Anyone who knows the slightest thing about computers will know that the next version of Windows (Vista) is going to be released later this year. Assuming that ScumSoft (oops, sorry, “Microsoft”) doesn’t push back the release date yet again. Now, before you read any further, I just want to let you know that this post is not about flaming Microsoft in anyway (even though I want to), it’s not about “uninstall Windows and run Linux instead”, it’s not even about “uninstall Linux and go back to using Windows”. You can put those flames in the comments, thank you very much. This post is for those of you thinking about upgrading to Vista when it comes out. If you’re worried about application compatibility, you should definitely read this. A lot of things have been tinkered with under the hood, and while it was generally possible that an application that ran fine on 2K would also run fine on XP, it’s not going to be the same way with XP and Vista.
The folks at PCFormat managed to get hold of the latest beta of Vista, and they tried running various applications on it. Some worked fine, and others… well, they blew up in their faces. Horribly. So, here’s the various results, reproduced for those of you who don’t read said computer magazine.
I’m going to say this once, and once only: YOU WILL MOST LIKELY NEED NEW SECURITY SOFTWARE. All of the big names failed to run, for example Norton’s 2006 security suite. While new, Vista-compatible versions are sure to be released, this is definitely a cause for concern. It means that I, for one, will definitely hold off upgrading until I can be sure that my anti-virus and firewall are compatible with Vista.
Moving right along to productivity software, since I know that all of you are hard-working souls. (Or not.) You pretty much know that with any version of Windows, Microsoft Office is guaranteed to run perfectly. And run perfectly it does, even versions as old as Office 2000. rooijan will be very pleased to hear that OpenOffice 2.0 also runs absolutely fine, even the Java Runtime components (!!!).
Staying with that sort of thing, let’s move on to browsing. The big flop here is QuickTime. It just doesn’t want to integrate with Internet Explorer 7. Fortunately I don’t use it. It may be an issue if you do. Another “fortunately” here, is that Firefox runs perfectly. For the downloaders (I know that there are a few of you who read this), your BitTorrent and P2P clients runs fine. Likewise, Firefox’s download manager has no problems. (Don’t you just love Firefox?)
Now, I know that some of you reading this are keen gamers, and you’ll be keen to know how your games perform. Games were a major casualty when we all upgraded to XP, and it’s going to be similar with Vista. Particularly your older games, like those old DOS abandonware titles. (I still play the Space Quest games, by the way.) I’m sure that emulators will be developed, but don’t get your hopes up. However, the original Half-Life runs fine, and integrates itself with Vista quite nicely. On one side of the coin, I’m quite happy. On the other, I was kind of hoping that Microsoft would kill off Counter-Strike. (*ducks*) More up-to-date stuff like Half-Life 2, Unreal Tournament 2004 and their ilk run fine, albeit a tad slower due to more resources being used by Vista.
The audiophiles amongst you will be pleased to know that Winamp runs OK, generally. There are some glitches in places, but these are expected to be ironed out before Vista ships. There’s still no DVD codec included, so you’ll need something like PowerDVD to play back your DVDs. You also need at least version 6 of this; older versions break in your face. Microsoft has announced that Vista will also recognise Blu-ray discs, but that’s as far as support for them goes. (In other words, it won’t play them.) But that’s nothing that the right drivers and applications can’t fix. Most of you will still need a third-party application for burning discs. Granted, packet writing to CDs and DVDs is supported in Vista, as it is in XP, and you can use Windows Media Player to burn audio CDs (that’s one program that I avoid like the plague), but for anything more complex that third-party application comes in handy. And, unfortunately, Nero (which is what I use) doesn’t work. Yet another reason for me to put off upgrading.
As far as creativity goes, Paint Shop Pro works. Photoshop doesn’t.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning the utilities. These are the applications you take for granted – until they disappear, stop working, or haven’t been installed in the first place. Programs like WinZip. Fortunately, that runs properly. But WinRAR doesn’t.
So, it can be seen that many applications, both loved and hated, don’t run. But there are plenty of them that do, and it’s surprising (considering Microsoft) how many of them there are. Needless to say, I strongly recommend to all of you to stick with XP, and only upgrade to Vista when absolutely necessary. Or you could just uninstall Windows and use Linux instead.