Windows

Time for transition? Vista vs. XP, 32-bit vs. 64-bit


I was around during the days of the tech industry's move from 16-bit to 32-bit computing.  Although it was chaotic at times, I don't remember things being quite as convoluted as they seem to be today.  Of course, I could be remembering incorrectly!

Today, IT leaders are considering mass migrations to new operating systems, new Office suites and to new 64-bit architectures.  On the surface of things, answers to these questions may seem easy, but as you dig deeper, things aren't quite so clear.

Vista vs. XP

You've probably read article after article from IT pundits indicating that Vista isn't ready for prime time.  And, in this section, you'll read yet one more opinion on this matter.  Quite frankly, I really like Microsoft products, so it's disappointing to write something negative about what should have been one of the company's crown jewels.

Vista isn't ready for prime time.  This opinion is not based on reading articles or watching the news.  It's based on experience and fact.  I've been running Vista since the day it became available on Microsoft's licensing download site.  Prior to that, I experimented a bit with the beta releases.  To say that Vista is buggy and unreliable is the understatement of teh year.  My main reason for running Vista on my office machine was to better familiarize myself with the product.  At home, however, I needed to be able to use RAM beyond 4 GB, so I installed the 64-bit version.  Although my main need--the ability to access RAM beyond the 4 GB barrier--has been satisfied, the overall experience hasn't been smooth.  Drivers haven't been a problem, either.  I run a Dell Precision 690, so my driver needs are pretty standard.  I'm not running anything weird.  However, other things simply don't work right.  For example, on this system, I'm also running Office 2007 and I'm not able to save files using some of the new file formats.  In particular, Excel is a mess.  I can save files just fine in XLS format, but not in XLSX.  OneNote?  Forget it.  The cache is corrupt, so until I can rebuild my system, I'm running OneNote in a 32-bit virtual machine.  Of course, Ive Googled my problem until my fingers hurt, but nothing has yet rectified the problem.  Permissions problems?  Yep.  At times, I get random "access denied" errors to my stuff.  At first glance, some may say that I have serious virus or spyware problems or that I screwed up the install somehow.  But, with almost 15 years of deep Windows experience and an MCSE, I'm pretty confident in my ability to install Windows and clean my machine.  Between my own experience, as well as the experiences of my staff and the feedback we've gotten from our user base, we're sticking with Windows XP for the foreseeable future.

Office 2007 and permissions on my XP machine?  Smooth sailing all the way.

That said, Microsoft has made a lot of noise lately about end-of-lifing Windows XP based on their product support cycle.  Personally, I think Microsoft does a pretty good job supporting older products and feel that, by the time a product is no longer supported, there is a viable replacement on the market.  This time, however, Microsoft needs to take a hard look at the market and the feedback they've received and be honest with themselves.  After a ton of time developing Vista, I can imagine that the last thing Microsoft wants to do it publicly admit that it's not the product it was supposed to be and their sales figures seem to back them up.  It's important to note, though, that new PCs that are shipped with Vista and then downgraded to Windows XP, are counted as Vista sales.  Westminster College this year purchased around 90 computers with Windows Vista.  Every single one was downgraded to XP.  Now, I know that 90 computers is a miniscule fraction of PC sales, but we're far from the only organization with a similar downgrade policy that purchased computers with Vista.

If Microsoft sticks with their original plan, we may all be forced to the Vista bandwagon whether we want to ride it or not.  Even though our experience thus far hasn't been stellar, we'll continue to evaluate the system for an eventual deployment.  Maybe Vista will stabilize at some point before Windows 7 is released.  By the way, for Windows 7, I'd love to see Microsoft jettison built-in backward compatibility in favor of a totally revamped operating system and use their Virtual PC/Virtual Server/HyperV layer to achieve backward compatibility as an optional component.  I seem to recall that another computer manufacturer went down this road a while back with great success.

32-bit vs. 64-bit computing

At the same time that organizations are considering their Vista plans, the 32-bit to 64-bit migration possibility is on the table.  From what I've seen, heard and experienced, most organizations are staying with 32-bit on the desktop and moving to 64-bit slowly in the data center.  Again, Microsoft has not necessarily made the migration decision a no-brainer.  In some cases, 64-bit isn't optional.  For example, if you want to run Exchange Server 2007, in production, you need 64-bit Windows whether you want it or not.  But, the choice isn't always so clear cut.  Imagine, for example, an organization that has made the decision to move to 64-bit Windows for its SQL Server 2005 databases, but is sticking with 32-bit for other servers--perhaps they've virtualized some of their environment on Virtual Server 2005, which doesn't support 64-bit guests.

It's a sensible move, but not without its own complications.  Take System Center Essentials, for example.  Before System Center Essentials SP1 was released, SCE couldn't run in "mixed mode".  That is, if SCE was 32-bit, the database server had to be 32-bit as well.  These kinds of incompatibilities make organizations very wary about moving to a new platform, and reasonably so.  Who wants incompatibilities where there simply should be no problem?  Why would products be released at this point that have such obvious lack of interoperability in reasonable environments?  Sure, with SCE SP1, 32-bit/64-bit mixed mode operation is now possible, but there simply has to be more emphasis on making sure that every new product can run where it needs to run--out of the gate.  IT folks are always asked to do more with less and with less time than we had in the past.  Make our lives a bit easier!

Even today, Windows Home Server connector software and Microsoft's Groove clients do not support 64-bit clients.

So, what's the solution?  Careful research and a good plan.  If you need Groove, you can't go to 64-bit Vista.  If you need 32-bit SCE, make sure you have a compatible database server and so on.  You may still get frustrated because a particular combination doesn't work, but at least you won't be surprised.

Now, I've done a lot of Microsoft bashing in this posting, which isn't my modus operandi.  As I stated earlier, I actually like Microsoft's product a whole lot and find them to be excellent solutions.  Although we're facing some serious transitional pain today, I'm confident that Microsoft will learn from its mistakes and release a Windows 7 that is truly innovative and will continue to recognize the importance of 64-bit and better synchronize their 32/64-bit platforms.

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

50 comments
diesellayer
diesellayer

I still havent tried Vista, simmply because I have no need. I am satisfied with XP pro with CentOS Virtual PC. This information helps me a lot to be more cautious before migrating to new OS. Thanks

dacar
dacar

Microsoft needs urgently to rethink it's philosophy. Give the consumer a fully and proven product WHEN IT'S READY TO BE USED. Stop using us buyers as enslaved testers of faulty products. I suggest that Microsoft should use internally on a full basis a new product for at least one year before selling it on the market. Microsoft is heading straight to a self inflicted disaster. I'll stick with XP until MS learns to be honest. If they do go through with their threat of ending support for XP we all should start a class action against them, real big... Dante Carrillo, Lima, Peru.

g_machuca
g_machuca

mmmm. You know. I yet to read or see anything on 'productivity'. How is Vista going to make us people and businesses run better and more efficient. As it is, after a month of living with the thing, I got so sick of having to click at every dialogue box that Vista threw at me, I thought, enough. So I went back to XP. If I was to pretend I was a 'captain of industry' I'd be asking. What's in it for me??? If I have to shell out this obscene amount of money to go over to Vista. Wouldn't that be a fair question? I don't want sales patter and bells and whistles, I want efficiency, I want a return and benefits long before I'm asked to do the next upgrade, before I retire and preferably during this life time ... for now.

jdclyde
jdclyde

When the strong arm tactics are applied, it gives the fence-sitters a reason to go another way. This is good news for both Mac and Linux, because people would otherwise would have continued along a gentle MS path of least resistance will not deal with compatability issues or being forced into something before they are ready. In two years, the hardware will be better able to run Vista and it will be where XP is now.

brandon.waite
brandon.waite

We bit the bullet and purchased new machines w/ vista business. Our entire web development department has upgraded to Vista Ultimate 64bit. I went with Vista Ultimate 64bit as well. We have had a few problems, here and there, but over all.. Vista has been more reliable to our business than XP. Meaning that we find that our machines run just as fast and just as smooth by the end of the day as they did at the beginning of the day. The only problems we have truely had with Windows Vista, has been a few video card driver issues which we were able to remedy quite quickly, and some 3rd party vendors that have not upgraded their software to run properly on Windows Vista. As far as 64 bit is concerned, all of our SQL 2005 servers are currently running on the 64 bit Windows 2003 platform.

Zpunky
Zpunky

We're a landscape architecture firm reliant on AutoCAD. Our systems have to be 100% available, loss of uptime for a designer or junior translates directly into lost billables. For that reason I purchased 40 Open Value Licenses of Vista for our system upgrades occurring later this year. This license allows allows us to run XP. There's no way I'll install Vista, its potential to undermine our bottom line is far too great.

Richard Kirk
Richard Kirk

Beware 64-bit printer drivers - some reasonable avilability for Vist, but quite a few gaping holes for XP/Server 2003 - a real pain if using Terminal Services

smurtagh
smurtagh

I have been using Vista 64 bit since it was first released and because there was no Microsoft Office Suite available at the time I started to use Open Office.org. I have to say that I am very pleased and suprised too with the performance and an unlikely to revert to Office 2007 now!

tomofumi
tomofumi

We are running some CentOS/Fedora server under x64 and experience no compatibility problem at all, every software works as smooth as under x86, why windows transition takes so much hassle?

seth
seth

I have been fighting Vista since it was forced down my throat without an XP Pro downgrade by Toshiba. Problems are the lack of firewire support which MS blames on TI. SURELY MS can write a stinkin' driver! Also, several things (especially my SDHC ReadyBoost disk) disappear when coming out of sleep mode (S3). MS is working with me on it, but it's "delete this,"try this," "try this," etc. That's okay, but I do complete images first, so it's getting old. We are still beta testing for MS.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Okay, I am not going to argue that Vista SP1 outperforms XPSP3, that would be idiotic as XP was complete garbage out of teh gate. Vista has done far better from the get go than XP at the same stage. But reading teh comments I found a few issues: The original article states issues with GROOVE, there are countless articles about Groove and Office 2007 on Vista. Not a good match! the othe major Office Issue is One Note (which is fairly lame software anyway). Other than that, Office 2007 runs like a top for me. Downgrade policies: now are these not usually put in place by IT staff? IT staff have atendency to fear change, it makes their day more challenging (which isn't a good thing for most tech focused people). With teh number of XP fanboys out there, iit's no wonder that their preferences, whether legitimate or simply personal bias are used to create policies. Some of which may be worthy, but most are just fear of change I find. Win7 having the same issues? No kidding, of course it will, so did 2K, and XP. To think that MS will simply release a new OS, when they find Vista is quite successful, and have it outperform Vista and be bug free out of the gate is incredibly naiive. There are literally hundreds of comments on TR about what a useless, bloated POS XP was (when it first came out and NOBODY liked it). People were all talkign abotu downgrading from XP (came with new boxes) to 2K again. XP was said to be bloated, insecure, unreliable, too much of alearning curve for users and so on. The key issues were the rampant security holes and exploits of course, which we just don't hear too much about with Vista. But everyone still whines about Vista being bloated and slow, flashback to XP on that one. 32/64, as noted quite often, the issues with 64 bit are more network focused, compatibilty issues than an issue with Vista itself. itpro- Agreed with the masses that Vista is slow and unreliable. But then went on to say he has no performance problems and it is stable, in his case. c.doelde - Had issues with user learning curve, specifically File Browsing issues. As most people recently agreed in another forum here, Vista really speeds up and simplifies file browsing with its use of Bredcrumb Navigation. If anything, Vista is far easier for teh user to navigate, it only takes a quick moment to show them how breadcrumbs allows for simplified file browsing. Far more user friendly than Xp, less of a learnign curve from XP and Vista than from 2K (or ME) to XP. _mike@- Had issues with Aeroglass not runnign properly out of the box. 99.9999999% of the time it is due to an underpowered retail box. Add some RAM and Aero is a slice, I toyed with it but got bored and reverted to a more classic appearance. For people who suggest stripping down Vista to be more like XP, it is actually very similar to Win2K when stripped down. XP has a big bloatware UI, hardly a stripped down ANYTHING. I think tha problem is too many noobs, too many people who learned and got used to XP and fear change to give Vista a chance. Conclusion: in teh case of business, no I don't think I'd upgrade anythign to Vista. If eew equipment, I would consider it as long as other network software was compaitble, but that's not a Vista specific issue. For eth home user, no problems with Vista. Just don't go buy a retail box and expect it to run well out of teh gate, they never do and never will. Retail boxes are BARE bones minimum to run the OS, add anything and you need mroe RAM. I would never expect to buy a new box and not upgrade memory before even turnign it on for teh first time, retail boxes are generally garbage, always have been and always will be, they need an upgrade as soon as the packaging is opened.

Not2Nutz
Not2Nutz

I still have my original XP system on a seperate hot-pluggable drive. And I still use it occassionally because my flatbed scanner and a few other devices are not yet supported under Vista. From my viewpoint, the lack of drivers seems to be the main limitation with using Vista; one I can live with. On my old XP system I would suffer at least one BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death) per week. And sometimes multiples per day or hour, depending on... what, I never quite figured out. Plus, near the end of my usage of XP it became so bloated it would take at least 10 minutes to boot and about 30 minutes to shutdown. Half the time it never would shutdown and I would just power off. I spend a good deal of my precious time doing system maintenance to deal with these problems and that seriously undercut my enjoyment of personal computers quite a bit. Then I switched over to Vista Ultimate X64 about five months ago. I have been amply rewarded for being an early adopter and I have absolutely no regrets. From my experience Vista is far more stable and smooth in operation. And in some problem circumstances it has actually been able to "heal" itself, whereas with XP, I would have probably been forced to reinstall from scratch. Like the author of the article, I have substantial experience with computers going back to 1963, as a systems programmer. And having retired in 2001 I am now "out of the loop" so to speak, so I focus mainly on the applications that enrich my life. Instead of writing code I am now writing my first book complete with my own photos. Look, we've all been through these OS product transitions before. To say Vista is "not ready for primetime", I think is being a little too harsh and myopic. Some folks view software as if concrete is being poured. When in reality software is much more like a living-breathing thing. Over time, it morphs and expands and eventually matures. Then it will be on to the next "greatest thing". So just give Vista a chance. I believe strongly is is a good product and it will come into its own soon. As I write this I am building another box to run OpenSolaris with Linux extentions. I must keep moving ahead and constantly trying new things. I can't help it; it's in my DNA. Good Luck. N2N

aprince31
aprince31

It seems tome that someone could make a lot of money by providing subscribed support for one (or more) of the Microsoft no longer supported platforms.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

With all ths talk about Vista and XP; are there plans for a new desktop OS debut from a competitor company? I remember once that Linspire tried. Linux has been painfuly gaining ground but never quite makes it as far as important featires such as gaming and music. Unix? Forget it, LOL! Can Microsofts hold be broken; and if so, how? Can competition be brought back into the OS market?

mike
mike

The first PC that I bought with Vista for testing purposes could not even run Aeroglass decently. In terms of performance I made a trip way back in the past. On an Intel Core processor with 1Gb RAM, it was not a very happy result. Latest tests I made was last week with 2 identical Toshiba U300 which came with both Win XPpro and Vista Business system restore CDs. Nice interfece for Vista again, but definitly not ready for business ... After running my benchmarks, I wanted to reinstall XP on both machines for the end users. Erasing identical directories of 6Gb took less than 10mn with XP. With Vista only half of the data was erased after (nearly) 2 hours ... I finaly gave up and formatted the HD. Of course this was not my only disapointment in Vista. Among other problems, security appears to be not much better than in XP, despite the nagging prompts. Both systems got infected in seconds after connecting to the same (compromised) website. Same up-to-date AV and ASW didn't help in both cases, though XP continued functionning (and left me access to my files) where Vista kept me outside untill I reinstalled from scratch (yes, system restore didn't help, that's right !). There will be no production PCs with Vista in my Co., ans SP1 is not likely to change my point of view. Mike.

ibsteve2u
ibsteve2u

Vista? System.Drivers.Sparse.Where.Not.Null Programming Experience? System.Force.Paradigm.Shift.For.The.Sake.Of.Rigid.Mindsets

britnat
britnat

Scott's comment is 100% on target. We migrated from Novell to Windows in time for Windows 95, and also went the Microsoft certification route. Of all the dozens of machines I administer, the only ones having problems are those with Vista. As programmers we also face the immense migration from VB6 to VB8. Again, I also can honestly say I like Microsoft products - after all, I based my career on their platform. However I question their decision making process - it often seems they do precisely the opposite of what the clients want. That's not good business in my book - no matter how much of a monopoly a company has. Lastly - the backward compatibility issue - again Scott has it spot-on. Microsoft please listen to us - for heaven's sake kill the dinosaur!! Oh, and by-the-bye - we'll stick with XP - for now.

c.deolde
c.deolde

Much like the author I'm running Vista on my office machine to get some experience with it before upgrading the entire office. Apart from strange permission-settings and bugs, which I haven't encountered too much, one other important aspect of why I'm wary to upgrade is the user experience of Vista. With having to tweak it severly to make it look and feel a little bit like XP I'm not looking forward to the day my users encounter it and start asking me questions about where their usual icons and ways of working have disappeared to. Now I know ultimately there is nothing to be done about Microsoft's UI decisions and they're doing it with the best of intentions. XP wasn't perfect either, but I do think Vista is a step up in complexity, for instance the strategy of file browsing. That is going to be annoying for standard office users who don't have the experience with UI's whizzkids like us do and can't adapt so quickly.

itpro_z
itpro_z

In reading this article and the above comments, I see a theme common to every article about Vista that I have read. Here is my take: "Vista is slow and unstable." I support several hundred users running a mixture of 2K, XP, and now Vista. I have Vista and XP running on identical hardware, and find that Vista Business is comparable to XP in performance. Boot times are similar, loading apps, accessing our network shares, printing, copying files, all happen quickly on both. Vista performs better under load than XP, which is verified by independent testing. Overall, Vista performance has not been an issue. If your system is slow with Vista, then you need to look into why. We all are familiar with various things that slow down XP, but many have not taken the time to learn how to tune Vista. Regarding stability, I have had no issues with Vista crashing, but certainly poor drivers and ill behaved software could make that happen, just as on XP. "64 bit is the only way to go." I am not there yet. I came closer to going 64 bit with Vista than XP, but the driver and software support is still not sufficient to make me move to 64 bit. That said, I do believe that Vista will be my last 32 bit OS. "Only fanboys like Vista." Not true. All of my users on Vista are happy, and I have had no requests to roll back to XP. Many of my users have Vista at home, and those still running XP at work have asked me when they can get Vista machines. I use both, XP on one machine and Vista on two others. XP now seems old and tired compared to Vista, and I would never go back. Now, then, assuming that I am not a MS fanboy, why is my experience so different than what many have reported? Experience might be one. I started in PCs when CP/M was the standard OS, and have seen every new version since. I used the same approach with Vista that I have with every other OS: I adopted it early and studied it thoroughly to learn its idiosyncrasies and how to tune and trouble shoot it. At work, I tested our critical apps, and waited for some to upgrade before moving a few test users over. After gaining experience supporting those few users on our network, I finally began to roll out Vista on all new installs. So far, our transition has been smooth. I do still have a few users running apps that are not Vista compatible, and will continue to use XP for them, but for 90% of my users that will not be an issue. Now, for comparison, I did considerable testing with Ubuntu to see how well it would work on our network as an alternative. I was impressed with the feature set and overall ease of use, but in the end had to table the idea for now because I couldn't quite get everything we needed to work. I came very close, and will try again in a year or so. I will say that I have seen some problems with Vista. I have worked on a few machines where Vista was very slow, but found simple, straight forward solutions. Some machines were slow due to insufficient RAM, an easy fix. Others had some software installed that bogged them down, with addon firewalls, internet security suites, and Google Desktop being the most common culprits. Just as with XP, running Vista "lean and clean" is the best way to keep performance high. I also advocate only using Vista on new hardware of a decent minimum spec, and only with software known to be compliant. I do not recommend shutting off UAC, as it serves a much needed purpose. Once a system is configured, it rarely comes up anyway. Finally, as support professionals, it is our job to ease the transition to newer technology. The experience we gain with Vista will make the transition to Win7 easier. For those of you waiting for Win7 before moving, consider that your step up will be far greater than for those of us already using Vista. Vista is going to provide much of the foundation for Win7, much like 2K did for XP. Like 2K, Vista may be a bit rough around the edges, but already provides enough improvement over XP to make the move worthwhile.

jrosewicz
jrosewicz

...Vista really isn't ready for the business world. I've run Vista Business 64bit for quite some time now. I had a free license from college and wanted to become familiar with the OS so I would be able to troubleshoot if a Vista users needed my help. Drivers were an issue at first on my self build PC, mostly because manufacturers like ASUS were not yet caught up. Now I have no driver woes, but I frequently have programs crash. I'm performance driven and want to play my games with higher fps and do common tasks faster. A so called "upgrade" to Vista only decreases my PC's performance. Vista fanboys chime on about how old XP is and that Vista works fine for them. I completely agree that we need to advance beyond XP, but Vista is not currently able fulfill this need entirely. At home, Vista is somewhat acceptable. In the workplace, my head swarms with all kinds of problems that will arise. With some luck, Vista will fade out like Windows-ME and we can move on. We've just recently upgraded all our PC hardware, so bypassing Vista entirely isn't out of the question.

kevin.berry
kevin.berry

I do agree with you with Windows Vista not being ready for corporate environments. It is not built solidly enough to maintain the standards of business programs of today. With that said though, I have been running Vista Business 64-bit since it came out and I have not had many issues with it at all, most especially with Office 2007. The issues that youre having with 2007 although are a problem, I have not experienced it with the 3 computers I have loaded it on with 64-bit Business edition. Good luck in finding help with it though. In regards to Vista overall, I do have to say that I am quite impressed with the home editions available. Basic edition is really a waste in my opinion and Ultimate edition is really unneccessary unless you want the best of both Home Premium and Business editions. I too was very strongly against the Vista conversion but since the release of SP1, I can proudly say that I am a happy vista user.

Michael Kassner
Michael Kassner

My experience reflects yours almost explicitly. I hope Vista goes the way of Me. 32 bit versus 64 bit is another story. I hope 64 bit becomes pervasive at a fast pace, simply for security reasons. There is a great deal more kernel protection in 64 bit versions that could potentially eliminate rootkit problems as we know them today. Nice writeup, Scott. Thanks

mike
mike

We have : 1. Cheaper PC + free open-source system & software + better security + free upgrades + community support + much better global computing performance. vs. 2. Expensive PC + expensive proprietary system & software + lots of problems + expensive upgrades + expensive support. Still better looking interface at this time - but for how long ? Add to this : same business usability and customer angriness for paying again and again for the same crap, and Windows id dead. RIP. If Microsoft continues this way, this is just a matter of time. When I see Microsoft's struggle in locking down their market, I think that they're aware that this end may not take so long to come after all. Many like me are already adapting their business models. Believe me, customers will not be hard to convince. They will be glad to pay - more - for real value-added services instead of wasting their money upgrading to more power in the box, all spent on hiding poor performance with more cosmetics on the screen ... Mike.

donpro1
donpro1

LIke every OS MS has produced, Vista has good points and bad. What's bad is the different versions (just like XP). Each one has a little more functionality than the other. For those admins who've deployed it in their environments, I'll place good money it wasn't Vista Home Premium (which my wife and several other realtives/friends have and hate with a passion), but rather either Business, or Enterprise. Both of those (like XP Pro) are built specifically for business uses. That's why they don't include things like Media Center. And as with XP, manufacturers write drivers for the "business class" of OS they expect to get the greatest use. Personally, I've heard good things about Vista Enterprise and Business from those using it, and nothing but bad from those with Home Premium. Just like XP Home and XP Professional. My wife (a non-IT person to the extreme) hated XP Home, but once I upgraded her to Professional, she was sold. I'll have ot do the saem with Vista, but until then I can tell you no-one I know has a liking for the Home edition. Now THAT's what MS should work on. ONE version of the desktop OS that allows you to decide whether or not you want to disable features during installation.

ian
ian

It seems that some of us have forgotten why we use XP, 2K or Vista. It is there for our users to run application programs and get work done, not to experiment (at work anyway). We have put over 200 new workstations in our operation, and have "downgraded" to XP SP3. It is stable, easy to work with and supportable. We are moving to a Terminal Server environment anyway, so for most users it is just a platform to run RDP sessions anyway. While Vista may be the eventual platform, what we have seen and tested to date (we have 3 test systems running) there are driver and stability issues which add complications to user support. Remember that we have lives outside the screen and keep in mind that for most users, the computer is a tool to book appointments, bill clients and pay company bills. It does not matter what OS they use, if the accounts software does not balance. I like to read the posts from those of you on the bleeding edge of technology though.

oldfield
oldfield

Don't often comment here, but this post struck me as slightly odd. Separate from my job I happen to maintain a couple of window's XP pro installations in my spare time. One of these is a 3 year old laptop stacked with drivers (film scanners, scanners, various printer for specific printing needs, camera drivers) and software (- photoshop, auto-cad and and architectual software + the assorted MS stuff for WP and small databases). 1) This computer serves a need - it works almost without a glitch, it runs serious software and it is compatible with other peoples work. 2) It taks 50 seconds to start up (including Antivirus + software firewall) and takes some 40 seconds to shut down. 3) It shuts down politely and I cannot remember the last BSOD complaint. You had some seriously compromised XP machine given the numbers you provided for startup and shut down times !! Vista VS XP. Not really in a position to comment, Sun servers + Oracle is my thing but XP does what it is supposed to do on the tin. I will continue to monitor the Vista comments, I guess that is why I am reading this thread. 32 vs 64. Well, what are you trying to do? You want maintain/run desktop machines to run packages for standard stuff (WP, Excel) or do you want to run servers for DB and file systems. The only case for 64bit desktop for now is photoshop - but to date I have not hit the 2G application limit (or 3G if you reset the OS load). You must prioritise the overall reason and aims of a computer and provide the services to both customers and your staff !

john3347
john3347

Microsoft's hold can be broken, and would be severely broken almost overnight when the open source community realizes that the vast majority of computer users, both home users and business users, want to use their computers "for a project", and not "as a project". When the configuration issues, and compatibility issues with Linux OS's get fixed, Microsoft will become just another player in the software world. (WAKE UP DEVELOPERS!!) We want "plug-n-play". We want to stick a CD into the drive and an application install itself. We want to insert a CD and look at our pictures on the CD. Well, maybe, some day, some developer will get the picture.

happyraver1958
happyraver1958

In my company, both myself and the CEO have tried the hardest we can to stay away from Microsoft products all together and so far, it's been successful. The only painful part about it is that some of our clients' systems require MS products (like XP and IE6 at least), which is the only reason why we still have to use MS products, not by choice though, but because we're forced by our clients. I believe us customers make the products as we are the ones who dictate the needs. I truly believe we will eventually be able to live without Microsoft and their products and we will be very happy with that decision. Linux is a very competitive product, not to mention the price tag on it. If that doesn't satisfy your needs entirely, you can also try Solaris; another robust and reliable OS. I think that if a good chunk of us start moving away from MS products, they will get the hint and will start devoting more time to make a reliable OS and/or products instead of worrying so much about protecting themselves from piracy. Windows XP's anti-piracy protection (which only protects Microsoft) is actually good enough. I hope you and many other people could join me in trying other alternatives when it comes to OS's. Again, if many of us start using for instance Ubuntu Linux, I'm sure Canonical LTD will be very happy to start developing more products for their platform which will be as competitive as MS's products. Just a thought... :) Zac

JCitizen
JCitizen

I will only get Vista the cheap way - OEM. And then, only because I have to support Vista clients.

danmarple
danmarple

Having worked in IS for a university, the biggest problem we had were the users, especially professors, who did NOT want change. If the computer did what they wanted, then leave it alone. A trial Vista implementation showed that a riot would have ensued if a full "upgrade" would have been done. I should have used the word "downgrade" instead. My experiences with Vista 64-bit equal those of others - wrought with problems. I find that 32-bit is OK if you're an experienced user. XP continues to do what the university and all of my clients wish to accomplish, with little or no pain.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Slow - Add hardware - WHY? It (xp)worked fine before? What do I gain by adding hardware? XP now seems old and tired compared to Vista!!! Old & Tired are not really reasons to upgrade

Tearat
Tearat

You wrote Finally, as support professionals, it is our job to ease the transition to newer technology. The experience we gain with Vista will make the transition to Win7 easier. For those of you waiting for Win7 before moving, consider that your step up will be far greater than for those of us already using Vista. Vista is going to provide much of the foundation for Win7, much like 2K did for XP. Like 2K, Vista may be a bit rough around the edges, but already provides enough improvement over XP to make the move worthwhile. Win 7 will be a rewrite It will have a new GUI ME was the OS before XP not 2K Cant say knowing ME was any help in using XP Vista has as much in common with XP as Linux My vote puts you in the MS fanboy group Or is that Vista fanboy?

Craig_B
Craig_B

I have to agree with your post, very well said.

gypkap
gypkap

My only problems were with third party drivers, particularly one from Intel that ran the WiFi card and disconnected WiFi randomly. A fix pushed by Intel took care of that problem. TO increase display speed in Vista: Turn on Aero (faster than the old XP UI), but uncheck Enable Transparency (transparency makes windows harder to read, and slows the display a lot).

vectra-v6
vectra-v6

We installed Vista Enterprise on several IT PC's early after release. First big problem was that the Administration Tools pack (Server 2003) did not work which meant we could not admin the likes of DCHP as it could not load the network scope. After much fiddling we managed to get most of the daily essential tools working. But how could Microsoft release a desktop OS that did not work with their own server / network admin tools?, what happened to product testing? and if the IT Dept cant use the product we for sure are not going to roll it out the the general user with all the potential problems that could bring. That said I DO like Vista, I just think it was released 6-12 months too early.

Mike Page
Mike Page

I tried Vista Beta 2 and Vista (pre SP1), I and hated the experience. However, my new Dell notebook PC with Vista Business SP1 works well. I needed to tweak setting to make Vista less annoying (such as turning off UAC). It has been 3 weeks with the new computer and so far so good. I felt similarly about Windows XP until SP2. It seems to take MS a long time to shake the bugs out of their new OSes. Conversely, I remember liking Win 95 and 2000 immediately. Things used to be better.

Interested Amateur
Interested Amateur

As a home user, what do I need quad cores for? I don't play games, solitaire once in a while, so why should I give up XP? To buy a 'Home' edition of Vista? I am quite satisfied with XP now after years of learning it and will keep it on my laptop. But my main 'squeeze' will be open source from now on using Mandriva on my tower. The only reason for switching OSs in mid-stream is MS's insistence on using another of their OSs. Why? XP runs quite nicely, with 3rd party security of course. MS, you have made a Linux believer out of this home user. Bye, bye. Interested Amateur

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

I was at a Microsoft sponsored training. Vista was still fairly new, but that is what the trainer had on his machine. During the presentation explorer crashed. The trainer had to manually launch applications until we took a break and he could reboot the laptop. Wasn't a shining moment for Vista. Bill

billfine
billfine

This topic takes me back to the days when we trying to decide whether to go to XP from Windows 98. It was not a hard decision and it was mine as CIO. We had a stable OS in Windows 98 and its only job was to support Commercial Off the Shelf Software (COTS). The cost would have been in the millions and the headaches and business disruption would have been horrific. I made the decision to stay with Win 98 until our COTS vendors migrated to XP. I do not know if that ever happened, I have retired since then. I suspect that if it has the same discussion is going on now on Windows XP vs. Vista. As for me I just ordered a new HP with XP Pro installed but Vista Compatible. I don't plan to convert. I like XP Pro and I like its backup capability and stability. 64 bits sounds neat and decades ago I ran applications on 64 bit crays and control data mainframes. The lesson learned then and now is if you really need it go for it.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

Many companies are forced to stay on top of the OS market for customer compatibility, software development that needs to be run on the latest OS etc. Not everyone relies on it for calendars and contact management. If so, then there would also be no need for Windows at all, you could just run 'nix flavours and do all that too. In the case of Windows, people are often forced to use the the latest proprietary system .

JCitizen
JCitizen

and even I can setup a dual boot PCLOS machine! That way you get both worlds for the price of one; and work on weening one's self from Microsoft. So far I would call Kubuntu or PCLinuxOS both thoroughly modern; try a LiveCD for yourself! ** :)

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

"We want to stick a CD into the drive and an application install itself. We want to insert a CD and look at our pictures on the CD. Well, maybe, some day, some developer will get the picture." I can do all that with my prefered OS on a machine that is not always the project; what OS distribution are you using and what have you done to try and fix those issues? If you post the specs you may find someone happy to help you.

chucksjc
chucksjc

I work at a K-8 school and use Vista to learn the OS, but downgraded all users to XP. The same with Office 2007. My thoughts are that as people have no choice with home purchses they will get used to both on their own within the next year or so. And I won't have to be the bad guy for making them switch.

kingnorm4
kingnorm4

I run windows xp 64 pro. on my main computer, just for info. Never tried Vista but know people who us it and althought it is better than when it first came out ( dirvers and compatiblity with other software ) they still have problems with some hard and software. Whats getting me is that MS did not work with software and hardware developers more. I hear more bad than good about vista than good. I think Vista will be the new ME of the OSs. Right now I have no plans to use vista when I build a new machine. I hope when windows 7 comes out MS has done there work by working with developers across the board to get it right the first time.

joseph1122002
joseph1122002

Vista was getting poor ratings from me too but after up grading 1 GB (memory) to 4GBs,a Big improvement. then power hungry as I am I had to try out Raid,started with,Raid 5 (crap),then 0+1,off the charts disk performance. Still in testing,curreny have an old set of sata drives in failure,still running.After my other Two new sata II 300s get here,I'm Still thinking about going with,EVGA nForce 780i SLI Motherboard CPU Bundle - Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 Processor 2.66GHz OEM, I just Like to Fly HeeHa!

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

You were contemplating a move from 98 to XP. Was 2K passed due to costs when it was released and by the trime XP came out you were ready to consider upgrading?

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

When I was in trade school studying automotive repair we were taught how to rebuild a steam engine. Most cars at home were fuel injected, so we were taught how to rebuild carburetors. We had no choice when we bought those cars, so we can learn that at home. My teacher figured that this way, we would study old technology and could learn new technology in our own time. Sure glad I learned about steam engines and carburetors though, was a real life saver when I hit the workforce. "You see sir, not only have I fiddled with a fuel injection system in the back yard (enough to figure it out anyway), but I have also been professionally trained on rebuilding carbs and stoking a steam engine too! (in case you weren't sure, it was intended to be quite sarcastic).

JCitizen
JCitizen

On my laptop; it was like flying, similar to one of the previous posters. However I caved to the fact that I probably wasn't willing to buy a license because I was sure the applications that would run on Xp x64 would be few and far between. I have no idea if Office 2007 is compatible, but none the less I would have gladly gone with the x64 Edition if I didn't have to support Vista clients. Oh well! Shoulda, Coulda! My brother says his Vista Business rocks so I'll be making the leap soon.

wsmith
wsmith

That was what happened with us. W98 ran everything we needed, no reason to upgrade to W2k. By the time we were ready, XP had already been out for a while.

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