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Vista upgrade revisited

The good, the bad, and the ugly

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Comment It's been a while since I decided to be brave and upgrade my ThinkPad laptop from Windows XP to Vista Ultimate, along with upgrading Office XP to Office 2007.

The upgrade to Vista was covered in an earlier article, but I thought now would be the time to provide an update on Microsoft's operating system and the Office suite.

Firstly, the good news. Office 2007 is very good; the Ribbon does what it should and, although finding things can take a while to start off with, you soon get used to the new layout.

Overall, I have felt that the experience is far more intuitive and is faster than the old menu system. I also find the suite faster than Office XP, with fewer crashes on large documents.

Document fidelity in round-tripping between Office 2007 and Office XP/2003 seems to be fine, even with the number of document reviews that go on within Quocirca.

The free download of the PDF creator is faster than Adobe's and meets our basic requirements adequately.

Now to Vista itself. After having to stump up for double the memory, and after the amount of time spent in essentially rescuing a system that had hamstrung itself during upgrade, Vista is behaving itself on the whole.

The Gadget function is good, allowing me to keep an eye on the various newsfeeds and on resource usage (OK, Mac users, we know you've had this since 1913 or whenever).

This is a fun one, rebooting the laptop shows how hard Vista is on resources, with both cores of the CPU being above 90 per cent for a couple of minutes, and memory usage being above 80 per cent.

Once everything is loaded and has calmed down a little, it trundles along at around 15 per cent per CPU core and around 55 per cent memory (remember this a 2GB machine).

But there are some major problems. Installing new software really becomes wearing when you have to say "Yes" to every failsafe the developers and InstallShield have put in to the system, and then to the ones Vista decides it had better add to the mix as well.

OK, I accept this is a security measure to stop the uninitiated/awkward/crazy from messing up machines, but you do get to the position that even if you "accidentally" find yourself trying to install a program called "MajorTrojan.exe" from a site called www.youdbeverysillytotrustthis.com, you'll probably press OK just because you always have done.

The fact you can't even say that you will trust certain publishers (such as Microsoft itself) seems to be overkill. This also applies when you want to run certain functions within Vista. If it thinks that this could be "dangerous" the screen dims (as if it is just about to fall over), and you have to give the OK to run the function.

However, for me the killer is network connectivity. I run a wireless network that I hope is pretty secure.

I use MAC address filtering so only specific devices should be able to connect. I use WPA to secure connections. And the one which seems to be the problem is that I do not broadcast my service set identifier (SSID).

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