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.