Farewell, Vista. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Windows 7 has arrived, and soon Vista will be retired to the Microsoft Hall of Shame alongside such notorious stinkers Windows Me and Microsoft Bob.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
Too harsh a judgment? Perhaps. To some Vista wasn't so bad, but a loud and vocal group of Vista haters never let us forget the much maligned OS's shortcomings. Still, there's no denying that Vista has had more than its fair share of woes, and that Microsoft was wise to replace it less than three years after its debut.
Here are five things we won't miss about Vista:
1. Too much nagging
Vista's User Account Control, designed as a security feature to prevent security breaches, did its job a little too well. Its pop-up warnings, preceded by screen blackouts, appeared when users attempted even mundane tasks, such as setting the system clock. Newbies were scared; experts were annoyed. There were workarounds, of course, but most users didn't bother. Windows 7 will be considerably less pesky.
2. Slow, slow, slow
Vista had some cool graphics and utilities, including the slick Aero interface and handy Sidebar applets, but all that excess code was a drag on performance, particularly if you were foolish enough to run Vista on a PC that met the minimum system requirements. Microsoft says Windows 7 is faster, but the verdict is still out. One developer claims Win 7 boots slower than Vista. The PC World Test Center reports that Win 7 is faster overall, but not by much.
3. You never liked my hardware
Users often grumbled about Vista's lousy driver support, and industry analysts questioned the thoroughness of Microsoft's driver-testing process. Will Windows 7 be any better? Some early testers have managed to get Win 7 running on decrepit, XP-era hardware, but not without the occasional driver glitch. Hopefully, Win 7's trimmer code means it'll run better than Vista on older PCs.
4. Blasé backup
Vista's File Backup utility was too feeble. It wouldn't let you backup specific files and folders, and it bypassed files it thought were part of the OS. Window's 7 improved Backup Center correct these deficiencies, and also lets you backup to a network volume (but only in the Professional and Ultimate versions).
5. Too many garbage apps
Say, Vista users, when's the last time you fired up Windows Movie Maker or Windows Mail? As every Windows user knows, apps bundled with the OS generally aren't very good. As part of its slimmer, trimmer approach to Windows 7, Microsoft has left out these two lackluster utilities, as well as the equally forgettable Windows Photo Gallery. Still want them? Go to Windows Live Essentials. They're free to download.