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Vista – First impression and the Windows Side Panel

My Aspire 5536G runs on Windows Vista Home Premium Edition. This is my first machine that runs Vista so I’m still trying to get used to it. The cool thing about the Aspire deal that I got is that I get an option to upgrade to Windows 7 for free any time within one year from date of purchase. Vista is quite a sad story isn’t it. For all its hype, its looking at a very short lifespan and all I keep hearing about it is how resource-intensive/power-hungry it is. Anyway, I decided that I was going to give it a chance and get to know it better. Besides, my friend is currently beta-testing Windows 7 on his computer and he told me that Windows 7 is still quite unstable with occasional “black screens of death”. (Not to mention all the drivers/applications that are not yet compatible with Windows 7). 

First things first, with a laptop specification like mine (and I’m comparing it to the older models that I used to have), I was expecting everything to happen within a snap of the fingers. What did they say about expectation? The higher the standards, the harder the fall. Alas, I was quite disappointed within the first hour of playing with Vista. Okay, fine, it wasn’t THAATTTT BAD BUT it wasn’t really quite what I expected either. 😦

I took to complaining about it to my colleague who told me that it probably had to do with all the “junk” applications that came pre-loaded from the manufacturer. He promptly demonstrated to me on how much faster his computer was running Vista and offered to help me do a clean install and some tuning. (He is that kind of sweet techie guy). Okay fine, it IS TRUE that ACER pre-loads lots of applications such as games and hehe, after trying them out, I decided that they were so fun that I was going to keep them around for a while longer. Speed through clean install will have to wait. 🙂 

With that said, I must say that I am still learning many new things on vista and I thought I would share my experience online. 

For starters, I like the Windows Sidebar. As you can see from screen shot below (and I’m using an old screenshot), the Windows Sidebar is on the right side. Windows provide quite a lot of gadgets (which is what they call these applications) and I have installed the Analog Clock, Calender, Weather as well as CPU meter gadget. I’ve found them all to be rather nifty/useful. Especially CPU meter. If you can recall, we used to have it in the Task Manager on XP/older machines but to access it, you would have to fire up the Task Manager. Troublesome! Now, its installed in a nice graphic on the desktop so anyone can easily view the utilization on CPU and Memory. This makes it so much easier when I monitor the system as I fire up applications. With the tool on the desktop, I can now quickly single-out the resource intensive applications on the fly.

To start up Windows Side Panel, head down to Control Panel and activate Windows Side Bar Properties. Its pretty straight forward to get it set up from there.

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