Windows XP Revisited – Teaching the Faithful Old Dog Some New Tricks

Just lately it seems to be the fashion amongst writers on the internet to compare and criticise operating systems. While one user talks up the merits of Ubuntu Linux versus Windows Vista on her blog, another is quick to criticise Ubuntu’s lack of user friendly features and available software. In this article I am here to sing the praises of the old dog Windows XP. Once the all singing all dancing multimedia darling, XP is now the older brother of the much younger and trendier Windows Vista. While Vista can be the life and soul of the party, it is still very much a problem child for many users who are frustrated with incompatibilities, poor driver support and degraded performance in multimedia applications and games. If, like me, your Vista experience wasn’t all you hoped it would be, read on as we take another look at Windows XP and find that you really can teach an old dog some new tricks.

 

Security

One of the biggest shocks long time Windows users had to face when upgrading to Vista was the new security measures, specifically User Account Controls. directx12 download Microsoft’s answer to the problem of rampant malware on Windows machines was a barrage of security checks which can quickly become daunting. While emulating this feature might seem like a bad idea, UAC is a partial solution to a very sticky problem and the alternative, allowing malware to continue to spread unhindered, is not really an option. Although you can’t have Vista style user account control under XP, there are a number of alternatives. An aggressive firewall product such as Outpost firewall not only monitors internet traffic but also alerts you when programs misbehave or perform potentially dangerous operations. Outpost costs $39.95 per year and includes a regularly updated spyware scanner.

 

Windows Explorer

Windows explorer featured several significant upgrades in Vista. Handling of photographs and multimedia files was improved and search was fully integrated. “Breadcrumbs” were introduced, this is a somewhat bizarre name Microsoft gave to their new windows explorer extension that allows for convenient browsing between directories and subdirectories.

While you cannot reproduce the Windows Vista explorer completely, you can actually go one better. Directory Opus is the most powerful file manager/explorer on the planet and works extremely well with Windows XP. If a little intimidating at first, most users will quickly learn to appreciate the power and flexibility this utility offers. Surpassing Vista’s new Windows Explorer in almost every department and with powerful photo/multimedia features, Directory Opus really is worth the learning curve and there are many comprehensive tutorials available on the internet to help ease new users in. Directory Opus costs around $70 per licence. If you want to learn more about this superb utility then start.

 

Search

Windows Vista’s integrated desktop search is one of my favourite new features in the operating system. Here, XP lags a little behind its younger sibling but it isn’t an entirely lost cause. Many users do not realise, but Microsoft Desktop Search is also available for free for Windows XP. While it lacks the slick integration with Windows Explorer, it is still a powerful tool. You can download Desktop Search for XP.

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