Dog on the ComputerI have heard a lot of criticism about Windows Vista, which has caused a lot of people to second guess whether they should make the upgrade. I have had both visitors of the site, family, and friends all ask me whether they should upgrade to Vista…and my response each time is “will you benefit from it?”

Personally I have made the upgrade because there are a lot of things in Vista, such as the Desktop Window Manager and search indexing, that made the upgrade worth it for me. I’m always keen on testing out the latest software and developments, so in order to do that I needed to make the upgrade to Vista.

Most of the time I tell people that it isn’t necessary for them to rush out and upgrade their operating system unless they are really adamant about getting it. In that case I try to caution people that they might have some software that doesn’t work quite right or possibly even some hardware troubles, but in the end things tend to go smoothly.

Last night I was reading a rather interesting post by Nik Cubrilovic, who is the CEO of Omnidrive and a writer on TechCrunch, about his experiences with Vista. For an entire year he was using Mac OS X for his primary operating system until all of a sudden he just couldn’t get it to boot. Then came the ultimate plunge…he decided to give Vista a shot:

I have been using Mac OS X as my primary OS for almost a year now, but last night I switched back [to Windows] … I can’t believe I didn’t switch back sooner, the main difference is that the interface is much much smoother and neater and despite popular belief performance is actually fantastic. I was used to waiting on Mac OS X while my standards apps would open up – Quicksilver, Firefox, Skype, etc. but Vista goes almost straight into the desktop and most apps boot very quickly.

I didn’t expect it to be like this, I didn’t want Vista to be this good – I was expecting to boot back into OS X and live happily ever after, but damn, this is one fast, slick and nice operating system. If you are a Mac user try it yourself, install boot camp and Vista and it will feel like you just added another CPU and doubled your RAM – I can’t see any evidence for any of the reports of Vista being slow or power-hungry.

In the past 15 years I have gone from DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Linux, OpenBSD, Windows 98, Windows 2000 (a nice OS for the time), XP, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and now Vista and working with Vista this weekend reminds me of the first time I ran an early preview of Mac OS X and spent an hour running my mouse across the dock (back in 2000).

He then dives deeper into the Mac OS X vs. Vista comparison pointing out the differences in Media Center/Frontrow, transferring settings, and handling media. This was a refreshing view on Vista after having read dozens of articles detailing why one should switch to Mac OS X, and in a comment on Nik’s site he mentioned why he wanted to write the article:

What actually spurred me into writing this is that I had read so much about Vista and most of those posts were negative, and I made the same mistake many others did and didn’t even try it out – it is by no means perfect but it is pretty damn good.

Paul Thurrott (a Windows guru) did make a good point though, and that is how Nik was running a year-old copy of Mac OS X and comparing that to a fresh install of Vista. After a fresh install nearly any operating system will probably seem to run lightning fast when comparing it to another that has gotten bogged down with a year’s worth of junk.

In another article by Paul he talks about the status of Vista after the first 100 days. In that article he covers both Vista sales and compatibility, and one paragraph really hit home for me:

What’s interesting is that Microsoft is caught in a Catch-22 in some ways. Customers want the company to innovate, but often don’t like the side effects of that work. For example, to make Windows Vista more visually exciting, Microsoft changed the graphics architecture, but then some users complained that their video cards were no longer compatible.

I hear complaints all the time about Microsoft not doing enough to “reinvent” the operating system, but the biggest concern for most customers is compatibility. Some say that Microsoft should scrap everything that they have and just start from scratch, but at the same time they want all of the previous applications and hardware to work perfectly. I often compare this kind of thing to gas mileage in cars where people want to get hundreds of miles to the gallon, but they don’t want to pay for the upgrades to receive the benefits.

I’m not trying to be a Windows evangelist here, but having used Vista for over a year (I tested Beta versions) now I can say that it is much better than XP. If you have tried Vista yourself how does it stack up to the other operating systems that you have used?

Read our complete Windows Vista review