Windows

Take a tour of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition

Windows Vista Ultimate Edition Review & Gallery

By Steven Warren

According to Microsoft, Windows Vista Ultimate Edition is the first Windows version that combines the advanced infrastructure features of a business-focused OS, the management and efficiency features of a mobility-focused OS, and the digital entertainment features of a consumer-focused OS. But this ultimate flexibility comes with a steep price. The retail price for Windows Vista Ultimate Edition is $399.00 (Full Product) and $299.00 (Upgrade). See if you think Windows Vista Ultimate Edition is worth the price.

Windows Vista was in development for roughly five years and I was actively involved as a beta tester for the last 12 months. I saw the good and the bad of Windows Vista (agonized over driver incompatibility, praised security and enhancements to the user interface).

Microsoft offers six different versions of Vista to handle the needs of private consumers, small businesses, and large enterprises. The versions are packaged as follows: for private consumers - Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Starter, Windows Vista Home Premium, and Windows Vista Ultimate (with all the bells and whistles).

For businesses there are Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise, which offer encryption and virtualization.

Vista installation is simple, quick, and aesthetically pleasing. In about 28 minutes I had my new operating system singing. This is half the time it takes to load Windows XP Professional.

My laptop graphics card supports Vista's new Aero Glass interface. Every time I work on my laptop, I find myself smiling at how beautiful the interface is. The Start button has been redesigned as a beautiful orb with a windows logo, the Start menu, and the icons, Microsoft did a great job redesigning the user interface.

Once I got past the interface and started digging around, I found that configuring a wireless connection was a snap and Vista's built-in security was top-notch.

Using Vista's User Account Control (UAC), I created and ran Vista with a standard user account, but elevated my privileges to administrator when necessary.

For example, when installing software, accessing the Adminstrative Tools, or open the Control Panel, Vista promted me for the administrator password. Like Linux, Vista doesn't require you to run the computer as a root user. Kudos to Microsoft for finally getting this right.

Vista also includes the redesigned Internet Explorer 7 (IE7). I love the new user interface that includes tabbed browsing, quick tabs, an instant search bar, page zoom, support for RSS, phishing filter, and a protected mode.

In protected mode, IE7 cannot modify Vista user and system files without your input. This is designed to prevent hackers from using the browser to execute code through administrative rights.

I also love Vista's ReadyBoost feature, which let's you improve system performance with USB flash drive. When you attach a USB drive to the computer, Vista prompts you to view the drive's files or speed up your system. My laptop already had 2GB of RAM, but I added a 2GB USB flash drive and my system screams.

The newly improved Start menu has been working great for me. In the past, you had a huge Start menu which listed tons of programs. With Windows Vista, you simply click Start and type the name of the program in the search bar. Vista usually finds the application in seconds. For example, you could type "word" and Vista brings up Microsoft Word. You no longer have to navigate through the a tree to find the desired program. This is a real time saver.

I also enjoyed Windows Flip 3D, Windows Flip, Live Taskbar Thumbnails, and the Windows Sidebar. If your computer supports Aero Glass, you will be tickled by Windows Flip 3D. It allows you to flip through your open windows in 3D. It is fantastic.

Windows Flip is the ALT-Tab combination but it also gives you a graphical presentation as well. Live Taskbar Thumbnails is also a welcomed enhancement to Windows Vista. By simply running your cursor over the taskbar, you get a graphical presentation of each open document.

Windows Sidebar is a sidebar that runs on your desktop that allows you to add gadgets. It is identical to dashboard widgets in Apple's OS X Tiger. On my desktop, I have a calendar, notepad, stocks, headlines and weather gadgets running. I can also go online and download more gadgets that are helpful to me. This is a feature I also really like.

On the backend, all user profiles are no longer stored in documents and settings. You now have a users directory and each profile is stored within this directory. Microsoft has also done away with "My". There are no longer My Documents, My Pictures, etc. It has been replaced simply with Contacts, Documents, Desktops, Downloads, Music, Pictures, etc.

These are just some of the features I have come to enjoy about Windows Vista. Vista has so much more to offer. I believe other people might see value in other areas of Vista such as Windows Mail, Windows DVD Maker, Windows Games, Windows Media Player, Parental Controls, and/or Windows Photo.

These are areas I have yet to explore but as each day goes by that I use Windows Vista, I find myself unlocking more of its mysteries. Now if we can just get all vendors to put out Vista drivers, we will be in good shape.

For more information on Windows Vista, please see my review "Windows Vista is not ready for the corporate world."

18 comments
anandk007
anandk007

Pls reply if anybody knows whether if Windows Vista Ultimate Edition can join NT 4.0 domain controller. Thanks

RpDnn
RpDnn

Rah, rah Linux.

knvb1123
knvb1123

Vista's security is worth nothing. It's TOO easy to get by and Microsoft falsified us with bullshitted information on their "goodassed" Vista security. It may be better than XP but not enough.

RpDnn
RpDnn

From your abject renunciation of product, nothing will ever be good enough for you... Let me see, have -you- ever cracked a Vista system? Feeback forums like this are mostly for 'instant experts' to rail against whatever the subject is, without objective, constructive criticism, and acknowledgment of virtures. Don't use MS products, don't bash them... tell us about what's better and how it's better. Post something useful.

jimrinflorida
jimrinflorida

Buy the Upgrade version, do a clean install, and you have the same thing for about $160 less. You'd be crazy to buy the Full version when MS provides a way to install it from the Upgrade DVD.

jturner
jturner

at no time did i read "go out and buy it, you'll love it" what he wrote was that he liked it, and as a matter of fact I am not a beta tester and don't have a free copt of Vista, but i have gotten a look at it and I agree with him that It is cool new stuff usally is, is it worth the money? "IN MY OPNION" no, also In the blog it didn't say anywhere that "Microsoft did it first" they just happen to figure out that someone else had a cool feature that they could add to there system. I also read the other bolg about the driver woes, and wasn't suppried in the least, personally I never buy a new OS until SP1 comes out and then only if a game that I want only comes out for that OS! LOL all in all I think you guys were just a little hard on Steve for something you are mad at Microsoft for what ever that is.

Jack-M
Jack-M

I hope MS paid you plenty for this puff piece of a review. In 30 years of IT I never saw or heard of an OS that didn't have a flaw or two. Usually more.Yet you mention none. As far as the 'eye candy' I'll do without it for a good stable OS with a few flaws I can work around or live with.

scotts
scotts

I was always worried as a kid that a giant red pitcher was going to come crashing through some random wall... Have you ever really thought about how messed some of those commercials were?

Steven S. Warren
Steven S. Warren

There is no denying flaws. When I encounter them, I will let you know.

TCDood
TCDood

I read you article on the Vista Ultimate review. Similar to those bloggers that got free laptops, there was not one negative thing you said about the program. I have been Microsoft Certified for over 10 years, and have been studying Linux. You praise Microsoft for having user's run in user mode, and bumping into Administrator when needed (Does the Linux command 'SU' ring a bell...Linux has been doing that for years), Seperate directories instead of Documents and Settings (Again, Linux /Home Directories). So what you are saying is that Microsoft Finally got a clue and used Linux as a model to create Vista. Oh, and IE7, and Tabbed Browsing...sorry, Firefox has been doing that for a while. So if I add the Aero-Glass (Which by the way, my lowely 2Gb Nvidia 5650 laptop is barely capable of using), Firefox, and Root/Admin restriction, I have my Vista System? I know the new file system WAS supposed to be part of the new system, but alas it is not. So what we got from Windows was 5 years development of Eye-Candy? Oh, and BTW, I cannot run Vista at work because of Driver issues, and the Novell/Microsoft Pissing contest going on with SLED 10 (Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop), so that Novell can't or won't make a Novell Client for Vista until Sometime in 2007? (As I recall, I used to get Novell Clients for Free with Windows 98...WTF) I understand what a great priveledge it is to be "ASKED" to be a beta tester, and you are afraid of pissing in the pool, so that you won't be asked back to the party, but some fair and balanced reporting would have served your reader base bettter. Finally, I may be a dinosaur, but still happily using Windows 2000 PROFESSIONAL, which does everything that XP does. Oh, and $399 Does Microsoft need that much money. I guess I will wait for the secondary market to unload these dogs at a Bargain.

rishiaditya
rishiaditya

I have been using Linux, Mac OS and Windows on my machines and boy i mus say, LINUX STILL RULES. Some ppl have deep pockets to keep on paying MS for EYE CANDY and no functionality.

jasb
jasb

can Vista ultimate join a domain?

zubair.ahamed
zubair.ahamed

i cant able to use runas command in vista... runas admininstrator option there but when i click that it is not prompting admin password ....any one having solution for this please reply

saraj.a.mohammed
saraj.a.mohammed

unfortunatley for you linux doesnt rule, it isnt anywhere as easy for people to get working and add new stuff to like drivers for hardware or programs as windows is, linux is a dream and always will be. wake up to the real world, windows is the only real OS.

admin
admin

Linux may only be a copycat Unix but who really cares? Unix is not for everyone, as you can see by which product most people actually prefer.

Steven S. Warren
Steven S. Warren

I do not care if I am not invited back as a beta tester. These are the things I REALLY like about Windows Vista. I wrote another blog on the vendor and driver woes I faced recently. Did you click the link and read that as well? I wasn't writing this piece from a journalistic perspective. I could have but this is my blog and I express my personal thoughts and opinions. I will seriously take what you are saying under advisement and thanks for the feedback once again.