View Full Version : Windows Vista Tips

02-04-2007, 06:56 PM
Windows Vista is finally here as the PC platforms answer to Apple in the way of rich features, a stable environment, and the concept of "it just works". Apple will also give you the pitch that you have to do this massive upgrade just to accomodate Vista. Last year, I upgraded my hardware. The entire upgrade cost me just over $400. That included a new BFG Tech motherboard, NVidia Geforce graphics card with 256 MB of DDR2 RAM, 1GB of Corsair XMS RAM, and an AMD Athlon 64 processor running at 2.2 GHz. I personally would have rather had an AMD Athlon X2 processor for $100 more, but I had to watch my budget. I also upgraded my optical DVD drive and power supply. I already had a sound card, case and hard drive. It only cost me $159 to switch to Vista, versus $1000 to $4000 for those pricey Macs. In all honesty, Macs are NICE computers. But I will probably be Apple's toughest sell, because there is one need the PC platform meets for me... flexibility, and at hundreds of dollars less than a Mac. I get the power and performance I need. I get upgrades whenever they are warranted. Macs will break you at the bank. And what Apple doesn't tell you is that if you bought your computer in the last two years, you already have the hardware needed to run Windows Vista. Another fact Mac doesn't reveal to its consumers is that although Windows Vista took five years to upgrade versus Mac OS X's once every two year upgrade, there is a big difference in why. Microsoft had to completely overhaul Vista, and that is price for Microsoft's lack of innovation for years. Windows XP was not a good upgrade. Just good enough. But in order for Vista to compete with Linux and Mac OS X, it's kernel (or core) needed to be re-written. Mac OS X runs on a Unix foundation, so updates are easier to come by since Apple only updates the Mac OS X user interface. Windows Vista runs on a modified Server 2003 code base, the most secure NT kernel ever written by Microsoft. I call it the Vista kernel. Linux is actually, like Unix, just a kernel system with a GUI running on top of it. KDE and GNOME take care of the GUI portion of Linux. And until powerful applications are available on Linux, such as Adobe software (not just Adobe Reader) and other popular applications, Linux simply will not catch on. If that happens, the Linux market share will eat into Windows with a vengeance. Apple will never dominate the market, because Apple lacks variety and ignores large groups of different computer users, namely power enthusiasts who like to build their own machines.


That being said, let's get started. Installing Windows has never been easier. The installer is a graphical interface that only requests a few questions to be answered, namely the serial number, time zone and computer name. Windows Vista's installer will take care of partitioning of it's a clean install, meaning no version of Windows is not installed on your machine just yet. If you are upgrading, the Vista DVD will simply leave the hard drive partition alone, unless there are changes you want to make. On my platform, Vista instantly recognized all of my hardware with the exception of my Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS card, which just released Vista drivers. The operating system, however, loaded sound drivers for my motherboard sound, which I don't use.

Desktop Configuration

There still needs to be a computer administrator account. The rest of the accounts on your PC should be set up as standard users with limited priviledges. However, unlike Windows XP, Windows Vista still requires permission from the administrator account to make changes to the operating system. This is like Linux. In Linux, you are prompted to enter a root password anytime you install software or drivers. You can never run as root in Linux unless you are in the command-line console. This type of security feature makes Linux the most secure operating system of the three. However, Microsoft made the process easier for basic computer users, by simply granting the priviledge in the pop-up box after clicking "Allow".

User Account Control

Which brings us to UAC. The pop up box, known as User Account Control, tells you what application you are about to install, or what action you are about to perform. The purpose of the UAC box is to inform you of what changes are about to be made. If you don't recognize a certain program about to be installed, do not allow it. Under Windows XP, trojans often installed themselves without our knowledge. Now, we are informed and can make a decision whether to allow or deny any changes. Yes, it is a bit inconvenient, but that is the price of security.

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