Windows Vista: 15 reasons to switch

The new Windows operating system is worth the upgrade. Here’s why.

Windows Vista is almost here. To anyone who has been sitting on the fence over whether to upgrade to Microsoft's new operating system, I'll say it loud and clear: It's time to make the jump. There are plenty of reasons to leave Windows XP and install Vista, and below are my top 15 favorites.

Not everyone agrees with me, however. For the opposing point of view, check out .

But I'm sold on upgrading to Vista. Why? Well...

1. It's the Interface, stupid

Perhaps the best thing about Windows Vista is the most obvious: its new interface. With transparent animated windows that swoosh into place, subtle and elegant colors, a new Start menu, and plenty of other changes, this is the most beautiful version of Windows you've seen. If you've ever had Mac envy, this is the Windows you want -- it's the most Mac-like interface yet.

2. Flip over Windows Flip 3D

Switching between open windows using Alt-Tab in previous versions of Windows was always a shot in the dark, as you never quite knew to which window you'd switch, or even which ones were open. That has all changed in Windows Vista. Press Alt-Tab, and Windows Flip 3D springs into action, displaying thumbnails of all your open windows in a gorgeous, 3D stack. You can then flip through them until you find the one you want.

3. Live Thumbnails

Do you run a lot of programs and visit a lot of Web sites simultaneously? If so, you'll appreciate Live Thumbnails. Hover your mouse over any window on the Taskbar, and a thumbnail of the window pops up, with the program and document name, or the Web site name, just above it. The thumbnails are truly "live," so if a video is playing in a window, you'll see the video playing in the thumbnail too.

4. Boost performance with ReadyBoost

Windows Vista includes a quick way to enhance system performance: ReadyBoost. It preloads files and programs you often use into RAM so that they're there when you want them and you don't have to wait for them to load from the hard disk. You can buy an inexpensive USB flash drive and use up to 4GB of cheap RAM to boost your system performance.

5. Cool performance tools

If you're the kind of person who tends to peek under the hood and tinker, you'll find a lot to like in Windows Vista, which contains plenty of applets and utilities. Probably the best of them all is the Reliability and Performance Monitor. It keeps tabs on every aspect of your PC in exquisite detail, including the CPU, hard disk, network usage, and RAM use, and it includes plenty of charts, reports, and logs for your inner geek. The Reliability Monitor module is particularly noteworthy, as it charts the reliability of your PC over time and shows you every single problem or failure in a calendar format.

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