Considering leaving Vista to return to XP?
Dated: January 2008
As a technician, I regularly hear from users who have been using Vista but want going back to using Windows XP. I prefer to order their new computers with XP installed (for now). Some clients are are purchasing new systems that come with Vista (default), clearing the hard drive and installing XP themselves.
The number one complaint that I hear about and personally experience with Vista concerns User Account Control (UAC) and security features. A lot of people, especially the more technical, are annoyed by Vista's over protectiveness. They do not like having to respond to the Vista prompts every time they want to install a program or perform an administrative level task. They didn't like being denied access to many folders even when logged on as an administrator.
After using Vista for a while, some learn how to turn off the default high level of Vista's UAC security and realized that they had the option of going back to being just as 'vulnerable' to risk as they were with XP, if that was a preferred choice. Those who did not like the new Windows Vista User interface have learnt how to go back to the original classic Windows XP theme. Those who did not like the Vista sidebar gadgets discovered that it was easy enough to turn it off.
But there was one big complaint left, and that one often proved harder to change. The most frequent complaint I now hear from Vista users is about slow performance (on their 'basic' retail computers). They say Vista takes a long time to boot, and even after it's up and running, it's not as responsive as their original XP machines. Programs take longer to open and they get delays when trying to run several applications at once. And the worst part is that this is happening with 'retail' new machines that have been preloaded with Windows Vista.
Those who can afford the top of the line desktop (or laptop) computers rarely have performance complaint about Vista. But according to my observations, a majority of people running it on most laptops (or low cost desktops) do. And those are the ones who are returning to Windows XP in large numbers.
Even without the performance issue, though, many people just plain prefer XP; it is over seven years old (mature). They are acclimatized to the default Windows XP interface, and it is stable!
Both the Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 3 are scheduled for release early in 2008 and both have been undergoing a lot of testing by beta users. Recent reports suggest that the coming Vista SP1 does not do much to increase performance - but that Windows XP SP3 does increase performance by about 10%.
Windows XP SP3 was intended to be a bug-fix and patch consolidation release, however the unexpected speed boost comes as a good bonus. With Windows XP SP3 at its release stage, beta testers are calling SP3 a "must have" upgrade, that will fix some bugs and add new features and functionality to IE, Windows Live Messenger and Windows Media Player.
Windows XP SP2 was originally released in 2004, and XP users are about due for another one. XP SP3 will add about three years' worth of individual updates and hot fixes.
The Windows XP service pack will not add any of Vista's new features to XP, but the performance boost alone, if true, will be enough to make it worth the wait. Some industry pundits are speculating that if Microsoft ends up releasing XP SP3 before Vista SP1, it will further slow the market migration to Vista.
Meanwhile, a lot of XP users we're hearing from plan to stick with Windows XP - with or without a new service pack - for now! My personal advice is to wait to the end of 2008 for Vista to mature!
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Computer News: leaving Vista to return to XP - South Australia