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Vista Rebuttals (continued)

"Vista doesn't have anything new - what does it add that I can't do with XP?"

This is actually one of the most legitimate complaints against Vista, and it is partially true. Vista does have a lot of new "extras", like the Sidebar, but most of them are things that you could add to XP via various third-party applications. There are some legitimately new features, like full-system voice control and DirectX 10, but a lot of folks will never use them (for one reason or another). For people who have XP-based systems now and are considering upgrading this is something to note: you probably don't "need" to upgrade to get some new killer app. However, it isn't a good reason to stick with an older OS on a new computer either.

"Where did the File menu go in Internet Explorer/Media Player go? I miss it..."

Believe it or not, a lot of online things I've been reading complain about this. It would be a very valid point, if it weren't so amazingly easy to fix! Just press "Alt" and the file menu bar magically appears - and if you want to keep it there forever that is easy too. In IE7 just right-click on the file menu and select "Menu Bar"; for Media Player, just press Crtl-M.

"My programs seem to run slower in XP than they did in Vista! What's up?"

Because of all the new stuff Vista has going on in the background, there is an increased level of overhead (CPU and RAM usage) compared to Windows XP. This can lead to some applications performing slower, though I've found that if one has a multi-core CPU and decent amount of memory (2GB+) the differences are minimal. Games also had issues with lower performance early on, but this has largely been dealt with through updated drivers for video cards since Vista's release.

One specific example that has not been fixed yet is zip file performance. In both XP and Vista, the ability to zip and unzip compressed .zip files has been built into the file explorer system. For some reason, Vista is a lot slower about this than XP was - and both are slower than most third-party applications. I don't know why exactly this is, but I have noticed that it depends a lot on the number of files in the compressed folder. I ran a quick test earlier today and a single 5.8MB .exe file in a zipped folder only took 5 seconds to uncompress. Compare that to the 75 seconds that it took to uncompress 5.6MB worth of 31 files of various formats and you can see what I mean. I don't do enough work with zipped folders for it to be an issue, but for folks who do I would suggest a free application like 7-Zip to make this less painful. And just for the record, using 7-Zip shortened both of the above tests to 3-4 seconds.

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Tags: Advice, Windows Vista
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