Vista has been running on this computer almost flawlessly. The interface is slick, looks good, and performance in 'max' mode is every bit as good as Xp was in Classic mode. Some driver issues still remain, but manufacturers are promising a better future on or after release to the general public come Jan 30, 2007.
Moving and copying files appears to be slow, as much down to watching the green bar crawl along its track. However, I am not fully convinced that XP was much quicker. Initial XP performance in this area appeared swift, but was invariably followed by the 'x minutes remaining' message. In some cases, Vista is taking minutes too, but not as many in reality.
Application compatibility is always an issue when moving to a new operating system. Apart from one or two smaller and non-mission critical programs (Nero not being one of them), I have had no real problems. Admittedly, I am using MS Office 2007, around which most of my work is centered, but I do have other aging applications that work just fine.
Arcsoft's Photostudio 5, supplied with my aging Canon Scanner, has no problems running in Vista, and while it is no Adobe Photoshop, its facilities are as much as I generally requiire. Likewise, Arcsoft's Photobase 3 works well too.
PrimoPDF, now at version 3, is still the best way to create .pdf files without the need to pay for the full Adobe Acrobat, and works with any program capable of sending output to a printer.
AVG anti-virus (free version) is good protection, and incredibly good value. Some seem to think that free versions are not what they should be, but I have found that running anything else as a check has found no more than AVG does. I did try Avast but hate the interface, reminding me of the awkward and difficult to use early PowerDVD offerings.
Spyware is addressed by the incumbent Windows Defender, and SpywareBlaster, a program that prevents by immunization rather than an attempted cure after the horse has bolted.
Prior to installing Vista, I did something that I said I would never do. I overclocked my processor. The Biostar board installed has an three setting easy option overclock feature, and I have set it at 'V6 tech' which apparently gives a 5-10% performance increase. The two settings above this are 'V8' and 'V12', neither of which appeal to Vista, forcing a reboot every time. One thing that I did notice is that while cpu perfomance was raised, memory performance was slightly degraded, 166mhz reducing to a reported 134mhz. I run 3gb of RAM in this machine, so am not unduly worried by the cycle reduction.
Anyway, so far, so good. I am suitably impressed enough that I only run the parallel XP Pro installation to do updates. XP has now become my backup in the event of major hard drive failure.