Windows Vista was given a bad rap because of the release candidates and because some software and hardware no longer worked with it. Vista has matured a lot from its 2006 release and now after Service Pack 2 is a nice operating system to use. It is not as good as Windows 7 I will admit but it’s not that bad either.
As with every Windows version starting with some releases of Windows 95, Internet Explorer has been included with Windows, but is it really the best to use, I will look at the five major browsers and see which one works the best in my opinion. For a look at the 64-bit version click here. This time I am doing these tests on my Compaq Presario C700 (C712NR) laptop with a 2.16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 Gb of ram, and a 7200 RPM hard drive. This computer is running Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit. All updates have been run for Windows, the internet browsers, Java, and Flash. All tests are ran unchashed.
1. Internet Explorer 8.0.6001.18828 If you have passed on the newest Internet Explorer, well it’s time to look again. This is not the Internet Explorer from Window past, nor is it the one that shipped with Vista. IE 8 is fast a loading normal web pages but is not as fast when it comes to Java or Flash. This will be improved in IE 9 however for now all we have is 8. But 8 is nice, I love the new features like the Web Slices pictured below. These give you a quick glance from Ebay auctions to the weather in your area. There are is also new visual search, and accelerators. IE is my main browser for a lot of things, and my daily browsing. You should check it out at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=79154fb4-c610-4a1e-811d-dfe0f1dd84d1&displaylang=en
2. Firefox 3.5.5 Firefox is not the fastest program to open but it renders pages faster than IE. I use Firefox for work because of the built-in spell check which I wish IE had. Firefox also supports a wide variety of plugins. The interface is dated and cluttered but it still does a good job, I’m looking forward to see what comes out in version 3.6. you can check it out at http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ie.html?from=getfirefox
3. Opera 10.01 This browser has come a long way, Version 9 was just not that great but 10 is fast and slick. The user interface is very good at staying out of your way. I like the thumbnail previews on the tabs. It also has a most used page like other browsers called Speed Dial. It is actually a good alternative browser if you’re looking for something other than the leaders IE and Firefox or want something different from the hyped up ones Safari and Chrome. You can get it at http://www.opera.com/
4. Chrome 3.0 The newest version of Google Chrome is actually better than version 2. I sure beats Safari in all but one thing, the user interface leaves much to be desired. I prefer Safari’s user interface however Safari is a dog compared to Chrome, still does not have anything for me to want to switch and it is made by a company that makes money off advertising. You can check it out at http://www.google.com/chrome?hl=en&brand=CHMI
5. Safari 4.0.4 Looks better than any version before it, they have finally use the Windows interface instead of porting the ugly grey Mac interface. Safari 4 looks better than Chrome too, however it is not as fast, the top sites take some time to load and the browser itself does not load webpages very quickly. We will have to see what Apple does with Safari 5. You can get it at http://www.apple.com/safari/download/
What will be interesting to see is how the browser makes will react to Windows 7, with the jump lists and such. IE, Firefox, and Opera already are working on some things. IE 8 is the only one that uses the jump lists to their fullest in Windows 7.
Go back to Part 3 for Windows 2000
Go to Part 5 for Windows 7 32Bit