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Last weekend, I installed the final release version of Windows Vista on my main machine. I told myself that I was going to wait a few months, but I gotta admit I was curious. Plus, with Leopard strangly missing in action at Macworld, maybe I was just suffering a bit of 'new OS withdrawl'. I thought I'd comment on what I've found so far.
The new Aero Glass interface is very nice. I like the semi-transparent borders around the windows. I like how the the minimize, maximize and close buttons 'light up' when you hover over them. I like how the windows seem to 'pop up' rather than just appearing. It's a nice effect. The Windows button in the lower left corner is a nice change. This button no longer says 'Start' like it did in Windows XP. I always thought it was pretty stupid for the 'Start' button to be the button you click to shut down the computer. By doing it this way, it makes more sense.
The user directories seem to be better organized. User directories already come with a 'Download' directory, unlike XP. This is a nice feature, since I do the same thing whenever I download files from the Internet. I just download them to a 'Download' directory on my computer. I just have to get used to downloading them to my USER directory. I have an annoying habit of not using the user directory for that, as I should on XP.
Vista detects USB devices MUCH better. I use Vista through a USB based KVM switch. I have a USB keyboard and mouse connected to the KVM switch. These both get switched between my Mac and the Vista machine. In XP, if I switched the KVM over to the XP machine, it would take a full 20 SECONDS or so for Windows to even recognize the keyboard and mouse again. This made switching between the Mac and the PC very aggravating because the Mac would re-recognize the keyboard and mouse almost instantly, but XP was horribly slow. Vista seems to have solved this problem in that it also re-detects the keyboard and mouse almost instantly.
Some apps have problems with Vista. This is understandable since Vista is so new. Technically you can't even buy it for another 2 weeks, so it's not surprising that not everyone has updated their apps to work properly with it.
Firefox has a small problem in that it cannot be set as the default browser in Vista. Whenever you set it as the default browser, that setting doesn't 'stick' and IE still ends up being the default browser. My first reaction to this was a typical knee-jerk reaction of "Microsoft is stealing the setting away from Firefox! How dare they do that!" But after a little hunting I discovered that Mozilla (the makers of Firefox) are aware of this problem and are working to fix it. Other than this minor problem, the browser seems to work perfectly.
I still don't think Vista is quite as good as OS X Tiger, but it's definately a lot closer than XP was.