Posted by: Ian | September 16, 2008

Why you should use Vista

A little background first.  I started running Vista back when it was RC0.  Running it on a laptop with 1.5GB of RAM and a single core CPU, it was a tad slow but still usable.  However most things didn’t work as expected.

Fast forward to the release of SP1 for Vista.  At this point better hardware driver support for mainstream devices and the fall in prices of RAM and HDDs.  Along with this SP1 patched numerous problems and essentially made Vista work as it should when it was released.

A lot of people still bag Vista as a ‘bloated’ and ‘slow’.  These people are either running it on low spec machines or still talking about SP1.  As a minimum (And really why run anything less) you should be running a dual core CPU and at least 3GB ram (4GB+ and x64 Vista would be best) to get the best out of Vista.

Once running on decent hardware Vista and SP1 Vista is hard to bag any longer.  It really does fly.  There are a lot of comments about how much RAM Vista uses, when explained why it makes sense.


Vista Features

Vista has a feature called Superfetch, this is what takes up most of your RAM.  This feature is also in XP however it’s rubbish and doesn’t work properly.  What happens is Vista intelligently ‘caches’ (Pre-loads in simple terms) applications into RAM.  This means if you open multiple versions of Word for example it loads practically instantly as it doesn’t require loading from the HDD.  Further from this the more you use Vista the more it ‘remembers’ what applications you run on any given day.  So for example if on Mondays you use Word and Excel a lot it will cache these so they load instantly, cool!

Sleep mode is another awesome feature which finally works properly.  Instead of shutting your computer completly down it puts it into a super low power mode.  This means when you next come to use your machine it takes a couple of seconds to power up and back into your desktop!  No more waiting for Windows to boot!

Better backup and restore.  Vistas backup and restore are also something special.  There are 3 levels to it.  One is it can backup your entire computer, even while your working on it.  Secondly you can backup individual files/folders.  Thirdly it stores versions of documents and version states of your machine.  This last bit needs a bit more explaining.

When you make a change to a document, Vista automatically saves the changes.  So if you overwrite your CV you can revert back to a previous version.  You can even view the previous documents to see if its the right one before restoring it!!  Vista also does the same for your entire computer.  It makes a restore point before and after you install an application so you if you break your machine you can restore it back.

Another thing to remember about Vista is it isn’t hardware dependent.  So if you use the full machine backup you can restore it to any computer regardless of hardware.  Very handy if you have a laptop die and you need to load it up on a new one.

Windows search v4.0 is a massive improvement over previous versions.  Gone is the ‘run’ box from the start bar (You can still press the windows key + r) and in it’s place is the Search box.  Vista by default indexes files and folders on your machine (It can do network shares also).  So instead of clicking all over the place to find documents or applications, just start typing in the name of the app and apps and docs will start to appear, much quicker than clicking through folders.

There are a lot of other things Vista does better than XP, but they are really small and mostly cosmetic things.  In general though with the addition of SP1 it has become a solid and fully featured OS.  I personally after running XP and Ubuntu for a long time won’t be touching another OS until Windows 7.


  1. I’m glad I’m not the only person to have seen the benefits, particularly now I’ve ramped up to 4Gb RAM!

  2. I just dont see the point. There is not much to gain by running Vista compared to XP. Vist eats a lot more memory and cpu. No matter how much memory you have, you would have more if you running XP.

    I waiting to upgrade until the next version that will take over after Vista.

  3. yep I agree. great at home on a Pentium D and 3gig ram.

    xp at work on the core2duo laptop as it only supports 2gig ram. but i might try it again…

  4. @ Venapro

    XP uses more CPU and RAM than Win98 does that mean you shouldn’t use XP??

    Of course a new OS is going to use more resources than the previous that’s kind of a given. If there wasn’t any benefit to the extra resource use i’d agree with you, but Vista does everything XP does, much more and does it better!

    Also Windows 7 is going to require at least the sames specs as Vista to run if not more anyway. Personally I don’t see any point in waiting for Windows 7 as Vista SP1 is now a solid product and finally it’s worth upgrading to.

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