I mentioned some months ago that I had to purchase Microsoft Vista, preinstalled on a laptop, against my better judgement. You can read about that experience here.
Recently, I had to give a presentation to about 50 climate scientists at UCAR in Boulder on my findings related to weather station placement, their measurements, and how it can impact climate change by creating an impression of a signal when it may be simply encroachment and bias. It was the most important presentation I was ever to give, so I left nothing to chance. That included leaving my Windows Vista based laptop at home, because I needed a backup in case their presentation system was also Vista based or Mac based. The presentation software I use is the same I used for live TV weather, and blows Powerpoint out of the water, but like many programs, it won’t run under Vista. So I took my older XP based laptop with me just in case I needed it.
Even though my older laptop has less features, less CPU speed, only one CPU core, 512MB RAM, slower IDE hard disk, it still ran circles around my Vista based laptop with dual core CPU, 2GB RAM, SATA drive, and better graphics. I had forgotten how I had begrudgingly slowed my own perceptions to match that of Vista.
For example, here are couple of benchmarks:
Creating new blank email in Outlook Express- Vista:20-30 seconds XP: less than 1 second
Fully booting up from power off- Vista 4-5 minutes XP: 1-1:30 minutes
Running Microsoft Office 2007- Vista won’t do spell check XP: with office 2003 ll works fine
Microsoft Frontpage 2003 crashes under Vista – Microsoft aware but offers no fix. Works on XP fine
Running programs- Vista: maybe, not likely if program more than 1 year old XP for certain
Background Processes – Vista: hundreds XP: dozens
and the list goes on and on…bear in mind the XP machine used to get those numbers above is older, slower, with less memory, and slower hard drive.
Yesterday, after quietly tolerating Vista’s slowness and incompatibility, I learned that Microsoft had pushed back the first Vista service pack release until the first quarter of 2008. Originally I’d heard of releases before Christmas, so that millions of people wouldn’t be disappointed in Vista’s lackluster performance. Learning that was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
So yesterday evening, I purchased a new SATA laptop drive for my new Vista laptop. I pulled out the old Vista drive after backing up a few files, and installed the new one. I installed a fresh copy of XP and then proceeded to try locating drivers. Not so easy, because Microsoft pushes hardware vendors to push Vista. For example, XP drivers for the nVidia Go 6150 graphics chip are mysteriously missing from key places. Fortunately tech blogs tracks and archive these things so with a little hunting I had all my drivers burned to a CD ready for install.
I have my once Vista enabled laptop now fully upgraded to a stable and functional operating system, Windows XP Professional. The Vista loaded drive will stay on the shelf until Microsoft pulls their head out of the sand and starts making an OS that isn’t crippled.
Take my advice: dump Vista, “upgrade” to XP…and do it soon, as Microsoft says (in yet another brilliant marketing move) that Windows XP will no longer be available after January. I predict there will be a last minute rush and hoarding of Win XP because Vista, to put it simply, just plain sucks.
And it’s not just my opinion. here’s another blog that was so frustrated by Vista that he posted a video telling why he dumped Vista and upgraded back to XP
Now if I can just get the ER to dump “Moveable Type” used to create this blog, we’ll really have something.