BusinessWeek on Vista
How are the visuals? "All this eye candy is nice, but it's not going to make it any easier to draft a business plan or a budget."
How are performance and stability? Not addressed.
How compatible is it? "Based on the troubles I've had in tests, I'd warn against upgrading if you have old accessories, such as printers, or if you run any custom or obscure business software. If you decide to upgrade anyway, make sure your existing computer has the horsepower to do Vista justice. Any system older than six months or a year may be trouble. Functions could feel sticky or sluggish, and if the graphics on your PC aren't up to snuff, you'll lose the fancy visual effects."
How's UAC? "Vista won't install anything, from any source, without explicit permission...But some work needs to be done, especially by third-party software suppliers, to keep account control from driving you nuts. For example, every time I start up, the Logitech mouse software wants to check the Web for updates-and triggers an alert. So does a test version of Norton Antivirus. Eliminating these false alarms will encourage users to pay attention to the warnings rather than just reflexively clicking O.K."
The bottom line? "XP...is good enough that you may just want to make do, for now. Based on the troubles I've had in tests, I'd warn against upgrading if you have old accessories, such as printers, or if you run any custom or obscure business software....Any system older than six months or a year may be trouble...With a new made-for-Vista computer, at least you'll know that everything will work. And Vista is a big step forward; in time, you'll want it."
CNET on Vista
How are the visuals? "Though video playback and, yes, even the tiny icons on Windows Vista are now crisp and colorful with Aero, unless you watch YouTube videos all day, you won't really need Aero, nor will you miss the tiny preview windows enabled on your desktop display."
How are performance and stability? "[E]ven Microsoft seems to admit that the best performance is only available on top-of-the-line machines manufactured within the last year or so...[A]fter testing several early builds, we found Windows Vista to be remarkably stable and robust."
How compatible is it? "[I]f you don't have the proper graphics hardware...you'll simply never see the Aero graphic effects on that old Dell computer in your basement."
How's UAC? "You shouldn't encounter User Account Control (UAC) except when changing system configurations or installing new software, and even then, wouldn't you-in this age of downloadable spyware-prefer to know when an executable file is about to run? While UAC notifies you of pending system changes, it doesn't always require a password."
The bottom line? "Perhaps we're spoiled, but after more than five years of development, there's a definite ‘Is that all?' feeling about Windows Vista/..is Windows Vista a bad operating system? No. It's just a disappointment for PC users who hoped that Microsoft would deliver something truly exciting to finally leapfrog ahead of Apple. They failed. But stick around; this is just Windows Vista 1.0...Windows Vista SP1 promises to fix what's known to be wrong within Windows Vista and should offer a few concrete reasons to switch."
Forbes on Vista
How are the visuals? Not addressed.
How are performance and stability? "[O]n one machine-oddly, the fastest I tested-[Quick Search] was far, far slower than using Start's regular search option...The speech recognition system...did pretty well at understanding me...But my enthusiasm turned to dust when the software for correcting inevitable mistakes locked up repeatedly.."
How compatible is it? "Should you upgrade your current machine? Are you nuts? Upgrading is almost always a royal pain. Many older boxes are too wimpy for Vista, and a "Vista-ready" unit Microsoft upgraded for me could see my wireless network but not connect to it"
How's UAC? "Vista's irritating and repeated warnings about possible security breaches don't always mean what they say and are usually irrelevant. You'll take them as seriously as the boy who cried wolf, making them useless as defensive tools."
The bottom line? "Vista is at best mildly annoying and at worst makes you want to rush to Redmond, Wash. and rip somebody's liver out...My recommendation: Don't even consider updating an old machine to Vista, period. And unless you absolutely must, don't buy a new one with Vista until the inevitable Service Pack 1 (a.k.a. Festival o' Fixes) arrives to combat horrors as yet unknown."
Paul Thurrott's Windows Supersite on Vista
"Windows Vista Review," by Paul Thurrott, November 6, 2006 [continued over several months in multiple posts]
How are the visuals? "Windows Aero is gorgeous, and highly customizable with varying degrees of translucency and various color schemes. Aero is one of the nicest things about running Windows Vista."
How's UAC? "In use, UAC can be annoying, and while you can turn off this feature from within the User Accounts control panel, I advise you not to do so. UAC's predecessors on other systems prove the worth of this type of protection, and the truth is, you won't really see UAC rear its ugly head all that often once your applications are all installed and your system is fully configured. The occasional minor irritation is definitely worth the peace of mind: Thanks to UAC, spyware and other malware will have a harder time silently installing themselves on your PC."
How are performance and stability? "On reasonably modern hardware, you'll find that Windows Vista runs just fine, thank you very much, and it's likely that most people won't notice any performance differences, when compared with XP, at all. On new PCs, of course, this won't be an issue, and Windows Vista will run like the proverbial greased pig...[W]e'll need to see how Vista performs in the real world before we render a final verdict for overall reliability. But the early signs are quite positive indeed."
How compatible is it? "Overall, Windows Vista's hardware and software compatibility is excellent, but the devil is in the details: For the short term, at least, chances are good that you'll own some hardware device-a printer, scanner, or whatever-that doesn't work properly. Software compatibility is better, much better on the 32-bit Vista versions, however. My recommendation for those contemplating 64-bit is simple: Wait."
The bottom line? "In conclusion, Windows Vista is both evolutionary and revolutionary, and I know it's great because every time I have to use Windows XP, I feel constrained and miss those Vista features I'm just now starting to take for granted. It's not perfect-what software is?-but it's a compelling and fascinating product that will delight you over time as you stumble onto new features."
PC Magazine on Vista
How are the visuals? "There's no question that the Vista shell is a massive change from Windows XP...Personally, I find Aero effects subtle and compelling."
How are performance and stability? "On the whole, my experience has been positive-on a screamer system. Others have had worse luck, particularly those who skimped on RAM."
How compatible is it? "Vista didn't always find drivers for all my devices during the installation process, but right after booting it connected to Windows Update to download additional drivers. Microsoft emphasizes that software and hardware compatibility work is still ongoing, though by the date of Vista's general availability, January 30, the story should be better...With the exception of security tools and low-level utilities, virtually all of the applications I've run on the shipping version of Vista work fine."
How's UAC? "Vista's User Account Control security feature-which requires even administrators to confirm attempts to "escalate" privileges to perform administrative tasks-can be intrusive at first. But in the long term, running Vista without administrator rights most of the time should reduce security risks."
The bottom line? "Vista is good-in some respects very good-but not spectacular. Call it a nice-to-have product rather than a must-have. If you're buying a new consumer PC this spring, it probably makes sense to get Vista...If you've already got a PC running Windows XP smoothly, it's harder to see a reason to upgrade right away."