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Vista Rebuttals (continued)

"Why are there so many different versions? Which do I need?"

This isn't so much a complaint about Vista itself, but about how Microsoft has chosen to break it up into a multitude of versions. Here I am in agreement with most of the folks who talk about this: it really shouldn't be necessary to have five separate editions of one operating system, and both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of each. Personally I think that most folks can ignore three of the options: only Home Premium and Ultimate are legitimate options for most folks. Home Premium has most of the functionality average users will want, but if things like better backup, remote login, and encryption appeal to you then go with Ultimate. Ultimate and Business are not very far apart in price, and Home Basic is so stripped down that is nearly worthless. Enterprise is the name of the fifth version, and I honestly don't even know what differs between it and the Business edition.

The whole 32-bit vs 64-bit argument also comes into play here, and as much as I wish Microsoft had just pushed straight for 64-bit-only on Vista that won't be a viable option until the vast majority of software and peripherals out there are designed to work properly with it. My thought is that anyone who really needs the additional memory support that 64-bit provides is probably spending enough on their computer that Ultimate would be the logical Vista version to go with. That leaves three "real" options to me for the vast majority of folks: 32-bit Home Premium, 32-bit Ultimate, and 64-bit Ultimate. It is also worth noting that if you purchase the retail version of Ultimate you get both 32- and 64-bit installation media - so you can use whichever works best for you.

"I've heard that Vista has a lot of bugs in it still - I don't want to mess with that!"

Based on my own experiences Vista doesn't seem any buggier than XP was, which is to say that the problems I've encountered are pretty few and far between. I've had Internet Explorer 7 crash a couple times if I had a ridiculous amount of tabs and downloads all going at once, but I didn't run IE7 on XP long enough to know if it is a universal issue or just limited to XP (it has also only ever happened on one of my computers, so it could be something limited to that system). I've run into other oddities in Windows Mail and Media Player on occasion, but nothing that couldn't be overcome or was any worse than XP.

A lot of folks around our office have had more issues than me, though, so there may be something to these claims. So far I've chalked it up to trying to run Vista on older hardware, but I've not done an extensive amount of testing. I guess I can only speak from my experience, which has been fine so far. Plus, Service Pack 1 should be arriving soon - and XP only got better with the upgrades it got.

Oh, I nearly forgot: whether more buggy or not, Vista at least tends to handle errors and program crashes more elegantly than XP and other previous Windows versions. Having just an application drop rather than then entire Windows environment freezing up is very nice, and I've not seen many bluescreens either (though they still exist).

"Vista won't work with [insert software title here]! Why did Microsoft break it?"

I have heard reports of some applications not working well with Vista (when they worked fine in XP). This can be due to a number of possible causes, but the long and the short of it is that most things that have problems can be fixed pretty easily. Vista has a "compatibility mode" option to try, and running programs in administrator mode can also solve a lot of things. There are still things that don't work properly - especially in the realm of audio editing - but in my opinion if software makers haven't fixed or updated their applications after Vista has been out for a year then the onus is on them. If you are stuck in an unfortunate situation where the programs you need to run won't work with Vista then feel free to stick with XP (better safe than sorry).

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Tags: Advice, Windows Vista

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