Windows Vista just can't catch a break

Windows Vista just can't catch a break

Summary: It's been a rough couple of weeks for the operating system everyone loves to hate.

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It's been a rough couple of weeks for the operating system everyone loves to hate.

Whether Vista is, in fact, flopping or doing fine is a matter of debate. As Mary Jo Foley has pointed out in her blog, Vista may not be selling at twice the rate of Windows XP--Microsoft's original goal--but if revenues in the client division are any indication, it is hardly a failure.

Nevertheless Vista has suffered from a steady stream of bad PR stemming from the "Vista Capable" logo debacle, botched Service Pack updates, non-existent Ultimate add-ons, and a parade of executive departures. And the bad news just keeps on coming.

Earlier this month, Dell began offering a Windows Vista "downgrade" option on business desktops and laptops. If you choose this option, your PC comes with Windows XP pre-installed and a DVD so that you can upgrade to Vista Business or Ultimate "on your schedule." It's a nice option, but coming more than a year after the release of Vista it hardly seems like a vote of confidence. (I have a feeling this option may be what's behind the stories circulating today about Dell offering Windows XP Professional on business systems through 2012.)

At a Microsoft conference last week, CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly described Vista as a "work I progress" that still needed improvements in performance, compatibility and battery life. But, he said, it was too late to do much about the size of the thing. "We can't just set the dial back, but I think people wish we could," Ballmer said. "Vista is bigger than XP. It's going to stay bigger than XP. We have to make sure it doesn't get bigger still."

That is why Microsoft announced that it will make Windows XP available for an additional two years, specifically for "ultra low-cost PCs" such as the Asus Eee PC. Many of these systems lack the muscle to run Vista. (The cut-off date for all other types of PCs is still set for June 30, 2008.) Internal e-mails show that Microsoft's own analysts warned as early as 2006 that Vista's hefty system requirements may be out of sync with PC market that was shifting to notebooks, including cheaper, less powerful models.

Still it seemed like Vista might finally catch a break last week when Forrester recommended making the upgrade in a report titled "Building the Business Case for Windows Vista." Its rationale: There really is no alternative to Windows for businesses, Windows XP won’t be available for most PCs after June 30th, and the next version, Windows 7, will probably be late and no one really knows what it will include anyway.

Dell Vista Downgrade

Topics: Windows, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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127 comments
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  • That's unfair, not everybody loves to hate Vista

    ... there's Penelope, Rupert, Ballmer, No_Ax, Loverock, Ye and friends ...
    fr0thy2
    • You got that right

      [i]"... there's Penelope, Rupert, Ballmer, No_Ax, Loverock, [b]Ye[/b] and friends ..."[/i]

      Vista works just fine. As for resource consumption I couldn't care less given my quad core system cost a total of $650. When dual core systems capable of running Vista well cost a mere $299 it's a non-issue.
      ye
      • People hate Vista for one reason

        It's different and people hate change. XP was different too and look how many people hated it when it came out. The only big difference between going to XP and hating it and going to Vista and hating it was that the prior OS either worked or didn't. For XP you had ME prior to it for home users. Anything was better than ME. For Vista you have XP and XP works as well people have gotten used to it. The thing with Vista is it will take time. As more people get it with new PCs they will get used to it and we will be in the same boat again when the next version of Windows comes out.

        That's the problem with Microsoft, they made their product too good and where to do you go after that?
        voska1
        • You got the wrong reason

          It's not because it's different. It's because it's SLOW, and BLOATED, and UNSTABLE, and INCOMPATIBLE still with a lot of hardware and software.

          I guess that's a few more reasons than one.
          james.faction
          • Re: You got the wrong reason

            "It's not because it's different. It's because it's SLOW, and BLOATED, and UNSTABLE, and INCOMPATIBLE still with a lot of hardware and software."

            That's exactly what some folks said about Windows XP when it was launched!

            Windows Vista has been delightfully stable on my "Vista Certified" PC.
            cnfrisch
          • ...

            Yep... and they were right since it took 5 years to get it fixed. Now XP is okay. ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • unless...

            Unless your "Vista Capable" PC has SigmaTel hardware and you wish to update. Then it's not so "Vista Capable" anymore.

            :)
            lawryll@...
          • You still have the wrong reason

            ----"It's not because it's different. It's because it's SLOW, and BLOATED, and UNSTABLE, and INCOMPATIBLE still with a lot of hardware and software."

            That's exactly what some folks said about Windows XP when it was launched!

            Windows Vista has been delightfully stable on my "Vista Certified" PC. -----

            Just because all you do is surf the internet, doesn't mean that Vista is stable for real productions..

            --irrationaly bahavior is our nature. ---
            ccd1977@...
          • XP more stream lined

            You're right about everything except that when you say different, it now takes 2 or 3 click to do things that used to take one click and functions shouldn't be moved to this extreme. Seems every time they improve something, it get more cumber sum.
            jrdrum
          • And Just What Exactly Do You Do With Your Vista Computer

            beyond e-mail and web forums?

            What modeling and simulation, mathematical, CAD, CAE, CAM, signal processing, scientific, and 3D games do you run on your system on a daily basis?

            What devices do you use?

            No question about it - XP had much better Microsoft support for customer transition than Vista does. Vista is just being jammed down people's throats.
            Cardhu
          • No, he's correct.

            Most people that don't like it and believe me they are few are far between, don't like it because it's different. It's not slow, especially compared to XP at this stage when it was released, bloated means nothing and it is completely stable, unless you don't know what you're doing. As far as compatibility with hardware and software, check the system requirements before you buy anything. I have customers still running Windows 2000 because their proprietary software has compatibility issues with XP, big deal. The other group of people who don't like it are basically IT illiterate, anti-Microsoft or both! I just got my first high-end customer running a Vista Business 64-bit laptop to run AutoCAD on and he loves it!!! I have several others on the Vista Business 32-bit and they love it as well.
            bill@...
          • I'm obviously talking from far more experience than you've had.

            I'm in an IT department, many computers a week go through here. With Vista, driver, software and stability issues are a constant. Speed has certainly improved since its first release, and I think stability has too. But there is still issues, software that runs great on XP and supposedly 100% Vista compatible has glitches even on new hardware.

            Very few machines that come into our office with Vista installed leave again without the OS being replaced; usually with XP.

            Don't worry, I remember when XP was released too. Yes there were problems, thanks Microsoft... but within 6 months there was major adoption going on, lots of people were upgrading their 2k (and 98) boxes because of the extra functionality it offered.

            Now we're well over a year down the track after Vista was released, SP1 is out, and finally Vista has become more like a full release of an operating system, instead of an expensive, buggy, beta version - yet still you don't see people installing it on their existing machines, do you!

            This is because of a combination of the problems I mentioned above, but also because Vista simply doesn't have anything new to offer that makes it a desirable piece of software.

            I think it's plainly obvious that Microsoft were far more interested in pleasing their corporate parners than they were in the end user.
            james.faction
          • There's your answer (sort of):

            [i]"...lots of people were upgrading their 2k (and 98) boxes because of the extra functionality it offered."[/i]

            Windows XP offered little over Windows 2000. I don't recall many people moving from Windows 2000 to Windows XP within six months of Windows XPs release.

            As for Windows 98, Windows XP was a huge leap forward. Thus there was a compelling reason to adopt it over Windows 98. The same cannot be said of Vista. Vista is more evolutionary over Windows XP. Thus if you're happy with Windows XP stay with it.
            ye
          • Yeah, probably not.

            Your "IT department" seems to morph into a retail or consultancy firm, and the rest of your post isn't any more believable.

            [i]software that runs great on XP and supposedly 100% Vista compatible has glitches even on new hardware.[/i]

            Got an example? Shouldn't be hard.
            rtk
          • Experience doesn't always translate to success

            I don't usually make it a practice to install a new O/S on old hardware, unless there's a decided advantage. Example of that is a customer who desires remote access, through Remote Web Workplace prompted a move from 2000 to XP to increase productivity for key employees who are say home sick, snowbound or traveling. I replace the O/S when I replace the hardware, normallly on a 4-6 year cycle depending on the customer. My question would be: If you have so many issues with your software and Vista, why did your IT department buy systems with Vista? Didn't your IT department do any testing before deployment?
            bill@...
          • That's the point

            "Don't worry, I remember when XP was released too. Yes there were problems, thanks Microsoft... but within 6 months there was major adoption going on, lots of people were upgrading their 2k (and 98) boxes because of the extra functionality it offered."

            And that's the point, there is no added advantage to move to Vista. I can't think of one thing that I can do on a Vista machine that I can't do on XP. The advantage clearly goes to MS's pockets and not to users.
            DB_z
          • When to upgrade to Vista

            When you need to do something your old machine can't do using the old software.

            I know mac fan boys do this all the time and I've done it with windows but I finally woke up and this is one cost you can do without.

            By the time an old XP needs a new operating system its hardware will most likely be less able than what is current in a smart phone.

            I've bought one PDA and it was more able than the Windows 98 machine I had been using at work with complete satisfaction.

            Get a new machine meant to run the current operating system and be happy.
            deowll
          • Enterprise Tool Chain

            When the client OS changes for most companies there are many other enterprise class programs that also require upgrade. One example that I've seen is the need to upgrade many components of an Oracle ERP system. These upgrades are not cheap because they often require a major upgrade/conversion process and require new user training. In addition to the upgrade costs, unfortunately, sometimes there are also pricing/licensing changes in these enterprise applications that cause increased operational costs and/or the loss of function for the customer.

            All of this increases the time needed for business customer's to adopt a new client operating system. It has been true for:
            upgrading win95/98 to Windows 2000
            upgrading Windows 2000 to Win XP
            upgrading a Linux 2.4 to a Linux 2.6 kernel.
            upgrading Win XP to Vista
            dmarshx
          • End User

            That's because we end users are all "little people". We just don't have any clout with Microsoft (unless we unionized or something). I'm keeping XP sp3, but I've also installed Ubuntu. Still learning that one but I like what I see.
            Papa_Bill
          • "IT illiterate, anti-Microsoft or both"

            IT illiterate and anti-Microsoft are mutually exclusive.

            There's the people who don't know what a browser is and click around to get by.

            There's the Windows power users who pass themselves off as computer admins and such like.

            Then there's actual IT literacy - people who can handle multiple hardware/OS/infrastructure.

            Most Windows admins seem to know how to fill in a dialog box for DHCP say, but wouldn't have a clue about what's happening on the wire. They're basically stuck at the stage of not even knowing what they don't know, otherwise they wouldn't be satisfied with such noddy junk.
            fr0thy2