back to article Why I downgraded from Vista to XP

Freeform Dynamics I blogged a while back on how a Vista upgrade effectively rendered my old desktop machine useless for business purposes (see Retiring Leonardo from last year). I got a lot of feedback at that time as many people out there were obviously trying to get a handle on the viability of upgrading older kit. While …


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  1. Alex Wright

    Or, instead of shelling out more money to M$

    Install Ubuntu instead.

    It really is quite incredible that the “solution” to the problem of crap software from Microsoft is to give them more money installing yet more crap software from Microsoft.


  2. Khyle Westmoreland


    Surely you're just preaching to the converted here?! We already know this! Most of us would probably have said even just reinstalling Vasta would have solved some of the speed problems!

    Oh, and: "so far, the only thing I have missed is the enhanced application switching mechanism in Vista, i.e. the Alt-Tab and Windows-Tab functionality."

    You're doing something wrong if you can't get Alt-Tab working in XP! ;-)

  3. Neil Daniels


    I thought if your machine came preinstalled with Vista you had the right to "downgrade" to XP for no cost?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    yeah but would ubuntu support the fingerprinter and 3g modem?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cue Webster.

    he said MacBook, huhuhuh.

  6. Karel Jansens


    So, in effect you "punished" Microsoft for selling you a crummy product by buying another, slightly less crummy, product from them?

    Yeah, that'll teach'em to produce sub-standard software...

  7. Duncan Barr
    Thumb Down

    Who would think it......

    .....that XP would perform better on older hardware than Vista does!

    What next? Why I downgraded from Crysis to Doom?

  8. Simon


    I agree, you'd think there was some clause that allowed you to install XP instead of Vista, wasn't that included in the Ultimate edition?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    You lu'y, lu'y...! Some of us work for large software companies and so have to use Vista on laptops that are grossly underpowered for it. Then the relevant IT types have the temerity to suggest that it's the laptops that are causing the issues, rather than the OS....

    But when I recently bought a new Dell laptop for home/ gaming use, the first thing I did was format the hard drive and install XP on it. As previous columns have suggested, after 2.5 service packs (well, the 3rd one's still in beta), XP is stable, generally bug-free and a pleasure to use when compared to Vista.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Claim back Money for unused OS

    It is also note worthy that if you decide not to use the bundeled OS, simple decline the EULA and ask the re-seller for a refund.

    I know this was simple with XP, not sure about Vista, but the same laws apply so do yourself a favour ditch Vista and claim the cost of it back

    "By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the

    software. Instead, return it to the retailer for a refund or credit. If you cannot obtain a refund

    there, contact Microsoft or the Microsoft affiliate serving your country for information about Microsoft’s

    refund policies. See In the United States and Canada, call (800)

    MICROSOFT or see"

  11. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Dead Vulture

    Fine with Vista on a lower spec than that

    But then I suppose it's because I don't really use so much bloatware. OK, so I use Visual Studio 2005, but I don't use Office 2007 (I still keep Access 97 around) but I stick to I don't use Photoshop, I use GIMP.

    In fact, the only problem I have is the change in DirectX which means I can't run Carmageddon 2 any more. Which of course means I do more productive things like commenting on stories on The Register. Or playing Unreal Tournament instead.

  12. Dave



    There are a number of Alt-tab replacement programs which give you features similar to vistas.

    Microsoft even have their own one in their 'power toys' section which is quite nice.

  13. WhatWasThat?

    EULA Hell

    More and more I hate having Vista(tm) crammed down my throat...

    I have several "customers" crying that Windows(tm) XP(tm)'s nearing the "end of service" lifetime and, unlike the entire(?) Windows(tm) series to this point, you are _*not*_ allowed to use the supplied Vista(tm) license to cover an installation of a "lower" version?!

    I can only sincerely hope to GOD(tm) that either:

    1) A simple, easy-to-use (dummy L-user) Linux distro that seamlessly runs Windows(tm) apps achieves critical mass and becomes a de facto "replacement."

    2) Microsoft(tm)(r)(c) finally comes out with a stable, fast OS instead of a thinly veiled "computer graphics exercise app" that you happen to be able to run apps, other games, etc. on.

    (sigh). I have a feeling my hand will be a carpal claw from crossing my fingers that long...

  14. TeeCee Gold badge
    Gates Horns


    MS power toys for XP. Task switcher (a.k.a. Alt-Tab replacement). 'Nuff said.

  15. Jamie

    Downgrade or go to Linux

    Bought a new pc in July

    AMD 64FX2

    4GB RAM

    Nvidia 8800 GTX(S) Pro 640MB Cannot remember the exact lettering as I am not home



    Ran slow as a dog.

    currenlty on XP Pro till I finish my current game of Oblivion then back to Fedora or Suse as it actually works. Vista would grind it to a halt on a regular basis.

  16. Shaun

    Same here

    I had the exact same thing with my Sony UX1N1 UMPC - Vista business ran fine for the first few hours - The novelty of having Vista on a pocket sized device was great.

    The novely soon wore off - Having more than 50% of my system resources being taken by a clean OS install (I never use the OEM installed OS - I never trust what "extras" they've decided to install) was simply unacceptable - It made gaming impossible :)

    So I managed to install Windows XP (Which wasn't easy on a device with no built in CDROM and a USB CDROm which wasn't recognised by XP setup) and havn't looked back. Command and Conquer Generals works brilliantly on the little touchscreen, as does Civ and Quake3.

    I do like Vista - My Gaming rig at home has been running it for a year now, and has only just started to feel like it needs a reinstall. My 1.8Ghz P4 bathroom media center has also been running Vista 24/7 for over six months now without any problems. It's far more stable than any other pre-SP1 M$ os I've ever used since 3.11 :)

  17. Anonymous Coward

    I actually used to like MS OSes believe it or not

    I really cannot believe how a company with this much money and time have come out with Vista. I use a quad core, 4GB desktop which is more sluggish than my single core old laptop with XP. The daily crashes of Windows Explorer and various other Windows components amaze me. How could it be so bad? I have SP1 installed and it hasn't made any difference, so sorry all you people who are looking forward to SP1's general release.

    I have to use Windows OSes for my work. I stick with it because you can't fight the inevitable, so I might as well get used to the crap.

  18. Klaus Skelbæk Madsen
    Gates Horns

    @Neil Daniels

    The downgrade right applies to Vista Business and Vista Ultimate, but only those two. You can read about the rights here:

    If I understand it correctly, you only need an XP installation media, then you can phone up MS and get a valid license key, by giving them your Vista license key.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. N

    why not?

    Vista is a heap of crap anyway,

    Perhaps the mugs that insist on buying the latest OS from Microshite wont be so quick in future but I doubt it.

  21. Philip Cheeseman

    Should have waited for SP1

    Having used SP1 for a month or so (Got via MSDN subscription), it makes Vista a lot more responsive!

    I no longer use XP on my home PC. I don't know why people love the out dated interface of XP.

    In 5 years time we'll be having the same argument about Vista's replacement verses Vista.

    P.S I'm no M$ fanboy - I'm a Linux developer with a ubuntu powered mythtv box.

  22. andy gibson


    It's all very well downgrading if you can get the drivers. Acer and HP have stopped putting XP drivers for their latest desktops on their websites.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Won't use it even when it's free

    I have an HP laptop that I bought just as Vista was going mainstream. As such it cam with XPpro and a free (£16?) upgrade to Vista.

    When I got the upgrade I did install it. Vista sucked. I put in another gig of ram and the performance increased greatly. Vista was pretty much as fast on the laptop as XP. BUT. The fan never came off high speed with Vista, the HD never stopped flashing, the battery drained twice as fast, the battery seemed to drain even when the machine was off. Vista was a PITA to do anything on. It took days to switch off the 'security' so I wasn't fighting advisory boxes and longer still to switch everything away from 'sleep' to 'off'

    So I went back to XP. I didn't see the speed boost I expected but the machine is far less stressed.

    I have a dual boot of Ubuntu on it but Ubuntu Broadcom wireless support for WPA is not good and I don't have the time to fight it, When Ubuntu have that problem licked I will remove MS form the machine.

  24. Ty
    Jobs Halo

    Windoze? Linux? pah

    Linux freaks go home - your desktop dreams were shattered long ago.

    A Mac is the only box that can run Mac OS X (and all the Windows trash) beautifully.

    Dale will realise what thousands are realising every day. The Mac is the future.

    Wake up - don't get left behind.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu rocks...

    ... for any it-savvy person, moving to Ubuntu should be fairly painless - I got it to replace my XP machine with no loss of functionality - for surfing, email, the odd letter web development, and media operations it does just fine.

    If I'm going to let lack of Linux support dictate my component buying from now on (and I'm not a Linux fanboy) then I'm sure there are others out there thinking the same ....

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Snap, crackle and revert from ghost image.

    Well i upgraded my system, which scored a flat 6 across the board on the vista hardware test, but my patience with the speed of file transfers from drive to drive and drive to dvdr lost out in the end.

    So with patience snapped and with a crackle of the power off it was time to revert from the ghost image i had of xp sp2, and all is right with my windows os again.

    Half the problem is the extra effects and processes running in the background and all the sparkling graphics, well i for one have always said vista is pretty, but useless.

    on my other box i have slackware which outstrips vista for speed on a machine not even half the power of my main pc, and it has pretty effects, ms seems so concerned with "prettyness" than true functionality. Vista maybe the death of MS, we can but hope they will relise the error of thier ways and go back to a simplier design.

    Too much junk requiring too much hardware for very little functionality.

  27. Iain Purdie

    @Neil & Alex

    The option to downgrade was only given with the more "hardcore" (i.e. expensive) of the twenty or so versions of Vista. You can only downgrade to Pro, not Home as well. I also believe it still costs extra which is ludicrous.

    As for the "why not install Ubuntu" line, there are a couple of responses. First of all, try and find a laptop that comes *without* Vista/XP pre-installed. Even if you wipe it and install Ubuntu, you've still paid for the initial OS.

    The other issue is application compatibility and usability. I have Ubuntu running on a fileserver here in the office (on an old Windows 2000 desktop!) and it's a dream. Fast, reliable, unlimited connections... but not something that one of the office staff could use day to day. Just because it has a WIMP environment does not make it comparable to Windows.

    XP is great. I really hated that when I said it the first time, but a decent install makes it a joy to use. I am very impressed that after so long, MS have released an OS that's actually useful and pretty reliable. Ubuntu would be my second choice for my own use but I'd not recommend it to any of my friends who aren't very computer literate.

    I'd not recommend Vista to *anyone* while XP is still available. It seems pointless to get something all glitzy that offers nothing whatsoever featurewise compared to XP - and runs slower than the older OS on the same hardware.

  28. Allan Rutland

    Old Windows on new...

    Yeah, under the MS license, both Vista Business and Ultimate allow you to run XP. Exactly the same as how XP Pro allowed people to use 2000. Both Home editions don't though....Unsure why Dale had such an issue with it and had to buy a license, since he already owned one.

    HP, Toshiba and a few others even throw in a XP restore CD as standard on all machines with Vista Business or Ultimate. No idea why Sony doesn't, but well...thats Sony.

    Alien icon...simply because Sony is run by all those odd lil aliens who ignore the world and go around blu-raying everying :P

  29. Tim

    A word of warning

    While I agree with the comments about vista (my overall impression is that as well as the resource usage, it's simply "not finished yet"), I would like to add a word of caution about downgrading.

    Several colleagues of mine had Dell Latitude laptops (I don't know the exact model) that were preloaded with vista. After downgrading to XP they had some problems with instability and eventually had to revert to vista again.

    So don't take it for granted that vista-certified hardware will work with XP. Not only will the manufacturer not support it if you have changed the OS, you might be letting yourself in for stability/driver problems.

  30. Mark
    Gates Horns

    re:Alex Wright

    Problem is, all Linux distribututions suck badly on the desktop.

    Leave Linux as a server OS, where it belongs.

  31. David Higgins

    SP1 is on the way

    I also have Vista the Sony TZ laptop.

    I wonder how SP1 will change things.

    I do, however, dual-boot and run Ubuntu most of the time, because I am finding Vista to be sluggish.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still running 2K

    I'm still running Windows 2000 Pro on my one remaining machine running Microsoft stuff. I get fewer problems with it than I get with my XP desktop at work.

  33. Steven Hewittt


    If the hardware isn't good enough then run XP. Vista is a superior operating system to XP in nearly every single way - however it takes a little more horsepower to run.

    I wouldn't try to power a Bentley with a 999cc engine, but I would a Nissan Micra.

    It's also worth noting that laptops are often less powerful than desktops. From 1st hand experience I can tell you with confidence that Vista will run smoothly on any desktop purchased in the last 3 years or sometimes even more.

    I'm writting this on a Vista Business x86 powered Dell Latitude D820 using a Core 2 T7200 (2.0Ghz) and 2Gb RAM. And it runs like lightning (after about a years worth of heavy IT type work on it)

  34. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Valid comparison?

    OK, I'm no fan of Vista, but the article is a bit unfair. Compare, if you will, a stripped down car like an old Mini Cooper (the original, not BMW's over-fat LardINI), which can produce sportscar scaring perfromance from a 1275cc engine beacuse the car has NO EXTRAS - no ABS, no traction control, no aircon, etc. Compare it to a nice, new and solid family saloon that has a bigger engine but doesn't give the same performance, beacuse it's lugging around the extra weight of side-impact beams, airbags, four real seats, etc. And as it's a new product, it's going to have those recalls and niggles before the maker gets it sorted. Now, with forty-odd years experience in the Mini enthusiast camp, a Mini can be a fast and reliable car. But if it was loaded up with the extras of the saloon it would hardly start! This is the difference with Vista, it has security and functional extras that need extra grunt in the system to make it work properly. If you take your old "Mini" PC or laptop and expect it to run Vista better than XP then you're technically naive.

    I have let friends test Vista, some love it and others have gone back to XP. One has commented on the fact that he has LESS issues with Vista than XP. The gamers avoid Vista like a plague, whilst the "avergae family user" types think they have bought an extra-secure product just like someone that has just bought a new Volvo. Now, if Volvo had stupidly sold a new saloon with a 1275cc engine and let buyers think it was going to be a real motorway burner then you'd think Volvo were stupid. Obviously, it is Sony that are the stupid party here - selling a low-power laptop with Vista is just going to annoy their own customers.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alex Wright, Karel Jansens et al....

    ...who keep on carping about "should use Ubuntu, Kubunto, Ubukunubloodytuntu or whatever fucking flavour of Linux is doing the rounds at the moment. Read the bloody article. He states he uses the machine in a corporate environment, and so quite possibly uses applications (be them in-house or not) that have never been nor will be written for Linux.

    Does Outlook run on Ubunto?

    No, it fucking doesn't, therefore he's pretty bloody stuffed if he wanted to, god forbid, access his corporate mail.


  36. Anton Ivanov

    Welcome to Sony

    This was exactly the case with older Sony laptops and XP. In my old company we had to downgrade every single one of them.

    If the 2K to XP transition is anything to go by it will take Sony 2+ years to catch up completely and make all their drivers and utilities fit naturally with Vista. Buying a Sony with Vista prior to that means shooting yourself in the foot.

  37. David Jones
    Gates Halo

    Some of you must be configuring it wrong..

    I have Vista, running on quite a beefy machine, I'll admit. However, I don't see any problems with it. I am fortunate enough to be running SP1, and it is a VAST improvement on the SP0 of Vista.

    SP1 fixes all the performance issues present as one or two have mentioned in this spiel above.

    Also, @ Anon. Coward - HD never stopped flashing - maybe your laptop was constantly Indexing. It can easily be turned off through Control Panel.


  38. Dr. Mouse


    ...did it take you so long?

    A friend of mine's boyfriend bought a brand new top of the range HP laptop, which came with Vista. He liked the flashy eye-candy on Vista, so declinded his girlfriend's offer to "down"grade it. Her response? "Within a week you'll change your mind, let me know when you're done playing".

    A week later, he had taken to swearing at his laptop all day long while waiting for it to do the simplest opperation, and decided to get Gem to downgrade it. A couple of hours later, he was given it back, and his first comment was:

    "I thought you were putting XP on it"

    That's right, it was XP but looked exactly like Vista, with all the eye-candy. She had installed Vista Inspirat. Everything was much faster, but it looked (almost) exactly the same.

    Unfortunately it has been back to HP twice so far, and each time (in spite of her pleading for them not to reinstall vista) it took another couple of hours to reinstall XP and all his apps. Worth it to get a top-end laptop to stop running like a P90 with 8Mb RAM though....

  39. Alexander Hanff

    @Iain Purdie

    "As for the "why not install Ubuntu" line, there are a couple of responses. First of all, try and find a laptop that comes *without* Vista/XP pre-installed. Even if you wipe it and install Ubuntu, you've still paid for the initial OS."

    Found one

    I believe Acer also provide Linux solutions although I am not sure if they do in the UK or not.

    Incidentally, Dell also provide desktop systems running Ubuntu as well.

  40. Marco
    Thumb Down

    Is this guy serious?!

    For somebody that is supposed to know what they are doing you seemed to give up pretty easily, did you turn off features like Aero to try and speed it up, did you try ANYTHING!?

    And to be honest 12 minutes to startup and 6 minutes to shutdown suggests other problems with the machine e.g. malware or bloatware, dodgy drivers, registry problems!

    I have 2 vista machines (one a Sony laptop) and have NEVER seen any noticeable degradation over a long period of time.

    I am in no way a Vista fanboy but your article annoyed me, as it seems that you went looking for a solution (which ended in an XP install) without even even bothering to see what was causing the problem.

    finally, If your machine really isn't capable of running Vista, surely it's the manufacturers that you should be blaming, not the OS?!

  41. Danny
    Thumb Up

    Not my experience

    Happily running Vista Business x64 for 12 months with no problems at all. At first the hard disk kept going nuts when idle, but when I configured the indexing to only do my documents folder instead of the whole drive this stopped. It runs just as well as XP ever did on this machine. Still waiting to see 'The Horrors Of Vista!'

    Athlon X2 5000

    1 Gb DDR2 with an extra 512 on a memory stick using ready boost (didn't need it, I was just curious to see if it worked)


    Nvidia Geforce 7300GS

    Only get a 3.0 rating but it's the graphics card that brings it down. Still no problems though

  42. Paul Williams

    Trying to understand why you paid for XP

    According to the system builder licensing faq:

    "The OEM versions of Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate include downgrade rights to Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition."

    Now I could be losing the plot but that says to me that if you have an XP disk knocking about you can just remove vista and install XP at no extra cost the only time you might have to buy a copy is if you dont have one already.

  43. Chris Miller

    No surprise

    If I took any OS (not excluding Ubuntu :) and installed it on a box that just about meets the manufacturer's 'minimum spec', I'd not be surprised to find it pretty sluggish. I'm writing this from my Vista box, which is a 2GHz dual-core Intel + 3GB + GTX8800 and it flies. It's far more responsive than my old XP/SP2 box, but then it is 4x the spec (in each 'dimension').

    I recently upgraded my Linux box from Suse 9 to Suse 10. Is it faster? No! Have I got less free memory? Yes! Am I surprised? Not really :(

  44. Tim Jenkins

    That tingle's not from the shower gel...

    "My 1.8Ghz P4 bathroom media center has also been running Vista 24/7 for over six months now without any problems."

    Hang on; "bathroom" and "media centre" in the same sentence.

    B*gger the OS - tell us about the hardware, Shaun. Inquiring minds want to know.

    I guess a P4 could make quite a good towel warmer ; )

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ Tim

    Well said. Very eloquently spoken. And a F*ck you to all the haters who seem to think that they have a right to judge! FFS, i wouldn't mind betting that all the people, that commented negatively, would give their eye teeth for the ability to provide for their family as this man can. All you have to do is concentrate and work hard. A concept lost on most of the inhabitants of this green and pleasant land!

  46. Geoff Johnson

    I've noticed on the spam from Dabs that laptops either boast that they have XP, or don't say anything.

    VIsta must be hitting the sales then.

  47. Mark

    Windows 3.11

    Anybody tried downgrading to Windows 3.11?

    Was this the best there ever was or I'm I just old and my eyesight is failing?

  48. Anonymous Coward

    vlite makes all the difference

    theres a little utility called vlite that will strip the un needed crap out of vista, as a result im using a very cut down, win2k look alike version of vista business on a 1.2ghz p3 mobile 512mb laptop (even the non vlited version ws perfectly usable), the whole thing runs as fast as xp did and retains the more useful security aspects of vista (namely UAC and IE protected mode)

    its also worth remembering, that

    A) all the performance gripes are played out with every new windws version: 95->8->2000->XP->vista

    B) the group worst for publishing unrealistic system requirements are game mnaufacturers yet there is never the threat of legal action when the bottom of the spec list system can only just about manage to produce a regognisable image on screen let alone play the game

    all the key aspects of vista work fine on normal XPesq hardware, its just the famcy oo-ah made for qvc demos aero interface that struggles, and the novelto fo that wears off after 10 minutes anyway...

    tho one thing does puzzle about vista - if vista business was meant to be a more security aware business OS then why the hell is bitlocker only in vista ultimate? surely as TPM is largely only present in business class machines it should be in vista business too!


  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another excellent source for Linux laptops/notebooks

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    is great except.... I can't play the bloody games I want to, when developers release software for linux as well as M$, then I'll gladly burn every piece of M$ software I own

  51. Liam Johnson

    @A word of warning

    I downgraded a Dell laptop from Vista Pro to XP for my wife last year. It was a PITA but worked fine in the end. As mentioned previously, simply pop in an XP disk and run the install with any key, then phone MS for the activation. It took ages to download all the drivers from Dell though – pity they didn’t supply a CD.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    FYI you DONT have to pay for an XP licence

    Speaking as a recently Ex sales rep for a major computer firm you actually have full downgrade rights from Vista to XP, you can call MS and they will give you a licence key for XP for nothing.

  53. Tim Spence

    Usual old "I hate Vista" comments

    Oh, and to Jamie (Downgrade or go to Linux) who bought a new PC:

    AMD 64FX2

    4GB RAM

    Nvidia 8800 GTX(S) Pro 640MB


    And Vista still ran slow... there *is* something wrong with your computer. Take it back.

  54. jason

    Why does Vista have to be 10Gb more?

    I'm stil trying to find out why Vista Home basic install has to be 10Gb larger than an install of XP when it offers more or less the same functionality?

    Whats in that extra 10Gb of 'stuff'???

    Polystyrene packing chips?

  55. Lee Sexton

    Contacted MS

    About getting a refund, nothing they can do for OEM, it is the manufacturers responsibility, end of story as far as they are concerned.......I did have a rant at him and said you guys are getting a bad name for Vista because 90% of the laptops and pc's that are coming with Vista pre-installed are simply not capable of handling the software, your not shifting any retail copies of Vista due to this issue (among others of course) and that doesnt concern you? Basically you are saying that the manufacturers are responsible for the software as it is OEM, but they drag your name through the dirt and put people off buying and it's not up to M$ to jump in and do something about your reputation?.

    Like speaking to a brick wall of course.

    I removed Vista from my underpowered laptop, it had 1gb of ram which isn't nearly enough to run it, it was slow out of the box. XP is great on it. But in their defence, I have vista x64 ultimate on the desktop (I wanted DX10 and have over 4gb of ram), dual booted with XP and have no issues at all, stable as a rock.

  56. Will

    Not yet

    I have a Sony TZ running Vista Business as well, but <touch wood> performance is ok. I've got Office 2007 and a myriad of Canon/Adobe programs (using it for photo storing/editing on the move). There's some other stuff on there as well.

    What I did do though was uninstall as much of the pre-installed Sony bloatware that comes with it. Once I'd done this performance was a lot better.

    It's nice to know that I could downgrade to XP free of charge, but I think that would be a last resort. Certainly reinstalling Vista would come first.

  57. This post has been deleted by its author

  58. Stephen Channell

    Windows Seven will be to Vista what Win2k is to XP

    That the transitional OS "Windows Vista" works at all is a wonder.. that it has been working better than all my XP boxes on my little Dell D420 for a year and half without a stutdown is great.. but is not the future.. it's just about good enough.

    The big change will come with Windows Seven (which might not even come in 32-bit).. everything changes with 64-bit.. if you're going to thunk a 32-bit app, you may as well do it through a hypervisor.

  59. Nano nano
    Gates Horns

    Vista taketh ..

    You can have a chuckle <shudder> by looking at the 'features removed from Windows Vista' section on Wikipedia.

    My pet hate is IColumnProvider disappearing - breaks several utilities without a way of reinstating the functionality.

  60. Anonymous Coward

    Good Advice

    A month ago my Fujitsu-Siemens laptop of 4 years started to die and so I decided to buy a replacement laptop. AMD dual core, 2gb RAM, 160gb hard drive and a 256mb graphics card. Unlike the guy in this article as soon as I got home I installed XP, I had already downloaded the drivers and utils. I had played around with the RC2 version of Vista and again when it was released on a friends HP, and I found it just so user unfriendly, slow, unresponsive and looked a heck of a lot different. As a sys admin I need something that just works and with my new setup of XP and SuSe i have everything I need, just like it used too.

  61. storng.bare.durid


    or its descendants, however crappy, unfortunately will become the new 'xp' down the line.

    My only hope is that there will continue to be viable alternatives.

    So to the devs out there, (especially game devs lol) please do consider us who shun M$.

  62. Riccardo Spagni

    Win+Tab in XP...Easy!

    "so far, the only thing I have missed is the enhanced application switching mechanism in Vista, i.e. the Alt-Tab and Windows-Tab functionality."

    Microsoft's Alt-Tab tool has been mentioned already, but WinFlip provides 3-D flipping functionality that mirrors Vista's Win+Tab.

    The fire thingy...because WinFlip is pretty hot;)

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    If you liked XP....

    ...try 2k - it's even better. It's like someone took XP, removed the bloatware and crapplets, fixed a whole lot of bugs and then released it!

    The only explanation I can come up with is that Microsoft is in fact travelling backwards in time, and we're seeing these releases in the opposite order to the order Microsoft wrote them. Vista the buggy prototype, XP somewhat refined, 2K the pinnacle of perfection.

    After that, Windows went downhill, as they went on to produce NT4SP6, which just got worse and worse every time they took another service pack away from it.

  64. Sampler

    Done this.

    Our Bosses Boss wanted a TZ so we gave him an UPGRADE to XP - as it was Vista Business on the laptop we could do this without having to buy an XP licence.

    Both Business and Ultimate flavours of vista allow you to scrub it and replace it with a useable OS (from a business pov, legacy apps etc. - before then fanboi's flame me) for no charge, you just have to use an existing XP disc, which can be hard to come by for a user but a department like ours has a stack of VLK discs which did the job.

    When it comes to the code, and I quote a MS rep here "just use one of the nearest machine, if it fails go through to the support number, don't press anything and you will be put through to somone and tell them what you're doing, they will issue you a new code".

    Just upgraded a Compaq 6820s for the new MD yesterday to XP for him - we have a user with this model trialling Vista for the inevitable switch but it just doesn't work in our environment properly and is sluggish and hangs.

  65. Jamie Bowden

    Vista's been fine here...

    I'm running OEM Vista Ultimate on a Dell Latitude D820 T7600 (Core2 Duo 2.33ghz), 2GB RAM, 80GB SATA HDD, and a 256MB Nvidia GeForce Go 7400 dual booting with FreeBSD 7-STABLE, and I haven't had any problems with it. The first things I did were to turn off indexing on the drive partition properties, remove all locations from the Indexing Options control panel, and turn off UAC.

    I did notice that if I left the WiFi transceiver powered on, Vista took a while to boot on the corporate LAN (this is one area where XP wins, without doubt...Vista waits for all WiFi connections in its list to time out before going to wired connections...uh, guys, this is FUCKING STUPID, even when I'm at home...if I'm at my desk, please default to the 100mbit wired connection if it's available...). I just slide the switch on the side of the machine to the 0 position, and it's back to booting in half the time XP takes in this same machine (yes, I have an identical machine with XP Pro installed on it for testing purposes, both are current for all drivers and OS patches). Turning off indexing in the partition properties is a performance gain in XP as well, FYI.

    I have my gaming rig at home running Vista along side XP Pro and FreeBSD too. Abit IP35, Intel E6700 (Core2 Duo 2.66ghz), 2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR2 800 RAM, 2xSeagate 7200.10 SATA2 250GB HDD, WD 7200RPM SATA2 500GB HDD, ATi Radeon HD 2900, and with the same caveats for indexing and UAC above, it performs as well as XP for disk, memory, and peripheral IO, and out performs it on others (and DX10 is actually faster for some DX9 operations than DX9, thanks to some optimization by MS). The games that run in Vista tend to be more stable (or they refuse to run at all...hello, middle ground? We seem to have been cut off).

    I haven't tried to run Vista on older or slower modern hardware, but I can see where it would definitely be problematic if you can't feed it the resources it wants.

    One thing to note about Vista and memory is that even when it's running nothing, it appears to have allocated all physical RAM according to Task Mangler. It sort of has...Free RAM is currently reported as Zero, but used RAM is 57% (I've got a bunch of stuff running in the background right now) grabs all available memory and task manager still lives in an NT4/5 memory management world where raw memory is left alone if you're not actually using it.

  66. Shakje

    Sort of agree

    if the point that you're making is that the minimum specs are bollocks. But that's just part of computing, if anyone is to blame it's manufacturers trying to flog off crap hardware with the wrong OS. If you're getting a new PC, and by that I don't mean the £150 jobby from PC World that costs you £800 with THREE YEAR WARRANTY! I mean if you buy a decent spec PC, like I did, for £400. Runs Vista absolutely perfectly, games run fine (except for Nvidia releasing wank drivers). I've got no reason to uninstall Vista, I'm also waiting for the flood of security issues that were publicised in XP when it came out. Vista is actually a good OS, and yes I'm an MS fan (but because they've delivered what I need as a programmer more than anything), but I run Ubuntu on my old PC just as another environment for coding in and that's ok for that PC. I'm a gamer, I've clanned in various games, I play high spec games now, and Vista copes fine, if not better than people running XP. Like I've said, it's a cutoff where performance equalises, but if you don't have that spec you should be using XP, which just seems obvious to me, same as when if you didn't have a high enough spec you didn't run WIndows 95, people back then were smart enough not to trust the min spec, for some reason it's a huge surprise now, that it still hasn't changed. Minumum spec MEANS minimum spec, not recommended.

    Also for the person mentioning how shit linux is with WPA, I bought a USB card for my PC (specifically after looking for ones compatible with linux), plugged it in and it worked. Now if only I could find my monitor's manual so I can get rid of the annoying signal out of range message on the Ubuntu loading screen.

    Once you reach a certain spec XP and Vista performance equalises (if not favours Vista slightly because of the memory management and general little tweaks), but up until that point it's a bit dodgy. As for the guy mentioning he had slow file transfers on a top quality system, if he'd looked into the problem at all he'd know that file transfers being slow is a well-known problem with Vista, as is unzipping, and some people are saying SP1 has fixed it for them, and some are saying it hasn't, but it doesn't have anything to do with his spec or the extra eye-candy, which his PC would be able to handle adequately.

    I'd be quite happy to have a reasoned debate between people who have tried Vista for an extended period of time and had bad experiences with it (ie more than a week) and those who have had good experiences, but idiots who jump on the bandwagon, especially when their naivety shows through in diagnosis of their 'problems' is what really pisses me off. If it takes you more than 5 minutes to search on Google, go into the Control Panel and turn off UAC you don't deserve to even complain about "security warnings" because, quite frankly, you're the sort of user who needs them.

    Sorry for the huge rant, but I get extremely pissed off by people who think they know everything about PCs because they work in the same office as someone in 'IT' and then spout crap, or blame the wrong people.

  67. Detritus Emeritus

    The biggest problem with Vista...

    ...was MS's PR effort. When I ordered my laptop last August, I dreaded the idea of running this (by all accounts) slow, bug-ridden, barely usable piece of rubbish that passes for an OS. 7 months later, I've bombarded my poor laptop with games, compilers, lots of my own buggy code, and heavy use of Office 2007, but have not gotten it to crash a single time! It boots / shuts down in a few seconds, but then I've only shut it down a few times before embarking on long trips. I'm now glad I got Vista and Office 2k7 (whose UI I happen to love).

    My specs, before anyone assumes I'm running it on Deep Blue:

    Inspiron 1520, 1.8GHz Core2 Duo, 2GB RAM, Vista Home Basic 32-bit.

  68. Seán

    Oh no not a mac

    Is there an alternative to a damn apple laptop? I hate them so bad but it seems technically the apple powerbook thing is the best hardware. Please help me I don't want to have one of those things but what's the alternative?

  69. Andy Enderby
    Thumb Down

    @Well said. Very eloquently spoken. And a F*ck you....

    Whilst you are entitled to your view that we have no such right, we do have the right to judge, so you know what you can do.....

    I have a family friend that with a duo core Dell lappie, 2Gigs of RAM. As supplied with all the usual Dell management apps it was regularly taking 10 minutes to boot and was effectively unusable. God help you if you have more than one application open at a time. Even after stripping out the dross and disabling the eye candy this powerful box solidly under performs and now requires re-installation. Vista is simply not ready for primetime. I have never seen Vista perform as adequately as a Windows 98 RC1 install unless no apps were installed on the Vista box..... Pointless eyecandy and no content.

  70. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Which version of Windows do you want?

    Give the choice of two versions of Windows, which would you like:

    Windows A:

    * Fast performance.

    * Little or no DRM, do what you want with your computer and not having some media bureaucrat telling you what to do.

    * With Windows A you can copy files around your network fast!

    * Great compatibility with hardware

    * Affordable price

    * Security a little weak, get a good AV and firewall.

    Or do you want Windows B:

    Windows B

    * Flashy new features nobody wants

    * Ludicrously expensive

    * Free media shackles, you can't use HD unless you buy a new HDCP compliant monitor.

    * New performance features throttle your network speed if you play mp3s

    * 3D Interface to make managing the god awful Windows GUI a little easier, at the expense of buying a powerful 3D card and causing even more climate change.

    * New activation process, activate or we cripple your machine dramatically, even if you have a valid key that has been already used by a pirate. Unless of course you use Windows B SP1, which isn't released yet as that doesn't work either.

    * Support for almost none of your hardware that hasn't been purchased in the last week.

    * Annoying popups that appear all the time to reassure you that Microsoft understands the need for security.

    * Completely rearranged interface which is now more logical, even though you've become used to the illogical Windows ways of old. Don't worry, if you find it hard to use you can pay us to retrain all your staff, family etc.

  71. Chris iverson
    Thumb Up

    I think I've got it

    Ok for those of you that need MS, use W2K.


    Lets see, no Activation, no DRM crap, put behind a decent firewall and not be an idiot about your browsing and you have a decent gaming box.

    For work, use <insert favorite linux distro here> and have a nice day at work.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm amazed that only one person out of 57 so far tried to turn this into a Mac vs PC argument.

    Ty, are you the other side of Webster Phreaky's split personality?

  73. Anonymous Coward

    A lot of obfuscations here...

    Microsoft DOES allow a downgrade to Windows XP Pro, provided you are running Vista Business, or Vista Ultimate. When I bought my Lenovo ThinkPad T61 several weeks ago, Lenovo was kind enough to include the XP restore media with (I had to create my own Vista Business restore media; guess I can't have everything). I put SP1 for Vista on immediately and set out to see how improved Vista was over the betas and RC's I tested prior to its release.

    It took me two weeks to decide that Vista wasn't "all that". Slower than XP, some of my network management tools aren't supported, etc. I just wiped the system and went back to XP.

    I liked the Aero Glass UI, and had no problem with the new start menu. UAC is a lot less annoying than it used to be, and windows are a little snappier under SP1. Unfortunately, file copy operations are still slower, and a known issue causes either audio or network performance to suffer if both are in use at the same time (lovely if you like to stream your MP3 collection from another system while surfing wirelessly at the same time). Hopefully Windows 7 will be "the Vista that should have been" --so far, XP is still the pinnacle of Microsoft desktop OS technology.

  74. Craig

    I can't believe the Reg posted this

    What hope for the comments when the whole article is trolling?

    To set the record straight:

    Vista is faster than XP on my machine (dual boot, easy to spot)

    On my laptop I stream music and browse wirelessly just fine, contrary to AC comments.

    +1 happy vista user

  75. Ben
    Thumb Down

    Downgrade to DOS!

    You should downgrade to DOS it absolutely flies on my Quad Core! Of course, I can do sod all, but...

    If Vista's app switching is the only thing you miss you can't have used Vista for very long. I simply could not go back, XP is too cluncky in comparison.

  76. Andy
    Jobs Halo


    if your going to review the mac also get yourself a windows xp partition using bootcamp and then install parallels then you can use it in coherance mode and you have the best of both worlds. ive been using this setup on my macbook for over a year now and i will never go back to just a pc

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Won't use it even when it's free

    "the battery seemed to drain even when the machine was off. "

    Erm, seriously - are you blaming Vista for this??

  78. Ben winnipeg

    customers should stop bitching and learn a little

    If you look at the specs for Server 2003, I believe its about 800mhx PIII and 256 MB of ram. Why dont business still have PIII's as servers? yes it runs, but not with 50 users connected. It is the same with Vista, Xp, 2K. It may run, but not at top performance. the problem is les M$ than it is the people selling the hardware. go to any Best Buy, Futureshop (in Canada) and the sales staff will tell you that not only will you be able run every program in the world at the same time. It is profit driven so these companies can ditch old products. do some reasearch before buying, ya dont buy a pinto to go to the race track.

  79. Danny

    Out of the woodwork

    It's interesting to see that more and more people are happy to come forward with good experiences of Vista. When it was first launched, I seemed to be the only person who had no problems and was willing to say I quite liked it. As time has gone on, those that have bothered to re-train themselves from XP are generally being quite positive so it's obviously not quite the dog that the media and anti-ms lot would have you believe.

  80. foof
    Dead Vulture

    The more things change...

    The more they stay the same.

    Here we are in the 21st century, with more power in a mobile phone than most computers of only 10 years ago and it still takes just as long to boot Windows and write a letter.

  81. Doug

    better solution, Linux with older WinXP in a virtual machine

    If you are going to thank Microsoft for the crappy Vista OS with the purchase of another Microsoft OS, atleast put a secure and modern OS on the system and run Microsoft's old OS in a virtual machine. If you've got enough RAM to run Vista at all, you've got enough for Linux and the older version of Windows to run at the same time.

    This also lets you control the internet access Windows would have with a quick click of the ethernet icon in VMware. It effectively removed the ethernet controller from Windows so you don't have to touch Window's settings. You won't have to worry about Microsoft Word phoning home or the latest VBA script hacks.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Chris iverson

    "Ok for those of you that need MS, use W2K."

    I already do! (on all my desktops).

    Use NLite to make it even leaner / lighter.

  83. druck Silver badge

    Outlook, what a joke

    Some anonymous Windows sycophant wrote:

    "Does Outlook run on Ubunto? No, it fucking doesn't, therefore he's pretty bloody stuffed if he wanted to, god forbid, access his corporate mail."

    Even if using Exchange server, you can access email via POP or IMAP with dozens of vastly superior and more secure email clients than Outlook, which run on Linux, Mac OS and even Windows. If that the only justification you can came up with for sticking with Windows in a business environment, salvation is at hand, you will be able to ditch Vista and XP, and then perhaps save yourself the heart attack you are rapidly building yourself up to.

  84. Shakje

    @Giles Jones

    Which is Windows A? Assuming it's XP Pro...

    Windows B

    * Flashy new features nobody wants

    zzz searching is ridiculously easy now, hardly use start menu at all, memory management works a treat, is much more stable than XP in my experience, and much more secure.

    * Ludicrously expensive

    Yup, still cheaper to buy a high-spec PC independently and Vista than a similar spec Mac.

    * Free media shackles, you can't use HD unless you buy a new HDCP compliant monitor.

    Yup, this will end up down the drain though, it's the main stumbling point for most techies I think, plus I can watch HD quite happily off my HDD.

    * New performance features throttle your network speed if you play mp3s

    ? I play online while listening to music all the time, haven't noticed this and haven't heard of it before. Interested if it's true.

    * 3D Interface to make managing the god awful Windows GUI a little easier, at the expense of buying a powerful 3D card and causing even more climate change.

    As someone who games I have a powerful 3D card anyway. With the cost of 3D cards, it's dirt cheap to get a card that will handle Vista, you should really have a decent card anyway. That's of course if you can't be arsed stripping the eye candy out anyway which makes sense.

    * New activation process, activate or we cripple your machine dramatically, even if you have a valid key that has been already used by a pirate. Unless of course you use Windows B SP1, which isn't released yet as that doesn't work either.

    XP had activation which disabled Windows after 30 days, gives an incentive to activate quicker which is no bad thing. You would have the exact same problem if a pirate stole your XP key.

    * Support for almost none of your hardware that hasn't been purchased in the last week.

    Maybe true when Vista first came out, almost utter bollocks now for mainstream hardware.

    * Annoying popups that appear all the time to reassure you that Microsoft understands the need for security.

    No, because people constantly complained about insecure Windows that let users do a stupid amount of things without even warning them it might be dangerous. Whether or not you think this is actually a valid criticism it can be turned off in less than half a minute. Hardly a problem is it?

    * Completely rearranged interface which is now more logical, even though you've become used to the illogical Windows ways of old. Don't worry, if you find it hard to use you can pay us to retrain all your staff, family etc.

    So you're criticising it for having a better interface? Surely you'd have exactly the same problem migrating to a different OS completely? Try sticking a user in front of 3.1 if they've only used XP, then stick them in front of Vista, which will they find easier to use? Going from 3.1 to 95 was difficult, Vista's a baby step.

  85. Anonymous Coward

    Not so fast...

    "If you look at the specs for Server 2003, I believe its about 800mhx PIII and 256 MB of ram. Why dont business still have PIII's as servers? yes it runs, but not with 50 users connected. It is the same with Vista, Xp, 2K. It may run, but not at top performance."

    I'm running multiple P3 servers with Server 2003. One is serving several hundred computers as a Symantec Antivirus Corporate server (by the way, that box is an ancient P3-450 with 512MB of RAM). Our main file-server is a P3-800 with a gig of RAM, supporting the same number of machines, and approximately 1,000 users.

    Server 2003 actually runs incredibly well on a P3. Some of this is due to SCSI disk systems of course, but Server 2003 is remarkably well-tuned as well. If you haven't tried this, I wouldn't comment on it.

  86. alex d

    Microsoft's Best OS

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Windows 2008 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It's the way vista was meant to be. Microsoft should've made a "Workstation" version and it would sell millions, but running "Server" is no problem since everything is componentized and nothing is pre-installed. It's also free for 6 months' use. Download it from microsoft.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    XP is well faster than vista

    I bought a HP pavillion ( which came with vista home premium.

    A lovely box I must say, but underspecced for vista.

    I found that with the lowly 1GB RAM installed, it just flasedy flashed all day long.

    It was so bad in fact, that watching HD movies absolutely sucked. I only use it for a media center.

    So I went and upgraded it to its maximum 2GB -- pity, coz 2GB is just enough to run media center properly, mind you I had already stripped vista down by stopping most of the services, removed games, removed tons of stuff like office, works etc etc.

    While I was buying the RAM, I also upgraded my almost 5 year old P4 with hyperthreading. My old machine is vastly better than the new core duo specced new machine. Why? Because it runs XP home, not vista home.

    I do linux support for a living, but I only use linux on servers -- I had installed it on the media center box, but there are some issues with the ACPI on those HP boxes, so I put vista back on it. Linux was great though, but I need proper power management, I also tried installing XP on it, but no drivers whatsoever exist chez HP. Ah well. I can live with vista as long as I only run media player and NOTHING else.

  88. Anonymous Coward

    It doesn't help...

    .. that retailers are actively muddying the waters by only printing positive feedback about Vista. Check the retailers' websites ( for example), and you will see that Vista gets an amazing 5 out of 5 stars. Ofcourse, the mediocre review I submitted and those of everyone I know who upgraded to Vista didn't make the grade.

    Dishonest retailers... nah.. say it ain't so!

  89. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Does Outlook run on Ubunto?

    Well, is that the fault of Linux or the fault of Microsoft, who don't port it to Linux?

    Microsoft's fault.

  90. Jim Peters
    Thumb Down

    More $$ to those @(%&^&

    I got a new Dell desktop at work pre-installed with Vista and it sucks. I'd switch back to XP in a heartbeat, if I could figure a way to do it without having to send Ballmer & Co more $$ for an XP license ....

  91. Dan

    for me

    I've been using Vista business on a £500 Dell laptop for over 8 months now, after an upgrade to 2gb of ram (£26), and diabling that damn annoying UAC, it ran great and SP1 has smoothed a few things out with network drive performance and such. I have a desktop running XP also but have actually come to prefer Vista after I got used to the difference in how things were set up. A LOT of the way you do things in Vista is so much more stream lined than XP, at first it seemed weird and odd but after a while I find the XP working methods are actually a lot more long winded and seem like bodges you've just got used to over the years. I don't really see why people are that down on it, apart from the initial knee-jerk reaction against change.

  92. B Bauer

    Be careful about XP on laptops

    I bought a Compaq lappy, planning on putting XP on it. No big deal, I figured, I've installed XP on several machines in the past. I first checked the website for the appropriate drivers...they were all there. It all got harder after that.

    If the laptop has an SATA drive (likely), you'll have to boot off a floppy disk, or create a modified XP install disk (not easy). After that was solved, I tried installing the drivers for undiscovered hardware. Several of the drivers on the website didn't work. An HP support guy was quite helpful in trying to get me drivers to try, but in some cases (eg audio) there simply weren't any. The laptop had several components for which XP drivers didn't exist. I had to return it and pay a hefty restocking fee.

  93. Nexox Enigma

    @Duncan Barr, druck

    """.....that XP would perform better on older hardware than Vista does!"""

    Uhh, don't know if you can read or not, but there is no old hardware mentioned in this article. The CPU in the TZ isn't more than a couple months old - its probably a core 2 duo, though I can't be bothered to deal with Sony's website to find out. Assuming that something is old because it's "just" 1.2 GHz is rather nieve.

    """Even if using Exchange server, you can access email via POP or IMAP with dozens of vastly superior and more secure email clients than Outlook, which run on Linux, Mac OS and even Windows. If that the only justification you can came up with for sticking with Windows in a business environment, salvation is at hand, you will be able to ditch Vista and XP, and then perhaps save yourself the heart attack you are rapidly building yourself up to."""

    Actually Outlook tends to do a whole lot more than email, and when connected to an exchange server, it has far more functionality than a mail client. I haven't explored it too far, but its got a collaboration calendar system and some other stuff that many people are required to use for their jobs. And how many Linux clients are there for an Exchange Calendar? None is my guess.

    That said, I have a Windows laptop for work... and a lovely 4 year old Fujitsu running Slackware for actually getting work done. Everyone keeps talking about how great Ubuntu is on old/slow hardware... and they're right if you compare it to Windows performance. But Slack based distros run circles around that bloat.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just me then...

    Recently got a Dell XPS M1730 desknote with Vista Ultimate 32bit, needless to say it lasted less than 24 hours before Memory Management BSOD's started at random.

    Ran memtest86+ and Vista's own memory test tool and no faults found.

    Gave up and dug out an old Dell OEM XP Pro with SP2 recovery disc, it even had the Intel Matrix Raid driver slipstreamed. Even after 90 or so Windows updates it is still the best thing I ever did.

    Now if only Nvidia/Dell could get their GeForce M drivers together...

  95. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    Good move, but there is better

    if he wanted better compatibility (yes!), better hardware recognition and more driver support, he should have opted for Fedore Core 8 of Linux.

    If you want to struggle for drivers, and sick of buying software just to keep windows afloat, you are ready for linux. It just works, every day, all day, without "defragmanters", without antivirus and other system utility junk you have to buy for windows.

  96. Greg

    @Duncan Barr

    "Who would think it, .....that XP would perform better on older hardware than Vista does!"

    Can't you read? This wasn't old hardware! This was a brand spanking new laptop, with not an insignificant spec. Or did you just read the first line and decide to have a little tantrum?

  97. Greg

    ALT-TAB PowerToy

    I went off and downloaded that. I have something similar already bit it has a tendency to lag. I opened the MS installer, and it told me I couldn't install it because I wasn't running XP. They're right, of course. I'm running XP x64. Silly me.

  98. fwibbler

    Almost funny

    This almost makes me laugh.

    My Uncle recently upgraded to a brand new HP machine running Vista, Norton all-in-one security and AOL broadband (all without consulting me!).

    He is disappointed with the speed of it compared to his previous machine that I built for him heaven knows how many years ago.

    That machine was an AMD K6-2 333mhz machine with 96MB RAM running Windows 98 lite!

    Progress eh?

  99. J

    Re: Valid comparison?

    Besides the "old hardware" misinformation other people already pointed out...

    Your comparison is even worse: you compare two vehicles that sound like the equivalent of comparing DOS and Vista, instead of XP and Vista. So, reworking that "analogy" to something more in line with the specs:

    Comparing XP and Vista would be like comparing a 2001 Honda Civic and a 2008 Honda Civic -- only that the 2008 runs slower and burns more gas and breaks every six months and must have the engine reinstalled. Sure, the 2008 has a few new features, even a bit extra safety. But you can't take it to the highway because if can't go faster than 35 miles/hour... Or are you gonna say that the difference between XP and Vista is incomparably bigger? That Vista does so much more so much better? I didn't think so...

  100. Morely Dotes
    Jobs Horns

    Re: Should have waited for SP1

    "I don't know why people love the out dated interface of XP."

    Because it bloody WORKS, you cheesebrained git!

    This was Patch Tuesday. Vista installed 7 "critical updates." I rebooted.

    It took me 40 minutes to get Vista to recognize UNC paths again so that I could map my network drives, which are required for my work (so is Vista, otherwise it would be long gone from this machine).

    The interface is Byzantine in its complexity, Neolithic in its elegance, and attractive only to people who don't have any work to do.

  101. Morely Dotes

    @ Mark

    "Problem is, all Linux distribututions suck badly on the desktop."

    Really? I have a Pentium III (500 MHz with 512M of RAM) notebook here next to me, running Ubuntu (well, Kubuntu, actually) that's fairly snappy. I use it for Web surfing, email, playing music, and accessing Web sites and files that I don't trust (e.g., might be infested with the ActiveX virus). The hard drive is partitioned to dual-boot to XP Pro, but that only happens one a month, for the monthly Windows updates. XP is too sluggish on this hardware.

    How well do you suppose Vista will run on it?

  102. Morely Dotes

    @ AC

    "Does Outlook run on Ubunto?"

    It's Ubuntu, and yes, it can run Outlook. Damn near anything that doesn't require DirectX can run on Linux.

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re: True

    "Vista is a superior operating system to XP in nearly every single way"

    Except for copying files, and deleting them, and...

  104. Morely Dotes

    @ fwibbler

    "My Uncle recently upgraded to a brand new HP machine running Vista, Norton all-in-one security and AOL broadband (all without consulting me!).

    He is disappointed with the speed of it..."

    Uninstall Norton. Substitute AVG. Speed will improve enormously (and you'll find independent tests show AVG up to 85% more effective than Norton; plus the free version works quite well).

  105. wibbilus maximus

    simple choice

    I'll get the Linux / MaC / PC issue sorted straight away. The operating system you pick is based on the software you run. If you run software that ONLY works on windows then it's a bit pointless people saying install Linux or get a Mac. (The phrase horses for courses comes to mind)

    The issue with Vista is a straight fight against XP. the simple thing is that if you are running a 32Bit system, stick with XP for now, maybe even after SP1 is out. As it stands XP runs better on the same hardware as Vista. No contest. (if you want to take it further though, 98SE runs better then XP on the same hardware provided your hardware supports 98SE now!!)

    The saving grace for Vista in terms of Windows is that XP64 is SOOOO bad it makes using Windows ME look like a realistic choice. Vista 64Bit is the 64Bit operating system to have if you want Windows OS.

    Everybody is slagging off Vista, even the IT sites on the internet, but the one thing that people seem to be ignoring is that everyone is comparing 32Bit systems. you can't compare Vista to XP properly unless the 64Bit systems are included and as i have used both as my primary OS for an extended period (nearly a year at least) i can happily say i would rather drill out my eyeballs then go back to XP64.

    if I have to install a 32 Bit system though, i won't touch Vista even if you paid me (OK, maybe we could negotiate a little........i won't have to use it, right?......)

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    'Because it bloody WORKS, you cheesebrained git!'

    Not what you were saying on the comments about the wal-mart linux box

    'some problems with XP and Server 2K and 2K3, all of which can be laid directly at the feet of the Microsoft programmers' idea that "we should hide the controls for this function, so that end users who need to use it will call Tech Support at US$235 per incident.'

    'It took me 40 minutes to get Vista to recognize UNC paths again so that I could map my network drives'

    Funny that, I haven't had to do that and neither has anybody else I know who uses Vista, nor is it a known issue. Ever stop to think it may be you that doesn't have a clue on how to use it?

    @AC 'XP is well faster than vista '

    Try reconfiguring the indexing service, works a treat.


    'The 2008 has a few new features, even a bit extra safety. But you can't take it to the highway because if can't go faster than 35 miles/hour.'

    In case you missed it, a lot of people have had no problems whatsoever and have noticed performance increases over XP

  107. Anonymous Coward

    3D desktop

    I like the 3D desktop, the spinning cube looks cool although doesn't have a practical use... but it does look cool. I find the way you can make all the open windows lay themselves out side by side then click on one to bring it to the top. I like the wobbly windows. The ability to zoom the desktop, great for watching BBC iplayer as it gives smoother playback as opposed to the iplayer full screen mode. I find the ability to have 20 windows open and be able to drag them to other sides of the virtual cube useful............. Vista ?, you've got to be kidding....... I'm using opensuse linux 10.3 with the compiz-fusion 3D software ....

  108. Chad H.
    Thumb Down

    Old news is boring.

    In other top breaking register news, Ferninand Megellan's expedition has removed all doubt about the world being round by sailing all the way around it.

  109. Phillip


    This article fails at convincing me to stop using Vista.

  110. Mono Ape

    Evolution and denial

    "Problem is, all Linux distribututions suck badly on the desktop."

    And you tried which distro when?

    I've installed Ubuntu on 7 dekstops to date, ranging from PIII 384MB to Core2 2GB - solid, reliable, and perfect for the average email / surf user / Skyper (inc. webcam). The eye candy (with Compiz Fusion and a reasonably new graphics card) shames anything available on the competition.

    The denial of those who evidently haven't used the latest Linux distros matches the denial of evangelicals when faced with the fact of evolution. ;)

  111. Joe M

    Deja vu

    Whoa, pull up everyone!

    I was using 2000 when XP was released. There was a lot of stuff about 1) it was flaky, 2) It was incompatible with some software and lots of hardware, 3) it was slooooow, 4) it was bloated. Sounds familiar?

    The solution was to 1) stay with 98 or 2000, 2) go to Linux (which would solve all the problems in the world including AIDS and child poverty), 3) get drunk. Sounds familiar?

    I waited almost three years before I upgraded to XP. I have never had any problems with compatibility. I run a nice fast system on an Athlon XP 3200+. I have lots of tuning tools, utilities, mm and everything else I need. I never crash!

    See you all in about three years!

  112. Chris Miller

    'Twas ever thus

    A system programmer's prayer:

    "God sent us this 360 and lo, our 1400 payroll programs run no slower than before."

    "The Devil's DP Dictionary" by Stan Kelly-Bootle (1981), though the IBM/360 reference dates it to the late 60s :)

  113. Michael Greenhill

    @ article author

    Hang on, you yourself said that you were impressed with the speed of Vista when you first bought your laptop, and that it wasn't until after four months of use that it started performing like rubbish.

    Then you go on to say that after what, a day? a week? of a fresh XP installation, you're blown away by the speed?

    Funny, I seem to recall my old 98, 2k and XP installs running like bollocks four months after installation, right until I re-installed the OS.

    And another thing - I'm sick of these "Vista sucks!111onetyoeonnetwo" comments. Yes, it sucks if you run it on inadequate hardware. That's been the case for every Windows OS. More to the point though, SHUT UP about it! Nobody cares that XP runs better than Vista on a 3ghz wankfest, or that Ubuntu runs even faster. Or any other freetard version of *nix, for that matter. We already know. So shut up.

    I run Vista on a 2ghz Athlon, with 1.2gb RAM and a 120gb SATA HDD. It runs fine. I do gobs of RAW image manipulation in Photoshop, and it's fine.

  114. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Just do it

    Just get OpenSuse

    Install WINE,rdesktop, tsclient and IEs4Linux and you have the same as M$

    People go on I cant get my Roboforms in linux blah blah

    Open IE4Linux type c:\ in the address bar and install roboforms via IE4Linux and it works.

    TSclinet is the same as Remote desktop. OpenOffice supports older versions of M$ docs.

    Use G better than KDE as a manger.

    So many good stuff out there better than it.

    What else could you posibly need. Outlook? :P

    PS that task switcher in Vista is out there for XP you just need to look for it... Along time ago ... ooops!

  115. JC

    Those saying Vista needs higher spec system are ignorant.

    It is not true that Vista suddenly is ok if you meet some mythical hardware spec, all that does is prevent constant virtual memory usage.

    IF you take this mythically spec'd system you feel is needed for a good Vista experience, then put a clean new XP installation on it, it still runs a lot faster than Vista does.

    Hardware does not equalize Vista, it's always a slug. Merely getting the GUI to run ok? You have to be kidding, we were past that issue back around '97, before Win98 came out. Vista is like piling a load of bricks in your car trunk then claiming "oh but it's always good to have a load of bricks with you, all you need is to upgrade the engine, transmission, and gas tank".

  116. BitTwister

    @Steven Hewittt

    > Vista is a superior operating system to XP in nearly every single way

    You keep banging this drum but it seems the majority is having a different experience. I suppose that must be their fault entirely. All of them...

    > From 1st hand experience I can tell you with confidence that Vista will run smoothly on any desktop purchased in the last 3 years

    Hmm - "any desktop", you say. Pity that didn't include a neighbour's machine which came with Vista pre-installed. Even though minimizing windows was reasonably quick (something under one second), for some reason nothing much else was possible until a few seconds had elapsed - irrespective of application. Starting and closing applications - even weedy things like Outlook - took an age; more than enough to make me think something had gone wrong until I got used to Vista's 'little ways'. This is how it was straight out the box.

    So, from first-hand experience I can tell *you* with confidence that Vista ran absolutely appallingly on that desktop, which was purchased new less than a month ago. Rather strangely, this is depressingly similar to what I was told by someone else who was running it on a dual processor in 4GB of RAM - purchased from new within the last 6 months, and not pre-installed. He dumped it (along with the disk) and installed XP which - shock, horror - went like a rocket.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @ "try to find a laptop without windows"

    Found quite a few actually (and bought one, SLAMD64 on it works very nicely and all the hardware is compatible thanks) - the only distributor I've seen anywhere that doesn't force you to bundle an OS with a laptop

  118. Oisin McGuigan

    Took you long enough

    I figured that long enough ago. Good article though. It really really is an upgrade, I agree. Maybe they should have launched Vista when XP was first launched. We all would have been a lot happier pre-SP1.

  119. Greek Geek
    Jobs Halo

    I love my upgraded Latitude D830

    I've got it dual booting with OS X 10.5.2 and Mythbuntu. Can't wait for Apple to open its OS to generic PC kit.

  120. Trix


    And tell me, druck, just what would the point be of the Exchange administrator turning on IMAP (I wouldn't turn on POP at all costs), in an *enterprise* situation so that some idiot who wants to play with his funbox can start demanding extra support that the other 5000 users don't need?

    Exchange is not just about email, in an enterprise environment. 50% of the functionality you want is related to scheduling and shared resources (and wee goodies like Public Folders and so on). An IMAP user cannot make use of the calendaring/scheduling (without additional software and extra hassle), and the other stuff is only available by making the user undergo all kinds of contortions. Which kind of defeats the purpose of installing an all-in-one solution like Exchange in the first place. I don't have time to hand-hold 0.05% of my userbase either.

    If you want IMAP mail + scheduling that integrates with anything in an enterprise, use something like Zimbra. If you have a real need to allow Linux clients to use Exchange (with scheduling, again), let them use Evolution and the Exchange connector. So long as they can justify it, and there is more than one user who needs the functionality, and you get the resources to *support* it.

    But my job is to enable the vast majority of users to access all the Exchange functionality in an easily-supportable way, not waste time on enabling tosspots to play on our corporate networks with their toys.

    (BTW, I'm a very happy Linux user at home... and if I move to a *nix shop, what I'd be happy to support in the office would be completely different)

  121. Colin Wilson

    Re: wibbilus maximus

    "If you run software that ONLY works on windows then it's a bit pointless people saying install Linux or get a Mac"

    How about you download VirtualBox for free for either of those platforms, and install your OS of necessity as a virtual machine (using your existing legit license code(s) of course), while continuing to use the benefits of the other OSs you mention :-)

    My machine boots '95 in 10 secs, '98 in 18 secs, 2k in 40 secs, and I can back them up or restore from a backup very quickly and easily.

  122. Brian Cummings

    Vista/Linux/XP WTF!

    1. Vista is NOT better than XP in any way. if you're still using IE then you're still running the worlds best malware vacuum. Oh, and did they fix that glitch that halved your network performance when you're listening to music? funny a task that my Sansa MP3 player can handle is still undoable by Vista.

    2. All of you who bitch about linux don't know your asses from a hole in the ground. Try <a href="" target="_blank">WUBI</a> which will safely install linux into a virtual drive image in your existing WANKdows install. Try it for yourself. It's even easy enough for the simpletons to install. That way on the same hardware you can try them side-by-side. Even DESPITE the drive image overhead, it will SMOKE Vista, and strangely enough, let you do both Windows software and Linux, even mostly without running windows. Outlook will work fine on Linux, AFAIK, thanks to WINE, which works especially well if you have a dual-boot installation, though why would you need to use it unless you're hopelessly tied to an exchange server or still languishing in POP3-land? Vista is to XP as AOL is to THE REAL INTERNET. Case closed. Some people will love it, others don't care for the aesthetic flash-bang, compared to the loss of productivity.

    3. Macs have the same issues as Linux machines, in that not everything works, and basically, you can't run windows software unless you dual-boot, so there you're paying for two OSes (one of them costs about a grand, considering the difference in spec/vs/cost comparisons.) So don't go all high-and-mighty on me. Besides, didn't that last OS update screw up a whole slew of things? Though the hardware manufacturers are pleased, since every new OsX revision brings out the masses of disposable-income weenies buying printers and whatnot that will work with it. Who says that Macs are green? When they don't support hardware that isn't cutting edge, you end up throwing out several printers, webcams, blah, for the 2-3 year life of your mac. That's Smucking Fart!

    I dual-boot XP and Ubuntu using the Wubi installer, and love it, though I'm trying to reduce my need for Wankdoes software as time goes by. I love it, and it's terribly speedy.

    P.S. For that poor sod who can't play Carmageddon 2, Download VMWare Server and install whatever OS you like in a special install for your older games, I have thousands of them, and a nice clean w98 install is just the ticket for most of them. Oh.. and BTW, they have a LINUX version, too!

  123. Phillip

    Your a minority

    "You keep banging this drum but it seems the majority is having a different experience. I suppose that must be their fault entirely. All of them..."

    I think you will find that the majority is the people who actually like it but are not on some forum or news blog trying to convince you its good.

    Your a minority, plain and simple.

    As much as i like linux, hate OSX, and like xp and vista.

    Linux is not desktop ready for adverage joe. OSX is just a pile of shit for a minority who think they are better than the guy sitting next to them who also has a mactop. And Windows is just for people who don't wanna learn how to run command line bullshit to install a piece of software, or compile it for their hardware, when they could just as easily click a file and have it install.

  124. Pete Dixon

    Linux rulez

    About 10 days ago I installed PCLinuxOS. The compatibility and user experience is absolutely phenomenal. It's fast and everything a home user would ever need is either included or quickly installable from the repositories. The only reason a home user would EVER use XP or Vista would be a lack of ambition.

    I have all the fancy screen effects, a dual monitor set up, great video and music. It's computer hobbiest's dream come true.

  125. Herbys
    Gates Halo


    I'm writing this in a 2GB laptop with a core solo with Vista Ultimate, and it works just fine. I have no problems with performance. I agree on the fact that 2GB is the minimum necessary for fluid work, but the CPU needs are about one fourth of what you are claiming.

  126. Graham
    Thumb Up

    Vista > XP

    I didn't read all 100+ comments but seems like everyone hates vista

    I have it on my comp at home and couldn't be happier. i do have an amd dual core 3gig with 2gig ram. But i'va had NOT ONE PROBLEM since i installed it.

    I actually installed XP before i installed vista so i could compare the 2 OS and vista won everything i tested for.

    It starts up faster

    once your logged in, programs take far less time to load. (xp takes forever once you login to load the startup stuff, vista doesn't)

    shutdown time was faster

    I also ran 3d mark from and had a significantly higher mark (just for changing to vista). I couldn't compare the general pc side as they have one for vista and one for xp.

    Exactly the same hardware and vista won. Seems like the problem isn't vista, just your asking a cat to pull a carridge instead of a horse. Was this any different from when XP came out and everyone complained about having to upgrade from 98/2000? In a years time when hardware prces drop, people will be happy with vista. only paid about $230AU for my CPU not exacltly expensive.

    If your machine isn't upto running vista, you shouldn't be running it. Also if it's a work machine with bad graphic capabilities, turn down all the flashy stuff.

    In short, i've tested xp and vista on the same hardware and VISTA WAS BETTER, not on average but everything i could find to test them with.

  127. Herbys
    Gates Halo


    I'm writing this in a 2GB laptop with a core solo with Vista Ultimate, and it works just fine. I have no problems with performance. I agree on the fact that 2GB is the minimum necessary for fluid work, but the CPU needs are about one fourth of what you are claiming.

    Oh, and I've found several machines with the specs you describe that were completely useless with Vista. After taking a deeper look, the problem was not VIsta, but the tons of crapware the manufacturers had bundled in the machine (in some cases it was the sheer amount of useless stuff, in others it was specific pieces of software, like an agent from Toshiba or a tool from HP, that consumed amazing amounts of resources). After removing those, the machines ran just fine.

    And you might claim "the customers purchased the machines with all that, so it's not their fault" but then you must admit it's not Vista's fault either. It's the PC manufacturers that will take ten dollars from some crapware manufacturer to screw the users experience. And then ten more from each of ten other companies.

    A reinstall with Vista will work just as well as a reinstall with XP. But it will leave you with a more complete and secure OS.

  128. Dana W
    Jobs Halo

    @ Seán

    "Posted Wednesday 12th March 2008 14:34 GMT

    Is there an alternative to a damn apple laptop? I hate them so bad but it seems technically the apple powerbook thing is the best hardware. Please help me I don't want to have one of those things but what's the alternative?"

    Give in, enjoy. Its really not bad, getting your first Mac, especially after years of Windows use is just like coming out of the closet. "I understand its tough, I only got my first Mac 14 months ago." At first you feel dirty, like you have done something wrong, but you don't know what, or why. You hide a lot, you worry what your friends will think, how people will view you, how it will affect you at work.

    Then one day you realize, you feel really good, that life is fun again, that you feel crisp and alive, you realize what you were doing before was a dreary chore, and what you are doing now is rewarding and fun. And you see that the people who criticized you and tried to scare you off of it only do so out of fear and ignorance, and scare tales they learned growing up from authority figures who taught them the "one true way to salvation". Their idea is that if its fun and happy its not real or valid. And that suffering and denial give an activity legitimacy. Its a sort of computer calvinism.

    If you can't hack comfort and ease of use there is always Linux, which I like as well, but thats more like getting into BDSM, it can hurt a lot, but if you are into that sort of thing Its very satisfying.

    Either way your computer actually WORKS, which is more than can be said for Vista.

    Please feel free to flame my extremely gay post.

  129. tempemeaty

    UDC It's yours not theirs right?

    Simple reason I do not use Vista. User Data Collection. Vista is collecting user data and sending it. The issue is just a matter of self respect. I'm not a child and NO "authority"(corporate or state) is my Mommy. It's just self respect. Besides we put up firewalls to keep our data ours right?

  130. Calin


    I'm running Vista and PCLinuxOS on a AMD Sempron 2600+ with 1Gb of Ram and both are running fine. Of course, the Linux distro runs better on my PC specs, but I had no troubles with Vista either. Anyway, a new quadcore is on the way for me so I won't go back to XP.

  131. DV Henkel-Wallace

    upgrade to XP review

    Sounds like you might enjoy this enthusiastic review from someone who upgraded from Vista to XP, played straight:

  132. Sentient

    Downgrade Vista itself

    I just disabled some services and turned of aero on my laptop at work.

    It's already more responsive.

    But I agree microsoft should offer a leaner and meaner OS out of the box.

  133. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Vista EULA

    If i was bill , my Eula would be

    1) Mac owners are wankers (really important)

    2) Any of you arseclowns that cant get vista to run properly should really stick to XP, you don't deserve the privilege of owning a good o/s.

    3) If you still depend on a giro for your weekly income, then forget installing this on your computer, it wont run it.

    4) If vista dosent run very well on your brand new £200 toys-r-us special deal laptop. Please refrain from transforming yourself into a bedroom IT expert and posting complete and utter shite at ............

    Such ramblings include but not limited to..............

    a) Ubuntu is more secure and runs way faster than vista

    b) im gonna upgrade to XP

    c) im a mac owner and everything is better, dont ask why it just IS

    d) im on quad boot, using vmware i run 8 Operating systems . Through this lightweight combo i can send emails and surf the net and listen to mp3's.

    5, Should installation fail, please read stages 1 through to 4 again. Soon enough, reality will shine through and installation should be a breeze.

  134. Wellard
    Paris Hilton

    New laptop

    I got a new Dell XPS M1330 which came bundled with Vista. Unfortunantly it was full of Dell's pre-installed crap. The good thing was they provide the Vista install DVD, this way I was able to format the entire system and install a clean installation of Vista. Whoah, what a difference in speed! The laptop feels nippy, and can play Call of Duty 4, and a few other games quite happly. I can't say I've had any compatability problems yet with programs or my existing hardware (printers, etc.).

    Paris, because she likes a slow PC so she can keep up.

  135. James

    vista audio software performance...

    Vista sucks for sure,

    I use traktor scratch dj software when performing. When I was using XP I got great latency and no pops, crackle or dropouts. Vista was a completely different story.

    I thought maybe it had to do with my hard drives getting full but when I downgraded to XP again all my instability issues dissapeared. My only wish is that I'd bought a mac instead. In the traktor scratch forums you will rarely hear any mac user having an issue... but vista on the other hand... MS sucks, vista sucks, case closed.

  136. Anonymous Coward

    Blame Microsoft....Come on

    Why are you blaming Microsoft.. I am using Vista on a machine designed for XP perfectly fine. AND to boot it is only a Celeron with 512MB. Works fine

    I think people should get a life and stop trying to topple Microsoft. It would be a whole lot worse without them..

    I also think Sony are to blame for selling a product that is clearly not fully tested with Windows Vista.

  137. Steven Foster

    Been there, done that

    Done exactly the same on a HP Business Model Laptop. Brilliant machine, but with Vista it crawled at an embarrassingly slow pace. Stuck XP on (I didn't buy it, I had a spare license from an old desktop machine) and it runs like a dream.

    Most OEM manufactures seem to have realised how unhappy people are with Vista as well, because all the utilities and drivers had already been made available for XP when I "downgraded" my laptop.

  138. Chris

    Sense of Deja Vu

    Interesting experience - I'm actually just installing XP 64 Pro as I write this, on an Asus P5K/2.4 Core2Duo/2Gig/WD Raptor/8800GTX desktop that flies on XP...

    I tried Vista Ultimate 64 on it last week (fully updated) and have to say I've never seen a poorer excuse for an OS. I don't think it's a case of the software requiring more hardware power, as a case of the software being a confused mess.

    The comments by the author about 12 minute boots and 6 minute shutdowns are sadly familiar - though to be honest, I was getting the reverse! The performance of the OS generally is erratic to say the least, one thing I discovered was that *Windows* Vista doesn't like having more than 4 windows open, especially 'system' windows... 'nuff said?

    The interface isn't up to much either - especially to an experienced XP/OSX user.

    If this is Micro$loth's 'answer' to OSX all they have shown is how terribly far they have to run to catch up.

    To be honest, the only reason I don't go 100% OSX is that, while Apple style their products nicely, which I don't care about, and Apple are simply the masters of human interface design, Apple ALSO flog overpriced hardware that's at the very least 12 months behind the current PC standard - never mind the bleeding edge - and have it 'assembled' (I.E. thrown together) in China.

    Combined with some very dodgy hardware design of late (SMU resets anyone? Faulty HDs anyone?) and Apple's 'Three Monkeys' attitude to problems (iPod batteries anyone? eMac motherboards anyone? MacBook Pro motherboards AND HD's anyone?) at this point, to my way of thinking, all Apple have got is a VERY nice OS - the rest (style baby! 8ull5hit baby! Piss-poor attitude to customers baby!) is either irrelevant to me, or both overpriced, out of date and unacceptable...

    But Vista? Do me a favor PLEASE! Until Apple release an authorised version of OSX that will run on 'standard' (we all have to have a little joke) PC hardware, I'm sticking with XP. Elegant it ain't but it WORKS.

    My brief foray into Vista has been a (very) expensive mistake. 5hit happens I guess...

    Oh, and penguin lovers need not comment. (Games, mainstream applications, couple of bits of hardware with restricted driver choice - message ends)

    Mine's the Nomex one with gloves, shoes and balaclava...

  139. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Holy hell, where are you people living?

    Holy hell, where are you people living?

    Dual-Core 1.8GHz with 2Gb to do some basic office work? Are the latest versions of Office really that much of a bloat, or are you in need of some power-user functionality that hasn't been mentioned?

    Wireless, Gigabit Ethernet, web browser (including Flash, Shockwave, Quicktime, Realplayer, Acrobat Reader, Java etc.), antivirus, an Office suite, email client, possibly VPN software. That's just about everything you'll ever need for the average business purpose unless the person with the laptop is the *real* techie or they want to do something stupid like CAD on a laptop. You can do ALL of that basic functionality on 1GHz (single core), with 512Mb under XP SP2 Pro without even struggling, so long as you clean up those damn startup entries, like any good IT-managed machine would have. Seriously. And if I need anything more than that, we're talking 1Gb RAM max and then start upgrading *other* parts of the machine, like the battery packs.

    I'm the network manager and my home laptops are 600MHz IBM Thinkpads with 384Mb, one on XP, one on Linux! They struggle on Flash-heavy websites but otherwise you hardly notice that they are doing anything, even if you're streaming Youtube across a wireless VPN. In the networks I've worked on (1000+ users in some cases) for the past few years, client machines are minimum-specced to just above 1GHz, 512Mb (admittedly some of them do go up to 1.8GHz dual-cores with 1Gb RAM, but that's because it's uneconomical to buy something as low as the minimum spec now because for the same price you can get a far superior spec that you'll never NEED but you may as well have). Laptops are minimum-specced even lower for cost and lifetime reasons. And they all run all of the above basic functionality and more.

    And the article and comments have driven another nail into the coffin for Vista in my networks - I trialled it quickly and it wasn't *bad* but it just didn't do anything useful for the increased cost of clients/software etc. so we stuck with XP. If people are struggling to run it on 1.8GHz, dual-cores with 2Gb, there is something EXTREMELY wrong or people just don't manage their machines properly.

  140. nobby
    IT Angle

    quicker to drive into work

    I had to do some work at 3am this morning.

    Someone suggested that, rather than driving into work, i log on from home and see if all the overnight processes had completed rather than going to all the fuss of getting dressed and driving in, unlocking.. etc.

    I replied "i have vista at home"

    Which means it was quicker to get dressed, drive into work and look at my desktop here to see if the overnight processing had completed rather than wait for my home pc to boot.

    I supposed I could have left my home machine on overnight; but it doesn't seem to like staying on for long periods of time and Hangs (or something like that - who knows i'm only an programmer i dont understand these newfangled windows systems)

  141. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XP upgrades: or, PC World sucks

    My kids' Vista box trashed itself within a few weeks. They only ran a few basic apps, they didn't have the admin password, and UAC was on. I then spent a lot of time shouting at PC World that the machine wasn't fit for purpose, and that they should install a working OS -ie. XP - at their own cost. The sum total of their response was some spotty kid on the phone telling me that I didn't know what I was doing, that he ran a Mac anyway, that only the hardware was their responsibility, and that a non-functioning computer actually *was* fit for purpose, as long as the non-functioning bit was software.

    BTW, I disagree that you need a hi-spec machine for 'business' use. Ok, I'm self-employed, but I run a 2000-vintage Win2K machine as my Windows front-end. It does all my word processing, spreadsheets, email, browsing, presentations, and so on, *and* it's the X front-end to all my real (and virtual) computers, which are *much* more powerful.

  142. Ted Treen
    Jobs Halo


    "This article fails at (sic) convincing me to stop using Vista."

    Much as Galileo failed to convincing the Clergy that the sun was the centre of the solar system?

  143. Neil
    Gates Halo


    People moaned in the same way when they tried to install XP on a Celeron 300. The difference back then was that there were clear advantages to getting XP running, cached logons shorted boot time etc.

    While I now have Vista running smoothly on an up to date machine, the question still remains "what is the advantage of this OS"?

    Artificial factors aside such as making DX10 Vista only, I can think of none.

    OSX is not an enterprise alternative. Ubuntu, is not an enterprise alternative. Linux comes in more flavours than even Vista.

    The solution would be XP's software catalog and enterprise features, OSX's ease of program use (DWG files) and linux's security.

    Or OSX with Active Directory :p

  144. Anonymous Coward

    @Lee Dowling

    My web browser (firefox) is currently eating 145Mb of your 512Mb memory and I haven't visited any movie/flash heavy sites. My total memory usage is 481Mb, so yes while everything loaded is running fine, with your 512 it leaves no room for anything else. Cue long loading times as the hard disk gets thrashed if I want to start a new spreadsheet while having a number of documents open, forget about running a graphics package to draft a design for a client, hang around while I wait for adobe reader to launch so it can open the pdf I need, download a large file and wait while the anti-virus has to take more memory to scan it before I can do anything else at a speed above a crawl.

    Tell you what, My PIII 450 still works perfectly - why don't we all go back to plain text documents, remove all those handy html driven configuration tools like you get on your switches, why are we ever going to need something like decent resolution jitter free video conferencing. Want to scan an image at 1200dpi? why when 150dpi looks ok and takes up far less memory doesn't matter that you then need to manipulate that image and still leave it looking good. Multi-tasking? you just need your email open and work on one other thing at a time and everything will be fine.

    Glad I'm the network manager in our organisation and not you

    Let's just put your statement along with that famous Bill gates myth that he said '640K of memory should be enough for anyone' (which, if you look it up he never actually said)

    You did make one good statement in all that though:

    'people just don't manage their machines properly.'

  145. Trev

    Couldnt Agree More

    My experience was in buyng a reasonable priced laptop for the missus HP 6720s (email, surfing thats all) and having to take it with Vista Home Basic pre-installed on it. Talk about complete crap. I gave up after a week and 'downgraded' to XP Home. Now its sweet as can be.

  146. Greg

    @wibbilus maximus - XP64 is bad?

    Eh? I'm running XP64 and it's the most stable, useful Windows system I've ever gotten my hands on. Admittedly, I'm not running the original release, as I'm betting you were, when drivers were non-existant, but I got it a year and a bit ago and it's fine. My disc came with SP1 on it, and after a quick nLite to get rid of the guff it's been brilliant ever since (compared to other Windows releases). Recently reinstalled with a newly slipstreamed SP2 disc* and that's not been a problem either.

    I'd give it another shot. I reckon you'll find it's massively improved.

    *Note to 32-bit users. SP1 and SP2 for x64 are different to the ones for x32. SP1 on x64 gives the same functionality as SP2 on x32. x64 SP2 was essentially a security round-up.

  147. Dave
    Gates Halo

    The real reason for downgrading...

    Because everyone knows it's cool to hate Vista on the interweb!

    Personally I've been using Vista since release and I've never had a problem with it (no, really!). Of course XP will run quicker than Vista. It's older software. Guess what, 98 will run even faster than XP! Just like Quake 3 will run faster than Crysis.

    When XP was released we had the same spate of moaning that it was a load of crap and people would stick with 98 forever. And so, history repeats...

  148. b4k4

    so many comments..

    ..on such a worthless article, that I can't resist adding one more.

    Imagine some kind of soviet world where people were unhappy that the new Lada was slower than the old one, but those were the only choices.

    You use what Big Brother gives you. That's why you are posting these pathetic comments on this pathetic article. Wake up from your nightmare! Rise up and tear down the wall! Start by refusing to give them your money. You can do very well with no-name machines from Taiwan or China.

  149. Conor Murray
    Gates Horns

    I had to upgrade twice to 'upgrade'

    My old Pentium D Dell Precision 390 running XP was waltzing all over my new Precision 490 Xeon 2GB running Fister Ultimate x64, and I had to throw 2 x 3GHz Xeons and an additional 4GB of RAM at it to make my 'upgrade' feel like an upgrade - this was an EUR 2,000 + upgrade on a PC that had already cost almost EUR 3,000 to begin with!

    So Fister can go fast.... but only if you run it on seriously turbo-charged hardware.

  150. Woenk
    Thumb Down

    this gets boaring

    Somehow I get the feeling, the downgraders don't have any idea what they are doing.

    Anybody working with a MS OS knows, if the machine gets slower and slower, it probably needs some maintenance like defragging the disk.

    Really can't understand what people do to make Vista slower than XP, have been using it for over a year and installed it only one time. in that time i had 4-5 bluscreens because of some bad written X-Fi drivers , but since i kicked the card out it is stable.

    I remmeber I had to reinstall XP every 3 months because some drivers slowed my system down and made it unstable.

    IF one really wants a fast system, reinstall 95, should run like hell.

    This bloating around, why XP is faster than Vista is boaring, as long as no facts are produced, what slowed the system down. Can say from my own experience that it is surely not Vista, it's always the users fault who thinks he can tweak the system better and would never accept, that he actually breaks it.

  151. Greek Geek
    IT Angle

    Apple hardware a year behind?

    Sense of Deja Vu, By Chris: Note sure where you get the idea Apple hardware is at least 12 months behind.

    Apple's switch to x86 has given it exclusive first access to new Intel chip releases. Apple has typically chosen to release new systems as soon as Intel ships their chips to them.

  152. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    & these people work in IT????

    No wonder our IT industry is getting a bad name if people commenting or writing articles such as this dross are actively working in the Sector yet cannot configure Vista to actually work.

    I have been using Vista for what feels like an age now (pre-RC status) & apart from RC2, it has been nothing but a pleasure on hardware that barely meets minimum requirements.

    Vista Ultimate does not require the spec mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs (2GB RAM & 1.8GHz Core2Duo) to run smoothly. It ran smoothly enough on 1GB of RAM & a 1.6GHz CoreDuo, and absolutely flies on a 1.8GHz CoreDuo & 2GB RAM with a dedicated ATI X1400 GPU!!!! Even my wife's measly Prescott 3.4GHz machine with 1GB of RAM runs it as smooth as anything.

    The disk & network transfer speed can be increased to XP standards if you KNOW what you are doing & is as easy as this;

    Start>>Control Panel>>Programs and Features

    Click on ‘Turn windows features on or off’ on the left side of the screen

    Uncheck ‘Remote Differential Compression’

    Exit & Restart.

    Voila XP file transfer speeds on Vista without any Patches.

    I bet half the people complaining about Vista are also MCSE/MCP certified as well. Just goes to show that "Paper Techs" should stick to what their qualifications means....... filing paperwork!!!!!

    As for the Guy with the AMD machine saying that it runs slow. LEARN TO CONFIGURE A PC CORRECTLY THEN SPEAK UP. Too many people in the industry showing their actual lack of knowledge about computers by some of the comments that they put out without actually knowing what they are talking about.

    Bill Gates - The saviour of the world!!!!!!!!!

  153. Edward Lilley

    Vista, Schmvista -- missing the point...

    Even if Windows Vista were better than all my current operating systems, I would still opt for a free (as in freedom) version of GNU/Linux. Of course, if Free operating systems in general were so bad as to actually be worse than Windows Vista, I would certainly not expect my less technically-orientated friends to also use them. However, this "Linux is not ready for the desktop" I keep hearing is simply not true. However good Windows and/or Macs are, this myth about the usability of GNU/Linux is a complete falsehood.

    I would also like to point out that just because you (yes, YOU, the person reading this comment at the moment wondering whether to reply to it!) have had a perfect, or near-perfect user experience of Windows Vista, doesn't mean that everybody else is lying about their 12 minute start-up times. And vice-versa.

    Something I find mildly humourous is the fact that Windows Xp is 5, that's right FIVE years old. Now, I'm not saying that everyone should format, and reinstall a new operating system every year, in fact, it should be possible to keep an OS running for ever with suitable updates (see Debian), BUT if you say that Xp is `better' than Vista (it definitely seems to be), then you are effectively saying that every operating system released since 2003 is similarly better than Vista. Doesn't the thought of running a 5-year-old OS worry anybody? Especially with Xp's security record.

    There are literally tens of seemingly cloned comments here, all saying "Well obviously Windows Xp is going to run faster on the same hardware." Well, no. If anything, Windows Vista should run faster on older hardware (not *extremely* old hardware, obviously) because its code should have been tidied up and made more efficient (I seem to recall this happening, based on third-hand knowledge, to a recent SuSE release). Besides, the Laptop mentioned in the article was a _modern_ laptop, which was advertised has being capable of running Vista.

    Finally, if you've noticed that Both Xp and Vista grind to a halt, gradually, after several months of use, that doesn't make Vista Better. It makes them equally rubbish.

    Gotta love the posters who are either trolls, or are ignorably (i.e. it's easy to ignore their pitiful contributions) ignorant, and fill their posts with profanity and easily-disprovable falsehoods (like "Vista is good", "Mac OS X is good", or "Linux is an OS, rather than a kernel". Actually ignore this bit in brackets, it's too sarcastic.)

  154. Chris Collins

    not apple vs apple

    I am not a great fan of vista, I still use xp on my main desktop pc but you are compareing a many months old installation to a fresh install so the fresh install would have been faster even if it was a fresh vista.

    My main gripes with vista are the gui changes and driver issues.

    On bootup it uses more memory but funny enough after I load all apps its memory usage vs xp is superior the apps themselves use less ram especially internet explorer.

    vista has faster networking, handles dual core better, has better 64bit support, and is more secure assuming you leave uac and windows defender enabled. It has several downsides of course such as poorer graphics performance which leads to poorer gaming performance, the removal of certian hardware sound support mainly affecting creative soundcards, gui changes that make it harder to use the gui hidden menu bars etc., worser theming (in my opinion), the inability to manually tweak certian network settings.

    When I installed SP1 I actually noticed vista become a bit more sluggish which did surprise me as there was supposed to be performance boosting patches in it.

    So vista remains on my testing pc only.

  155. tony trolle


    happy with xp here, 98 there, vista in the office and on a Mac laptop.

    Still got 4 systems waiting for ubuntu installed.

  156. Tigre Marino

    Reality Check...

    Vista can do NOTHING that XP can´t.

    Even DirectX 10 games are just hype in the clouds. (see Flight Simulator X)

    I run all new hardware and Vista is a memory/cpu hog. Back to XP is happiness galore.

    Please don´t come and tell us "Vista runs ok" because that only can come from a shill. And then try to sell the idea by saying "and I´m a Mac/Linux/BSD user", that looks like an Office 2008 template.


  157. Andus McCoatover

    Vista UAC?

    Is that like Linux's "sudo" ?

    Oh, right. Thought so.

  158. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Edward Lilley

    'Linux is not ready for the desktop'

    I point you to my argument as to why this statement is true, which was backed up by a number of people:

    Look at the comment titled: target market

    'Finally, if you've noticed that Both Xp and Vista grind to a halt, gradually, after several months of use, that doesn't make Vista Better. It makes them equally rubbish.'

    Can't say that happens to me - my XP install is 3 years going strong and my Vista is 12 months with no problem. Most problems occur because people don't manage their machines properly which is going to cause problems no matter which OS you run


    Please don´t come and tell us "Vista runs ok" because that only can come from a shill

    Grow up - people ARE allowed to like it and it works great for them without being affiliated with MS. That's like claiming anyone who says OSX is perfect works for Apple


  159. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    @Edward Lilley

    Quote: "I would also like to point out that just because you (yes, YOU, the person reading this comment at the moment wondering whether to reply to it!) have had a perfect, or near-perfect user experience of Windows Vista, doesn't mean that everybody else is lying about their 12 minute start-up times. And vice-versa."

    I would also like to point out that just because you have had a perfect, or near-perfect user experience of Linux, doesn't mean that everybody else is lying about trying to get the fcuking thing working with their hardware.

  160. Graeme Wood
    Thumb Up

    Vista for business

    Hey guys, just though I woul dhave my say on this subject.

    OK so I work in a school in the UK and we currently have over 700 Desktop machines (lowest spec is P4 with HT clocked at 2.4 with 512 RAM).

    We also have over 70 Laptops (specs range from 1.2 Celerons with 256 RAM to 2.4 core2duo with 2GB RAM).

    We have 6 IT suites and we tried Vista business out on our oldest room, the P4's. Now Vista itself installed fine using RIS and the room was running at a very comfortable speed, we knew it was slower but not by much.

    We thought it was fantastic and we then went back to our office and proceeded to push out the GPO settings from one of our 2003R2 domain controllers to this room. This is where the problems started!

    Vista seems to have a real problem picking up GPO and it got very annoying.

    Personally I have been running Vista at home for about a year now and I have to say I love it. As an OS it has been brilliant, I have never once thought about reverting to the now ageing (all be it amazingly stable and reliable) XP pro and I do not intend to.

    As a home user I think it is a great OS with fantastic media and gaming capabilities and open office and office 2003 run excellently on it.

    On a network is where is seems to have the problems.

    You know the funniest thing though is that in our school whenever a user logs onto our network they get what is called the iDesk (a small piece of software which my boss has written) which has a few links on it for useful websites and the exchange email system we use. This wonderful little toy which is used by everyone in the school runs using active desktop. Now I never thought I would say this, but, THEY HAVE REMOVED ACTIVE DESKTOP FROM VISTA!

    I am actually upset about them removing it, even though I spent years cursing it for crashing and causing system hangs in 98, 2K & XP but why would they remove something so simple hahaha.

    Anyway thats my experience with Vista so far (both business and home flavours).

    Hope I don't upset too many poeple for having my own opinion because thats what seems to happen here lol.

  161. Anonymous Coward

    re:Vista for business

    Hi Graeme

    RE your problem with the GPO, don't know if you know this or have tried it already but to make policies work from Server 2000/2003 you need to update the schema.

    While logged onto a Vista workstation as an administrator run gpmc.msc

    This should pick up your policies from your schema master server and allow you to make Vista specific changes. Make the changes and it will apply them domain wide, but until you run Server 2008 some options will only be available to you if you make the changes on a Vista PC although they will be applied globally.

    This page should help

    Hope this helps

  162. BitTwister

    @Your a minority

    > I think you will find that the majority is the people who actually like it but are not on some forum or news blog trying to convince you its good.

    Theoretically true, although it's strange that the forum-related majority are all reporting the same sort of problems with Vista and often with much information - as opposed to the 'it sux' type of nonsense (best ignored with any OS). Perhaps it's just a conspiracy, or all the posts I've seen in various places are written by one person...

    > Your a minority, plain and simple.

    ITYM "you're" - it's a contraction of "you are". The use of "your" would be in something like "Your installation of Vista is worthless", for example.

    > Linux is not desktop ready for adverage joe. [they need to] learn how to run command line bullshit to install a piece of software, or compile it for their hardware, when they could just as easily click a file and have it install.

    Oh dear. The usual rubbish trotted out by those who've not been near a Linux distribution in years. You really should look at KUbuntu, where several thousand free applications can be installed by clicking on an icon. Just like the other Linux distributions.

  163. Ruairi Glenn

    useless Vista

    I agree Vista is truly rubbish.

    I've known this for for quite some time.

    The sad reality for Microsoft is that 99% of home pc's are nothing more than Internet terminals and holidays snapshot viewers and there are better internet terminals and holiday snapshot viewers than Vista.

  164. Anonymous Coward


    Thanks for that amazing detailed insight as to why Vista is no good - guess the issue is resolved.

    just out of interest I looked at that site - it has a MASSIVE 11 posts on the vista forum! Not to mention the first post is some guy PRAISING it

    You might as well type 'I hate linux' or 'I hate OSX' into google - neither of them are universally loved.

    Google results

    I hate Vista - 818,000 (approx 88mil users worldwide)

    I hate Linux - 289,000 (difficult to estimate but best guesses place it between 8-13mill)

    I hate OSX - 1,740,000 (approx 25mil users worldwide)

    So more than twice as many people hate OSX although it's users only number a 3rd that of Vista (very simplified I know, but you get the idea) and based on extimated desktop install percentages a higher percentage hate linux

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