Why I Downgraded to Windows XP From Vista

In the Windows world, Vista is the current rage. And you can define “rage” in a couple of different ways, in this case. On one hand, “rage” can be defined as what is hip and new. On the other, “rage” can be defined as that white hot hate you feel when it takes 5 boot-ups to get the proper screen resolution under Windows Vista.

So, here’s the deal. As I type this article on my laptop, my desktop machine is in the process of downloading all the updates for Windows XP. Yes, Windows XP. I am in the process of downgrading (or should I say upgrading) to Windows XP on my primary desktop. Now, in my case, this computer had two hard drives in it. So, I am keeping Vista intact while I am installing XP back to the second drive. If I need Vista for some reason, it’s there. I don’t like burning bridges.

So, why did I do it?

Well, in my case, here are my primary annoyances:

  • I have three monitors attached to this computer. When I booted Vista, it would take anywhere from 3-5 restarts for all three screens to light up. The first or second start would usually light up only the center monitor at default resolution. I can’t tell you how annoying that is. Turning on the computer was more of a process than a flip of a switch.
  • The computer was significantly slower than when it was running XP. And this is a dual core machine with 2 gig RAM.
  • Running the IIS7 server software resulted in a constant barrage of erroneous error messages about the server. I eventually had to disable the IIS service to make it stop.
  • I use Quickbooks and a utility called THUB to get store orders into my accounting setup. With Vista, I was forced to log out as my own user and log in as a fake, LESS privileged user in order for it to work. Yes, even though I was an Administrator on this computer, I apparently didn’t have privileges to run this frickin’ thing.

There are other annoyances, but these are the primary ones in my world that really affect the way I work.

Now, the laptop I am typing this on is running Windows Vista. Strangely, though, Vista runs almost flawlessly on this notebook. I actually LIKE Vista on this notebook. But, on the desktop, it is a different story.

Microsoft released Vista too early, in my opinion. A new version of Windows was long overdue, yes, but I think in the rush to get something out there, they released this thing before the kinks were worked out. Do I really fault Microsoft for this? Yes and no.

I am not a Microsoft basher. Linux works for those who want the ultimate dork operating system. Drivers are not much fun to work with when you’re dealing with Linux. Apple folks like to make fun of Microsoft, but come on, get real! Apple controls the entire computing environment, so OF COURSE their operating systems works well. So would Windows if Microsoft built the computer it came on. But, they don’t. Microsoft is in the position of making an OS which has to work across the board, on a WIDE variety of system configurations. I guarantee you OSX would not be as raved as it is if Apple couldn’t control the entire user experience (hardware and software).

For those who are thinking of jumping to the Mac because of Vista, take that into account. When you go Apple, you never go back….because you can’t. Apple is like the big brother of the computing world, controlling all and telling you nothing. Yeah, it works. As long as you don’t rock the boat.

Given the feat that Microsoft has to pull off, I think they do an amazing job.

That said, they still dropped the ball. People have high expectations of Microsoft, ESPECIALLY when Microsoft basically forces the issue by getting all the manufacturers to install Windows Vista. It is in that area where I do place blame on Microsoft. When a new Windows version hits the market, you can’t force people to use it when it just isn’t ready. Microsoft knows it wasn’t ready, too. The sheer size and speed of the SP1 service pack for Vista tells me that Microsoft knew it was faulty and is now trying to correct course mid-stream. So, essentially, the appearance is that Vista pushed this thing to market early. Not in the interest of their customer, but in the interest of their bottom line.

Vista is a great OS – for a BETA. And that’s what it is. If you think of it like a beta, you’ll be happy. If you expect it to work exactly like XP, but better, you will be disappointed. Windows XP wasn’t exactly solid either until after the second service pack. My guess is that, eventually, Vista will be in the position XP is in now. It will be tried and true and it will just work. But, it isn’t there yet.

And since I need something that just works, I have decided to throw XP back onto my desktop.

Comments

  1. Funny…Vista’s biggest competitor is not Apple or Linux. It is XP, which overall still does a better job of it.

    • Hmm… I don’t see how Mac is worse because they control the whole experience. I switched from Windows to Mac 6 years ago, and I’ve never been even slightly tempted to go back to the kind of trouble you mention in this article. I trust Apple with my hardware and OS, and I’m much better off this way. No more Windows- good riddance. As you say, Vista came out too soon. Why? They had to catch up with some of the innovation OSX has been doing in the past 5 years.

      • He said that apple wouldn’t be all the “rage” if they didn’t make the hardware and software… not that its worse. ;)

  2. I also have multiple monitors and with XP different video cards works perfectly, not with Vista. When I upgraded to Vista the ATI and NVidia drivers conflicted and only my primary monitor would come on. When I replaced my ATI with an NVidia card that used the same driver as my onboard the monitors worked properly. I read somewhere this was because of Direct X 10 and the deals MS to protect movie companies from having their content stolen.

  3. Very timely. I just wiped Vista from my new build and installed a full version of XP Pro. What annoys me most is that I had to pay MS more $$$ to make up for their crappy OS. Where are U.S. antitrust laws when you need them? We’re all still shopping at the “company store.”

  4. So your problems can be directly traced to:

    * buggy (non-Microsoft) video card drivers
    * buggy (non-Microsoft) application software

    …and, let’s be fair, without a few more details about your configuration (driver age? how do you measure speed? anti-virus? what were you doing with IIS?), it’s hard to point the finger at Microsoft for *anything*.

    We forget so quickly that XP, 2000, 98 and so on had all these problems in their first year. These systems are not released early; it’s simply that third-party developers wait until they *are* released to start their testing and bug fixing. Which is a low priority for them because the potential customer base is still small.

    It doesn’t have to be like this; this is why Microsoft had such a long beta phase with Vista. Quickbooks or THUB could have used any of that time to take out the faulty check. ATi or nVidia could have spent time making their drivers co-operate in a multi-card situation. They didn’t, and won’t until there is a large customer base – which doesn’t happen for months after release.

    By all means, downgrade. We all need to work, after all, not play with computers. If the collective vitriol aimed at Microsoft over Vista was redirected to the third parties actually at fault, however, you’d see results a lot sooner.

  5. Oldpartsoldfart says:

    What are the specs of the computer you upgraded to vista???

  6. I have 2 monitors and no problems as such; I’ve switched back and forth from XP to Vista initially frustrated with sound card driver issues (still a sore spot, but working fine–xfi card) but overall I would never go back to XP. Vista works great, appears faster than XP on a high end system, and is only getting better; these sort of articles to me are ridiculous.

    XP “Just Works”? LOL.

  7. David Risley says:

    David, you have a point – to a degree. Microsoft totally re-did the hardware abstraction layer in Windows Vista, which essentially throws a fast one at driver programmers. It’s a cop out to say Microsoft is doing everything great and that ALL the blame lies with third party vendors.

    How do I measure speed? Simple. The computer was slower than hell. Hard drive was grinding like crazy. It isn’t rocket science.

    What was I doing with IIS? Come on. First off, I wasn’t doing anything more than development work, most of the time it wasn’t even in use and was STILL throwing errors. Secondly, if you have to ask what I was doing with it, then it sucks. It’s server software, it should be able to handle a guy doing a little local coding without tossing errors.

    Sure, third party vendors have some blame. But, so does Microsoft. And since I do need something that I can work on, XP is tried and true. Vista is true, not yet true.

    RobA, speed is obviously subjective. I can tell you one thing, I see no real reason why an OS that occupies nearly twice the memory of XP can possible run faster. Perhaps after the first service pack we’ll see a competition.

  8. David Risley says:

    Oh, and Old Fart, the PC is a Pentium Dual Core with 2 gigs RAM. It more than meets the specs for running Vista. Was it a turtle? No. Was it noticeably more sluggish than the same computer running XP. Absolutely.

  9. I’ll give you the fact that Vista video drivers are sketchy right now, but how about some more information about what your computer was actually doing instead of just complaining about it being slow. It sounds like you wanted to write an inflamatory blog entry on circumstantial evidence more than you actually wanted a working computer. IF you’re the brains+nerd+thinker+writer of this site, how about using some of those brains+nerd+thinker to find the actual problem before letting the writer run loose. As you said, Vista runs fine in some circumstances. I’m pretty sure you never have to log out and log back in, you can just switch users (though you could probably find a way to run that buggy software with your admin user if you tried). What’s an “erroneous error”? And how about you teach people how to find and fix problems with their computer instead of wasting time complaining about your own. It very well could have been MUCH less time to just fix it. Telling your demographic of the less technically minded to just give up and take the “simple” route of reinstalling XP on their copious extra hard drives seems like pretty weak advice. I’m not saying Vista is perfect, but propaganda is irresponsible.

  10. David Risley says:

    Propaganda? That’s cute, Martin.

    I’ve been using Windows since the days of 3.1. I know computers pretty well, and I recognize a bloated operating system when I see one.

    Microsoft knows:
    http://4sysops.com/archives/another-vista-compatibility-reliability-and-stability-update/

  11. How about some proof.

    • Why go after the author like that. He clearly is not a Microsoft basher. It isn’t like he advocated switching to Linux. By this time, the troubles with Vista are all well known. Like the author wrote, the GIGANTIC SP1 speaks volumes. Even Microsoft is looking to put Vista, like ME) behind them.

  12. David Risley says:

    No, Martin. What I’d be more interested in is your proof that a computer runs better with Vista than with XP. You seem more interested in coming after me for saying I downgraded and that I’m happy with my decision. Instead of coming after me, you should try instead laying out why you think Vista is so revolutionary. Because quite frankly, that is a minority position and I would love to know your logic. The way Redmond handled this release, it’s more like a Windows ME. They should learn from this.

    Like I said in this article, I give Microsoft a lot of credit. Considering the impossible feat they have of making an OS that runs on such a wide variety of hardware, they do a good job. But, at this point, Vista was forced upon the market too early. They did not ensure enough third party driver support, and that’s important. You can’t run the simplistic analysis that the vendors were too slow. It is the RESPONSIBILITY of Microsoft to ensure good driver support if they are going to push this OS onto unwitting public via their new PCs. There are stories all over the net of people with weird incompatibilities in Vista, and its caused a PR problem for Redmond. Additionally, the Aero interface REALLY dogs the system. It takes WAY too many system resources for what it does. Under Vista, I had around 1 GIG of memory in use at any given time. Again, bloated.

    I’ll await SP1. Vista does not deserve to be lumped with ME. Vista is a good OS with potential. But, at this point, that potential is tempered by being peppered with little annoyances the whole time I use it. I’ll just use it on my notebook, because Vista seems to run great on fully proprietary hardware.

  13. its windows ME (mistake edition) all over again if you ask me.

    just give XP DX10 and make everyone happy! :)

  14. “For those who are thinking of jumping to the Mac because of Vista, take that into account. When you go Apple, you never go back….because you can’t. Apple is like the big brother of the computing world, controlling all and telling you nothing. Yeah, it works. As long as you don’t rock the boat.”

    Oh please! I just bought my first Mac. A MacBook Pro. I am running OSX, WinXP, Vista, and two Linux Distros plus a universal storage partition on it. Locked in? I don’t think so.

  15. Alas, I’m as aware as you are that Microsoft isn’t perfect. However…

    On the basis that it’s somewhat unlikely that issues with IIS are hardware dependent (it’s a Web server, not a video game!), then the problems you had with IIS7 would be related to how you used it… it would be more constructive to show us the errors. Other people are using IIS7 without issues, so let’s have a little more information, no?

    As for performance – that wasn’t an issue for me on a somewhat slower computer during the beta. Again, it’s generally possible to find out what’s going on – if it’s file system access, or if some unruly application or driver has claimed a large chunk of physical memory (thus killing your cache), disk fragmentation, or whatever. “Disk grinding” is quite enough to slow a machine without anything else being the issue.

    If you have a machine with 2Gb of RAM, and 200Mb of it is being used with one OS, and 1.5Gb of it is being used with another, does it follow that the second is “bloated”? Not necessarily. It’s memory, not disk space. Disks are slow beasts, and so having data in memory rather than on disk is actually better. If 1.8Gb of your memory is unused, that’s 1.8Gb of wasted memory. Remember Vista’s prefetching technology – which necessarily uses memory.

    Vista had an unprecedented beta test phase. 12 months is plenty of time for third parties to get off their respective couches and solve the issues. They haven’t, and while people scream frustration at Microsoft and downgrade to XP they won’t have to, either.

    Is the Vista package perfect? No. Is it sensible to blame Microsoft entirely for it? No. Is it sensible to post inflammatory, destructive posts screaming “BETA”?

  16. David Risley says:

    DrCR, I was talking more about hardware on the Mac, not software. Apple tightly controls the hardware environment. And that is good for stability, bad for flexibility.

    David, here is something I wrote in another article about Vista that talked about II7:

    ““IIS Worker Process Stopped Working and Was Closed”. I get this message all the time randomly throughout the day. I have IIS7 installed, which is the newer version of Microsoft’s web server software. It came with Vista. This error is annoying and, unfortunately, there seems to be little documentation out there on how to fix it. Plenty of people experiencing this problem, but nothing from Mickysoft on how to fix it yet.”

    And, again, all I was doing with II7 was OCCASIONALLY doing some PHP development work. Most of the time, II7 was simply running as a service with me doing absolutely nothing with it. And yet it would throw the above error every couple hours or so.

    As for being bloated, on my machine (which again is not old), Vista used a LOT of system memory while ALSO keeping the hard drive very active. This is something no other OS does on the same machine.

    I’m glad Vista is running well for you and for some others. That’s great. I really do want Vista to do well. But, for me, if it looks like a beta and quacks like a beta, I’m gonna call it a beta.

  17. David, I have heard this same argument with respect to the huge problem Creative has had getting the drivers for their cards on line. MS and Vista defenders parroted that Creative had a year of beta to get their act together with respect to Vista drivers–except that the code for audio support wasn’t finalized until 3 months before RELEASE of Vista. Considering that MS tossed Direct 3D and completely reworked the way sound works with Vista, that’s hardly enough time. Creative got left holding the bag. How much “Wow” do you think there was under those circumstances?

    Frankly, so many commentators have agreed on this issue, I regard it as hardly subject to debate any more. I have used MS products since the old DOS days, and I used XP pre-SP1, and did not have nearly the performance issues I have with Vista–it’s like night and day. Frankly, unless you’re word processing, Vista is more likely than not to give you a problem with almost anything else. This is the price we pay for allowing one company to achieve the kind of market dominance MS enjoys. It’s more than a little scary.

  18. I agree with most of your comments. I work in a dental office with a server and 26 other computer workstations. We just ordered new computers – they all run Windows XP Pro. With Windows 2003 Server on the server.

    I just purchased a new MacBook and am in love. I installed parallel desktop and am running Windows XP Pro when I need to access stuff at the office – all the other times I run Mac OS x. I feel like I got the best of both worlds and I will never upgrade to Vista “just because”. I don’t like the fact that Microsoft is trying to force us to use it.

  19. bessiebenny says:

    Vista is slow. But that is expected. New OS’s are always slower than the older one. It has always been the case in the Windows world. You just need a faster PC to keep up with the ever more resource hungry Windows.

    Also, you need to use Vista for at least a few weeks before it stops thrashing your harddisk. That’s due to the prefetch doing the hard work trying to determine what is the best way to launch programs faster. You can always turn this feature off easily to stop doing that.

    Finally, Vista was programmed to use ALL the physical memory from the get go. Notice how XP will leave about 1GB or more FREE? That’s 1GB of memory being wasted while nothing is using them. Vista uses every bit when nothing else uses it. It frees them up instantly when some other process requires it. That’s making sure your hardware is being used to it’s maximum potential all the time.

    I used to hate Vista. From the Alpha/Beta/RC/Final. But I’m trying to like it and after a few weeks, I got used to it. Explorer / File management still feels slower but everything else feels about the same now.

    We were just sooooo used to XP that we are not open to new OS’s right now that’s all.

    Soon, we will all have to go to 64bit whether we like it or not also. Because future OS will require a minimum 4GB of RAM or more and current 32bit versions of Windows can only address around 3GB of RAM even if you have 8GB on board.

    Ahh well. There’s no special reason to move to Vista right now though. Unless you really want to get the DX10 graphics for gaming purposes. =)

  20. Morgan Storey says:

    Linux for geeks, and a pain for drivers? When was the last time you used it 1995? Drivers on Linux have been pretty good for a while now. Install is easier by far than Windows XP, just because it is not what you are used to, is no need to decry it. Maybe if you try and use it for than a few minutes you will see how truly good it is.
    My Wife has a little computing experience but no problem installing and administering Ubuntu on her laptop, and on install everything worked, even the the wireless with WPA which refuses to work without an update from IBM.
    My more obscure custom laptop worked completely out of the box too.
    I think it is so easy to use I have seen even my 60 year old Mother-In-Law user it for pretty much everything someone of her age needs.
    I like Linux cause it does everything I need, I don’t need VM’s for compatibility, I can VPN into work, connect to our clients servers, connect to my works exchange server. Even get games running via wine. Not that games are an issue with the plethora of damn-good professional-looking free games.
    Funnily enough I have even now performed a migration for a client from Windows to Linux and a lot of them don’t know the difference. All there apps work, the only support calls we have had since the deployment 6months ago was due to a cheap usb scanner not working out of the box (which it wouldn’t have with windows, they tried that first), quick ssh in, download and install the driver, done.
    Don’t dismiss me as a simple Linux geek, I am an MCSE and been using Windows since 3.0, my main reason for moving was that I wanted to try something new, better myself and see if it was better, I wasn’t disappointed.

  21. Alas, it’s too late now to find solutions to your issues, but… I note that *everyone* who had the same IIS error was also running the (third-party!) PHP add-in. Coincidence? I think not.

    Bob M, regarding whether “audio support was finalised three months before release”… I’m going to send you to Larry Osterman’s blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/larryosterman/archive/2005/09/19/471346.aspx
    Very little is “finalised” a year before release of anything at all, but the audio systems were certainly in place for Beta1. I think you’re probably referring to EAX and DirectSound3D… and I note that after the wittering about how it had become “impossible”, it mysteriously reappeared in later drivers.

  22. David Risley says:

    And you’re using that as some kind of defense? Listen, if Vista cannot run third party software without flaking out, then screw the thing. I EXPECT my OS to be able to run things like that. That is no defense, as far as I’m concerned.

    The same third-party PHP extension runs on EVERY OTHER type of server software without error, apparently except IIS7.

    Coincidence? I think not.

  23. Oh well, so you are using a rare hardware combination with a rare software combination with a brandnew OS? And you have problems? Who would have thought…

  24. David Risley says:

    I am using a pre-built Gateway machine. Only difference is that I added another video card to it for multiple monitors. Pardon me for expecting Vista to run well on such an obvious hardware curveball. Sheesh.

    All these Vista defenders pointing out third party issues (As if that is the only problem) only make my point for me. Guys, this isn’t Apple. Not everything on the machine is going to be programmed by Microsoft. And if they can’t make an OS work in that environment, maybe they shouldn’t have pushed it to market so early. I, for one, am glad major manufacturers are seeing this problem and making XP available to them.

  25. “Very little is “finalised” a year before release of anything at all, but the audio systems were certainly in place for Beta1. I think you’re probably referring to EAX and DirectSound3D”

    I’m not sure what you think that blog entry proves, if only that MS intended to support sound in Vista as of 11/05. Creative has a decidedly different take on it:
    http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?board.id=Vista&message.id=16284

    According to them, they weren’t provided with the complete picture until shortly before release. Now, considering the important role sound features play in the “Windows Experience”, and Creative’s market dominance in the sound card world, you would think that MS might wait until Creative got its drivers together before it released Vista. What kind of partner is that?

    Bessie, I agree the sooner we all go to 64 bit the better. Frankly I think an OS which uses up 1GB of the usable available memory just for itself is madness in a 32 bit environment. Everybody builds 2GB, not 4GB b/c of dual channel, and 32 bit Win can only see up to 3GB. Why in the world would you release a 32 bit OS that sucks up half the available RAM?

    I will keep my copy of Vista. I look forward to the day when the bugs are worked out–it is pretty. I am looking forward to true 64 bit functionality and plan on waiting until Vista is ready to handle that. I’m not using that OS in a 32 bit environment–it’s just too bloated.

  26. Hi all,
    I have read this topic with interest. David Risley is right in what he says & I agree with him.

    Dell are offering their PC’s with Vista, XP, Linus or NO OS at all. I’d choose the last option if I were to buy from Dell, a good company, & install my own copy of XP.

    I have tried to use Vista….I really have! But ‘nothing works’:

    1 – My AV software needs to be poked with a stick to run. Sometimes it will & sometimes I just get an error about how the application failed to execute (or whatever). Poking it with a stick usually does the trick but it’s a pain in the ass.

    2 – ZA needs to upgraded to V7. My license for V6 won’t work for V7 so I have to buy ZA AGAIN!

    3 – Everytime I do anything I get the UAC. This is not too bad until:

    4 – For security reasons I made myself a member of the Power Users group (HUGE mistake). Now when the UAC pops up I can’t ‘run as’ the Administrator….because the Administrator account is disabled BY DEFAULT. I am now SCREWED. I can now officially do NOTHING on this PC. Re-install? I don’t think so. I pulled the disk & went back to XP.

    This OS seems like MS deliberately went out of their way to make everything so difficult at every hands turn as to make the OS unusuable. AN OS is a TOOL for working….whatever you may define as work. Vista is not a tool because you have to put up with so much unnecessary BS that you forget what you were trying to WORK on in the FIRST place.

    NO. I won’t be going Vista anytime soon Just give me XP SP3 please. Mind you I’ll do a system restore point before installing….just in case :)

  27. AvarageUser says:

    Hmmm, like ever : The Problems start in front of the Display…

    Linux a Dork OS ? Are u kidding? If you dont know what your talking about, please dont!

    Vista is still a beta to mee, and MS has a plan to bring out the new OS 2010…why should i install that beta Crap?

    Im using WinXP MCE and PCLinuxOS , both work greta 4 me :)

  28. Bizarre. You’re blaming Microsoft for producing a new operating system that old software produced by other companies doesn’t work on?

    Microsoft should make the OS backwards compatible back to when and for how many products?

    Honestly don’t get this kind of whining and ‘rationale’ for labelling the product “beta”.

  29. “You’re blaming Microsoft for producing a new operating system that old software produced by other companies doesn’t work on?”

    Personally I think it’s a brilliant idea, with one slight caveat — for MS to totally drop their kernel design and go Unix-based like Apple’s switch with OSX.

    I also think code should be treated for what it is — text. And as such just like a book it should be covered exclusively under copyright law and be openly viewable to all, again, just alike a book.

    Hey, a man can dream big. :)

  30. hia
    i have recently bought a compaq presario sr2109uk and downgraded from vista to xp
    the computers graphics have improved very much
    and is alot faster
    but i am haveing problems with my sound because i cannot get hold of the right drivers form the sound card
    if there is anybody who can find the drivers for this please let me know
    if not i will have to buy new sound card
    thankyou

  31. I have been using computers since 1974. I have several machines running XP and two that use Win98. A friend brought over a laptop running Vista Home Edition tonight that they were having problems with and I must say it was sheer hatred at first bite. First of all it was slow as heck, and secondly there were all these warning messages and security messages and layer after layer of nonsense. I finally found out how to get to a C:> prompt in the help section.

    I cant believe that anyone would like Vista.

  32. BravoBlack6 says:

    Windows Vista = Windows Buenavista; Buenavista = Disney; Disney = Donald Duck therefore Windows Vista = Donald Duck OS. Good for a ten year old girl o a sixty year old clerk who only write a couple emails a day and watch a few pics of her grandsons. Use only on a V-Smile, if you can.

    Get that Windows XP 64 fully and decently functional, fix the XP 3 gigs memory issue and toss this Vista daffy duck crap where it belongs, to your closest dustbin.

  33. How can I take off vista and replace it with XP? Thanks

  34. You’ll have to get an XP installation disk and install it, then activate with your Vista key (and call Microsoft tech support to manually activate). No automated process for it; you’ll have to back up your files and reinstall OS, drivers, software, everything. Wee!

    While the Linux ‘driver problems’ are still there (primarily because some hardware makers still don’t make Linux drivers, preferring to suckle at Microsoft’s puss-filled, fecal stained teats), it really took Vista to make Linux look good (or at least comparable) in this department.

    I went the Vista -> Linux (Ubuntu 7.10) route myself after a year of ‘dealing with’ Vista and its many quirks and incompatibilities on my Dell Vostro 1700.

    To be precise, I went from a Windows system running Linux part-time in a VMWare box to a Linux system running Windows part-time in a VMWare box. I still run a few Windows apps, but now they live in a sandbox with limited access to the rest of my file system. Vista runs just fine in a virtual machine (though it’s a resource hog), and Microsoft was only too happy to ‘activate’ it over the phone when I explained it was going to run on the same system it came with.

    One thing I DEFINITELY fixed was the clicks and pops in my MP3 files (and, everything else) that Vista so helpfully inserted to ‘protect me’ from music piracy.

    There’s always a thousand geeks in the Linux support forums who want to prove how much smarter they are than everyone else, so support is free and fairly rapid, and usually competent if you wait a day or two. Usually if you do a quick search or two you’ll find someone has already answered your question, and see that several people have tried the fix and it worked… unless you have brand-spanking-new hardware nobody has seen before, or ‘unsupported’ hardware, which does still come up. I was fed up enough to simply replace whatever was incompatible, but there were work-arounds for almost everything and I only had to get a USB bluetooth dongle for my second machine.

    BTW, all that extensive and expensive DRM crap in Vista was cracked a month after it was shipped, and Microsoft is still concentrating on fixes to THAT as much as or more than fixes to the security exploits that can expose YOUR OWN files to theft. I still recommend you put the ‘most sensitive’ stuff on a Flash drive and leave it disconnected unless you need to work on the files.

  35. Great article and posts, I can’t wait to get vista off my new laptop – asus w7s. Cant run my old printers, adobe software or accounting package. Not impressed with being forced to upgrade software just because I bought a new laptop. The Asus w7s doesn’t come with an xp option. Asus doesn’t provide xp drivers for the w7s, but I have found a post on some work arounds. The last straw was trying to type a report where the cursor couldnt keep up with my typing. The machine has more than enough computing power to put man on the moon, but microsoft bloat it with so much crap I couldn’t type a letter. I am a fairly educated user with a masters in business systems and computing, and my recommendations to anyone considering a new computer is buy anything except vista.
    Let’s watch the microsoft share price slide. Customers don’t respect greedy companies. When is the google OS coming out?

  36. I went to buy a new laptop today, because my old XP vaio is slowly breaking (bad HD, CPU looks like will give up). I asked the seller, who supposedly is a “tech professional” if I the laptop was downgradable from Vista to XP (I almost bought Fujitsu’s instead, which came with XP and was new, but the screen was 4 square inches too small (11inch screen). He said that Vista was much better and was about to be ready to say more things when I told him “I have a Vista” (my gateway PC, which I hardly use since I found that stuff from my old XP PC wouldn’t run on a vista). His response? “Well, that’s technology, you’ll get used to it [I assume he was talking about the GUI].” But never before, MS users felt the need to downgrade, because never before MS just simply released a BETA operating system to the public. A lot of new hardware (example: the popular eReaders) and software will not support Vista. It’s a huge problem that in Me to XP was very minimum. At least, I received news that Vaio is already working on Downgrade packs. Unfortunately, I am still stuck with Gateway’s way to say “that’s technology, you’ll get used to it.”
    I did downgrade Gateway for a while, and I had lost my sound, which was okay (yes I was that desperate), but when the video was a problem and the system would hang up because of it, then I had to reluctantly go back to Vista. What a sad way to release a product, Microsoft. Quite frankly! Vista can KISS IT!

  37. I recently bought a Toshiba Satellite Notebook U305-S7446. The notebook came with Windows Vista Home premium Edition pre-installed in it. I want to move back to Windows XP SP2, can anybody please tell me how that can be done. You can email me the procedure @ [email protected]

    Thanks for your help in advance.

  38. Good article David. I read thru all the MS fanboy posts bashing you for downgrading. I have a dual boot XP/Vista system. So I use both OS’s on the same hardware platform. I decided to try Vista Sept. 07. For around a month I used mostly Vista. Too many things were not working right making my life hard so I went back to mostly XP. I probably use Vista about 20% of the time. Mostly for experimenting. All serious things get done with XP.

    I have not installed SP1 yet and probably won’t for a while. But I did an interesting experiment this afternoon. I copied 2 files from a second hardfile to the system disk of both Vista and again to the system disk of XP. I use seperate 200 GB Seagate drives for the system disks but they are were purchased together and are the same model. So everything is the same in these 2 environments. Same disks, motherboard, peripherals… everything..

    I copied 2 large files. one was 500 MB the other was 700 MB. On Vista this took me 31 seconds. On XP SP2 this took me 24 seconds. That is a 25% performance hit for doing something quite simple. I have read that V-SP1 should improve copy performance around 10%. That will still make it much slower. Hard to imagine what they are doing with all this extra time.

    Puzzled…….

  39. Gaurry_Hurting for VAIO drivers says:

    Okay folks, here’s the deal. I aquired a Sony VAIO VGN-CR140E. This model was released with Vista. (I personally believe that Vista is the DEVIL, but it’s new so I’ll give it a chance…..or something.)

    I’m not exactly sure what happened or if it was simply by choice of the previous owner, but the downgrade to XP Pro was completed.

    Pretty much everything is running smooth with XP, (no suprise there) but the integrated cam won’t work and I can’t find XP drivers for it ANYWHERE.

    Are there any generic drivers or patches that can help me with this?

  40. Well, you can’t find those kind of specialized drivers through anyone but the manufacturer. If they haven’t written a driver for xp, you’ll have to either live with Vista or no integrated webcam. I personally hate windows Vista. I must say I tried some lite versions of vista that I was able to download via some torrents just to see what the appeal was with the other hackers, and I can now see the appeal. The hackers have created a lite version of vista, which uses 20% less resources than xp pro and it has almost all of vista’s features. It’s too bad it’s illegal to use. If I had the expertise, I would take out the cracks and stuff that make the copy illegal so I could actually use it legitimately. I guess I’m stuck with xp since I can’t do that. I wonder why Microsoft didn’t release a slipstreamed version of vista like the one they have on the pirate networks.

  41. I wouldn’t think the stripped down version is necessarily illegal. Have a look at nlite, it would have been shut-down by microsoft in a second if it where illegal to do.
    I would say it is only illegal if you are using a stripped down version on a pc that you don’t own a license for that stipped down version (ie it is stripped down vista ultimate, and you don’t own any vista license or only a vista home license).
    That all being said I prefer to just steer clear of the license lock-ins and go Linux. Then I can lighten or load it as I see fit.

    http://www.nliteos.com/

  42. My friend just received her new laptop with Vista Basic since it was a low end one. It was terribly slow so I wipe the drive clean and installed Windows XP Pro now it runs great. I just cannot understand why put out such a bloated system,
    Vista is major work in progress right now Windows XP is still good

  43. Upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows XP. You won’t be sorry.

    No DRM, no I need 8gb memory just to stop pagefile swapping every 2 seconds, no I need 4 x 256gb SSD’s in RAID array just to boot up in a sensible ammount of time.

    And Windows Aero sucks.

  44. can you tell me how to down grade from vista home premuim to xp pro. it won’t let me do FDISK or format the c drive. and if so will i have to change any thing in the bios setting. i have a gateway p6312 laptop, and i hate vista
    thx Joe

  45. I just did the same thing to my PC. I can’t believe I tolerated Vista for as long as i did.

    @Joe: The XP Pro disk should give you the option to configure partitions/ format the partitions before it asks you where you want to install.

  46. Well first its kinda of stupid to have 3 monitors.You only need one.Whats the purpose of 3 no wonder your computer messes up.Vista is ram hunger and if you apply to much to it will overload and restart.I can tell you from my own exprience.I have a vista desktop sitting right next to me.

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