Thursday, March 20, 2008

New PC - thoughts on Vista

So I bought a new PC. It's a Gateway GT5628 with QuadCore Q6600 processor, 3GB RAM, 500 GB 7200 RPM 16 MB cache HD. Pretty high end specs for a computer that I'll mainly use for browsing the Web, checking my e-mail, and doing my finances on Quicken.


It came with Vista Home Premium and I decided I am going to try Vista a bit before deciding whether it deserves to get wiped and replaced with XP. I'll probably keep it and suffer or dual-boot just so I can play around with DirectX 10 though. Some initial impressions of Vista:

  1. I had Vista only a couple days before SP1 came out. The SP1 install took a long time to download and a long time to install but it's the first time I've done such a huge update with multiple reboots where I could start it up and pretty much walk away and not have the computer sit there "waiting" for me to click "Yes Reboot" or OK continue.
  2. Vista (or maybe the preloaded Google Desktop software) seems to be nearly constantly throttling my harddrive. I'm getting 1-2% CPU usage but out of the box, the computer was agonizingly slow until I let is sit thrashing for about 24 hours to perform whatever drive indexing it needed to do before it would let me actually do anything productive.
  3. The new AERO Glass interface looks nice but seems to take up a lot of room with unused space while providing reduced functionality (you have a big unused clear pane at the top of the explorer windows but no longer a useful title bar or menus).
  4. I've decided the new "start" menu is great to use from a keyboard (type and search to run) but absolutely 100% worthless to use with a mouse. Navigation is a horror with multiple clicks to descend through the levels of nested start menus. The old XP "start" menu is bad but at least it's useable if you clean things up. Using the Vista start menu with a mouse is a total joke.
  5. UAC. Yep it's pretty annoying. Especially when you have to click it multiple times to do something very simple. Not to mention even with clicking OK through countless UAC pop-ups, somehow Vista wouldn't let me change the "icon" for a folder on the shared desktop. I had to make a folder in the user's documents and change the icon there and then copy the folder to the shared desktop.
  6. Disk Defrag - MS really neutered this program for Vista. They simplified it down to a single button with no display. You can't chose which disk to defrag (it's all-your-drives-or-none) so you're pretty much S-O-L if you just need to defrag a single drive. Plus there is no visible feedback to the program. XP's defrag had a display showing before and after defragmentation and a progress bar that would at least try to guess (if sometimes wildly incorrectly) how much progress had been made and how much time remained.

Well, that's all I have from playing with Vista for just a couple days but I'm sure I'll have more to post. From a User Perspective, I didn't really see much new that I liked other than the keyboard search on the start menu (which is negated by the mouse navigation of the start menu). So far, Vista basically feels like a slower, more annoying version of XP with a slightly prettier interface.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Not with a ten foot pole... I benchmarked VS builds under Vista and XP and Vista costs nearly half again the time XP does.

That constant disk abuse also continues even on a laptop running on battery. It does stop after a while, but it later returns for several hours at a go.