These and more such questions are on every computer user’s mind. Windows Vista packs in a lot more features than Windows XP did and most of these are targeted at making the user experience better. For the casual user, though, it may not mean much. “I use my computer for emailing, chatting and browsing the Internet. I am not sure if Vista will improve my life at all,” says Tosha Chitrodia, a homemaker.
And it’s not just the casual users who seem unexcited. Business users may just be burdened with the change considering they will have to eventually upgrade. The main changes from Windows XP include an updated graphical user interface and a new visual style called Aero (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open). Essentially, it makes Vista look better with transparent backgrounds and applications and adds some ‘eye candy’ to Windows’ hitherto drab interface.
Vista also includes improved search features that will make sifting through hundreds of files and folders easier. In addition, it also gives users the ability to create DVDs more easily and connect to other computers making it easier to share files and digital media between computers and devices.
So far so good. But what about the security issues that have long been the Achilles heel of Windows operating systems (OS)? Making Vista secure has been one of the primary reasons for its delayed launch. Despite all its claims, though, recent reports have pointed to vulnerabilities in Vista that can be easily exploited.
Indrajit Chikhlikar runs a design company and is not sure if he is ready to fully adopt Vista just yet. “We need to ensure there is support and compatibility for all the applications we need to use. More than that, it’s too steep a price to pay for just eye-candy.”
But he has installed it on a couple of computers in his office and has tested it out. “We have had Vista running on two machines since the last Beta version was released. To be fair, it’s not too bad. But we will wait till we are sure of support and more positive reports on security before we make the full switch,” he says.
So what does Vista offer the average user? The eye-candy is perhaps the most compelling reason anyone would consider upgrading to Vista. For long, Windows users have looked at Mac OS longingly, hoping for similar features and good looks, not to mention ease of use. Vista would perhaps be the answer. For the common user, though, that may not be enough. “Just good looks are not enough. I would like to see if it makes my experience on the Internet more secure,” says Tosha.
Anyone who has bought a Windows computer after November 2006 would have seen a sticker on it proclaiming it to be “Vista ready”. Even this has two further bifurcations: Vista Capable and Vista Premium Ready. This means two things: an upgrade to the XP licence is available when Vista launches and the hardware on the computer you bought is good enough to run it. But what about those who don’t have this coveted sticker? Too bad, there’s no other option but for you to go back and buy a new one with Vista loaded on it.
The Windows Vista Starter is meant for India and other emerging markets and is limited in capabilities. It will work only on AMD’s Duron, Sempron and Geode processors, and Intel’s Celeron and Pentium III.