Windows Vista has been out for 1 year and many reviews on the Internet is still negative. XP is quite decent now that it has been in the market for quite some time. XP SP2 is pretty stable to use and many companies has not deployed Vista. Still most of the consumers are buying new PCs and most of them come with Vista bundled.
I just started playing with the Vista notebook bought 4 days ago. It is not bad, I will say. As the first step, I removed the two trial version software (Office 2007 and Norton). For antivirus, I installed AVG Free. For spyware detection, Vista comes with Windows Defender installed. With some education done, my wife is now a careful enough Windows user. I've used IE7 in my desktop so I have no problems with IE7 under Vista. Still I installed Firefox as an alternative. IE7 seems to be faster with Windows Live Hotmail.
I think 4GB of RAM helps so that I do not feel Vista is slow. My desktop is a 3 year old AMD64 single core with 1GB RAM running Linux/FreeBSD/Windows XP. So this notebook should not be slower anyway.
I do not like those eye candies so the sidebar feature is not so useful. My wife may like it. As for specially effect of Aero, I do not think it is any useful so that I have not tried it. Anyway, I do not like Compiz under Linux and always switched it off.
UAC is kind of annoying but I decided to leave it on as this will be used by my wife. I am just preparing the notebooks for her and getting familiar with Vista so that I can be he IT support helpdesk. Unfortunately the fine control of UAC options is not available for the Home Premium version of Vista.
Hardware compatibility is still a problem. My wife's Nokia 6280 Mobile Phone works (on the other hand, it did not work under my Linux Desktop. It originally did not work under XP with the same Desktop either but with the updated software it now works under XP). Her beloved Samsung SPP-2020 Photo Printer does not work even though Samsung claims Vista support in their website. I am still investigating this issue. Hopefully I can solve this issue with new software from Samsung or Vista SP1 (now under testing).
Edit: 10 minutes after I posted the blog, I found the solution. It work after deleting C:\windows\inf\INFCACHE.1 and reinstall the printer driver, it works now. It seems to be a common problem.
My newly bought cheap S$75 Orient MP4 player 2GB (looks like IPod Nano, MP3 sound quality is okay, but FM is pretty bad, anyway, I have my trusted Sony Radio.) failed to work (it works under XP and Linux by appearing as a USB storage device). Anyway, I think that is mainly a firmware fault. There are so may buggy USB device out there.
Edit: This again works now after getting SPP-2020 to work.
As this notebook is not intended for my use, I will not install development tools like MPLAB on the computer. Anyway, MPLAB and many other Microchip development tools are now supported under Vista 32bit.
Overall the first impression of Vista is that it seems to be okay. There is nothing too exciting but nothing too disappointed. Anyway, it is not that bad as reported.