Your questions: Should I upgrade to Windows Vista?

I was asked via email this week a couple of times for my opinion on whether consumers should upgrade their Windows XP computers to the upcoming Windows Vista. Today in the Seattle Times, there’s a question from a reader of the Personal Technology Q&A column who asks “whether there would be any advantage to my upgrading to Windows Vista?”

The author, Patrick Marshall, recommends that they hold off on upgrading from XP until Vista is glitch-free:

“I wouldn’t recommend anyone upgrade to Vista on a machine they care about until the new operating system starts shipping, and maybe even for a while after that. I’ve been using Vista on a test machine for several months and there are still a number of glitches.

“Once Vista ships, you may want to consider upgrading, especially if you’re using your computer for such things as online banking. Fact is, while Vista offers a new slick look to the operating system, the more significant improvements are in security.”

OK, that makes sense, and falls in line with my general advice: waiting until Windows Vista is released and shipping makes sense for many consumers. At our home, not all PCs have been migrated to the latest Vista builds for various reasons… mainly related to legacy games for the kids that only run under Win9x compatibility mode. Many advanced consumers and computer users have already installed the Vista release candidates to get an early look at what to expect. I know of many consumers using the latest versions of Vista, and their experiences have been generally positive.

At home, I have found that the latest release candidate performs much better and is more reliable than XP (disclaimer: I work at MS), and admit that I run Windows XP and Vista side by side for various reasons. (In one case, I’m waiting for a hardware BIOS upgrade for my Tablet). That’s why I set up a dual boot system when I started with Vista RC1.

PC World published their own Ten Reasons to Buy Windows Vista last February, when they said…

“while the sleek new look and polished interface caught my eye, it’s what’s under the covers that impressed me most. Microsoft’s done a great job of improving security across the board. Things like Windows and spyware library updates are streamlined, and I definitely appreciate the more robust Backup software.

“Here’s what to be excited about:

  1. Security, security, security.

  2. Internet Explorer 7.

  3. Righteous eye candy, with the Aero Glass interface.

  4. Desktop search.

  5. Better updates via Windows Update, making it easier to keep your PC secure.

  6. More media: Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Gallery, DVD Maker and a new Movie Maker.

  7. Parental controls.

  8. Better backups with improved built-in data-backup software.

  9. Peer-to-peer collaboration.

  10. Quick setup.”

If you have one PC at home, run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor to evaluate your current PC, as I mentioned in a previous post. That will provide a good assessment.

There are also reasons that some customers may decide not to upgrade, due to PC hardware limitations or legacy software incompatibilities – that will be the case for our kid’s PC, until we test their must have game software. That includes their favourite educational software like Encarta that is included in Microsoft Student, edutainment titles (Knowledge Adventure’s Adiboo!), general entertainment titles like our own Zoo Tycoon, online sites like PBS Kids! to MSN Games and Disney’s ToonTown (which seems to work fine so far in IE7). 

I’m off now as the kids are up – time to finish making Halloween costumes. We have an extra hour thanks to daylight saving time.

More information:

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Of interest: Slam 1.0 Release

As noted on their new Slam blog site, the team annouced the first release of Slam… as covered on Gizmodo and Tom’s HW Guide

“Slam is your Windows Mobile social software client and service. Slam allows users to make and manage social groups right from their phone for group-based messaging and photo sharing.

“You can also use Slam through the SMS and/or web interfaces. See screenshots and learn more about Slam on the about Slam webpage, and get started your self by downloading the installer or having a link sent to your phone.”


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Windows Vista RC2 public download closed

Techweb ran an article on how the public, free Vista RC2 download was closed. “As promised, Microsoft opened its newest build of Windows Vista to public downloading, but the short time that Release Candidate 2 (RC2) was available irked left-out users.”

The team noted on their blog that RC2 download was closed, and had apologies for those unable to get to the download. Said Nick:

“As you’ve probably already surmised, downloads of Windows Vista RC2 for the Customer Preview Program (CPP) have now closed and the links are no longer active.  We were bowled over by your response to RC2 — in fact, we hit our download target (200K+) within 72 hours of propping the files! This is an incredible response.

“Special thanks go out to everyone who participated in the CPP by downloading and installing this new build, and please keep the feedback coming — it makes a huge difference.”

Happy to see that the team is o responsive on their blogs. Very transparent to let customers know that we hit the targeted number of downloads, closing the program so that the team can process the customer feedback that comes in.

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OneCare v1.5 Beta for Vista now available

Windows Live OneCare Beta 1.5 is available and supports Vista RC1 and greater, and can be downloaded and used free of charge, is available now on

From the FAQs:

What operating systems are supported?
Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista (build 5500 or greater; recommended build is 5600 aka RC1)

Can I use Windows Live OneCare with Windows XP or Vista x64 versions?
Not at this time.

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RCP Article: Vista RC2 Ships — But to a Select Audience

From RCP Magazine…

Vista RC2 Ships — But to a Select Audience – October 06, 2006 –
As expected, Microsoft released what it terms Windows Vista Release Candidate 2 on Friday. The move was widely predicted after at least two Microsoft-focused Web sites jumped the gun and released information and links pointing to the download earlier in the week.

Good news is that you can download RC2 here:

Use these links to access Windows Vista RC2 with your browser:

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