You want the cool sidebar and instant search features of Windows Vista, but you don’t want to put your computer through surgery to upgrade the OS?
Just install Google Desktop. It’s that easy. Google Desktop has its own sidebar that closely resembles Vista’s sidebar, and will index your files and do find-as-you-type searching.
I installed Google Desktop (GDS) on my desktop computer, and upgraded my laptop to Windows Vista. The conclusion? Windows Vista isn’t worth paying money for.
Desktop search is a hot feature. The ability to instantly find what you were thinking for is a huge convenience. Both Vista and GDS let me start a program just by typing the first few letters. If I wanted to run Audacity, I could hit the Start Button (or Double-Ctrl in GDS) and type “AUD” and it would show Audacity.
Google Desktop is very extendable, with many plugins to index filetypes ranging from OpenDocument to Autodesk CAD files. Microsoft’s search technology is extended in the same way by iFilters (even XP’s indexing service).
Both GDS and Vista have similar looking sidebars and cool alpha-transparency. Here, I tend to find that Google has better gadgets than Vista, especially first-party gadgets. The Google gadgets seemed more useful and had more options. Since I use Google Calendar and GMail, those gadgets came in handy. However, I had some problems with Google’s RSS reader, while Vista’s worked fine (although it requires you to set it up in IE7).