There's no doubt Vista changed the face of operating systems, whether you think for better or for worse. However, the OS hasn't been without its problems. We've answered the three most common questions regarding Vista to help you decide whether you love it or hate it.

Microsoft's Windows Vista is responsible for one of the biggest divides in IT industry. You either love it or you hate it.

But even with Vista's biggest fans, there are still a number of nagging questions that need answering. We've taken the three most common questions about the operating system that Microsoft expected to take over the world and offer up a solution for you.

Should I keep Vista or go back to XP?

For many users, choosing an operating system is a highly personal matter. You have many factors to consider, and there's no clear-cut answer. But here are some arguments for both sides, beginning with a few good reasons to go back to Windows XP.

Hardware reliability: A year-and-a-half after its release, Vista still has a lot of hardware issues, even with new gear. Plug-and-Play works especially haphazardly, as does waking up from sleep mode or hibernation.

Speed: Given the same hardware, XP is faster than Vista. That's only to be expected; just as hardware speeds up with each new generation, software slows down with the addition of new features.

Vista advantages, without Vista: You don't need Vista for fast, indexed searches. Just download the free (for personal use) Copernic Desktop Search. And Microsoft's own Windows Live Photo Gallery improves on Vista's Windows Photo Gallery, yet runs on XP.

The UAC: Vista's User Account Control, the annoying thing that constantly pops up asking your permission for what you've just said you want to do, is a classic example of a good idea badly executed.

Yes, a 'Do you really want to do this, and, by the way, are you an administrator?' type of query is appropriate for some actions, but loading your backup program and changing the time aren't among them.

On the other hand, there are good reasons to stick with Vista.

Prettier looks: Okay, that sounds irrelevant. But you're looking at that screen all day, and it makes a difference.

Better security: Vista comes with a better firewall, a more secure version of Internet Explorer, the above-mentioned UAC, and better encryption than XP has.

A lot of cool, little user interface improvements: Flip 3D, which you access with a press of Windows Tab, is a great way to move between open windows. If you use a webmail client such as Gmail, the 'Copy as Path' feature (Shift-right-click a file and select Copy as Path) makes attaching files to email much easier. And Vista's own indexed search integrates with the user interface in all sorts of slick ways that Copernic could never manage.

Fixes for shortcomings: You can improve performance by shutting off the Sidebar and other user interface 'improvements'. And you can turn off UAC although you're arguably safer with it on.

Sheer laziness: Vista is already on your PC. Changing it will be a major hassle.

NEXT PAGE: What to remember if you decide to abandon Vista

  1. Stick with Vista, or 'downgrade' to XP?a
  2. What to remember if you decide to abandon Vista
  3. Why doesn't Vista's System Restore actually restore the system?

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