back to article Dell offers 'Windows Vista Bonus' to frightened customers

Dell is actively promoting a Microsoft licensing loophole to channel partners eager to keep selling PCs installed with Windows XP, after Microsoft's official cut off. The Dell channel blog is pointing resellers to the loophole in the Windows Vista license that enables business customers to downgrade from the unwanted Windows …


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  1. Huw Evans

    Listening to the customer

    At last, it appears that Dell understands the concept of selling what the customer demands as opposed to pushing pointless bloat on them under the guise of 'progress' and 'improvement'.

    Probably realised that more people are refusing to buy, and don't, want vista as it has become apparent on a large scale of how rubbish it is. I know, before I get flamed, that some people love it but all in all, it is not fit for purpose (flashy gimmicks and drm aside)

    I had to use it on a 3 month old 'pc world' type of box, when a colleague had a problem and wanted to transfer data off the machine before selling it. I had no patience at all with the constant dialogue boxes, things not where they used to be and logically should be, stupidly slow file transfer, constant crashes, but all done in a graphically pretty way.I am in no way an IT expert but know quite a bit, having built and repaired pc's as a hobby and a necessity for the last 10 - 13 years (since win 95 ) but am at a loss of how this OS is supposed to be handled by the average email sending web browsing letter writing non-power user or enthusiast.

    As no doubt many others have found out, it is unneccessary and wasteful so they are not buying it. It is nice to see that the message is finally getting through to the mostly arrogant vendors and manufacturers and here's hoping that they have enough balls to tell MS where the problem lies.

    Final comment: don't tell me vista is popular because X million users have it. Most people have to pay tax, lots of people have cancer, both through not having a choice. It doesn't make ieither popular.

  2. JohnA
    Gates Horns

    A significant shift in the OEM's relationship with Microsoft?

    Suuure.. MS are still selling Vista licenses. They are still keeping out the competition by locking in the customers to an MS operating system. And they still appear to be supporting Vista. Dell is doing their job for them - No shifting necessary.

  3. Rick Giles

    I'm switching...

    to Linux once XP is no longer supported.

    Long live Tux!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But how to get them?

    I ordered 5 XP pc's from Dell last week and they arrived with Vista on them.

    Dell apologised and said that in future all shipments would have Vista installed but with a downgrade option. No one know how this will work.

    My big concern is laptops. Laptops run like a three legged dog with Vista and I have to test my VPN clients again which is a miserable process.

  5. Aaron

    Re: But how to get them?

    Well, the way Dell apparently does it now is that you buy a "Vista" box, and what you get is a box with XP preinstalled and a locked-to-the-service-tag DVD of Vista Business in the carton. It seems likely they'd just do it the other way, so that you get your Vista box with Vista on it and an XP CD alongside.

    Seems to make sense, anyway, and Dell appears to be on this new "doing things that make sense" kick, which I have to admit is something of a pleasant change from the days of selling refurbished hard disks as new. I wonder whether it'll last.

  6. Dick


    Poor comparison there dude, three legged dogs actually run very well!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Is this for business only?

    I'm guessing this is for business only as I was researching prices for laptops for home / personal use last week (for a family member) and there was no option for XP (only the various Vista editions).

  8. William Bronze badge

    Give over Huw Evans.

    You're at a loss how Vista is supposed to be handled by the average email sending web browsing letter writing non-power user. Give it a break mate.

    The FUD people, such as you have given Vista a bad name. Along with the mongy OSX crew and Linux geeks.

    Sure, it is a step sidewises from XP. However it is no-where near as bad as some of the bullshit spouted out by people who have never used it. Especially those who claim they are not IT experts and then go on to say how much experience they have with computers and class themselves as power users.


  9. Captain DaFt

    You know Microsoft goofed

    When mainstream sites are reviewing and praising pirated versions of XP!

    XP users, start your torrents! (I'll stick with Puppy, thank you.)

  10. Antidisestablishmentarianist

    @Rick Giles

    How very noble of you. Clap Clap.

    Where is the penguin icon with devil horns eh? Or can linux do no wrong? 'tards

  11. Tim Bates

    @ rick giles

    Why wait? Start your switching now...

    And @AC:Is this for business only?

    Business and Ultimate, AFAIK, both have downgrade rights. And anyone with those editions can downgrade. How it works, I don't know.

  12. david miller
    Thumb Down

    Half baked

    I ordered 5 new PC's a few weeks ago from Dell with Vista business licences and XP pro pre-installed.

    They came with a Vista reinstall dvd and a CD containing Vista drivers.

    NO XP install CD and no XP drivers.................

    There is no easy way to re-install XP if the system crashes.

  13. gautam
    Paris Hilton

    It make business sense!

    For MS.

    Dont all producers/Manufacturers have "planned obsolesense" ? New range, different designs etc etc. For MS to survive, they have to be doing it this way only!

    Even hadware makers do this and dont support via firmwares all the time. Gone are the days when My toaster/Radio/TV would work 25 years and I'd be proud of it!

    Did I read it here in Elreg by a Newzealander that Vista was one of the longest suicide notes in history? I hope its true and that it gives alternative OS's a boost, for the sheer arrogance of Microsoft.

    But business sense, it surely makes for Micro$oft!

    Paris, 'cos she also cant figure out how to use Linux either, as its not mainstream alternative yet.

    PS : I dont work for M$.

  14. Gordon Pryra


    I have brought and used Vista, I have uninstalled and re[placed with XP

    The main reasons

    1) Its slower

    2) Its slower

    3) Its a lot slower

    Thats about it actually, compaired with the older product (and doing the same thing) its noticably slower in every respect.

    And not offense, my machine pisses on Crysis, so its not the hardware

  15. zyxyzx


    While I agree that much of the anti-Vista posting is a little OTT, and often by non-IT-pro types, I AM an IT pro, and have been for several years.

    I've had the (mis)fortune to to use and support virtually every commercial OS released since MS-Dos 5 and, with a certain degree of sincerity, I can say that Vista makes Win ME look good.

    I'm currently running Vista x64 Business on a Dual Core X2 with 4GB, with all the pretty bits turned off, and it still runs like a slug. Next to it I've got a box with an old Athlon XP 2G and a massive 2GB, running 2008 server, and it flies!

    The fact is that Vista is bloated far beyond necessity (do we really need 60 processes running on startup ?!), slows down the professionals with unecessary wizards and x Centre screens, and has a whole collection of security "enhancements" which are immediately turned off by home users.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @By William

    "The FUD people, such as you have given Vista a bad name. Along with the mongy OSX crew and Linux geeks."

    "Sure, it is a step sidewises from XP."

    Speaking like that I'm sure you are from another planet, 'Planet Microsoft' perhaps.

    It's also interesting that you sign your message with the name 'Prick'


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >From now on, you can only get Windows Vista. Officially.

    So what does this mean for the Asus Eee PC?

    Linux only or, as I've raised before, actually a Vista license sale with XP installed?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Big deal.

    HP have bere doing this for awhile.

    As soon as find their news letter showing it I will email the author.

    Cant allow free good press to SMELL.

  19. karakal
    Gates Horns

    The most important thing is...

    ...that Dell provides full Drivers for XP for their products....

    I ordered a new Latitude Notebook a few weeks ago, it shipped with Vista Business. After some frustrating hours I decided to switch back to XP and found all drivers on Dells website and the switch was no pain at all (and it does what it's supposed to do: wotk...)

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    OK, I am an IT expert (well I've worked in IT since before Windows 3) and I think Vista is crap. I have used it and built several system with it on.

    If you are lucky and have all new parts and peripherals it can run OK (but in my experience always slower than XP). The problem is that it isn't stable with some hardware combinations or just doesn't work with some peripherals. There is also no real reason to change, in that there is nothing Vista does which is a "must have". Perhaps some people will do it for the latest and greatest DirectX but It's not sufficient motivation for me.

    For these reasons I will stick with XP.

    Before you jump on your high horse I am not a Mac user, in fact I've never logged on to a Mac.

  21. Jeff Rowse


    Finally got to see Vista in inaction as it booted yesterday; a new PC has Vista Home Basic on it and took nearly ten minutes to get to the point where my nephew could actually get at the game he wanted to show me, and another five minutes to shut down with no User-initiated processes running...

    There's sod-all in the startup, certainly nothing that should be causing any sort of a go-slow or lack of performance but still the thing started slower than a Metro City 1.0 towing a caravan...

    Most people I know with that pile of garbage leave it booted up since shutdown & startup take so long.

    I'll stick with XP, thank you very much. It may be MS bloatware, but even with all the crap I've added over the years it's still much quicker than Vista.

  22. John Lodge

    Vista Mmmmmmm

    Had Vista on a good few machines now, including 10 ordered from Dell although XP was ordered, Vista arrived plus a some Laptops too.

    I am an IT professional of the pragmatic type. I like operating systems that are clean and easy to use, and above all easy to support. Vista is none of these.

    It does pretty much the same job as XP, which is easy to support, Vista uses more CPU cycles and more memory to achieve the same end - so where, pray tell, are the advantages. OK, security may be better but you still need a decent AV and spyware package installed to make it safe.

    No doubt I will get a severe flaming for this but Vista is bloatware at its worst, it is slower, more resource hungry, harder to use than XP (if you need to do anything half interesting) and it still has large lumps of 95 (and probably 3.0) code lurking in its kernal. Stuff it - it was only released to improve Micro$oft's flagging cash flow.

    What ever happened to Digital Research, so much cleaner and greener...

  23. Stuart Van Onselen


    The truly frustrating thing is, once again, Windows Product Activation, aka "Bill owns your soul, so bend over and take it like a man!"

    Ultimately, Redmond can just switch off their XP WPA service, so no new XP licences can be installed, regardless of what Dell or anyone else wants. They can make WPA work only for Vista, or XP only on SCCs, or whatever the hell they want.

    You'll be forced to use whatever they say you must use.

    Sure, one can argue that they'd never do that, the backlash would be too great. But they still have that ability, which doesn't make me sleep well at night.

    Oh wait a second: If I really want to play games (Windows' only attraction) I can get a PS3 or a Wii. And I can do actual computing on Linux. At work I'll have to use Vista, but it'll be the company's problem to pay for and support it.

    Windows' share of the home market may well start shrinking much more quickly than their corporate market-share. Home users now have more choice, and aren't as beholden to corporate policies or compatibility with corporate or specialist software.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To those asking how the downgrade to XP worked

    Follow the instructions here

  25. John

    Re:Give over Huw Evans. by William


    Offensive little irk :[

    At least Dell are listening to customers if Microsoft aren't. I do hope more resellers pick up this loophole and run with it, Stick it to the man, so to speak.

    Vista has been universally slated, its impossible to see how you can take any other standpoint. From its inception and promised features (which were dropped like leaves in Autumn) right up until now it is viewed (and rightly so) as a slow beast of an OS, with poor stability for a not insignificant number of people, massive driver problems, insane hardware requirments (not just to *run* it, but run it well). Yes some people are running it fine, but by jimminy, put XP/Linux on the same box and watch it fly!

    I myself run Linux, I ditched Windows XP at the time when loading a simple jpg image could infect your PC with a virus (and yes I had/have legal nod32 license and firewalls etc). I recommend many people to *try* linux (such as relatives, which has had a great impact on reducing my maintenance of their machines, from weekly to non exsistant) but I also recommend some stay on XP due to their computing needs.

    Personally I would at this time not suggest any single person gets Vista, it can cause unnecessary problems with no benefit which can be avoided simply by sticking to either XP (for some mid range power users, or people needing specific apps) or Linux for full on tweakers and power users OR those folks who do little more than write a letter and email or browse the web whilst needing something to plug a mp3 or digital camera into. Linux is actually the simpler of the two to setup and have working!

    Sure I run Linux, I enthuse about it, but I don't believe it is suitable for everyone as peoples needs vary, People simply don't need more problems from an OS than necessary and by using Vista up until now (and perhaps for a while longer) is simply rolling those dice and taking a gamble... Last thing I want when installing/buying an OS is to have a mental image of Dirty Harry pointing a .357 at my head asking "Do you feel lucky?"

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Culture of shifting blame

    Could it be that the problems people have experienced are not actually with Vista, but because they don't have a clue how to use it or fix something that isn't working quite right? I've been running business x64 for over 12 months now and I have had 0 (yes ZERO) problems. It's far more stable and usable than XP64 is. And for those people who think that moving to OSX or linux is an answer once they stop selling XP, the learning curve is even steeper than the transition from XP to Vista so stop being scared of change and put a bit of effort in. It's not all that scary and there are a lot of great features in Vista. It just seems like its fashionable to jump on the MS bashing bandwagon these days regardless of whether or not you know anything about it. And as a final note to the great unwashed, much as you may not like to admit it and much as it will pain you to realise this fact, but without MS most of you would not have jobs in I.T. today. Computers would not have become so popular without this company and it's very likely possible that we would still have too many different incompatible systems for something like the internet to work. Remember how it used to be? Couldn't use anything from commodore on anything else, same for Atari ST, same for Amstrad, same for Acorn, same for Apple, the list goes on and on. MS were the first to give a usable system on a standard platform that appealed to home users and so give the computer market the massive growth that it did. They may not have been the first to develop it, or first with some of their ideas but they were the first to package it together neatly and that was what the customers wanted and what the market needed.

  27. Andy
    Paris Hilton


    I don't claim to be a power user, but I have enough knowledge/experience to deal with windows. My OH bought one of those PC's from Aldi, with Vista preinstalled. If I had not been there I don't think she would have had a clue what to do with it. Yes, she has used computers before, mostly Linux and w2k. But for all those that have not had a computer before, this could be a nightmare. I tried to set up the wireless network. What a pain in the a##e! w2k and xp did ok, but vista did not want to know. I did read somewhere that vista won't connect to wireless if the SSID is not being transmitted, even if you manually add it. So it is connected to our LAN via wire.

    Me? I use Linux, specifically Slackware. I find it easier to use and work with than windows. I use windows at work but only because I have to. I have also used it at home right the way back to 3.1.

    And one other thing about Vista - I am not the only one to notice that even if the computer is not running any apps, it seems to be constantly thrashing the hdd. I am trying to convince her to go back to W2K or XP. It should be faster but I have to make sure I can get the necessary drivers. Either that or Linux. NO I'm not a fanboi, I use what I want to use and respect that fact that everyone is entitled to use whichever OS they prefer. The right tool for the job.

    Paris. I bet she doesn't bother about her OS.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    It's all a big con

    This is just one big con by Microsoft. People make out that this 'downgrade' thing is wonderful but what you don't realise is that you are being ripped off. You buy a machine with Vista on it, so you have basically paid Microsoft £50-£100. Then you hand over even more money to Microsoft for the right to install a 7 year old operating system!

    And whats more, your downgrade to XP doesn't count in the figures. Your purchase is still being counted in the Vista figures. Despite you (probably) using XP you are one of the many millions of Vista 'users' according to Microsoft. This isn't your fault of course, but just Microsoft distorting the figures yet again!

    Are Windows users so stupid that they will pay for two operating systems just to get what they want?

    Mines the coat that used to be a £300 leather jacket that I paid £80 extra so I could downgrade it to an anorak!

  29. Geoff Mackenzie


    If Vista is a sidewises [sic] step, how come it's only illiterate morons who're willing to defend it?


  30. Mike Crawshaw
    Thumb Up

    @ AC, Business Only?

    Most dealerships like this will sell "business" laptops etc to private buyers, you just need to pay VAT, whereas business buyers don't.

    (For some reason our central IT have blocked Dell's website as "unsuitable content" - so I can't check, but I've just checked PCW and they're selling an Acer laptop for £450 with XP, available to private buyers, but in their business section. Whether you want to deal with them is up to you!!)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Vista has a bad name because vista is a bad product - badly designed, badly executed and untested in real-world situations except by the poor end-user who has paid a small fortune for the privilege of beta testing what was supposed to be the most stable OS of all time.

    Vista was released over a year and a half ago - it was over 2 years late. In the same timeframe, XP had gone from flaky to reasonably stable; unfortunately the same cannot be said of Vista.

    There's no two ways about it. The "average" user is asked to verify system operations they know nothing about and care even less. MS obviously are after absolution so when users lose their work / have to reinstall / etc etc they can say "well you DID say yes to that dialog box!"

    I tried on Vista with my 11 year old daughter and 9 year old son - not quite in the IT expert category you whine about; they hated it. After a month, they asked to have Linux on their laptops - of course, this may be due to the eye-candy of Compiz which doesn't actually need the power of quad-core processors to produce visually appealing effects (if that kind of thing appeals) and they'll want to move back to XP when they find their games don't work under Linux.

    No loss there as their games didn't work under Vista either.

    So if you're using your PC as a glorified type-writer, sure upgrade to Vista. If you want to do more, stick with XP or try one of the more exotic environments.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ William

    Would that be William Gates by any chance?

  33. Michael Mair

    Vista does work

    I am running 3 x Vista and I x XP machines including a Vista laptop on a Windows Home Server Network with nothing unpleasant happening at all!!

    Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong?

  34. Michael Biddulph

    reply to William

    William - get a life and clean your mouth out.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Pleasantly surprised

    Well I am now finally in a position to comment on Vista and its lack of/or not of performance and usability.

    My company is slowly migrating from Win2000 to Vista. I am one of the first pilot users at my location and to be honest reading all the negative comments on the many threads I was very concerned and tempted to delay.

    My company is large, IT have been testing the Vista change for over 1 year, which I feel has made the difference. IT took away my laptop and returned it the next morning with it reinstalled with Vista Enterprise. All certified applications just work of course, which is to be expected.

    Yes it is very different to Win2000 but after using it for 2 days I must say I am impressed. It is a hell of a lot faster than win2000 as it uses the dual core effectively. Power management is much better on the laptop, win2000 the fan was always working at high volume, even with the dual core disabled in the BIOS. Boot and login time is halved from win2000

    To the detractors, yes it uses a lot more RAM and disk space. On my installation it is using around 1.5GB on first boot and the disk space with all the Vista and Office around 20GB, but my machine has 4GB and a 256MB video card and large hard drive so not an issue. There is a lot to learn with the changes in file structure etc. But I think it is a vast improvement, the frustration I used to feel with 2000 is gone.

    Bear in mind I am not a power user, I use the laptop as a tool. My main work is to install differing versions of Solaris and Linux systems at customers and so SMS and all the things in the background with the servers I have no idea about.

  36. michael


    "Sure, it is a step sidewises from XP"

    the point is it should be a step up and the amount of extra resorces it takes to just do basic stuff (in my office we have 2gb computers for xp and 4gb for vista) it should be a big step up and it is just not

    when I did the 98/xp step I imadulty noticed big improvemnts in network managment and userbilty these improvments I have not noticed in vista infac some basic network managment features (checking ip's subnets) are harder to do

  37. Andre Carneiro


    STILL not fixed.

    So Vista really is pretty crap.

    Moreover, I don't see why Huw Evans' comment was so offensive that you would decide to respond in such an agressive manner.

  38. Mikel Kirk
    Paris Hilton

    HP has got the Vista religion

    Apparently now their workstations come with "Genuine Windows Vista® Business 32 with downgrade to Windows® XP Professional 32 custom installed." Please note that Vista is still not an option. Will it be tomorrow?

    Forgive the tinyurl link, but HP has long URLs. It's the real deal, honest: If you must have the ugly link it's here:

    Apparently the new concession to Vista is that although you can't have Vista you get XP "custom installed." Last week it was all that without the "custom installed." That's progress, eh? "HP recommends Windows Vista® Business" indeed. But not enough to actually install it for you.

    BTW, this box supports up to 128GB of RAM. "Windows® XP Professional 32" isn't going to use that much RAM even if it's "custom installed." Ubuntu will though:

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ooh... controversial!

    Sorry guys, but I love Vista. I think it is a fantastic OS. Granted, I didn't start using it until SP1, but the vast majority of stuff that I hear people complaining about is complete rubbish. It is very stable, much more usable, looks good, lots more functionality, ALL my hardware works on it and I have never had any troubles at all.

    It seems to me that most of the people complaining about Vista have never used it, based on what they say.

    Oh, and it runs without a problem on my laptop (Dell XPS M1330).

  40. Dale

    Not much help for non business customers...

    Well much as I hate to say it (long time mactard flamer here) it looks like my next personal laptop will be a mac, I dislike Vista that much.

  41. Steve

    Microsoft won't care.

    They'll just count every bit of hardware sold as two MS licences and one Vista machine. This could do wonders for their Vista sales figures.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re eee pc

    Microsoft is continuing to allow xp installation by OEMs on "ultra low cost" pc's such as the eee pc:

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Perhaps all these people winging about the extra hardware requirements should go back to using windows 95 if they want the speed :P

    Times changed, hardware improves, the software improves to take advantage of it. If you don't upgrade, you get left behind, and it doesn't give you any grounds for complaining that you can't run the latest software.

    Lets not forget that Vista is the first MS OS not to support a 486, while Mac OS9 REQUIRED a G3 processor and firewire to install...

  44. Alexis Vallance

    Same old same old

    The problem with Vista is that it's still Windows. Things have moved on - people don't want a revamped Win95 or Win98 any more. Vista doesn't do much than XP can't.

    They need to start from scratch, but they can't. It's too risky if they get it wrong and businesses don't like big upheavals. I don't know what they can do.

    Being smaller, Apple had the luxury of being able to ditch OS 9 and start from scratch. OS X was crap at first, but nobody cared that it took a couple of years to fix. If they hadn't ditched OS 9, I doubt they'd still be in business.

    MS can't ditch Windows and start from scratch, but needs to. Windows 7 will be just like Vista, which was just like XP, which was just like ME.

    An unenviable position.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    @Half baked david miller

    "They came with a Vista reinstall dvd and a CD containing Vista drivers.

    NO XP install CD and no XP drivers.................

    There is no easy way to re-install XP if the system crashes."

    Aw diddums. Too difficult for your company to buy a drive imaging tool and take backups when the PC(s) arrived, then? Tell you what, for £50/hour I'll do it for you.

  46. Christopher A Light
    Gates Horns

    SLIGHTLY off topic...

    My genuine bought and paid for XP Pro decided to deactivate on boot the other day. I've heard that the latest version of M$ Genuine 'Advantage' has tightened up somewhat - but this is bloody ridiculous.

    While arguing with M$ about this outrage, with a '24 BUSINESS hour' response time, I am, to use a technical term, buggered!

    Try and hunt down a new OEM XP Pro? Why should I? 'Upgrade' to Vista? I'd rather install Ubuntu (well, I tried that anyway, what garbage!). Luckily I have more than one computer - unluckily the one Micro$oft have just screwed for me is my prime PC...

    I'm frankly amazed at the depths M$ will descend to to prevent people using a product they have paid for and want to use, while attempting to ram a product very few people actually want to use down everyone's throats!

    It's rather interesting that all this is going on while Gates is slithering out of the hot seat too, isn't it?

    Now, while I'm waiting, I'm sure I've got an old 2K install disk kicking around somewhere...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Microsoft is continuing to allow xp by OEMs on ULCPCs

    "It's a category that covers machines with slower processors, smaller screens, and in many cases flash memory for storage, rather than a traditional hard drive."

    Thanks for the link. It's strange to see that one of the qualities for a ultra low cost PC is not to be low cost, that would exclude that latest incarnation of the Eee. However nicely it's spun it is, however, an admission that a machine that is perfectly capable of running XP can't handle Vista at all.

  48. Dunstan Vavasour

    Before you blame the OS ...

    ... consider the other stuff which you might be mistaking for Vista itself

    My XP laptop takes about 5 mins from power on to logged on and ready for action. OTOH, I have a "copy and throw away" XP VMware image which I use as a sandbox for testing stuff out. Without and anti-virus, security suite or any other installed software, this image boots *under VMware* in about 15 seconds, and takes less to log in. Sadly, most new machines are now sold pre-bloated, with loads of "bonus free software" with associated services and startup items which kill your machine and can't be cleanly removed.

    Those who are saying Vista is slow - is this a clean install, or a corporate/retail image which is full of extraneous software?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A title is required.

    "The problem with Vista is that it's still Windows. Things have moved on - people don't want a revamped Win95 or Win98 any more. Vista doesn't do much than XP can't."

    Have you used it? There is as much change as there was from ME/9x to XP. Probably more. XP didn't change all that much when you think about it, it was all under the bonnet - same here.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I'm switching...

    Best buy your PC as components, not an OEM-box. Otherwise you'll still be *paying* Microsoft for Vista, even if you decide to subsequently install XP or Linux, or even (I suspect) if Linux is pre-installed.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Culture of shifting blame

    I am sorry to have to say that the Internet works very well without any Microsoft products, in fact many would say that it would be a vast improvement as we could then just design using international standards instead of having to pander to MS users and their propriety protocols.

    It worked very well before windows was even created and would have continued to do so.

  52. Chad H.

    @ Christopher emerson

    odd then how mac os x seems to get faster with each release.

    Xp is just plain better on the same hardware than vista. I think it was either this months or last months pc format magazine that did the benchmarks to prove it. Considering there is no compelling reason to make me want to trade off that speed (can anyone name a killer feature of vista? No?) I'll stick with what actually does what an OS should - Operate at a reasonable pace.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe I'm just lucky, but...

    I was presented with a new laptop at work a few months back which came with Vista pre-installed. After hearing all the stories I was filled with dread and immediately planning wiping it off and putting XP on, but I thought I'd give it a bash. I'm still using it now and haven't had any of the problems raised. It's always been very speedy for me, never crashed and file copy speeds have been exactly the same as XP. I did however turn off the UAC which immediately seemed annoying, but was very easy to disable.

    So I am always a little surprised at the amount of bile and hatred spouted about Vista (especially by those who haven't used it).

    As Christopher Emerson said above, It will run slow for some but so did XP and 95 at first. In fact a lot of the bad feeling againts Vista reminds me very much of when 95 came out.

    I'm not saying Vista is great - it clearly isn't what people hoped for, but it certainly isn't dreadful either.

  54. George Johnson
    Thumb Up

    MS don't seem to realise.

    The VARs and resellers have to make money, if customers are scared off by Vista, just because cousin Chris, who works with computers says it's rubbish and he told told little old Joan to get XP, then little old Joan will go get XP, no matter what IT geeks, MS fanbois and such like say. The customers will find someone who will sell XP to them. Simple economics, market forces and all that guff.

    I can imagine the margins on pre-installed O/Ss, like many other bulk buy/sell industries, are very, very tight indeed. You can't afford to have several thousand people walking away, MS need to understand that DELL and others have to support a business, raw cash coming in, products going out, not pie in the sky dreams with big fluffy ideas.

    ( Me, I back the penguin, but it's fun watching everyone else fighting. )

  55. Ron Enderland

    @Neil Miles

    So Neil, did you never use XP? It blew by 2K in terms of speed and reliability, especially with its "adjust for best performance" tweak that is buried under System settings.

    I could see Vista viewed as an improvement over 2000 in overall speed. But I would have a hard time believing those who opined so had used XP for any period of time at all.

    The penguin, because FOSS is the future of computing.

  56. FreeTard
    Thumb Down

    @Christopher Emerson

    Hi Chris,

    I do agree that the hardware needs to be up to spec.

    I have a vista media center box, came with only 1GB RAM (core duo procs)

    So I updated to 2GB, and while I was at it, also updated my 5 year old P4 to 2GB.

    The p4 has XP (and linux, but only use linux for server app testing -- don't do desktop linux (personal choice)).

    The 5 year old machine _out performs_ the brand new (well 3 month old, came with vista premium). The only thing I use it for is playing vids on the HDTV, nothing else. Nothing!

    I used the MS test to see if the P4 would be good for vista, and it gave me a score of 1.5. The real vista box reports 3 overall. Yet its crud. Why?

    Vista crashed post last windowsupdate a few days ago, in fairness to MS, it recovered automagically (kinda) using the last restorepoint.

    It did crash though... I have not seen XP do that since SP2.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Stuart Van Onselen - Re: WPA

    Quote: "Ultimately, Redmond can just switch off their XP WPA service, so no new XP licences can be installed".

    The same would also apply to existing licences whenever re-activation is needed due to hardware changes.

    That's why I still use Windows 2000. Let's see them try to stop me using that.

  58. Aaron

    Damning with faint praise!

    "with a certain degree of sincerity, I can say that Vista makes Win ME look good"

    With a certain degree of sincerity, I can say that Ebola makes testicular cancer look good. That doesn't mean I want to *have* either of them.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Suspicious Git

    Yes the internet did work well before windows only it wasn't the internet merely a series of connections between static points and it was very expensive. Without the MS driven explosion in home PCs it would have stayed that way, very expensive dedicated links between offices, labs and the military. The best home users would have had would be BBS that people provided.

    As for

    "we could then just design using international standards instead of having to pander to MS users and their propriety protocols"

    You might as well criticize Cisco for having to use their proprietary protocols as they have more to do with the delivery system than MS. The internet is built on international standards and mostly uses anything but proprietary protocols (with a couple of non-ms exceptions) for delivering content. If people want to make the content proprietary who are you to say they shouldn't? If it wasn't for people demanding that proprietary content the internet would still be something only geeks had heard about. High Demand = lower costs which has been the driving force behind internet growth. Would that demand have been there if PCs had not become as large a market as they are - no. Who was the driving force behind that growth? Microsoft

    You obviously don't know the difference between a delivery system and content and are therefore not qualified to comment.

  60. ERICA
    IT Angle

    Don't be such a bunch of wanks.

    I'm a tech and I think that people should just get over it. Oh God, its a change! -runs screaming into the night- Honestly people... get over it. Vista is only here until Windows 7 comes out. Vista is basically XP with face paint and some features removed and features added... its got some neat features like the program manager is already in alphabetical order, there is a widget sidebar that allows you to keep up with dates and weather and other things better.

    I don't know why everyone is always complaining about Vista sucks... and all that bunch of crap. Its honestly just XP with some changes... its a hold over until Windows 7 comes out... just like Millenium was a hold over until XP came out. People demanded that Microsoft come out with something new, and they did... and helllllllloooooo You've got it now...

  61. Nigel

    A lesson from history.

    I was recently trying to remember when I last saw a company that had forgotten that its job is to sell what customers want, not railroad them towards something that they don't want. And I remembered. That company was Digital, a.k.a. DEC, in the late 1980s. Less than a decade later DEC was history. If Microsoft don't kill Vista soon (maybe they can call XP SP4, Windows 7? ), then Vista will kill Microsoft. Might take a few years, but it will.

    Douglas Adams famously invented the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, which made products whose "fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws". With Vista, Microsoft have managed the converse. When a state-of-the-art laptop straight out of the box runs far slower than the three-year-old laptop it was intended to replace, the fundamental design flaws are clearly so great that there's no point even thinking about the details of what doesn't work right with it.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I was recently trying to remember when I last saw a company that had forgotten that its job is to sell what customers want"

    What customers wanted was a more secure, reliable and stable OS. What they got is a more secure, reliable and stable OS in Vista (even if it took SP1 + some time to get). Now people complain that 'waah, security is too annoying, I have to click some extra stuff when I install things' - which is it you want? Security, or convenience?

  63. Doug Glass
    Thumb Up

    Finally !!

    @ It's all a big con

    So far, on all the various sites I visit often, I've read only two posts (one my own) where the writer actually sees the truth! It IS one big con ... MS gets to sell TWO (2) OSs for a single computer. Hooooleeee Sheeeet what a deal! In the world of boosting sales numbers this ploy is pure genius. And MS is laughing and playing dumb & stoopid all the way to the bank.

    I have friends who thought I was so archaic to have actually built my family's computers (10 in all) from scratch a few years back. Now I'm giving them advice on what to do when their new Vista "powered" PC just isn't working for them. All are wanting to "upgrade" to XP Pro.

    I try and be gracious; sometimes I actually am.

  64. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Re:Culture of blame

    I remember how it used to be to. Innovation, just think, in the space of 2-3 years Commodore had gone from a C64 to an Amiga (sure, they bought Amiga Inc), Atari had gone from the 800xl to the ST etc... etc..

    Yet Microsoft and it's huge resources, monopoly and being lead by its so called innovators can't build a decent new version of Windows in 5 years?

    People aren't stupid, Windows 3.11 to Windows 95 was a huge leap. New interface, plug and play etc...

    XP was the first consumer version of Windows to be built around the NT kernel architecture.

    What are Vista's unique selling points?

    1. It's damned expensive

    2. Not all of your hardware will work

    3. The interface has changed radically and you won't be able find anything for weeks

    4. It does everything XP does, but slower

    5. It does very little than XP doesn't do.

    Vista has nothing to offer when you look at other Windows milestones other than a different interface.

  65. Scott

    re: Im switching

    Sure you are Rick...Linux is less supported than Vista. I have run all flavors of Linux and although its a good OS, support is non-existant, so you're on your own. Good luck finding drivers for common windows hardware. When reality sets in after your linux install, let me know and I will try not to say "told you so".

  66. Nigel


    I said it ran slow, slower, slowest. I didn't say anything about its bogo-security feature.

    But since you insist: Vista asks security questions out of the blue without giving you sufficient context to know whether it's safe to say yes. You may feel more secure for being invited to click things in this way, but it's as much real-world use as a small kid's security blanket.

    I could also have added that before I downgraded to XP, the next two things I found out about Vista (as shipped by Toshiba) were (a) it consistently crashed within 15 minutes of plugging it into a wired GB ethernet, and (b) that it couldn't connect to a wireless network that wasn't broadcasting its SSID. And that for all the time I was struggling with it, and despite its huge 2Gb of RAM, I did not see the hard disk activity light go off once.

    Like I said, numerous superficial design flaws made quite irrelevant by the fundamental design flaws. A chocolate teapot (but less tasty, and slower).

  67. J

    @AC 8:09 GMT

    "and it's very likely possible that we would still have too many different incompatible systems for something like the internet to work."

    Do you work in IT? If you do, this little gem of yours would confirm my long held suspicion that, to work in IT, all you need is to show that you can run an anti-virus and reformat/reinstall that Windows machine when it presents any kind of problem...

    Yeah, all systems on the Internet are the same, and they all use protocols that MS invented before MS was even founded, or before it paid any attention to the existence of the Internet (ca. 1995?). Sad, these fanboys.

  68. Anonymous Coward


    "Sure, it is a step sidewises from XP" Sure, it's not that step out the plane wihout a chute that kills you, it's that landing on the lovely Vista below that kills you.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Not too great then, judging by the comments

    Looks like Vista is slow and unstable for most people, OK for others. No one seems extremely excited about it in a positive way, most seem hugely disappointed with it. Maybe they should really scrap it and start from scratch to get it right this time.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    People have no choice!!!!

    I have recently bought a Dell Laptop and to my surprised XP was not offered depsite my query so I think, okay let me try Vista and I have to say I have to say it doesn't take me long to install XP with dual boot, due to Vista sluggish performance and endless dialogue box pop out to 'continue' or 'cancel' It's worse than infected with spyware.......

    But my friends are less fortunate because they dont have the know how and a copy of XP to have a dual boot in their system and can't play the games that work on XP.

  71. Simon Langley

    Re: Culture of shifting blame

    @Anonymous Coward

    So the internet wouldn't work without Windows! The internet was based around Unix and Unix remains the core of the internet.

    Without Windows the only difference is that there would be more standards compliant web sites and fewer idiots.

    I liked it better when you had to be clever to be able to connect to the internet. Those were the days (eyes mist over nostalgically).

    Oh, and if Vista is so great, why does Steve Ballmer keep apologising for Vista and saying they'll get it right next time?

  72. Mark


    Uh, how about support from such mom and pop stores like:






    Who've you got for windows?


    Oh, hang on, just read the EULA. Scrap that one.

    (I think this one is wearing the MS-patented peril-sensitive shades).

  73. Robert Armstrong
    Paris Hilton

    I would like a new 1966 Ford Mustang

    A shiny red convertible from the glory days of Ford, but they don't make the 1966 Ford Mustang anymore, maybe I should call Dell? I don't think the drivers will be a problem.

    Microsoft can do what they please with XP, if they don't want to sell it then they don't have to. And anyone who wants something other than Vista has many excellent choices.

    I'm with Paris because she always likes to drive with her top down, especially in a convertible....

  74. John W. Naylor, Jr., P.E.

    My Grandpa Smoked 2 packs of Camel Non Filters....

    When I read the Vista defenders arguments, why am I hearing echoes of:

    "Yes, my Grandpapa smoked 2 packs of Camel brand non filtered cigarettes per day so all you guys who say smoking is bad for your health are nuts !

    If you have a machine that runs Vista with no problems ....great.....but accept the fact that, like ole grandad, you are more the the exception than the rule. Ole gramps made it to 85 but smoking puts thousands of people in graves each and every day. Gramps might still be here if he was a non smoker.

    There's only 4 relevant questions:

    1. On identical hardware, which runs faster ?

    2. What has highest software compatibility ? (30k to 2k)

    3. What has highest hardware compatibility ? (lost count)

    4. What one has more DRM, more bloat and more annoyances ?

  75. Daniel B.

    @Christopher Emerson

    Wait. WinXP not being a big leap from Win9x/ME??? I'd agree if you told that it wasn't a big leap from *win2000*. But win9x/ME were really graphical shells on top of DOS, even if they hid it underneath the flashy graphics.

    Win2K came from the NT branch, which had boatloads of differences with the win9x branches: true multiuser environments, actual security and even a nifty POSIX subsystem for those UNIX die-hards. Hell... there's even an OS/2 subsystem somewhere.

    In fact, Vista seems to the NT branch like ME looked to the win9x branch: same stuff, just crappier. If any MS OS is actually going for the win, it would be Win Server 2008. Given Vista's "performance" I might actually get this as my new OS, because even if I do work with Linux, I still need the windoze for other stuff, like games.

  76. Chad H.

    @ ERICA

    Vista is not just XP with a few changes... if it was, it wouldnt have been delayed. Under the hood its a different beast, hence all the problems getting older hardware to work.

    Its not just random forum posters saying Vista sucks. its Scientific benchmarks in the press, showing that it is significantly slower on the same hardware.

    I'd be willing to take a perfomance hit, if there was a compelling reason to. Vista offers nothing, except Longer boot times, and the long goodbye.

    Considering that until Vista's flop came apparent, Microsoft didnt plan on releasing Windows 7 for even longer, its not enough to say that vista is a stopgap.

  77. Martin Maloney

    Getting left behind?

    Christopher Emerson wrote:

    "... If you don't upgrade, you get left behind, and it doesn't give you any grounds for complaining that you can't run the latest software..."

    One of my clients is a small medical transcription shop. About five years ago, I built their computers: microATX motherboards w/onboard everything, 256 MB RAM, 40 GB hard drive, Athlon XP 2000+ (or so) class CPUs, WinXP, and MS Word 2K. Over the years, the only maintenance necessary has been the replacement of two power supplies.

    The transcriptionists always have at least three apps running simultaneously, plus anti-virus and anti-spyware, running in the background.

    The systems are I/O bound, waiting for keystrokes. The boss and the employees are facile in WinXP and in MS Word 2K. MS Word 2K *.DOC files are the gold standard: Attached to outgoing email, the recipients can load them perfectly into MS Word 2K, XP, 2003 and 2007.

    Yes, both the hardware and the software are, by geek standards, obsolete. They are, however, appropriate to the work that needs to be done.

  78. Grant

    @ Jeff Rowse and Alexis Vallance

    "it and took nearly ten minutes to get to the point where my nephew could actually get at the game he wanted to show me, and another five minutes to shut down with no User-initiated processes running"

    Jeff i'm not a big Vista fan but i'm using it at work i just booted my Vista Sp1 box and timed it (sad i know), it booted then i logged on to the domain then opened IE7 and opened the reg home page all in 1min 14 seconds. The system has one Core 2 Duo processor and 1Gb RAM (yes only 1Gb) and Aero is running.

    I have a feeling that there may be something VERY WRONG with your new system and you should have it looked at before blaming Vista.


    @ Alexis Vallance

    "They need to start from scratch, but they can't. It's too risky if they get it wrong and businesses don't like big upheavals. I don't know what they can do."

    Easy they can wind down Windows development but continue to support it for many years (XP,Vista or Windows 7) say 2015 or longer. In the mean time they can turn their considerable engineering talent to producing a Linux distro that would no doubt work VERY well with all of their customers legacy infrastructure and software.

  79. N

    Vista bonus?

    This sounds like youre getting something extra, or is it just extra slow with extra hard disc space required & an extra license to buy when the WGA bonus license server goes tits up?

  80. Kenny Millar

    never mind dell, buy a Mac

    Buy a Mac instead, they're far superior.

  81. Stephen Coshott


    It's a lot like Marmite. You either love it or hate it.

    I hate marmite.

  82. Anonymous Coward

    @ Stephen Coshott

    It's actuall like Sh*t you either hate it or.... no, that's it really.

  83. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    Vista hasn't improved to take advantage, it's bloated

    @Christopher Emerson,

    "Perhaps all these people winging about the extra hardware requirements should go back to using windows 95 if they want the speed :P

    Times changed, hardware improves, the software improves to take advantage of it. If you don't upgrade, you get left behind, and it doesn't give you any grounds for complaining that you can't run the latest software."

    Hardware does improve, and software does improve to take advantage of it. "Improve" doesn't mean bloat -- Vista is *BLOATED*. Martin Maloney's example of systems with 256 MB RAM, 40 GB hard drive, Athlon XP 2000+ (or so) class CPUs.... Ubuntu runs great on that, while also taking full advantage of the latest and greatest. >4GB of RAM (even on a 32-bit system?) Sure. Multiple cores.. no sweat, it even treats cores and hyperthreaded CPUS properly.. and so on. I mean I wouldn't complain if Vista required 512MB or something, but 2GB and a dual core for reaosnable performance? That's absurd.

  84. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Jobs Halo

    @ Jeff R

    Errm... Jeff, not to come to the defence of Mickeysoft or anything, but... _TEN MINUTES TO BOOT_?! And _FIVE MINUTES TO SHUT DOWN_?! What are you running? It doesn't take _three_ minutes for Vista to boot _in emulation, using VMWare_ on my iMac! The same install boots in under two minutes (about 30 seconds more that OS X does) when I boot straight from the Boot Camp partition. And it takes under two minutes to shut down, eiher under emulation or when booted directly. What on _Earth_ is going on when _Macs_ run Vista better than purpose-built WinBoxes?

  85. Neil

    The Vista test

    I had 2 identical laptops arrive last week, both HP's with Vista on.

    I fired them both up at the same time, one with an XP install CD in.

    I managed to get XP installed, plus all drivers, and sitting on the desktop ready to use faster than Vista booted, ran a speed test and auto-installed the HP bundled crap on laptop 2.

    Vista is poor on like for like hardware, but lets not forget the extra strain put on it by shoddy bundled software out of the box. MS should put some quality control on this kind of thing.

  86. Stuart Halliday

    Happy in the UK

    I got some Dell Optiplex 740 boxes at the end of June here in the UK that had XP SP2 pre-installed with Vista business on disc _and_ with a XP SP2 service disc too.

    I'm happy.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is ANYONE really running VISTA?

    2008 .....

    VISTA boils down to: a £350 Dell laptop, 2gig ram, dualcore processor, NOT BEING ABLE TO PLAY AN AVI FILE WITHOUT IT BREAKING UP.


  88. N

    The bonus is...

    were not going to buy it anyway

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