I had switched most of my business and home machines to either Solaris or Ubuntu Linux at about the time Microsoft released Windows Vista. As a result I’ve never felt compelled to upgrade beyond Windows XP. I can run all the applications I care about either natively in Linux or on XP using a VMWare Virtual Machine. In retrospect I think this has worked in my favor since most of my friends who migrated to Vista as an upgrade or through purchase of a new computer were generally unhappy. My only exposure to Vista has been through some volunteer work I’ve done in helping friends and family fix problems with their Vista machines. In that capacity I can say that I haven’t been impressed either.
The one drawback for me is that since I’m not actively working with Vista on a day-to-day basis I’m not in a position to offer a lot of direct experience in using and securing that OS. I did however stumble on an excellent document this morning that I thought might be useful for those of you who are still using Vista. A Finnish electronic warfare specialist known as Dr.EW (Johnny Heikell) has posted a tutorial in Powerpoint form here:
The document is quite extensive and should get you well on your way to making the most of Vista.
You will notice that Dr. EW also recommends Linux as the future due to the many issues he had to overcome with Vista. While I use and generally recommend Linux I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is for everyone. When Vista was the only option I helped several people switch to Linux or Mac to avoid it. Now that Windows 7 is available I wouldn’t be so aggressive in pointing Windows users toward the alternatives due to the learning curve. If you’re still on Vista though I can’t help but think that a switch to just about anything else would be a big improvement. I would therefore look at Dr. EW’s document as a stop gap measure until you have time and money to make a switch or an upgrade.