Upgrading to Vista: It’s the Little Things

A lot has been written lately on what’s missing from Vista, and why Vista isn’t really a big deal.  “Boycott Windows Vista“, a Business 2.0 article, is a perfect example.  I think these people are missing one of the best features of Vista:  The little things.

I’ve been testing Vista builds for a while now, and every time I use Vista to do some real work, I run across little features that make the job easier. 

No one of these individual details is enough to make headlines, or make Vista a compelling purchase, but they add up to a pretty nice upgrade.

A couple of examples.

My personal favourite is that Explorer now handles errors during file copies gracefully

With Windows XP, if you drag a folder to a network share, and something goes wrong during the copy (run out of space on the destination, network error, etc), you get an error and the copy is aborted.  With Vista, it tells you what happened, and then lets you choose to Retry, Skip the current file, or Cancel.  I’ve wanted this since XP came out.

Renaming “Documents and Settings” to “Users” is a nice touch.  Same with all the other things that have been renamed (like “My Computer” to “Computer”).

Another nice one:  the Computer folder now gives you easy access to uninstall programs, and the Add/Remove Programs replacement is fast.  Waiting for 30 seconds or more for that list to populate was always annoying.

One more:  Easy built-in scheduling of disk defragmentation.  You could do it before with the Task Scheduler and the command line defragmenter, but now it’s easy for anyone to set up.

There are dozens of these little improvements scattered throughout the OS, and it’s these improvements, more than any of the big features, that make Vista an OS I’m looking forward to using.