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I have been using Vista at work for about nine months, and at home for the last week on this shiny new PC which I built myself. I elected to go with the 64 bit version of Vista since it will allow me to expand beyond 2G Bytes of memory once memory prices fall again which they inevitably will. The installation of Vista was easier than I remember for XP but then this was a clean install, not an upgrade.

The most visible change I have noticed with Vista is a feature called "User Account Control / UAC". This assigns all programs a priviledge level for performing different tasks. If something potentially "life changing" comes along, the UAC dialog pops up asking you if you started it and do you want it to continue. Some older programs may have to be run in the elevated "Administrator" mode so that they can achieve 100% operation. The downside of this is that the UAC will pop up every time you start that program.

Another result of increased security in Vista is that you can't just share printers "willy nilly". I haven't worked my way round this one yet, but I believe the solution is creating a "guest account" for other PCs to use when they log in on the local network.

The impression I have had of reviews of Vista is that it needs more memory to do the same job as XP and that it takes longer to do that job. The speed issue should not be surprising in some ways because it takes a while to optimise software to run at its fastest reliable speed.

I would strongly urge anyone thinking of upgrading their PC to be sure to get a 64 bit CPU and 64 bit OS. My experience at work where we are writing software and timing it, is that 64 bit code always runs faster, sometimes by a large margin. It just depends on what is being done at the time.

The one thing to be wary of if you are changing to a new machine and want to keep your old devices or software programs is to be sure that you have the original installation disks so that you can do a "clean" install. I discovered I have at least 3 BT broadband boxes with disks but I think I should have a fourth which is the one I really needed. Fortunately, as my broadband connection is via a hub, all I actually needed to do was plug in the ethernet cable. Since I have been putting off buying new software for a couple of years, that hasn't been a problem.

So I chose Vista 64, but I was upgrading from a PC I built 8 years ago.

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