Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
South Korean customers examine Microsoft's latest computer operating system, Windows Vista, in Seoul, South Korea, earlier this year. Critics say the system is not as good as Windows XP.
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
Vista is Microsoft's first new operating system in five years. The company boasts that it is easy, fast and secure.
But that is not how Chris Pirillo, a well known technology blogger, describes Vista. He says the new operating system looks nicer than its predecessor, Windows XP, and it does some things better and faster.
But Vista is often slow and frustrating, he says, adding that he could browse through his files faster using the old operating system.
"In Vista, it seems to me it took seconds longer" to copy a file, Pirillo says. "Gamers will tell you the same thing — that the gaming experience on Vista is a slower experience than using the same hardware on (Windows) XP."
Other problems have involved drivers — the software needed to use printers, video cameras and other hardware. Without proper drivers, the hardware and Vista are not compatible. Both Microsoft and the hardware makers are addressing the problems.
Vista Has Some Positives
Denny Arar, a senior editor at PC World magazine, gives Vista a qualified thumbs up.
She has been using the new operating system for almost a year, but she sees little reason for consumers to rush out and buy it.
She says the most popular version is expensive — two or three times the price of XP — and is probably not worth the trouble until all the kinks are worked out.
"There is weirdness, I have to say, here and there. Sometimes the screen will go black and the cursers will twirl around, and it comes back. You kind of get used to it, but it's bizarre," says Arar.
On the plus side of the ledger, Vista users point to a better experience on the desktop and, among other things, improved, e-mail, search, photo editing and navigation tools.
XP Users Resist Change
So far, Microsoft has sold about 60 million copies of Vista, mostly on new personal computers.
But there is more resistance to switching to this new operating system than there has been in the past. Acknowledging that, Microsoft will continue to make all versions of Windows XP available through the end of next June. That is six months later than Microsoft had planned.
"We really do want to make sure that customers buy the version they want," says Neil Charney, a general manager in the company's Windows division. "They are windows customers, so it's important they can make the move when they are ready."
Responding to critics who say that games and other functions run slower on Vista than on XP, Charney admits that can be a problem. It may be the drivers are not the most up to date, or there is not enough computer memory to support Vista and the game.
Those and other problems are being worked on, says Charney, adding that because of technological advances Microsoft is offering fixes for computers on an ongoing basis.
"You can turn it on and automatically overnight it will up date the operating system and perhaps add new drivers, so that things will start to work that may not have worked when you initially bought the system or upgraded to Vista," he says.
Critics say that if Microsoft had solved the problems with Vista in the first place, the company would not need to have so many updates.