Windows Feature Comparison - Vista SP1 vs XP SP3

Microsoft has just released a whitepaper, which compares the following features and capabilities of Windows Vista with SP1 & Windows XP with SP3 : Security, Management, Deployment, Mobility, and Productivity.

This Windows Feature Comparison white paper helps customers compare Windows Vista® advancements with Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional. Using this comparison, customers can adjust their expectations for the security, management, deployment, mobility, and productivity of either operating system. For each feature or capability, each section compares key Windows Vista advancements against Windows XP. Presented in a tabular format, it does make an interesting read.

Link: Microsoft

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Oh my god... my eyes. Why did you post of reference from PC World? I wouldn't even waste the time that it took my browser to fetch the information from the page. I will venture a guess that PC Tools and PC World probably have some cash going under the table in order to run anti-Vista advertising and getting people to consider their products. Its not like Microsoft hasn't done the same. The trouble here like usually is that most articles focus on a treat level that arises from individual users behavior rather than "significant" holes in the operating system.

And there's absolutely nothing Microsoft, Norton, Mcafee, Trend Micro, Avast, AVG, Kapersky, Spyware Doctor, or anyone else can do about it. The fact that Windows has over 90% market share (iirc), you have over 90% of the brightest hacker minds in the world attacking the operating system, going after 90% of the population who are still, by large, gullible to phishing and malware attacks from the internet and e-mail.

The new goal is not about preventing malware infection, but preventing the malware taking full control for the computer. I'd rather have malware stuck in limited account access, spamming me with useless popups and spooky language, than malware that's infected my system boot files, disabled my task manager, removed my rights to regedit and services.msc, and redirected all my interent traffic through a phishing proxy.

At least Microsoft is trying to learn from Linux/Unix and solve problems with runaway admin rights. Apple is stubborn and still has the same underlying problems with admin rights that XP had, especially with their safari browser.

Not long ago, microsoft said they didn't see the demand for XP. Now why would they put something like this out if they didn't see demand for XP?

OK, let start by saying that I have installed several hundreds of PCs for every single type of person, from every walk of life.

Vista is, by a very _large_ margin, better than Windows XP for the majority of consumers. In fact, there are countless times where I kick myself for having to install an XP machine, because it's just missing too many key features.

Let me give two large examples: UAC and DPI scaling. The vast majority of PC users is going to be elderly people within the next couple years. The baby boomer generation is retiring, and they want to get connected with their younger family through the digital age. Without UAC or DPI scaling, the elderly are screwed.

The DPI scaling in XP is horrible. Bad font smoothing, increased font does not increase text margins for icons, and neither does it increase the GUI proportionally. If you try to increase the font in XP past 10, everything else gets screwed up. Not to mention that 19" monitors are cheaper to manufacture than 17", and 22" monitors are starting to take over the market. The DPI scaling in Vista is a life-saver, and makes the Windows GUI on larger screens actually bearable for people with poor eyesight.

In all the virus removals and cleanups I have done, at least 60-70% comes from security holes in IE hijacking the internet and redirecting to fake anti-virus programs, over 90% of which are XP operating systems. These security holes will always exist no matter what browser you use, or what brand of antivirus you run. Remember that apple lost the competition to a safari exploit, and windows lost to a flash plugin exploit. It's not that big of a deal really, exept for the fact that everyone likes to surf around with FULL ADMINISTRATIVE RIGHTS. Vista's UAC protection is a large step in the right direction, in an effort to protect people from their own gullibility and carelessness. Without it, it's only a matter of (short) time before an average user running an XP machine gets infected again.

Then there's more streamlined context options in explorer, better integration of off-line folders and synchronization, integrated speech dictation, improved search/indexing, native DVD-RW support, dedicated documents folder, much improved prefetching and memory handling, and many other things advanced users simply ignore or take for granted.

In fact, virtually all the bad press about Vista either comes from a) botched 3rd party software, b) last-generation hardware c) improper configuration or lack of knowledge. For example, I know a lot of people who install Vista, barely use it for a couple days, and remove it for being "too slow." Maybe if you gave the prefetching a chance to optimize itself, you might actually see that initial sluggishness *gasp* disappear! Or maybe if you bought your new machine with Vista, and actually took some time to disable all the manufacturer's bloatware running in the startup, it might actually *go figure* run equally fast as a fresh install of XP with NO bloatware.

I mean, just go take a look at the benchmarks at Tom's Hardware. On current-gen hardware, Vista runs just as fast, if not faster, than Windows XP.

Oh, and Vista introduces symbolic links that work between NTFS volumes on completely different networks. If you don't know what that means, trust me, it is very awesome. For example, I'm using it to synchronize my Firefox cache folder across multiple computers, so that adding a bookmark or saving a password is synced to all my machines. There is tons of new and cool stuff in Vista that many people don't even consider. And don't forget about native DX10.

DPI scaling is probably one of the reasons why my boss loves Vista. He doesn't have to set a screwy resolution on his LCD monitor (Like he did in the past with his CRTs).

I'd just like to say about the last generation hardware bit that Yes, every bit of hardware except my new server IS last generation or older, but all-in-all I'm wasting less power than most people, my comps can run off 200 watt power supplies, in modern computers you can't even power the CPU itself with just 200w! you need 1000w and more, what a bloody waste of power just to see a special GUI, thank god I live up high so when the ice caps melt you can all drown and I'll stay with my ancient boxes

Biased and wrong, bit locker is completely insecure and is full of back-doors that they built in! So is basically useless
And I installed XP SP2 Pro on my dell the other day, day I'm 100% sure DEP was enabled for all windows services and programs, yet they say its only enabled in vista... Yeh, right.
Oh and can someone tell me; with this vista auto wireless location thing, how hard is it for a hacker to setup a malicious fake wireless access point and get login credentials, WEP / WPA keys, or even highly-prized information (like bank account information), because after reading that it sounds very easy, will give it a try on some sucker when I have time...

very hard as vista auto wireless location doesn't work like that. it's not going to encounter a new unknown wlan and then try hand over your wep/wpa keys (and bank details ) to get access to it...

Anyone who drinks Microsoft Brand Kool-Aid.
[img]http://www.alanlepofsky.net/alepofsky/alanblog.nsf/dx/dont-drink-the-koolaid/content/M2?OpenElement[/img]

Ummm it is actually, as far as OS goes.

Now 3rd party software, drivers and ignorant media/journalists is whats makes an OS bad.

My opinion if you got know how and hardware to run Vista effectively is best OS out there, if you haven't your best sticking with XP.

(stevember said @ #7.1)
Now 3rd party software, drivers and ignorant media/journalists is whats makes an OS bad.


Of course, Vista has a number of improvements all around the board (Driver models, security and virtualization mechanisms, process isolation stuff like the indexer and explorer have, etc.) that make the impact 3rd party software can have on the system significantly less than XP.

(stevember said @ #7.1)
Now 3rd party software, drivers and ignorant media/journalists is whats makes an OS bad.

And system requirements, I'm not talking Vista "capable" here, because those machines barely are.

It's an important aspect as people don't really need to buy new computers as often as they once used to -- Windows XP SP3 is a very powerful OS to do everyday work in, and it runs on old hardware a person may already own as well. That's a major advantage.

(Jugalator said @ #7.3)

And system requirements, I'm not talking Vista "capable" here, because those machines barely are.

It's an important aspect as people don't really need to buy new computers as often as they once used to -- Windows XP SP3 is a very powerful OS to do everyday work in, and it runs on old hardware a person may already own as well. That's a major advantage.

Nice you read my full comment. I did say that....

They have quite a lengthy list there, but I think this list is geared towards System Administrators rather than a typical user. Most of these features I would never use:

SDL - present on both systems - a weak argument for why its better on Vista.

Malicious code execution prevention - technically on both systems but Vista has a couple more defenses in there. Altogether, not incredibly useful, at least for me. I'm smart enough to know what would be safe and what wouldn't, and I'm pretty careful with my browsing (noscript in FF).

Bitlocker - useless, I don't need encryption, and I'd hazard a guess that most home users don't either.

Windows Firewall - Both XP and Vista have this feature, but Vista uses outbound filtering as well (I don't know how useful that is though). There are also a couple more convenience features built in, but to be honest I don't use it. Router firewall works just fine for me. Useful for laptops though.

IE7 protected mode - I don't use IE, I'll stick with FF and noscript thanks :)

ActiveX installer - haven't really had issues with that as I am admin on my XP install. All vista seems to do is modify permissions for regular users a bit.

Group policies - not so useful in a home environment, claims it has a ton more options (500) in Vista. zzzzzzzzzzzz

User accounts - basically they actually properly implement accounts in Vista as opposed to XP, but not so useful if you're the only user. Would definitely be useful if this was a shared PC.

Diagnostics - not incredibly useful. If you're knowledgeable enough to build a PC from scratch, you'll be knowledgeable enough to diagnose the PC yourself, or at the very least be able to research it. a typical user would just bring in the PC to whoever they bought it from and get it fixed.

Event management - Not so sure what this is, but I don't use it. Do you?

Task Scheduling - Task scheduler is more advanced in Vista, but do you use it? I don't.

Image-based setup - not useful for home users

Deployment - also not useful for home users

Setup - Not really a purchase deciding feature. Not really useful for home users either (i usually use nLite/vLite to do these sort of things anyway)

Worldwide single image deployment - again, not for home users

Mobility center - centralizes mobility options (power settings, etc) useful for laptops. But XP has the same thing, just not in one location (have to go to different areas to reach every option). I have a desktop so, not so useful

Sync Center - I don't use this, do you?

Offline files - also, don't use this

Network projection - possible through XP (basically its connecting to a networked projector) but might be easier in Vista - useful for laptops and those who give presentations using them.

Secure Socket Tunnel Protocol - useful in Vista if you plan on using VPN's, makes them more secure

Power management - works fine in XP, just a bunch of fluff here as to why Vista is better

Wireless networking - more convenience options with a bit of protection against connecting to "malicious wireless networks".. what? heres an idea - don't connect to random wireless networks?

Search - Vista has a much improved search engine with plenty of bells and whistles. I'm fine with basic file search, in fact i usually disable file indexing, so, not all that useful for me.

User interface - apparently they don't say a thing about XP's interface. I'm fine with XP, in fact I prefer it over vista. I don't like the IE7 look that they put in Vista, and I do miss the "Go Up" button (now you have to click on the folder you want to visit on the address bar, which admittedly is somewhat useful but I had no idea that feature existed for some time). I really dislike the Vista start bar, I was fine with XP style start bar, but Vista likes to hide previous menus once you enter a submenu, and i find that annoying. I'd like to see everything, I'm not shallow enough to need to occupy as little desktop space as possible with my start menu.. and what was even more annoying is that they didn't allow you to switch to the XP style bar. You can only use the classic start bar from 95/98. No thanks.

Wow, that was a lot of features haha. I'm going to rest my wrists now.

(WICKO said @ #7.5)
Wow, that was a lot of features haha. I'm going to rest my wrists now.

I hope you're sticking with XP then, because it sounds like you'd choose not to take advantage of most of Vista's features. Oh, btw, Alt+Up arrow takes you up a directory in Vista. Quick and easy shortcut if you're used to Alt+Back arrow/Alt+Forward arrow shortcuts. The search also makes things quite easy, I don't actually use the links in the start menu anymore, I just type in the first few letters of what I want to launch or open, and hit Enter.

Understandably, some people are a bit slow on the uptake, and don't readily pick up new ways of doing things. I think part of the reason was that XP was around for seven years prior to Vista, allowing basically a computing generation to learn a certain way of going about tasks. Now that Vista is here, some of the older, clunkier methods have vanished, and people complain that they're gone rather than seeing what has replaced them.

(WICKO said @ #7.5)
They have quite a lengthy list there, but I think this list is geared towards System Administrators rather than a typical user.

That's the point of this document, to clarify features in Vista that would be beneficial to IT departments and sysadmins.

(WICKO said @ #7.5)
They have quite a lengthy list there, but I think this list is geared towards System Administrators rather than a typical user. Most of these features I would never use:

SDL - present on both systems - a weak argument for why its better on Vista.
Microsoft have a set method of development which is what the SDL is based on. The purpose of SDL is that security is written into the OS / Application instead of just adding it on as an after thought. Your comment makes no sense as the SDL framework wasn't even present when XP was coded.

Malicious code execution prevention - technically on both systems but Vista has a couple more defenses in there. Altogether, not incredibly useful, at least for me. I'm smart enough to know what would be safe and what wouldn't, and I'm pretty careful with my browsing (noscript in FF).
Whilst you may know what is safe and what isn't, I can assure you that you are wrong. You think Neowin is safe? You think Google is safe? You do know how wholesale ad brokers work don't you.... NoScript is great. Until you want to view a site that works better with scripting. I prefer both worlds - viewing the sites I want whilst the browser is in a security sandbox

Bitlocker - useless, I don't need encryption, and I'd hazard a guess that most home users don't either.
Your statement is false, regarding not needing encryption. Heard of SSL or TLS? But I understand that i'm taking it out of context. Whilst you may not want to encrypt your HD, some people do. Sole traders who use laptops prehaps? Home users that have Ultimate and keep financial data on their HD's. You think I'm really going to send my PC away to Dell for repair with my personal data sitting there...? I've fixed PC's for a living - I KNOW you really want encryption! ;-)
But for average Joe Bloggs, you're probably right. Which is why it's a feature in Vista Enterprise (volume licence only) and Ultimate which most people won't buy due to the cost.

Windows Firewall - Both XP and Vista have this feature, but Vista uses outbound filtering as well (I don't know how useful that is though). There are also a couple more convenience features built in, but to be honest I don't use it. Router firewall works just fine for me. Useful for laptops though.
Again, you're completely missing the point about security. How you think botnets and spam actually work? Infected PC's speak out to control servers filling your inbox with crap. If everyone had a outbound firewall then the net would be a much safer place. You got a home network? 2 or 3 machines on wifi? What happens if you have a worm on your PC? Under XP it can replicate to your other machines. In Vista it can't*.

IE7 protected mode - I don't use IE, I'll stick with FF and noscript thanks :)
See above. NoScript lowers what you can do on the net. It's a fantastic tool for secure browsing, but if you want functionality then look elsewhere. Whilst IE has it's bugs, the Vista version (IE7+) will limit any security issues to the browser. FF cannot currently do this as it runs under the context of the local user. IE7+ doesn't.

ActiveX installer - haven't really had issues with that as I am admin on my XP install. All vista seems to do is modify permissions for regular users a bit.
Right.... we're getting to it now. You think your secure on XP yet you run as an admin whilst browsing the net and opening emails. I'm getting the picture. Vista ensures that no matter who you are and what permissions you have, you are running all processes under the single user context of a normal user. E.G. when you open up FF in XP as an admin, anything that gets executed by FF will be done as an administrator. That gives websites access to your whole machine with the only thing limiting it being FF itself. Whilst it's a good browser, security isn't perfect in any application. Google it.
Vista will open apps as a limited user - even when logged on as an administrator. If you need to run an application with admin rights to make a system change you'll need to confirm it using a "secure desktop" which stops all processes (sorta) and waits for human only interaction to confirm the task.
Anyway, the ActiveX installer is really aimed more at corporates. I'll give you that one! :-)

Group policies - not so useful in a home environment, claims it has a ton more options (500) in Vista. zzzzzzzzzzzz
Try it on your home PC. You'll be amazed at the power you actually have on your system. Take a peek - you want to change almost ANYTHING you can do it with a GPO.

User accounts - basically they actually properly implement accounts in Vista as opposed to XP, but not so useful if you're the only user. Would definitely be useful if this was a shared PC.
Goes back to the point about running everything under the admin context. Just because you don't take your security seriously doesn't mean MS shouldn't try to implement security best practice in their latest OS. (credit due to Linux! :))

Diagnostics - not incredibly useful. If you're knowledgeable enough to build a PC from scratch, you'll be knowledgeable enough to diagnose the PC yourself, or at the very least be able to research it. a typical user would just bring in the PC to whoever they bought it from and get it fixed.
Yeah, that's a great idea. What if Dell never put the error codes on hardware errors? Or Office never gave you errors on a web page? More diagnostics is great no matter if your working on a car or working on a PC. I'd rather the PC TELL ME that the RAM in slot 0 is knackered and I need to replace it, instead of going through the motions. You'll also find that if your PC crashes under Vista, the system will optionally (off by default but it prompts you) send anon data to MS about the crash. About 2 mins later you get a reply stating that it's due to a Creative driver or a HD error. Your telling me that this information isn't useful? Generally speaking I can't tell what filename from what vendor caused a crash on my system in under 2 mins. Well done you.

Event management - Not so sure what this is, but I don't use it. Do you?
This sort of negates your point above. How the hell do you diagnose faults with your system if you don't even know what event viewer is. Yeah I use it. It tells me if there's a problem with an application, records security and gives DIAGNOSTIC info about crashes.

Task Scheduling - Task scheduler is more advanced in Vista, but do you use it? I don't.
I don't at home, but do at work.

Image-based setup - not useful for home users
True - although personally I'll be slipstreaming in patches and using the imaging features to ensure I get a Norton Ghost like backup of my system without having to purchase Ghost.

Deployment - also not useful for home users
True

Setup - Not really a purchase deciding feature. Not really useful for home users either (i usually use nLite/vLite to do these sort of things anyway)
The article isn't about purchasing decisions, it's a comparision between operating systems. And a better setup is useful for everyone. Ask anyone in the Linux crowd what they think about setup experiences. Have you seen what it used to be like 5 - 8 years ago? Now it's much better so that the average Joe can pretty much install it.

Worldwide single image deployment - again, not for home users
True

Mobility center - centralizes mobility options (power settings, etc) useful for laptops. But XP has the same thing, just not in one location (have to go to different areas to reach every option). I have a desktop so, not so useful
XP doesn't have the same thing. It's not just power options, it's network based projectors, brightness, bluetooth, presentation mode, wifi, display rotation and wallpaper. Now I maybe wrong, but XP doesn't have brightness, network projector, presentation mode or native bluetooth support. You install all those 3rd party apps if you want, but I'd rather do without the OEM junk and have all those options a single click away thanks. Oh - and just because you don't have a laptop doesn't mean that a huge amount of HOME and business users do.

Sync Center - I don't use this, do you?
I do with my phone, yeah. Businesses will use this with offline files and such too.

Offline files - also, don't use this
Business feature

Network projection - possible through XP (basically its connecting to a networked projector) but might be easier in Vista - useful for laptops and those who give presentations using them.
Network projectors hardly worked in XP. Vista overhauls it with built-in drivers including generic abilities as well as wizard based configuration.

Secure Socket Tunnel Protocol - useful in Vista if you plan on using VPN's, makes them more secure
Yep

Power management - works fine in XP, just a bunch of fluff here as to why Vista is better
[Sigh]... Vista reduces power consumed in various ways (including the sleep mode.) Also, Vista reports power status a lot more accurately than XP, as well as allowing non-admins to modify power settings which is great for businesses too. The power reduction itself is a good thing regarding the environment surely?

Wireless networking - more convenience options with a bit of protection against connecting to "malicious wireless networks".. what? heres an idea - don't connect to random wireless networks?
Seriously, your starting to irritate me now. HAVE YOU HEARD OF A PUBLIC WIFI?! Starbucks, hotels, McDonnalds, airports. Or do you just not go out? With XP your network settings are static. Vista realises that it's public and increases security so you are nearly invisible to other devices on the network. Gheesh.....

Search - Vista has a much improved search engine with plenty of bells and whistles. I'm fine with basic file search, in fact i usually disable file indexing, so, not all that useful for me.
Good for you. Most people like to press a single key and type in a query with Google like responses covering emails, web history and applications as well as files. You don't, and that's fine.

User interface - apparently they don't say a thing about XP's interface. I'm fine with XP, in fact I prefer it over vista. I don't like the IE7 look that they put in Vista, and I do miss the "Go Up" button (now you have to click on the folder you want to visit on the address bar, which admittedly is somewhat useful but I had no idea that feature existed for some time). I really dislike the Vista start bar, I was fine with XP style start bar, but Vista likes to hide previous menus once you enter a submenu, and i find that annoying. I'd like to see everything, I'm not shallow enough to need to occupy as little desktop space as possible with my start menu.. and what was even more annoying is that they didn't allow you to switch to the XP style bar. You can only use the classic start bar from 95/98. No thanks.
Um, what's the difference between Vista's start menu and XP's? Nothing that can't be modified in the customise option. In fact the difference is the icon at the top, and search replacing run. (but they do the same thing.) Other than that it's just that Vista opens 'All programs' over the top of the "recently used". If you want something from recently used then use that menu instead of all programs maybe?!
To be fair though, GUI is subjective and if it's not for you then you can skin Vista in the XP format if you really want to.

Wow, that was a lot of features haha. I'm going to rest my wrists now.

Wow, that was a lot of corrections, but just in case here's some more consumer one's that you'll never want/need....

  • Media Centre
  • DirectX 10
  • Fast sleep and resume
  • Parental Controls
  • Live Icons
  • Dreamscene (Ult only)
  • SuperFetch
  • Shadow Copy
  • Search Folders
  • Photo Gallery
  • DVD Maker
  • Meeting Space
  • ReadyBoost
  • Fax and Scan
  • New backup system
  • Movie Maker

(Catches breath...!)

(Relativity_17 said @ #7.6)
I hope you're sticking with XP then, because it sounds like you'd choose not to take advantage of most of Vista's features. Oh, btw, Alt+Up arrow takes you up a directory in Vista. Quick and easy shortcut if you're used to Alt+Back arrow/Alt+Forward arrow shortcuts. The search also makes things quite easy, I don't actually use the links in the start menu anymore, I just type in the first few letters of what I want to launch or open, and hit Enter.

Understandably, some people are a bit slow on the uptake, and don't readily pick up new ways of doing things. I think part of the reason was that XP was around for seven years prior to Vista, allowing basically a computing generation to learn a certain way of going about tasks. Now that Vista is here, some of the older, clunkier methods have vanished, and people complain that they're gone rather than seeing what has replaced them.

I'm dual booting right now. I have reasons for wanting to use Vista, gaming related (thanks DX10), but even that is generally useless.. the way devs have used it in the games I play, just don't really add much to the game. Except in cases like Unreal engine 3 games.

Those shortcuts aren't too handy for me, I like to keep my hand on the mouse during browsing. My mouse has the back and forward buttons on it that I use constantly. Still useful to know though, thanks

I think you might have misunderstood my post. I'm not trying to convince other people that XP is better than Vista, or vice versa. I just wanted to list out the features that I personally would not find useful. I want to see what other people think (which is exactly what you've done ) so I can learn more. You made a lot of comments saying how each feature would be useful for someone else, which is great, but I think you mention them because you think I believe these features aren't useful for *everyone*. This is not the case.

(stevehoot said @ #7.8)
Microsoft have a set method of development which is what the SDL is based on. The purpose of SDL is that security is written into the OS / Application instead of just adding it on as an after thought. Your comment makes no sense as the SDL framework wasn't even present when XP was coded.
Your argument isn't very convincing to me (it sounds like you just re-iterated what was written in the PDF), but I have nothing to prove otherwise.

Whilst you may know what is safe and what isn't, I can assure you that you are wrong. You think Neowin is safe? You think Google is safe? You do know how wholesale ad brokers work don't you.... NoScript is great. Until you want to view a site that works better with scripting. I prefer both worlds - viewing the sites I want whilst the browser is in a security sandbox
I think I have a pretty good idea about what is safe and what isn't. I can't remember the last time I've had a virus, and since I've been using noscript, my PC has very little spyware as well. Sure, noscript can mess up sites, but if its an issue then you can just tell it to either permanently allow certain sources, or just temporarily if you'd like.

Bitlocker - useless, I don't need encryption, and I'd hazard a guess that most home users don't either.
Your statement is false, regarding not needing encryption. Heard of SSL or TLS? But I understand that i'm taking it out of context. Whilst you may not want to encrypt your HD, some people do. Sole traders who use laptops prehaps? Home users that have Ultimate and keep financial data on their HD's. You think I'm really going to send my PC away to Dell for repair with my personal data sitting there...? I've fixed PC's for a living - I KNOW you really want encryption! ;-)
But for average Joe Bloggs, you're probably right. Which is why it's a feature in Vista Enterprise (volume licence only) and Ultimate which most people won't buy due to the cost.

Yeah, I wasn't refering to encryption with respect to networking. I use SSL to FTP to my university account, and i understand how useful that can be.

Again, you're completely missing the point about security. How you think botnets and spam actually work? Infected PC's speak out to control servers filling your inbox with crap. If everyone had a outbound firewall then the net would be a much safer place. You got a home network? 2 or 3 machines on wifi? What happens if you have a worm on your PC? Under XP it can replicate to your other machines. In Vista it can't*.
Thanks for clearing that up, I honestly hadn't thought of that. Don't hardware firewalls do the same thing?

See above. NoScript lowers what you can do on the net. It's a fantastic tool for secure browsing, but if you want functionality then look elsewhere. Whilst IE has it's bugs, the Vista version (IE7+) will limit any security issues to the browser. FF cannot currently do this as it runs under the context of the local user. IE7+ doesn't.
I disagree. NoScript does not limit functionality if you don't want it to. And about IE7, well.. thats another story.. there are so many conflicting articles about IE7 vs other browsers that I don't really know what to believe.

Right.... we're getting to it now. You think your secure on XP yet you run as an admin whilst browsing the net and opening emails. I'm getting the picture. Vista ensures that no matter who you are and what permissions you have, you are running all processes under the single user context of a normal user. E.G. when you open up FF in XP as an admin, anything that gets executed by FF will be done as an administrator. That gives websites access to your whole machine with the only thing limiting it being FF itself. Whilst it's a good browser, security isn't perfect in any application. Google it.
Vista will open apps as a limited user - even when logged on as an administrator. If you need to run an application with admin rights to make a system change you'll need to confirm it using a "secure desktop" which stops all processes (sorta) and waits for human only interaction to confirm the task.
Anyway, the ActiveX installer is really aimed more at corporates. I'll give you that one! :-)

I can understand how that would be useful (UAC) but with noscript I don't really have to worry about that, as the code won't run in the first place (as long as I'm careful). Even with confirmation, this doesn't prevent users from being tricked, as it still relies on the user to decide whether the code is safe or not.

Try it on your home PC. You'll be amazed at the power you actually have on your system. Take a peek - you want to change almost ANYTHING you can do it with a GPO.
I was under the impression that this was useful for larger networks?? I've used it to modify a few things (such as allowing empty passwords on network shares). Perhaps when I use nLite, these kinds of things are already modified for me?

Goes back to the point about running everything under the admin context. Just because you don't take your security seriously doesn't mean MS shouldn't try to implement security best practice in their latest OS. (credit due to
Linux! :))

Again.. I'm not saying it shouldn't be implemented. Just saying I wouldn't use it!

Yeah, that's a great idea. What if Dell never put the error codes on hardware errors? Or Office never gave you errors on a web page? More diagnostics is great no matter if your working on a car or working on a PC. I'd rather the PC TELL ME that the RAM in slot 0 is knackered and I need to replace it, instead of going through the motions. You'll also find that if your PC crashes under Vista, the system will optionally (off by default but it prompts you) send anon data to MS about the crash. About 2 mins later you get a reply stating that it's due to a Creative driver or a HD error. Your telling me that this information isn't useful? Generally speaking I can't tell what filename from what vendor caused a crash on my system in under 2 mins. Well done you.
I will admit, that would be pretty useful. I guess i'm used to the old fashioned memtest/swapping parts :)

This sort of negates your point above. How the hell do you diagnose faults with your system if you don't even know what event viewer is. Yeah I use it. It tells me if there's a problem with an application, records security and gives DIAGNOSTIC info about crashes.
I've been able to diagnose all my hardware issues without problems I guess.

The article isn't about purchasing decisions, it's a comparision between operating systems. And a better setup is useful for everyone. Ask anyone in the Linux crowd what they think about setup experiences. Have you seen what it used to be like 5 - 8 years ago? Now it's much better so that the average Joe can pretty much install it.
Of course. But I don't see much of a problem with XP, compared to Vista's install. But I use nLite now anyway, so its unattended.

XP doesn't have the same thing. It's not just power options, it's network based projectors, brightness, bluetooth, presentation mode, wifi, display rotation and wallpaper. Now I maybe wrong, but XP doesn't have brightness, network projector, presentation mode or native bluetooth support. You install all those 3rd party apps if you want, but I'd rather do without the OEM junk and have all those options a single click away thanks. Oh - and just because you don't have a laptop doesn't mean that a huge amount of HOME and business users do.
Again, just saying what is useful for me.

Network projectors hardly worked in XP. Vista overhauls it with built-in drivers including generic abilities as well as wizard based configuration.
I'll take your word for it. I've had some good things happen with printer drivers built in.

[Sigh]... Vista reduces power consumed in various ways (including the sleep mode.) Also, Vista reports power status a lot more accurately than XP, as well as allowing non-admins to modify power settings which is great for businesses too. The power reduction itself is a good thing regarding the environment surely?
I'm kind of confused. Do you want standard users messing with power settings that the admin has set?

Seriously, your starting to irritate me now. HAVE YOU HEARD OF A PUBLIC WIFI?! Starbucks, hotels, McDonnalds, airports. Or do you just not go out? With XP your network settings are static. Vista realises that it's public and increases security so you are nearly invisible to other devices on the network. Gheesh.....
Oh quit your crying. As I don't own a laptop, its not useful for me.

Um, what's the difference between Vista's start menu and XP's? Nothing that can't be modified in the customise option. In fact the difference is the icon at the top, and search replacing run. (but they do the same thing.) Other than that it's just that Vista opens 'All programs' over the top of the "recently used". If you want something from recently used then use that menu instead of all programs maybe?!
To be fair though, GUI is subjective and if it's not for you then you can skin Vista in the XP format if you really want to.

The difference is that Vista limits it so that theres no pop up menus, which to be honest I find annoying. You can't enable an XP style menu as far as I can tell, only the basic Pre-XP ones.

Wow, that was a lot of features haha. I'm going to rest my wrists now.

I was limiting myself to the features in the PDF.
Wow, that was a lot of corrections, but just in case here's some more consumer one's that you'll never want/need....

  • Media Centre
  • DirectX 10
  • Fast sleep and resume
  • Parental Controls
  • Live Icons
  • Dreamscene (Ult only)
  • SuperFetch
  • Shadow Copy
  • Search Folders
  • Photo Gallery
  • DVD Maker
  • Meeting Space
  • ReadyBoost
  • Fax and Scan
  • New backup system
  • Movie Maker

(Catches breath...!)

(WICKO said @ #7.5)
They have quite a lengthy list there, but I think this list is geared towards System Administrators rather than a typical user. Most of these features I would never use:

SDL - present on both systems - a weak argument for why its better on Vista.

Malicious code execution prevention - technically on both systems but Vista has a couple more defenses in there. Altogether, not incredibly useful, at least for me. I'm smart enough to know what would be safe and what wouldn't, and I'm pretty careful with my browsing (noscript in FF).

Bitlocker - useless, I don't need encryption, and I'd hazard a guess that most home users don't either.

Windows Firewall - Both XP and Vista have this feature, but Vista uses outbound filtering as well (I don't know how useful that is though). There are also a couple more convenience features built in, but to be honest I don't use it. Router firewall works just fine for me. Useful for laptops though.

IE7 protected mode - I don't use IE, I'll stick with FF and noscript thanks :)

ActiveX installer - haven't really had issues with that as I am admin on my XP install. All vista seems to do is modify permissions for regular users a bit.

Group policies - not so useful in a home environment, claims it has a ton more options (500) in Vista. zzzzzzzzzzzz

User accounts - basically they actually properly implement accounts in Vista as opposed to XP, but not so useful if you're the only user. Would definitely be useful if this was a shared PC.

Diagnostics - not incredibly useful. If you're knowledgeable enough to build a PC from scratch, you'll be knowledgeable enough to diagnose the PC yourself, or at the very least be able to research it. a typical user would just bring in the PC to whoever they bought it from and get it fixed.

Event management - Not so sure what this is, but I don't use it. Do you?

Task Scheduling - Task scheduler is more advanced in Vista, but do you use it? I don't.

Image-based setup - not useful for home users

Deployment - also not useful for home users

Setup - Not really a purchase deciding feature. Not really useful for home users either (i usually use nLite/vLite to do these sort of things anyway)

Worldwide single image deployment - again, not for home users

Mobility center - centralizes mobility options (power settings, etc) useful for laptops. But XP has the same thing, just not in one location (have to go to different areas to reach every option). I have a desktop so, not so useful

Sync Center - I don't use this, do you?

Offline files - also, don't use this

Network projection - possible through XP (basically its connecting to a networked projector) but might be easier in Vista - useful for laptops and those who give presentations using them.

Secure Socket Tunnel Protocol - useful in Vista if you plan on using VPN's, makes them more secure

Power management - works fine in XP, just a bunch of fluff here as to why Vista is better

Wireless networking - more convenience options with a bit of protection against connecting to "malicious wireless networks".. what? heres an idea - don't connect to random wireless networks?

Search - Vista has a much improved search engine with plenty of bells and whistles. I'm fine with basic file search, in fact i usually disable file indexing, so, not all that useful for me.

User interface - apparently they don't say a thing about XP's interface. I'm fine with XP, in fact I prefer it over vista. I don't like the IE7 look that they put in Vista, and I do miss the "Go Up" button (now you have to click on the folder you want to visit on the address bar, which admittedly is somewhat useful but I had no idea that feature existed for some time). I really dislike the Vista start bar, I was fine with XP style start bar, but Vista likes to hide previous menus once you enter a submenu, and i find that annoying. I'd like to see everything, I'm not shallow enough to need to occupy as little desktop space as possible with my start menu.. and what was even more annoying is that they didn't allow you to switch to the XP style bar. You can only use the classic start bar from 95/98. No thanks.

Wow, that was a lot of features haha. I'm going to rest my wrists now.

I'm not going to say which is better, but how the heck do you pretend that all us use or don't use the things that you do. Everyone's needs are different. As for home users, you seem like the description of one, but there are many of us that are also home users (despite working on IT or knowing more than the average about it) that MAY use those features at home also.

People should stick with what they like the best. There is no need to rant about the other OS.

(ajua said @ #7.11)
I'm not going to say which is better, but how the heck do you pretend that all us use or don't use the things that you do. Everyone's needs are different. As for home users, you seem like the description of one, but there are many of us that are also home users (despite working on IT or knowing more than the average about it) that MAY use those features at home also.

People should stick with what they like the best. There is no need to rant about the other OS.

It isn't a rant. I just want to see what other people think. I wasn't trying to convince anyone of anything, I guess I didn't make that clear enough. I said at the beginning "Most of these features I would never use", to try and say that but I guess I need to be more clear.

Just want to point out that I agree stevehoot's comment about NoScript. I used NoScript for about 6 months and finally just uninstalled it. I just got tired of it getting in the way of my browsing. And honestly, I don't feel any safer with it. A lot of the times, when it pops up a script prompt, I really have no idea what I'm allowing or not allowing. So it's a guessing game. And I feel most users will feel the same frustrations.

(mayamaniac said @ #7.13)
Just want to point out that I agree stevehoot's comment about NoScript. I used NoScript for about 6 months and finally just uninstalled it. I just got tired of it getting in the way of my browsing. And honestly, I don't feel any safer with it. A lot of the times, when it pops up a script prompt, I really have no idea what I'm allowing or not allowing. So it's a guessing game. And I feel most users will feel the same frustrations.

There are ways to stop it from popping up all the time. Under options/notifications, you can tell it to just put a little icon on the status bar, and you just click on that icon and it will give you a list of addresses being used in the tap. I have it set so it automatically allows top level addresses but nothing else. so, once in a while i come across a site where a certain script needs to be enabled for the site to function, tell it to allow that address, and I never have to think about it again, as well as no more annoying notifications popping up.

(WICKO said @ #7.5)
They have quite a lengthy list there, but I think this list is geared towards System
Malicious code execution prevention - technically on both systems but Vista has a couple more defenses in there. Altogether, not incredibly useful, at least for me. I'm smart enough to know what would be safe and what wouldn't, and I'm pretty careful with my browsing (noscript in FF).

NoScript+Fx isn't as secure as you'd imagine. Thanks to the way Firefox was built and works, it's still suseptible to attacks that exploit holes in windows (the classic example would be the Animated Gif/Cursor vulnerability). However, such bugs don't affect Opera, so I highly recommend using Opera if you're looking for security.

But IE7 on Vista (with UAC on) is much more secure than Firefox, because, technically speaking a bug could exploit Firefox/Opera, but since IE7 runs in a sandbox, no (permanent) damage would take place.

Of course, the best option is to run Opera in a sandbox with reduced priviliges.

Microsoft needs a better marketing department. Goto Apple's website, and they have Leopard very well advertised in a very easy to read page. Microsoft needs to make Vista more appealing to users. It's not a bad OS, and it has so much potential. They just need to advertise it better...

(tsupersonic said @ #5)
Microsoft needs a better marketing department. Goto Apple's website, and they have Leopard very well advertised in a very easy to read page. Microsoft needs to make Vista more appealing to users. It's not a bad OS, and it has so much potential. They just need to advertise it better...

They actually advertise their own product? Last I saw Apple only slung mud around at its competitor...not actually advertise its own product.

(tsupersonic said @ #5)
Microsoft needs a better marketing department. Goto Apple's website, and they have Leopard very well advertised in a very easy to read page. Microsoft needs to make Vista more appealing to users. It's not a bad OS, and it has so much potential. They just need to advertise it better...

Hmm... You must be looking at different versions of the sites.

- http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/

While a bit 'markety', the site looks crisp. It appears the main focus is to offer information on all the new features in Vista, how they work, and what new hardware is on the market for the OS. Later down the page is a menu of more in-depth resources.

- http://www.apple.com/mac/

Also a bit 'markety', the site looks crisp. It appears main focus is an image directing me to watch the latest commercials, (which don't explain anything about Macs other than that they're supposedly better than PCs,) an image saying, "A Mac just works." but doesn't go into much detail. Later down the page is a menu of more in-depth resources.

What's the problem?

(Captain555 said @ #4)
They've convaince me. I'm sticking with XP. :laugh:

Yes, those Vista "features" do not outweigh the performance and predictability of XP SP3. It's not like going from Win9x to Win2K or XP, there's no significant advantage, and quite a few disadvantages.

MIS people just don't want more people in their departments.
To create more jobs, they need to install the systems on the bleeding edge (be it vista or the nightly unstable builds of linux), so they can justify hiring more assistants.

DISCLAIMER: speaking as a semi-layman.

Is this Microsoft attempting to have the final word on the XP / Vista debate, essentially pointing out that Vista is pretty much better all round?

Seems like marketing to me.

Or am I an idiot?

(macf13nd said @ #2)
DISCLAIMER: speaking as a semi-layman.

Is this Microsoft attempting to have the final word on the XP / Vista debate, essentially pointing out that Vista is pretty much better all round?

Seems like marketing to me.

Or am I an idiot?

Its just a comparison article. I dont think its marketing. ITs the kind of thing microsoft should publish to help system admins decide on what to do os wise.

Of course its marketing....
"Oh noes, people won't buy Vista and keep using XP! We have to force them to buy Vista" *yawn*

(majortom1981 said @ #2.1)

Its just a comparison article. I dont think its marketing. ITs the kind of thing microsoft should publish to help system admins decide on what to do os wise.

System admins "usually" dislike to work overtime, so they will stick with the trusty current technology. On corporate level, the priorities are :OS must work with "x" program/system, OS must be stable and eat less resourse,...... and finally OS must be fancy.

The problems came from those self called IT guys (usually called boss, vp, chief, owner,pointy haired boss and such) that don't have a clue about technology and "buy" every product because a magazine "x" say it's the best and "y" is the worst.

This is not a "marketing scheme" it is a technical comparison to help IT departments decide if and how to integrate Vista machines in their environment or if there are features in Vista that would encourage a full-scale upgrade.

As stated in the document, Microsoft knows that some companies will upgrade immediately, some gradually, and some will delay their upgrade. The document is designed to help in that process by outlining technical differences between the two products.