I finally took the plunge about 2 months ago and upgraded my personal home desktop computer to Windows Vista. The term "upgrade" isn't entirely accurate in this case though, as I actually built myself a new computer. While my existing PC was almost 5 years old, a Windows XP monster of a machine, and more than sufficient for all of my basic needs, I really was overdue, especially as an I.T. professional who prides himself on staying in touch with all the latest techie stuff.
Buying a new computer from a major dealer isn't an option for me, as I pride myself in building my own, part by part. Building a PC from scratch is definitely not for everyone, but I've always done so and this time was going to be no different. Personally, it's a hobby I enjoy, and more importantly, I love knowing exactly what is being placed inside my PC in case something goes wrong.
So..Being in the I.T. field I figured I finally better see first hand what all the hub-bub was about concerning Vista, as well as put the system through my own tech-gauntlet to see if all the of the negative hype was truly justified.
I'm happy to report that my Vista experience has been phenomenal.
This new behemoth of a machine literally blows through anything I throw at it, specifically multiple tasks. The bootup time is lightening fast, the slick nature of the visuals is extremely impressive, and the overall aspect of the changes definitely raised my eyebrows.
I sat and wondered, "how can this be? shouldn't it have crashed or screwed up something by now??"
I mean we all probably have seen the numerous negative reviews online, the many personal comments from people we know who have "tried it", or read the magazine articles comparing Vista to Microsoft's horrid Windows ME operating system. You start to wonder at this point, am I just a lucky one?
Frankly...I don't think I was lucky. I just think I was smarter than the average retail company or user....and I think my method of building a system from scratch proves why it's been so bad for Vista and for so many others.
Ya see I researched. I read. I scoured the online forums and websites trying to figure out how to avoid such a potential disaster with Vista. How? Simple, very simple:
I specifically built my machine with known VISTA compatible parts. That's right, I sought out and made sure to buy parts that were Vista Certified. One other MAJOR key so many manufacturers get wrong with Vista is MEMORY.
Windows Vista is a HOG, a GIANT 800lb PIG, when it comes to system resources. I am constantly amazed when I run across a laptop or personal computer of someone who bought a shiny new Vista computer, only to discover it shipped with 512MB of MEMORY. 512MB!?!?!? Windows VISTA?!?!!?
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? 512MB?!?!?! WINDOWS VISTA?!?!?!
Companies SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED to manufacture and sell Vista machines with less than 2GB. That's right, 2 GIGA-BYTES!!!!! It's a travesty that Vista machines are being sold with less.
I literally just worked on a laptop, manufactured by a major brand name, that only had 512MB of memory. IN-SANE. I turned that thing on and I might as well have come back 24 hours later, as that's when the desktop would come up. Disgusting.
So, to come full circle, what should you be concerned about if you are considering an upgrade to Vista? Maybe your XP machine has seen it's day, maybe you just need a new toy, or maybe you just have no other choice?
Here's a few simple hints on how to properly convert yourself to the "Vista Experience":
1. CHANGE IS HERE - You must first accept the fact that Windows Vista is going to be a change from what you have been used to. It's not entirely different than previous version of Windows, but believe me...it's different in ways that will drive you loony if you are not prepared. For example: the START BUTTON is gone, replaced by a simple logo. Windows Explorer looks eerily like Apple's OS. Catch my drift? Little nuances like that will unglue your brain if you are not willing to accept that Microsoft changed a few things here and there. Overall, if you face that fact, and enjoy learning something new, you will find Vista quite appealing.
2. MEMORY...REPEAT AFTER ME...MEMORY....2 GIGA-BYTES OR MORE OF MEMORY!!! If you want any chance at a successful experience with Vista, throw as much memory as you can at it. 2GB, 3GB, or even 4GB. The sheer performance increase going from 512MB or even 1GB to 2GB or more is astounding.
3. FORGET ABOUT UPGRADING an old machine, including a fairly new Windows XP Machine. Save yourself a headache and don't attempt an upgrade. Either buy a new machine or, if you are a techie, build your own. First off, upgrading a machine is sometimes a death sentence. There's too many intangibles that could render your PC useless or you may fudge the upgrade and wipe everything....I've seen it, believe me. Personally, I think this is the # 1 reason Vista failed at launch. Too many people thought they could upgrade an old PC with a shiny new version of Vista and didn't realize their HARDWARE was outdated or didn't have enough MEAT to properly run Vista (the way it was meant to run). If your XP machines does what you need it to do and is fast enough for you, STICK WITH IT. If you still want to upgrade, trust me, give the old XP machine to a family member and buy a new computer that's already Vista ready.
4. PROCESSOR(CPU) - Get yourself a QUAD-CORE processor. You future proof yourself, even if only for a few years, and you WILL notice the difference while multi-tasking. Having multiple windows, browsers, programs, etc, will be almost instant. If you can only find a DUAL-CORE cpu, that's ok too, but again, shoot for a PC with integrated QUAD-CORE technology.
5. VIDEO CARD - If you want all the shiny bells and whistles, make sure the PC has video that can handle the Vista Aero Interface. While they do sell Vista in a "BASIC" version....ask yourself, why the heck even upgrade? If you want the true VISTA experience, make sure the video solution for the PC can handle Vista's slick new interface.
Other key items which may not be entirely necessary to enjoy the Vista experience would be a nice decent sized hard drive for all of your data, maybe a 19 inch or higher LCD monitor, and why not a cool surround sound set of speakers? While not entirely necessary, you can truly benefit from such additional considerations.
There you have it. If you do your homework, whether you build your own machine or buy from a vendor, make sure to feed Windows Vista LOTS of memory. Also, prepare yourself for some "change" and a bit of a minor learning curve in getting used to the new features. But once you do, moving over to Vista is quite a refreshing breath of fresh air. It's been a great experience for me so far and I would recommend Vista to anyone.