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The One Thing Windows Vista Did Right


steven36

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Vista was bad. Coming five years after XP, it was heavily anticipated by Windows users who were impatiently awaiting something interesting from Microsoft as Apple’s star was on the rise. Yet when the OS dropped publicly in January 2007, it was immediately reviled by, well, everyone (except our expert reviewers). It was slower than XP, had annoying DRM that grossly restricted what people could do, and removed a ton of features people liked. It is not hyperbole to say it might be the most hated software product Microsoft has ever produced—impressive for the company that gave us Internet Explorer and Clippy. But Vista did one thing very, very right, and 11 years later, it’s never been more in fashion.

 

https://s7d1.turboimg.net/sp/3ece68974de0908b44ff1020bd92044b/hio9xfm2xscmyuxbzacy.jpg

 

So what was Vista actually prescient about? Translucent design elements.

 

All the way back in Vista, Microsoft introduced Aero, a design language intended to be a futuristic update to XP. Aero’s most eye-catching feature was the Glass theme, which could make elements throughout the UI transparent. When it was released, it didn’t get more than a passing nod from reviewers who noted it was slick if somewhat irrelevant to the actual performance of the OS.

 

Aero lasted through Windows 7—Microsoft’s most critically lauded OS until Windows 10. Then in Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a new design language: Metro. Metro actually kicked off another major trend in user interface design: flat design elements. But it still maintained some of the cool translucent effects introduced in Aero.

 

Those translucent effects were carried over to Windows 10 and are easily seen in Edge, the Start menu, and the Notifications panel. They’re so popular, some Windows 10 users are even hacking the OS to add translucency and transparency to everything else!

 

https://s7d6.turboimg.net/sp/f1b8b385863bb7ee65f412d4f832c418/trgz8yivyyqrpcnwscu5.png

 

The effect is super noticeable in the start menu.

Screenshot: Windows 10

 

The trend isn’t reserved to Windows. Apple seems to have been inspired, too. That’s because UI designers, like everyone else, are subject to trends. Once upon a time, everyone tried to make their app icons and buttons look rounded because of iOS. Then, after Windows and Android embraced a flatter look, iOS followed suit with iOS 7 in 2013. It also began sprinkling that sweet, sweet translucent design throughout.

 

https://s7d7.turboimg.net/sp/8c1491ef5ac382b242c2dca12de108e9/ng7fabiwpcva6flpny4y.jpg

 

Look at these pretty menus!

Screenshot: macOS Mojave

 

The translucent elements first appeared in Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 as an option to turn the menu bar translucent. That was in November 2007, nearly a year after Vista launched. Apple seriously began showing off translucent elements when iOS 7 added translucent menus and notifications in 2013. MacOS 10.10 Yosemite began embracing translucency a year later.

 

Since then, both Apple operating systems have added more and more translucent elements. The most recent additions come courtesy of the betas for macOS Mojave and iOS 12. That’s because both are adding dark translucent elements, which seem to highlight the translucency effect even more. It is reminiscent of glass that’s been frosted and tinted. It’s very attractive. Sometimes I get distracted into marveling at it instead of doing work.

 

I mean just look at it in Safari!

https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--D4wf6Cer--/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/ef5knheqchlma1mbmvlc.mp4

 

 

It’s so good, I find myself using Safari instead of Chrome just so I can watch stuff I’m scrolling through turn blurry as it hits the browser frame.

 

The transparent elements, while not as ubiquitous in iOS, are still present there too—particularly in the iOS 12 beta, which has done away with the garish white panels in the notification center and embraced a dark and translucent look.

 

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I don't share at all author's enthusiasm for Vista's transparency. Actually, I found it rather annoying, for the short time I used Vista ,probably one of the MOST annoying "first impressions". The best legacy from Vista is my desktop computer, "made for Vista" which still works well for XP and Windows 7, on dual booting!

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1 hour ago, luisam said:

I don't share at all author's enthusiasm for Vista's transparency. Actually, I found it rather annoying, for the short time I used Vista ,probably one of the MOST annoying "first impressions".

i loved  it so much that my windows 8.1  setup has a cracked version of Aero Glass  and when I used Windows 10 i always tweaked the colors default windows 10 white on applications  is just plain  fugly and default windows  XP was ugly too  but  you can download a nice  Black theme  for it and make it look much better.  Once they came out with Windows 10  and the every 6 month update it really killed 3rd party themes and things for Windows because the updates mess them up and i hated re tweaking windows once every 6 months .  I never really liked the default start menu Win XP. Windows Vista,or Windows 7. I liked Windows 10's better but it was so full of bugs i ended up installing Classic shell..  I use Dark Clouds theme for my start menu . Linux has really nice default start menus.  Keep in mind I've not used XP in other than in a VM once or 2 times  testing some apps since 2010  ..It looks like something from the stone age too me now.  :P

 

PS: i have 3 start menus  

Classic shell

PortableApps

PStart

2 Explorers

Windows Explorer with Clover and OldNewExplorer

XYplorer

1 Dock

Nexus Ultimate

https://s7d5.turboimg.net/sp/fae6f416cdc334bf78d9cd0fa13e1acc/taskbar.png

My taskbar on windows 8.1 is so transparent  you can see whats behind it, in this case of the screenshot above is one of my wallpapers.

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5 hours ago, steven36 said:

i loved  it so much that my windows 8.1  setup has a cracked version of Aero Glass  and when I used Windows 10 i always tweaked the colors default windows 10 white on applications  is just plain  fugly and default windows  XP was ugly too  but  you can download a nice  Black theme  for it and make it look much better.  Once they came out with Windows 10  and the every 6 month update it really killed 3rd party themes and things for Windows because the updates mess them up and i hated re tweaking windows once every 6 months .  I never really liked the default start menu Win XP. Windows Vista,or Windows 7. I liked Windows 10's better but it was so full of bugs i ended up installing Classic shell..  I use Dark Clouds theme for my start menu . Linux has really nice default start menus.  Keep in mind I've not used XP in other than in a VM once or 2 times  testing some apps since 2010  ..It looks like something from the stone age too me now.  :P

 

PS: i have 3 start menus  

Classic shell

PortableApps

PStart

2 Explorers

Windows Explorer with Clover and OldNewExplorer

XYplorer

1 Dock

Nexus Ultimate

https://s7d5.turboimg.net/sp/fae6f416cdc334bf78d9cd0fa13e1acc/taskbar.png

My taskbar on windows 8.1 is so transparent  you can see whats behind it, in this case of the screenshot above is one of my wallpapers.

Similar was my case with Vista too, I mean after XP it was a major design overhaul that was very eye-candy but as slowly but steadly peeps realised that it had impact on system performance overall and then with I think MS has found a nice balance with Win 10. I dont have feel the need to 3rd party menus cos I find the default one sufficient and with OldNewExplorer + QT Tabbar , the win-explorer is poweful enough with less RAM hogging as compared to Clover; I dicthed docks on Win 10 cos I tend to keep my icons in folder via shortcut in Explorer & I also have the same levels of transparency on windows, start and  taskbar as your snapshot.

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47 minutes ago, IronY-Man said:

Similar was my case with Vista too, I mean after XP it was a major design overhaul that was very eye-candy but as slowly but steadly peeps realised that it had impact on system performance overall and then with I think MS has found a nice balance with Win 10. I dont have feel the need to 3rd party menus cos I find the default one sufficient and with OldNewExplorer + QT Tabbar , the win-explorer is poweful enough with less RAM hogging as compared to Clover; I dicthed docks on Win 10 cos I tend to keep my icons in folder via shortcut in Explorer & I also have the same levels of transparency on windows, start and  taskbar as your snapshot.

I tired QTBar  and after awhile it just stop working on my system so i went back to clover . All my apps are that transparent just like i'm on windows 7 and i think people on Windows 8.1 and  Windows 10 donates to  Aero Glass all the time to get it back . It was like the start menu it was something they removed in Windows 8 and you cant get it back without using 3rd party software , it was not like you got a choice of the matter it could be turned off in Windows Vista and Windows 7 if you have a POS PC so you had a choice  then but not in newer windows. .

 

People just get use to something and accepted the change is all . it just like all the bloatware that comes with Windows 10.  Windows Vista  brought great change so most people hated it ,by the time Windows 7 came out people accepted the change.  A lot of people hated Windows 8.1 but by the time Windows 10 came out they accepted the change, but not willingly  they gave up unless they were fanboys.  I only used Vista  for 2 weeks tell i got my windows 7 key i used XP for 10 years  and I only used Windows 7 for  a few years  then I switch to windows 8.1 but upgrading every 6 months is not my cup of tea and I used Windows 10  off and on tell right before Redstone 4 came out and reverted back to Windows 8.1.  :P

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