Rise and Fall of Microsoft Vista Research Paper

Pages: 6 (1851 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Education - Computers

Operating Systems

The Rise & Fall of Microsoft VISTA

Back in January 2007, after many years of buildup and expectation, Microsoft revealed Windows Vista to a decidedly tepid reception by the PC community, it pros, and tech journalists. Instead of a ground-breaking next-generation OS that was filled with new things, the Windows community got a not so glamorous product. Vista was inundated with performance and incompatibility troubles from the beginning. Since then, the PC area has taken the notion that Vista is not so glamorous and turned it into a joke. Everybody has heard about Vista's meager network transfer speeds, low frame rates in games, and driver issues. But over the last several months, Vista has undergone countless alterations, including the release of Service Pack 1 (Smith, 2008).

While Vista was initially peddled by Microsoft as the operating system liberator that everyone has been waiting for, it has turned out to be one of the largest bungles in technology. With a multitude of issues that are intolerable and features that are taken from the Mac OS X and Linux playbook, Microsoft has once again lost sight of what the people actually want (Reisinger, 2011).

Background

Windows Vista comes in four versions, two are for the end user, one is for commerce, and one is for those who want to have it all. Starting at the top:

Ultimate has all the bells and whistles accessible for Windows Vista and the promise of a whole lot more.

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Business is the Vista equal of Windows XP Pro, right down to the well-known pricing arrangement.

Home Premium is in fact Media Center and Tablet PC edition rolled into one at a sixty dollar upgraded price over Home Basic

Home Basic is the straight alternate for Windows XP Home, and is priced the same as Windows XP Home (Wagner, 2007).

Body

Research Paper on Rise and Fall of Microsoft Vista Assignment

The usual wisdom about Microsoft Windows Vista is that it's a varied bag, and normally substandard to Windows XP. Troubles with Vista fall largely into classes of compatibility, performance and usability (Elgan, 2008). In the beginning people grumbled that Vista was considerably less secure than its precursor. People have undergone more hard locks, crashes, and blue screens in the first weeks of use than they had in the entire year prior using XP. Sadly for Microsoft, this experience was shared by a lot of early Vista users. The troubles weren't limited to high-end, bleeding-edge hardware, either. People with pedestrian, non-exotic hardware configurations reported crashes, instability, and general wonkiness with Vista on laptops and desktops, in homebuilt rigs and OEM machines, and in PCs that initially shipped with XP. Taking into account that enhanced constancy was one of the biggest promises Microsoft made for Vista, users were justifiably upset (Smith, 2008).

Microsoft never made any big assurances about application compatibility, and it's a darn good thing. If a desktop application didn't follow Vista's policy for behavior, Vista wouldn't let it run. The program would fail to load, crash on use, or eat the user's data, depending on the development violation. This happened with reputable programs such as Acrobat Reader, iTunes, Trillian, and dozens of other programs, not even taking into account the antivirus programs that are hardly ever compatible with a new OS. Getting hardware to work with Vista was just as taxing. If one had one of the millions of perfectly functional, but suddenly incompatible printers or scanners, they were now pretty upset. In addition, if one needed to connect to a VPN (virtual private network) that wasn't supported by Vista's built-in client, they were in all probability out of luck. Vista shipped without support from chief VPN manufacturers, including Cisco, leaving work-at-home people out in the cold. The enormous amount of compatibility troubles guaranteed that every user would be disappointed at least once (Smith, 2008).

One would expect a new version of Windows to be slower than the preceding one, given undeveloped drivers and new aspects that exhaust CPU cycles and take up memory. Nevertheless, the performance discrepancy has always been less than ten percent in the past and only really obvious in hardware-intensive apps, such as games. At Vista's launch, tests exposed worse-than-expected performance in a lot of different tasks and applications. Gaming performance suffered remarkably as well; using drivers from the launch time frame, tests showed as much as a twenty percent performance difference between Vista and XP on the same machine. But that wasn't the nastiest of it. Even ordinary tasks suffered. Large network file transfers took an absurd amount of time, even on systems hardwired to gigabit networks. On affected machines, Vista could take days to transfer a full gigabyte of data. While that was a worst-case scenario, a lot of users criticized that file transfers took twice as long to complete in Vista as in XP (Smith, 2008).

Vista brought noticeable enhancements to the by and large security of Windows, one of the few areas in which the OS in fact lived up to Microsoft's promises. Regrettably, one of the means that helps facilitate that security came at a high cost. Even if one doesn't know what it is called, User Account Control, (UAC) had its issues. UAC prompts one whenever an app tried to write to an area of the hard disk or registry that Windows finds distrustful. This would be a good thing expect UAC prompts every time the installer does something suspicious (Smith, 2008).

The problem is compounded by the fact that those prompts look and behave in a different way, even though they're all asking for essentially the same thing: consent to write to a protected area of the system. To make matters even worse, none of the UAC prompts in fact tells power users what the app is doing. When one clicks the allow button, all they are doing is delaying whatever malware one might be installing. Carried out correctly, UAC could have been saviors for people who want to install every application they find. Regrettably, the UAC prompts rapidly become so annoying that most users either immobilize them or unconsciously click through them (Smith, 2008).

The first sign that Microsoft should have abandon Vista was its poor sales figures. According to a report titled "Windows Vista Still Underperforming in U.S. Retail" from NPD, Vista sales were considerably behind XP sales throughout its early days. Even worse for them, was that some people were going back to XP, citing troubles with compatibility and overall design. And if that wasn't enough, Macs continued to surge and with the release of Leopard. With each passing day, it's became obviously clear that Microsoft released Vista too early and the company's repeated mistakes and assurances were annoying the Windows faithful (Reisinger, 2011).

There was a lot of talk about Service Pack 1 and how this update was supposed to take care of many of the concerns that users were having with Vista as well as get rid of the need for users to buy a new computer just to use the flawed OS. The truth was that SP1 did nothing but fix the gaps and concerns that people presently knew about and created even more. As everyone knows from the days of Windows ME and even XP, Microsoft is not the best company at discovering and taking care of security issues, and it looked if things with Vista were not going to be any different (Reisinger, 2011).

With Mac OS X hot on its tail, Vista simply was not able to compete at an OS level with some of the best software around. If Microsoft continued down the path it was one, it was thought that Vista would be the downfall of Microsoft. Unfortunately, unconditionally dumping an operating system is quite difficult and with millions already using the OS, it was hard for Microsoft to find a good enough reason to do it (Reisinger, 2011).

Conclusion

Mike Nash, Corporate Vice President of Windows Product Management, found himself with a hard problem on his hands. Microsoft and its hardware/software partners had done a lot to make Windows Vista a better operating system. With Service Pack (SP) 1, Microsoft had addressed some of the performance and reliability troubles that had made Vista the butt of so much bad press when it first came out. But compelling the PC-buying public that Vista wasn't their worst nightmare was proving to be a challenge, especially as the results of continued press reports, comments on blogs and in forums and clever ads, especially by Apple, disparaging Vista. If one asked the typical consumer on the street about Windows, many would insist XP is less annoying, more stable and works just fine (Parker, 2008).

The Windows team is enduring to take the high road by pushing new data showing how much Vista has enhanced. Microsoft says it has sold one hundred and forty million copies of Vista. There are almost three thousand logo'd Vista apps which is ten times more than existed at launch. Ninety-six percent of new system running Vista have all their… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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