| By Ian “Gizmo” Richards |
With all the hype about the upcoming release of Windows 7, it’s easy to lose track of the fact that Windows 7 is not really a new operating system but rather Vista with many of the bugs fixed — Vista Mark II, if you like.
What most people don’t realize is that it’s possible to tweak Vista to offer a number of the most important benefits of Windows 7 without spending a cent.
Freeware tweaks let you speed up Vista
Most users would agree that the two worst aspects of Vista are its sluggish performance and the annoying confirmation pop-ups generated by the OS’s User Account Control (UAC). However, both these Vista problems can be addressed by using readily available freeware utilities.
Of course, Windows 7 offers numerous improvements over Vista other than just faster performance and better UAC control. But many Vista users may find the value of these additional features insufficient to justify the cost of an upgrade, providing they can get their current version of Vista to run faster and with less UAC annoyance.
Taming Vista’s User Account Control applet
Let’s face it: all those Vista UAC authorization requests are a real pain. That’s why many users turn off UAC via the User Accounts Control Panel applet.
But turning off UAC also disables the underlying protection provided by the program. You’re not just stopping the authorization messages, you’re turning off the whole caboodle. For example, with UAC disabled, Internet Explorer can’t operate in its much-more-secure Protected Mode.
So turning off UAC is like throwing out the baby with the bath water: you may have fewer annoying pop-up messages to click through, but your PC becomes significantly more vulnerable to malware infection.