released all those years ago, developers couldn’t wait to come out with versions of their software that took advantage of all the features in the new OS. But how many developers came out with Vista-specific versions of their products as soon as Vista was released? Very few – and those that did often did so only to make their software play nice with Vista’s annoying UAC. New Microsoft operating systems just aren’t as exciting to developers as they used to be.
OK, back to the point: while Vista deserves some of the criticism it receives, overall I think it gets a bad rap. It should have been much better than it is, but it’s still an improvement over previous Windows releases.