Monday, May 05, 2008

Vista vs XP, Continued

Since my recent post about the impending demise of Microsoft Windows XP, I have seen some articles which suggest that MS may continue to offer WinXP for sale, at least the Home version, for some time past the June 30, 2008 cutoff. Nothing certain, just hints and rumors.

A Computerworld article TechNet subscribers rip Microsoft over XP SP3 ‘farce', stated that Microsoft did not release the Service Pack I for Vista to developers as promised, and went on to say that they would not release the Service Pack III for XP until after Vista SP I was released. Much confusion is produced for developers as well as end users, here, as a Microsoft developer posted that Vista SP I would be available on May 2, 2008, only to have that page removed from his blog. The alleged logic in this is that Microsoft is putting its main effort into repairing Vista prior to updating XP. It also makes sense if a company is trying very hard to push consumers into using a new OS and abandoning an older (and better, in my opinion) OS, so further profit can be extracted.

Microsoft has pointed out the huge number of Vista OS sales that have occurred since its release as evidence of its popularity. Well, Duh. If Vista is the only Windows OS that one can obtain when one buys a new computer, of course its sales figures will look impressive. Only a very few, very small, "white box" computer makers continue to offer XP Pro SPII on their machines. Why do they do that? They make extremely fast gaming computers and XP works better.

As the dust settles somewhat, a few matters appear to have become clearer.

  • If you have to buy Vista, get the Home Premium version. Common wisdom has come to a consensus that it works the best of any of the Vista versions.
  • Don't try to "upgrade" a Vista machine to XP. It isn't worth the trouble, crashes, driver changes, and incompatibilities with some of your current software. Buying a new machine with Vista pre-installed eliminates many of these frustrations.
  • Vista does not seem to run nearly as well on laptops as on desktop machines, probably due to its greater demand on computer resources.
  • If everything you are now running is working well for your needs on XP, I would hold out for Microsoft's "OS 7," the next OS in the pipeline, which is rumored to have had its release date moved up from 2010 to sometime in 2009.
  • Finally, I would note that the Vista debacle is not Microsoft's intentional plan to irritate its users. With all the legal actions, interoperability problems, changes to changes, and patches to holes which were discovered by hackers even before Vista was officially released, etc., they have had a difficult time with it. It is simply my belief that they should not remove a well tested and working OS from availability before they have something better and more stable to offer. As the wise old barnstorming wing-walker would say it, "Don't leave holt of what ya got till ya got holt of somethin' else."

In the interim, my plan is to stay with XP Pro, buy a copy of XP Pro before it goes off the market, eventually buy a new CPU and install XP on it, but leave a bay open for another hard drive on which Vista can be installed (as a dual boot system) in case I'm wrong. That has happened to me once or twice before in 62 years.

Peace, Doc

Copyright © 2008, Thomas A. Blood, Ph.D.

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