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Windows 7, XP or Vista: which OS is best

Guide to choosing a Windows operating system

With three versions of Windows soon to be sharing the market, PC Advisor helps you decide which one to choose.

Is Windows 7 the answer?

Windows 7 startups will be faster - but not by much.

UAC is also addressed in Windows 7. And so it jolly well should be. It's deservedly the most loathed aspect of Vista, with users infuriated by its insistence on asking at every turn whether you really want to continue with the action you initiated in the first place.

No wonder many simply switched it off.

UAC is there for a reason: to prevent you from installing a dodgy app or performing an ill-advised action that will be detrimental to your PC. But if you're determined to do so, you can switch it off. Select Start, Control Panel, User Accounts, ‘Turn User Account Control on or off'. Select Continue at the UAC prompt and, on the next screen, untick ‘Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer'. Click ok and reboot.

It's not ideal limiting UAC to on or off, though; switching it off leaves no failsafe. Windows 7 offers far more control over UAC.

If you need a new PC and think Windows 7 is likely to be the OS you pick, you may not need to wait until the official launch. Microsoft is said be planning to offer an Express Upgrade path to Windows 7. This means you can buy a new PC or laptop in the few months before Windows 7 comes out, experience the ‘pleasure' of using Windows Vista for a couple of months and, once you tire of those UAC prompts, switch to the new OS. There will be a discount for doing this, and it may even be free.


So would we buy a Vista PC? Yes, we would. For all its criticisms, Vista is a perfectly usable OS. Its detractors continue to shout and scream, but a fair proportion of those haven't actually used it.

We're largely happy with Vista and, if you're in the market for a new PC, we see no reason not to recommend it. It's secure, stable and runs well on today's dual-core processors. We still prefer XP, mind.

NEXT PAGE: Windows 7 - the solution?

  1. Guide to choosing a Windows operating system
  2. Windows XP forever
  3. The future of Windows XP
  4. Windows Vista: could do better
  5. Is Windows 7 the answer?
  6. Windows 7: The solution?
  7. Windows 7's six editions
  8. The new battleground: netbooks
  9. Windows 7 specs checks

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