Steer Clear of Windows Vista Basic

Opinion: No one's computing needs will be fulfilled by this cut-rate version.

Windows Vista Home Basic could be the most pointless edition of Windows that Microsoft has ever released. Let me be clear: I like Windows Vista. I applaud it, in fact. Its the smartest, easiest-to-use Windows OS yet. Most of the Vista editions Microsoft is rolling out make good, clean sense—Business, Premium, even Ultimate, though that name does kind of box Microsoft in for future versions (could they ever top Ultimate?).

Home Basic, which drops Tablet PC and Windows Media Center integration along with the Aero interface enhancements, is another story. Heres how Microsoft described it:

"If you simply want to use your PC for tasks such as surfing the Internet, corresponding with friends and family using e-mail, or performing basic document creation and editing tasks, then Windows Vista Home Basic will deliver a safer, more reliable, and more productive computing environment."

Im sorry, but this simply perpetuates the myth that theres such a thing as simple computing needs. The "surfing the Internet" part is my favorite. Its as if Microsofts marketers havent been online since 2001. Surfing the Internet these days is about as far from basic as you can get. Web 2.0 has turned many key Web sites into virtual client applications. Yes, these are lighter than, say, true desktop apps, but nowhere near as light and simple as the rudimentary HTML-based pages we recall from the mid-1990s up until, say, 2002.

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