Windows Vista is Microsoft’s red-headed stepchild, or the crazy uncle no one wants to invite to parties. Folks look with nostalgia on Windows XP (and still use it more than any other operating system), and rave about Windows 7.
Vista is mostly forgotten by Microsoft, not talked about by the company and reviled by the public, which has been convinced that it’s the worst thing since unsliced bread. But that perception isn’t reality; Vista is a good, solid OS that has many things going for it. If you’re considering upgrading from Vista to Windows 7, read this first and see if it’s worth the upgrade price – you may decide to stick with Vista for some time yet.
Vista is Windows 7 with more polish. Many people still have trouble believing this, but Windows 7 is, at its core, Vista. The underlying engine is the same – Windows 7 just adds a lot of polish and refinement to the basic Vista underpinnings. That doesn’t mean the two products are twins; Windows 7 is faster and easier to use. But under the hood, they’ve got most of the same parts.
Vista is secure. Vista is a secure, properly locked-down OS. One of the innovations it introduced, for example, was User Account Control (UAC). UAC, although a pain in the neck at first with endless prompts, was a huge step up for security, and was refined over time to be less annoying.
Application compatibility is no longer a problem. One of the main problems Vista had from the outset was the way it broke many XP programs (one big reason was the security upgrades, like UAC). Microsoft promised broad compatibility, and didn’t deliver until later. But updates and service packs took care of most of those issues, and software companies eventually updated things like drivers. Now just about everything works with Vista.
Vista is stable. Vista has been used and tweaked for years all over the world. Most of the problems have been discovered and corrected, leading to a rock-solid OS that doesn’t crash often for most users.
Vista saves money. You cannot directly upgrade to Windows 7 from XP, meaning that the Windows 7 upgraders are coming from Vista. But Windows 7 upgrades start at $119.99 for the bottom-end Home Premium, all the way up to $299.99 for the top-of-the-line Ultimate Edition. It may be hard for many to justify the increased cost for Windows 7, when Vista does many of the same things, and does them well.
- Vista will be supported for almost two more years. Mainstream support for Vista continues until April 10, 2012, and extended support (available to business customers, but not consumers) goes for another five years after that.
Ultimately, whether you move away from Vista depends on your needs and budget. But, despite Windows 7’s many advantages, Vista is still a good OS that will serve you well if you decide to keep the status quo.