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XP versus Vista

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Posted 12-05-2007 at 08:50 PM by JDArt

Thinking of moving to Windows Vista? Whether you are or not, it's becoming more difficult to ignore Microsoft's latest operating system, as it comes pre-installed on many new computers and generates all the buzz in the papers.

Behind all the fanfare, though, lies a seldom discussed secret: Vista may not be right for everyone - at least not yet, and perhaps not for quite some time. And XP, meanwhile, has just gotten better and better. It continues to be the workhorse operating system that can serve most users the best.

You can spend a lot of money and time preparing your equipment to run Vista, only to find that after all the effort, you really had everything you needed in Windows XP - and then some. So it pays to go into any migration to Vista with eyes wide open. Here's a blow-by-blow rundown of just what you'll be getting yourself into with Vista compared to XP.

XP is faster
You can throw a lot of hardware - and money - at Windows Vista and still end up with a computer that is considerably more sluggish than your XP machine.

Part of the issue with Vista is actually perceived sluggishness. The new interface is designed to mask, to some degree, how long operations are taking by distracting you with various visual effects: dialog boxes that open gradually, a pulsating circle that appears whenever some disk action is taking place, animation effects that let you see a minimised application gradually expand when called to the forefront.

At first, the visual effects may very well wow you. But after a while, when you just want to get your work done in the minimum amount of time, you may very well come to long for the snappiness of XP's interface.

The sad thing, too, is that today's dual core and quad core computers can really make XP perform quicker than you've ever seen it perform before. But with Vista, even the best of these boxes provide what appears to be just adequate performance.

XP is compatible
Microsoft has gone a long way in ensuring that Windows Vista is compatible with the majority of popular applications in use today. But "majority" won't mean anything to you if the one or two applications that you consider critical won't work under Vista or won't work as they should.

Virtually every Windows-based program will run under XP. That means that usually you won't need to give a second thought to compatibility. Run Vista, on the other hand, and you'll be visiting the Web sites of manufacturers on a fairly regular basis looking for Vista compatibility information or patches that make current software run properly under the new operating system. You'll also be learning about "compatibility mode" in Vista - a feature that allows you to specify that an older program should be run in a special mode under Vista that may enable the program to run without issues.

And software won't be your only concern with Vista. Printer, scanner, and other hardware manufacturers may or may not provide Vista drivers for their products. HP, for instance, is not providing Vista drivers for the popular and not-so-old LaserJet 1012 home printer.

XP is familiar
The interface of Windows XP may not be nearly as attractive as that of Vista. But that snazzy new look that Vista sports has its downsides, too. First, because a lot of things look and work differently in Vista than they did in XP, you'll spend a good deal of time re-learning common tasks.

Want quick access to some setting in the Display Properties dialog box, for instance? In Vista, you'll learn that the features formerly found in the Display Properties dialog box you're used to are now split up into several dialog boxes accessible from the redesigned Control Panel. There are literally dozens of examples of similar features that you'll have to relearn once you make the move to Vista.

The relearning wouldn't be so bad if the payoff were greater. But what many come to feel about Vista is that the interface changes are among the operating system's primary "improvements." In previous versions of Windows, interface changes were just a part of an operating system upgrade that included many, many technological advancements. Because a lot of technical improvements were stripped out of Vista mid-way through the development cycle, however, what users are left with is a new interface that requires relearning, along with a few new features - such as integrated search and security enhancements - that are nice to have but certainly available elsewhere as free add-ins to XP.

XP is mature
Millions upon millions of computer users have pounded on Windows XP for years. The result: Microsoft has had plenty of time to fix bugs that were identified after the initial release. Service Pack 2 for XP has been available for XP for some time, and Service Pack 3 - rumoured to include just rollups of bug patches, as well as Internet Explorer 7 - is slated to ship next year.

Compare that type of maturity with Vista, which reportedly was shipped with a long list of bugs still unaddressed, and you'd be hard-pressed to argue that Vista is ready for any type of critical production environment. Most corporations, in fact, won't even consider rolling out a new OS like Vista before the first service pack is released. Should you?
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  1. Old Comment
    Ken-L's Avatar
    Well said! I'm a firm believer in XP.....and will be very very unhappy if I have to use Vista, ever..... I am hoping to skip Vista and wait for the next OS. Dell continues to offer XP on some new systems....
    Posted 01-25-2008 at 12:29 PM by Ken-L Ken-L is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Ockie's Avatar
    I'm saving up for an iMac, have seen enough of Vista on my parent's new laptop, and to be honest I'm quite tired of XP too...
    I've been trying to use several Linux distributions but they don't convince me... I saw the iMac on the apple site and I quite loved how it looked, besides all the good stuff of OS X + the possibility of running Windows if needed
    Posted 03-03-2008 at 10:17 AM by Ockie Ockie is offline
  3. Old Comment
    JDArt's Avatar
    Trouble with Linux is that there's not enough sofware that runs on it.
    Posted 03-07-2008 at 09:36 PM by JDArt JDArt is offline
  4. Old Comment
    thunter5's Avatar

    Vista vs. XP

    The problem I see with Vista are two fold.

    MS over committed on what they wanted in Vista. The new file system never made it and a a bunch of other things rumored while in beta never happened. Pressure to release forced MS to put alot of features on the shelf. This made Vista a watered down version OS X.

    The other problem(s) has to do with drivers and backward capability.

    Unlike Apple, when a major re-vamp of the O/S occurs, most of your older software has to be tossed out. (Any of you guys still running OS 9 software? I know you can sim it in X, but nobody does that I know of).

    MS has allowed you to run your older stuff, (Up until Vista). XP was the first time they isolated the program from the O/S so when a program crashed, it was the programs not the O/S to blamed.

    Apple doesn't have this problem because they do not allowing you to run your "Old Stuff." Plus they know what all their machines are since you have to buy a Mac from them to run their software, (And OS X IS Linux under the hood!).

    MS was trying to break this mold with Vista, (Plus trying to make it look as "Pretty" as OS X), and over committed. There is a HUGE Uproar about drivers since MS is trying to make the system as stable as possible by not allowing older, (Unstable) drivers to run on the Vista. Software makers are baulking at having to do the work and registering there stuff to work in a Vista environment.

    I am not here to knock Apple or support Microsoft. Both have their place in the world. A lot of people like to knock MS and I'm one of them. But facts are facts, and I really think MS problems with Vista was trying to do "Too Much" for their customers. They are arrogant and seeking "World Domination" and all, but if you really looked at it, this is what I see.

    A lot of words to say, "Vista isn't ready...
    Posted 03-08-2008 at 11:22 AM by thunter5 thunter5 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    JDArt's Avatar
    Indeed, the new file system was supposed to be one of the crowning achievements of Vista originally, I believe. They stripped that out, and what you're left with are nice-to-haves.
    Posted 03-16-2008 at 03:19 PM by JDArt JDArt is offline
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