Vista continued to eclipse technology news headlines on Thursday as everybody from industry analysts to tech bloggers to home users chime in on the arrival of Microsoft's latest operating system.
It seems few of Vista's hundreds of features are left to review. News reports are focusing on almost every aspect of the operating system. Although Vista is getting high praise on many fronts, some reviewers are pointing out issues such as game glitches, problematic voice-command features, and DVD restrictions.
As Bill Gates continues his marketing blitz -- the chairman of Microsoft even appeared on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" and unveiled a virtual version of his collection of Leonardo da Vinci's scientific musings at the British Library on Tuesday -- some analysts are concerned that consumers might be focusing too much on the wrong part of the computing experience.
"You buy a computer fundamentally to do some sort of job," said Michael Cherry, a senior analyst with Directions on Microsoft. "It's not to play solitaire. Rather than focusing on the operating system, people should be buying the best computer for what it is they need to accomplish,"
Cherry said the fact that Microsoft is offering several flavors of its Vista operating system should not be the primary concern when purchasing a new computer or upgrading an operating system.
Consumers who are looking for a computer to edit their photo collection, he explained, should be more concerned with choosing hardware that has enough storage space and memory to complete the job than with the operating system.
They also should be concerned about whether the photo-editing software is compatible with Vista, he said, noting that the same equation holds true for any other consumer or business use.
Pick Your Flavor
"We are talking about the low-level plumbing instead of the sinks," Cherry argued. "You should look for the best computer to do your job. If it has Vista on it, then that's wonderful. If it has Mac OS X on it but it's still the best computer you can buy to do your job, then buy it."
Once you determine your hardware needs, you can choose one of several editions of Windows Vista for the best software experience you need or want. Vista is available as a stand-alone box of upgrade discs, and bundled as the OS powering countless new PCs.
Upgrading from Windows XP or Windows 2000 will set you back $99 for the Home Basic version, $159 for the Home Premium, or $259 for the Ultimate version.