The Windows Vista Monster Review

Windows Vista Explorer / User Interface Review

The Good

The big thing in Vista is the look. While that’s public enough knowledge, there are some subtle changes that have happened since the start of the RC1-branches builds that have greatly enhanced the quality and perfection of Windows Vista’s visual effects. Prior to RC1 branches, Vista’s (in)famous ‘Aurora’ theme was overdone and exuded of nostalgia and clutter. Comparing the old Aurora and MCE ‘stage’ of previous builds to the new Aurora effect. The difference is very subtle, but the effect is colossal.

Other effects such as the copy/move/delete dialogs have undergone major enhancements, while ‘heavy’ animations such as Flip3D and the alt-tab sequence have undergone heavy improvements since the original, with anti-aliasing added in subsequent builds and ending with the perfected Flip3D of RC1 with it’s 8x anti-aliasing effect and anisotropic filtering.

Windows Vista has nice new effects all over the place, when you’re maximizing windows, booting up, shutting down, or looking for some nifty widgets to tell you the time, take notes on, or check out the weather. Glass has finally been improved, as can be seen by comparing the old and the new versions of Windows Media Player 11.

A user interface is something far bigger than just pretty icons and flashy effects, it’s the whole way that the operating system interacts with the user and vice versa. Windows Vista puts a whole new spin on the way an operating system works. It may not be Windows 95 all over again, but Windows Vista can be seen as the “evolution finale” of the graphic desktop. Windows XP was “GUI-Complete” in that one didn’t have to touch the CLI to make things work, unlike Windows 2000 or any and all flavors of Linux, but there were always things like the registry to deal with.

Vista has put a lot more control in the hands of the user, almost any feature can be tweaked and modified to one’s liking, whether it’s the desktop, the audio controller, hard drives, or anything in between; the entire interface to modifying certain parts of the OS has been overhauled and is much easier to use. But again, it’s not perfect. Being able to change tint & opacity of window borders isn’t everything.

The Bad

Vista RC1 may finally be feature-complete and comfortable to use with everything tied in, but its UI is almost the total opposite. Some aspects of Windows Vista feature a “bars” UI such as Windows Mail with it’s blue bars across the front, and the “balls” that include Windows Media Player and Windows Photo Gallery that are made up of a see-through control bars at the bottom and large, circular control buttons in a bar. Then there’s Aero Express with it’s largely boxy & opaque sky-blue appearance, and then you have MCE with it’s dark blue theme with the really nice rollover effects. Each is, in its own right, a decent enough display, but they don’t really fit together the way one would expect for the default programs that ship with a single OS.

This post on Teching it Easy best explained the mess behind the GUI disunity present in Windows Vista, ever since the “improved” Aero Express theme was launched. But if that was all that was wrong with Vista’s GUI, it’s not a problem. We’ll get used to it the same we got use to the ghastly and garish bright blue of Windows XP (not Royale Blue of MCE!). But it’s not.

The bigger problem is in how Vista makes everything just a hair’s-width too far. Checking available wireless networks requires right clicking the icon in the taskbar, opening the Network and Sharing Center, and choosing to connect to a new network. 4 steps. In XP it was just a double-click away. In Linux it’s right there on the desktop (well, it depends on the flavor, but you get the gist). It’s the same with uninstalling programs, changing the system time, or modifying virtually anything in Windows Vista. It’s easy, it’s all in the same place, it’s all very powerful, and it’s all just a bit too far for comfort.

In earlier builds UAC/LUA was a nightmare to use, but in RC1-branches it almost never comes in the way, and when it does, it’s worth it. But that doesn’t mean that RC1 is suddenly power-user friendly. To the contrary, Vista provides a hell of a lot more features for tweaking, but at the same time, it makes performing any advanced changes to the OS beyond what’s already available quite a painful process. The Control Panel has been revamped, it has a lot more power, but nevertheless, for power users there will be a bit of exasperation involved.

59 thoughts on “The Windows Vista Monster Review

  1. Every other operating system, than Windows Vista is crap!

    I like it as clear and simple as Vista is!

    Oh and 99% of software is only Windows capable, so why should i use some linux/unix/apple/mac anyways???

  2. Linux is alot easier to use than you may think. I would let my grandma use the latest distros (and thats saying ALOT). Still not perfect (a command prompt is useful to get things done quickly and efficiently. This may be intimidating to some.) Vista, when you get down to it, is still windows. It uses alot of the same code as XP but with more “features” tacked on top. This new code is untested and, I am sure, full of back doors. The only reason MS is still in business is because of a few slip-ups by other companies (most notably Apple for losing that case way back when and IBM for not buying MS) OSX is very easy to use and I would say its the perfect blend of simplicity, power, security and stability. I have used all three products extensively (though currently use linux because i love programming). If MS produces a good product, I will shut up but until then, seriously, they need to get on the ball and innovate a little.

  3. Robig, you see the problem, don’t you?

    Since the world uses MS, you have to too. At least if you want to make a living.
    If you plan on working for a desktop software developer, 99 times out of a 100, you’re going to be required to work on Windows, because that’s what your audience is.

    The reason MS and Windows are still on the top is because they won the game quickly and from the very beginning. For every OS X application you can find, there are 2000 Windows programs.

    In computing, where it’s all about standards, the one that can take over fastest wins.

  4. I just installed Vista for an old lady across the street from me, got her computer set up, and installed a printer and some other hardware.  This was the first time I’ve touched Vista.  I have to say…it’s slow, bloated, doesn’t seem to add much new from XP, and the hardware support absolutely sucks.  That’s right, I spent way more time than I needed to over there struggling to get the damn printer installed.  It should have been easy.  It is on XP.  I won’t even go into the problems I had with installing the wireless card or the terrible network center interface.

    I hated it.

  5. I have to agree Jacob, those are the same weak points I experienced in Windows Vista myself.

    But I think the rest is good though, no?

  6. Wtf are you idiots bagging vista for? It uses less cpu power thanks to the new gui which can be turned off, but why the hell would you? Most *nix OS’s have around 30 accounts, why are people saying it has 1000? Vista has around 20 itself. People who are unwilling to test it but will bag it out by comparing it to something stupid that doesn’t exist anyway are moronic.

    Hilarious quote from comment #1: the colors should not make eyes to ake

    He evidently can’t spell “colour”; and he doesn’t realise the colours are easily changeable – something you notice when you test the OS.

  7. You seem not to know your language very well, otherwise you could tell some common differences between British English and American English, one of them says “color”, the other one “colour”…

    Anyway, do you also have something valuable to tell?

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