Interface and Size
Vista is an operating system that has turned into an excuse for arguments amongst Internet trolls for the last two years. These arguments have slowly spilled out into mainstream society and have slowly turned everyone but the most “naive” of people into Vista-haters. But is the hate justified? Has Microsoft made a product that is so horrible that it’s practically impossible to use? Let’s dive deeper into the issue as we explore where Windows 7 is going and how it will supersede Vista. The argument can be broken down into three basic sectors – the interface, the size, and the operability of Vista.
First and foremost, we have to thank Vista for finally bringing Microsoft to the level that Apple users had been enjoying for many years. Vista’s interface finally brought a much-needed facelift to the aging XP system that many had been using for the years before Vista. However, users were quick to show that the new interface was little more than a fresh coat of paint on an old-fashioned gas-guzzler (read: RAM-guzzler).
Windows 7 is, of course, remedying this problem immediately by giving us an incredible new taskbar. The new taskbar in Windows 7 far surpasses any new interface system that has come out in recent memory. The reason why? It’s simple, it works, and it increases productivity, which according to the big book of great computer interface designs, is pivotal to expanding your user-base and converting back those that weren’t pleased with your last product.
Using the Aero-peek feature, you can preview the window that you’re looking for – eliminating the guesswork out of quickly switching windows. Furthermore, a quick drag and drop of a window to the sides of the screen will dock the window in a kind of half-mode, which is incredibly useful for keeping two windows open at the same time. This feature is handy when you’re writing and doing research on the Internet at the same time. These ideas are those that people really felt would be incorporated into Vista, so it’s nice to see them putting forth the effort to get some fresh input on what their interface had been missing.
I would be kidding myself (and you) if I didn’t address Vista’s inherent size issues. The program was a blue whale riding on top of a mammoth with both of them heading towards a cliff. Of course, as is true with almost 99% of this world, the bigger they are, the harder they fall (or in this case, crash). Crashes in Vista before SP1 were routine – just a routine part of your day to have to face the blue screen.
The interesting part about the size complaints associated with Vista is that while Microsoft did their best to reduce the size of the main program (and it is somewhat reduced), it’s still not nearly as small as you would expect. Yet, I’ve been playing around with the Windows 7 Beta for a while now and have yet to see a blue screen anywhere near it.
Size and Operability
How can this be? It’s simple really. The problem with Vista was that the entire program had a kernel the size of a small hard drive. In Windows 7, the main kernel, or the core of the Operating System, has been reduced, and the larger parts run independently. Much the same way that Google has pioneered independent tabbing with their Chrome browser, the main idea of compartmentalizing the program is to ensure that if one of the lights goes out, the rest of the string will stay lit.
Here we get to the crux of the issue that many people had with Vista. The amount of RAM necessary to run Vista was absurd. A slightly older machine couldn’t make use of the OS, something that most people hope they’ll be able to do for an upgrade to the OS until they have enough money to upgrade the entire computer.
RAM-wise, Vista was a real guzzler. With games running slower, video processing taking longer, and just an overall feeling that no matter how much RAM you had, it still wouldn’t be enough to handle the mammoth consumption of the system.
To remedy this situation, Windows 7’s new compartmentalized system is already a great advance, but furthermore, the fact that the system is lighter also helps cut down when you’re running so many background programs. 7’s system of handling many processes at once while tapping into multi-core processors also helps considerably.
The other concern that many people had with Vista was that it wasn’t “user-friendly” enough. This is the reason you’ll now see a cute little girl trying to sell you on how easy it is to print your photos on a Vista machine. However, Vista’s other sections fail to impress. The filing system is clunky at best, and the new “innovations” to Windows Explorer are almost completely useless.
To put this all into context, Windows 7 is to Vista what Ferrari is to a horse-drawn carriage. The beta is already so impressive (as well as the new supposed Release Candidate) that many are already claiming it’s a renaissance for the products Microsoft puts out. And if you’re on the fence between Vista and Windows 7, my suggestion to you is to wait it out.