Back At Louderback: Why I'm Sticking With Windows Vista - InformationWeek

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8/21/2007
12:42 AM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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Back At Louderback: Why I'm Sticking With Windows Vista

Outgoing PC Magazine editor Jim Louderback has caused quite a stir with his column slamming Vista. Me, I'm sticking with Microsoft's glitzy, though resource-hogging, operating system.

Outgoing PC Magazine editor Jim Louderback has caused quite a stir with his column slamming Vista. Me, I'm sticking with Microsoft's glitzy, though resource-hogging, operating system.Louderback's criticism centers on what he sees as big problems with Vista's sleep mode and with the way it handles network connectivity. Here's his money quote:

"The upshot is that even after nine months, Vista just ain't cutting it. I definitely gave Microsoft too much of a free pass on this operating system: I expected it to get the kinks worked out more quickly. Boy, was I fooled! If Microsoft can't get Vista working, I might just do the unthinkable: I might move to Linux."

Of course, the Slashdot crowd is in a tizzy. Some posters have even gone so far as to suggest that it's easy for Louderback to slam Microsoft now that he's moving on to a new Web 2.0 job. (He's leaving PC Magazine to become CEO of online video site Revision3.)

Louderback replies on Slashdot (here), saying that he "didn't leave because I was sick of pandering to Windows, or any of those other suggestions. PCMag has always been, and will continue to be, independent. The editors there make the best decisions about products based on their voluminous knowledge and experience, not because of advertisers. Witness the strong Mac-based reviews recently, for example."

OK, so we'll stipulate that editors don't pull their punches. Still, it's interesting to note that the conversational imperative of the Web makes for more of these from-the-gut columns than we had in the old days of the monolithic media.

As for me, I respectfully disagree with Louderback. Here are five big reasons I'm sticking with Vista:

  • Aero GUI. Sure, it's consumer-y and Mac-like, but so what. Kids love it; heck, I love it. With Aero, Vista has a professional user interface, and it just makes working on your PC a more pleasant experience.

  • Excellent admin tools. Here's an area I touched on in my recent article, What To Do When Windows Vista Crashes: Little-Known Recovery Strategies. Vista's outfitted with impressive backup and recovery tools. It's also got a great problem-tracking tools, including a Reliability Monitor, which keeps a tally of all your Windows crashes, application failures, and hardware problems. Because most of this stuff lies below the surface and isn't apparent to the casual user, Microsoft hasn't received the credit it deserves for including these features.

  • Applications run just fine under Vista. The lack of apps compatibility has been one of the biggest criticisms of Vista. It's true that, when you're talking corporate adoption, that you want everything to be buttoned down and certified. It's also true that the Windows XP versions of many popular consumer apps don't run under Vista, and you have to get upgrades. However, most apps either run fine or are available in Vista versions.

    Here's a little secret: Many apps which aren't technically Vista-compatible run just fine. For example, my beloved, antediluvian copy of Adobe PhotoDeluxe Business runs just fine. I simply clicked past the incompatibility warning, which came up when I was installing it.

  • Ease of setup. Vista requires far less tweaking than one might guess, if you go by all the bitching and moaning one comes across on the Web. I suspect much of this is a remnant from the days of the early betas and release candidates, when Vista was indeed twitchy and prone to breakage. Not anymore. Which leads to my last item:

  • Stability. I know this one will come as a shock to all the Microsoft-bashers out there, but those of us who've been running Vista consistently on our main machines know that it's much more stable than is popularly believed. Indeed, my experience is that it's both less prone to crashes than Windows XP and more robust security-wise.

    Sure, there are many things about Vista that need work. (See my Top 5 Things About Windows Vista That Still Suck.)

    One of Louderback's main criticisms was that it's been nine months since Vista has been released, and still there are issues. I look at this as a glass-half-empty argument. I prefer to note how far Vista has come since its early release candidates.

    Microsoft is going to continue to patch it, and a service pack is on the way, though in typical Microsoft fashion, it's not clear exactly when it'll be released.

    So, which camp are you in? Is Vista still half-baked after nine months as Louderback opines, or are you sticking with it like I am?

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