My advice to all such whingers: spend 10 days using the latest version of Windows and you'll realise that you are living in a world of relative bliss.
I asked my editor, Stan Beer, if he had a Vista pack for a cursory look, out of sheer curiosity. You hear so much about Vista on the net but there's a good deal of truth yet in the old saying, "seeing is believing."
At times I could not believe what I saw during the 14-odd days that I played around with both versions of Vista Ultimate - the 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
Microsoft has admittedly set the bar pretty low for this new avatar; the marketing blurb on the pack says "the most secure Windows ever." I couldn't help a snigger when I glimpsed this - the same slogan was used to try and sell Windows XP.
There are certain names which come to mind when one associates the word "security" with XP, names like Sasser, Blaster, Sobig and so on. Not to mention the fact that there was a second service pack issued for XP in August 2004 - well over three years after it was launched - which had 810 fixes and updates.
I was thus prepared for low-key peformance with lots of eye candy. I was disappointed. At the end of the testing, when I gratefully used a CD of the latest Ubuntu release (and I don't have a very high opinion of that as regular readers of this column would know) to wipe Vista off my drive, I realised that even those expectations had been too much.
But enough of generalisations, let's get down to some specifics. I had to build a new box to install Vista (for which iTWire picked up the tab). I kept it minimal but these days even the word minimal has been redefined - an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600 and 2 Gig of DDR2-667 RAM isn't exactly low-spec in any dictionary. I used an all-in-one motherboard with an nVidia geForce 6100 onboard. A 250-gig Western Digital SATA drive and an LG DVD rewriter were the other components.
A note to the reader: I wasn't looking for special effects, bling or eye candy; I was looking for genuine improvements.
Before I installed Vista, I checked the hardware by installing a Linux distribution - that's something which I do with every box I build. This time I used PCLinuxOS and incidentally noticed that it has much to recommend.
Back to the world of Windows. One improvement is actually present in Vista - disk formatting takes much less time than it did in XP. The installation takes a little longer than any modern Linux distribution - 64-bit was expectedly a bit faster than the 32-bit version.