Come April 11 and Windows Vista – described as his ‘biggest mistake’ by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer – will see its final lot of Security Updates.
Vista, which was originally introduced in 2006 was never the best of Windows’ version updates. If you still have Vista installed on your PC, you’ll not get your errors fixed after the last batch of security updates is rolled out in April.
Upgrading to Windows 7, 8 or the latest 10 will depend upon your System’s capacity and other technical factors. But you don’t necessarily have to. Vista will continue to work albeit with unfixed errors. Here’s looking at the much maligned – yet not quite ignorable – Windows Vista that frustrated and was full of pleasant surprises in equal measures.
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Much Ado About Nothing?
To begin with, later versions of Windows viz. 7, 8, and most recently 10 take heavily from Vista’s features, the good, bad, and the ugly, et al! In 2006, as soon as Vista features started doing the rounds of the Internet, it sent XP (Vista’s predecessor) users in a tizzy. The former’s snazzy aspects made XP look outdated and haggard.
When it was finally launched, some users were let down with the basic version but the premium version was a different story altogether. Few things that caught the average nerd’s imagination – on the Net i.e. – included the Aero design, the sidebar with gadgets and the futuristic look. Details provided by Microsoft to run Vista was standard: a 800 Mhz processor and a minimum of 512 MB RAM.
But Microsoft kind of missed the fine print there. Running Vista on a machine with the ‘basic minimum requirements’ was like racing a car in your neighborhood alley! Not only did installing Vista turn Systems slow, users also couldn’t experience most of the advertised features before Vista’s launch. For a complete visual experience of Vista, a DirectX9 compatible card was a necessity, not an option. With a drop in performance, and negligible visual effects (unless one had the necessary technical specifications), a lot of users re-installed the old warhorse, Windows XP, on their laptops and PCs.
Those who managed to assimilate the initial shock of unfulfilled promises made by Microsoft, took some solace in the Aero glass mode, drop shadows, somewhat smooth animations, and semi-transparent borders.
When Security Turned In to A Nightmare…
Vista, unlike earlier Windows versions, took its security very seriously. Though this was a praise-worthy effort, it created more issues than it solved. The transition from XP’s open-door policy – that left most of the control with users – to a limited access model was difficult for people. The idea was to give extended user account control to improve security. This meant, performing the most basic tasks required Vista users to go through a series of clicks for authorization. User rights were restricted by default and required manual intervention to be undone. This resulted in brickbats and curses galore for Microsoft from all quarters. Eventually Microsoft took care of this glitch with the introduction of Service Pack 1.
Also, the sleek sidebar featuring ‘gadgets’ (pretty much like apps in today’s terms) turned out to be nothing but a visual distraction. It had little or no functional value. In 2012, Microsoft finally removed both the gadgets and sidebar entirely.
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Old Wine in New Bottle
Windows 7 is basically an updated and optimized version of Vista. Most of Vista’s features have been carried forward in later Windows versions including 10. In many ways, Vista was a stepping stone Microsoft needed to improve upon its Windows framework. Somebody’s got to be sacrificed in search of a better tomorrow!
According to NetMarketshare, Windows Vista can only be found on 0.78% of the machines it tracks while the older Windows XP operating system has an 8.45% desktop market share. Surprisingly, support for Windows XP was withdrawn in 2014 and it is still going strong. Maybe, we haven’t seen the last of Vista yet!
Let us know your take on Vista and if you are going to miss Microsoft’s ‘enfant terrible’, so to speak.