10 things I like about Windows Vista

To redress the balance from yesterday, I promised a list of ten things I like about Vista.  So here we go…

Oh, and please – no emails telling me it was copied from OS X or Plan 9 or wherever. I’m trying to keep things simple here by comparing Windows to Windows, not Windows to everything else. Let’s save that discussion for later.

  1. Start menu
    I like the ability to start typing on the start menu and find the program I’m looking for that way.
  2. Internet connection icon
    Nice to be able to see in the system tray when I’m connected to the Internet. Shame it doesn’t work properly, and downgrades my access to local only, when machines on the same LAN are working fine, but hey – you can’t have everything. (Okay, enough of that – let’s stay positive. Move on…)
  3. Games
    The revamped Spider Solitaire, Freecell and so on are quite nice to look at, but the real improvement is the improved undo. Finally, you can undo the move that broke a game, or go back right to the start of a game if you want to, or undo a deal in Spider Solitaire. Nice to see something working again. (Putting LAN play back into Hearts would be nice though. Oh, I said I wasn’t going to do that any more, didn’t I?)
  4. Installer
    Surprisingly, the installer for Vista is much simpler, and safer to use. Too many times I’ve had to reinstall operating systems because of various software or hardware problems, but if something goes wrong on installation, you can usually roll back to the previous version of the operating system. Nice.
  5. Ease of access centre
    Accessibility is much better in Vista, and finally there’s no chance that some irritating sysadmin won’t install it – always a pain for techies trying to support someone who needs the narrator or magnifier.
  6. Speech recognition
    Finally, no need to shell out another 75 big ones on Dragon Dictate to make a few Word documents. (Although isn’t Vista more than 75 notes more expensive than… sorry, I’m at it again!)
  7. Volume controls for each application
    Probably the reason why DirectX 10 lost hardware-accelerated audio. For everything there’s a trade-off, I suppose, and the app-specific volume level can be exceptionally useful. That said, I’d like an option to choose between accelerated audio and this one, even if it meant rebooting to do it.
  8. Better power management
    It’s been needed for a while, and although there are some problems with it, at least finally there is a consistent interface for it, and the management tools are a bit better than most vendor tools I’ve used.
  9. System Configuration Utility
    A bit hidden (it’s in Administrative Tools), but I’ve seen people selling shareware utilities that don’t even do what this one does.  You can edit boot.ini nice and safely,  switch services on and off and edit what programs run at startup.  I’m sure you can think of several utilities out there that do pretty much what I’ve just described, only they cost a tenner or so…
  10. Enhanced disk manager
    I know, this is going to sound a bit odd: after all, it’s hardly Partition Magic, is it?  That said, it’s quite useful sometimes to be able to just make the odd change without having to boot into it.  (Especially since I haven’t upgraded PM since version 5, which doesn’t handle Vista’s version of NTFS…)

Well, there’s the balancing list.  Anything on there you agree or disagree with?