I'll be fair: all of the information I had about Windows Vista was gleaned from the internet, or gathered by looking over the shoulder of someone who was playing with a beta release. I saw the Apple ads joking about 'Allow or deny' and heard the horror stories about performance. But I chose to purchase Vista anyhow, mostly because I bought my computer to play video games and while this might not be the platform of choice today, I have little doubt that it will be tomorrow.
What I am trying to say is that I am neither a Microsoft fan boy, nor a hater. I have a certain tolerance for some things and less patience for others when it comes to computer systems. The actual version I purchased, by the way, is the OEM version of Windows Vista Home Basic 64 bit. I chose 64 bit because the processors I purchased are also 64 bit - it made sense to me at the time, although now I am finding that some (many?) programs are only supported in 32 bit mode.
Silly me. I thought this was going to be a linux only problem.
I pick up the computer after work and have some furniture shuffling to do before I can get the computer hooked up. Also, there is a hockey game on TV, so progress is slowed. Still, I manage to get things plugged together and boot into Vista for the first time. I poke around a little, download Firefox and Google Talk and then quit for the night because it is late. During the download and install, I do notice the double confirm as Windows Defender asks if I really meant to download this file, and again during the install of these applications. I choose to leave Defender enabled as is, with the reasoning that installing stuff is not a constant activity.
Last night there was no hockey game (that I cared about) but we did have some running around to do, so once again I only had about an hour to spend on the computer. This is about what I expected since we are also still unpacking and stuff. My goal was to install anti virus software - my internet connection provides me with a branded version of F-prot which is a product I like and getting it for free made it better. I happily filled out the download form (account number and a few other bits) and then downloaded the file. (allow this file to be downloaded? yes) However, when I attempted to install, the installer bailed out saying that my OS was not supported. This is where the 64 bit question raised it's ugly head - when are software vendors going to get around to supporting CURRENT hardware and software? Anyway, thanks to a friend I downloaded a different anti virus program that was also free and that happened to work just fine on vista 64 bit. Mission accomplished. Oh, I also managed to install Nero software for burning discs as well as things like flash and adobe reader.
I have noticed two things: the first thing is that things boot much faster than before. I do not know if this is due to the hardware, the OS or a bit of both, but it boots from a cold start to ready to use in less than 10 seconds. The second thing is that I really like the gadgets. Yes, it is a blatant ripoff of Apple's widgets. There is a long standing tradition between Apple and Microsoft as each rips off the best of the other's designs, and I the consumer am okay with it. So far, my experience has not been as hellish as the various blogs lead me to expect.