I can understand why some want to downgrade from Vista to XP

I can understand why some want to downgrade from Vista to XP

Summary: Last week my ZDNet blogging colleague Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft is to make it easier for some Vista users (specifically those using Windows Vista Ultimate and Vista Business) to roll back to Windows XP until they are ready to make the move. This is a good move for everyone, except Microsoft.

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TOPICS: Windows, Microsoft
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Last week my ZDNet blogging colleague Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft is to make it easier for some Vista users (specifically those using Windows Vista Ultimate and Vista Business) to roll back to Windows XP until they are ready to make the move.  This is a good move for everyone, except Microsoft.

Personally, I can understand why users who jumped onto the Vista train might want to get off.  Even if you buy (or build) a PC specifically with Vista in mind, you can still end up with some nasty headaches when you try to slot a Vista PC into your hardware/software ecosystem.  Here's what I wrote about that just a few days ago:

Now, here’s the thing. I run Vista and have been since the first betas came out, but even I am waiting for SP1.  This is because in my experience Vista has two faces, and which one you see depends on the hardware and software you try to run on it.  If everything goes to plan, you see the Dr Jekyll face - if not you get Mr Hyde.  Buy a new PC and peripherals and you’re fine.  Try to integrate a Vista box into an existing hardware/software ecosystem and it’s a throw of the dice as to whether (to mis-quote Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park) it’s all oohs and ahhhs … or it’s the running and the screaming.  My hope is that SP1 administers a dose of whatever Mr Hyde needs to calm himself down. 

I've been running Vista for quite some time now and while there are some aspects of the OS that I like, they're really nothing more than trimmings.  For me an operating system is nothing more than a platform for hardware and software to run on.  I want it to be secure, stable and speedy.  Since I didn't really have much in the way of performance or stability issues with XP, and the jury is still out on Vista's security, it's hard to come up with a compelling reason to upgrade.  If upgrades cause a hassle or look like they're going to result in me having to spend money on new software and hardware, the idea of going back to XP seems compelling.  Sure, there's a chance that I'm being a weasel to my future self and missing out on better security or whatever, but to be honest I don't care because I've given up on mortgaging my current productivity levels for future security because it never seems to pay off. 

And that's the rub for Microsoft.  Yeah, sure, it's nice to be able to view digital photos in a slide show or add clocks on the desktop that show multiple time zones, these things really are nothing more than decoration, and I can live without decoration.  I'm not even sold on the warm fuzzy feeling of enhanced security.  I can (and regularly do) slip effortlessly between Vista and XP and the features that I miss are the compact Start Menu and the bigger, better icons that Vista has.  Wow.  There's very little in Vista that makes it "stickable" and nothing proves this more than people who get Vista bundled on a new PC specifically designed to run it wanting to downgrade to XP.  For business users, the advantages of going with Vista over XP are even vaguer than they are for the consumer.  Back when I was testing early beta builds I was worried that Vista felt too much like a consumer OS and that feeling hasn't gone away.  No wonder businesses are waiting for SP1.  Why rush?

This is why simplified downgrade rights are a good thing for customers but a bad thing for Microsoft.  For customers it allows for choice and a safe escape route if things get too problematic.  For Microsoft it's a bad thing because we're all suppose to be so "Wowed!" by Vista that downgrading shouldn't be on the cards.  The fact that downgrading has become such a prominent issue shows that something has gone seriously wrong somewhere.  Like I always say, marketing sexiness (which to me is what "Wow!" translates into) is transient.  Customers need to be left with something a lot more in order to be satisfied long term.  If they're not, there's no reason not to downgrade.

The "Wow!" might start now, but it'll end pretty soon too.

Thoughts?

Topics: Windows, Microsoft

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73 comments
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  • I finally worked with Vista last week...

    and couldn't wait to get back to my XP machine.

    I will be reloading XP 'til the cows come home!
    BillyG_n_SC
  • I understand why as well

    First off, for most users Windows XP is plenty strong, and has an enormous amount of hardware and software designed to work well with it. Vista is a new animal with MANY potential pitfalls.

    Also, don't let anyone try to convince you that the DRM included in Vista is less of an issue than with XP. It is horrifically stronger.
    cyngaines
    • I'm curious about the DRM comment.

      Three of the four machines I run at home have been upgraded to Vista. I have not noticed a single difference in how Vista impliments DRM. To the user it appears exactly the same. So what leads you to conclude that it is "horrifically stronger".
      ShadeTree
      • You have to give the ABM FUDsters credit for Vista DRM scaremongering

        They did a [b]fantastic[/b] job of spreading FUD... the best I've [b]ever[/b] seen. I'm amazed at how many people with no clue will simply say "Vista is bad because of DRM" without really understanding what they are saying. And then others read it, it sticks, and they spread it again.

        You have to give a round of applause to the anti-Vista FUDsters. They have taken FUD to a brand new level. They've raised the bar on FUD. This is a revolutionary new FUD technique, a new paradigm in FUD spreading. Dare I say it, it sounds a lot like Apple is behind it! I think I'll start calling it iFUD.
        NonZealot
        • Just what one would expect from a Microzealot

          Or would that be an Microfanboi?

          Drm is NOT the only crap contained in
          Vista. Just as bad, or possibly even
          worse, is the infamous Activation, and,
          as if that wasn't bad enough, enhanced
          by their WGA. Just as a tip on the
          iceburg, you also have the golden
          opportunity to pay through the nose for
          the ultimate insult to human
          intelligence.
          Ole Man
          • There's a name for your type of response: Non-sequitur

            I didn't see you provide anything to disprove what he wrote.
            ye
          • Uh, I don't see that he <b>has</b> a point.. (NT)

            NT
            Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
          • Who are you referring to?

            If it's Old Man then I agree.
            ye
          • Uh No,

            Reference to the Zealot.
            Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
        • Then you must give yourself some credit

          because that sounds awfully close to your daily M.O.

          Of course, as always, replace Vista/MS with Apple and visa versa, wash, rinse, repeat...

          --You have to give the NBM FUDsters credit for Apple scaremongering

          They did a <b>fantastic</b> job of spreading FUD... the best I've <b>ever</b> seen. I'm amazed at how many people with no clue will simply say "Apple is bad because Apple is now popular" without really understanding what they are saying. And then others read it, it sticks, and they spread it again.

          You have to give a round of applause to the anti-Apple FUDsters. They have taken FUD to a brand new level. They've raised the bar on FUD. This is a revolutionary new FUD technique, a new paradigm in FUD spreading. Dare I say it, it sounds a lot like Microsoft is behind it! I think I'll start calling it ElmerFUDD.

          Go get that waskily wabbit, boys...
          Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
      • Not eaxactly true comment...

        I don't know what you mean by [b]"I have not noticed a single difference in how Vista impliments DRM. To the user it appears exactly the same"[/b]

        I do not see DRM in XP at all. I have been using XP for long time and all DRM I see is implemented on the by product basis.
        i.e. Protection on CD it self, contents protection in file or website, as well as maybe hard drive.

        Yes some programs built for XP and icluded with it use DRM schema and inform you that the contents of the CD or a file is protected. BUT they will let you access it, if not copy it.

        Now I got a new PC recently.. TOTALY DIFFERENT EXPERINECE.

        Example :

        1. All CD drives as locked. I place a CD in the drive if it protected or not I have to waight 5-10 seconds for the cd to be recognised and openned. (On XP 2 sec. flat [Same system. I have reloaded with XP after 2 weeks of this BS])

        2. I can not read any of my BackUp CDs I have created on other systems. (Same machine read them with out any problems with XP)

        3. it will not let me play any Video or Music CDs that I have compiled over the years no matter what. it simply tells me that an empty disk is present and if I want to format it. (even for Closed uneditable CDs)

        4. it deletes any file(MP3/Avi) I am copying from CD or external HD if it even detects a hint of protection (OR if it thinks it detect a protection schema) without any warning

        5. The Pc I got is a multimedia PC with video capture card.
        it is sold with it and suposetly should work with it BUT even after week of fidling with any and all programs that came with the computer and from card vendor and pc vendor I could not capture any video or sound from it

        (in XP I have used all the same programs I tried on Vista and all of them work exelent.)

        SO is it the same DRM or not you decide
        vbp1
      • Read this.

        Read this analysis by the guy who helped write PGP.
        www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/vista_cost.html
        A long article but worth it.

        Now read Foley's blog about M$ renting Office.
        http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=582&tag=nl.e622

        Then perhaps you will understand.
        The_Curmudgeon
  • my twopence worth

    i used vista through its many betas. it was pretty but did`nt have the funcionality of xpsp2 pro. many of the small software programs i use on my pc were not supported in vista. i managed to get the printer up and running but the scanner is growing dust as we speak. i bought a new pc with all the bells and whistles and dual core but that made no difference. so i rolled back to xpsp2 and been happy ever since.
    2 reasons not to use vista in the uk.
    1. lack of support
    2. you can buy a laptop for the price of the ultimate software in the uk.
    ollyc12
    • It's sad really

      that the OS price over-reaches the price of the hardware you are putting it on.

      Sad...
      Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
  • Downgrade? You mean upgrade!

    Begging to differ Adrian ... but the move from VISTA to XP is an upgrade!
    - better hardware performance (especially video)
    - more efficient use of resources (especially memory)
    - full range of compatible applications
    I bought a DELL + XP with a Vista Express Upgrade late January so that I could dual
    boot. In Vista I have 'nvidia driver has crashed - recovering' even without running
    games. iTunes crashed the OS and trashed the RAID setup. Instead of 300K RAM
    used I start at nearly 1Gb.
    There are three improvements users want: bullet-proof security and a much faster
    file system, in fact faster everything ... or something else useful i.e. not decorative
    as you say.
    Us chaps in the UK would also like to pay in dollars please.
    So we would be very grateul if you and Mary JF and GO and all the crew would keep
    up relentless pressure on M$ to do something worthwhile next time round (SP1
    would be nice).
    RELENTLESS, do you hear me?
    And please don't rat on me to DELL for my two XP partitions and Vista partition ...
    or else I'll tell them where I got the partitioning ideas and Vista rearm technique
    from. Deal? Keep up the good work!
    Did I mention relentless, already?
    jacksonjohn
    • Downgrade? You mean upgrade!

      Thought it might be a jolly good idea if I define 'relentless'.

      If you clever, experienced, media gurus who have "run Vista and have been since
      the first betas came out" allow DELL+NVIDIA+M$ to release a product which:
      - doesn't work (crashes regularly)
      - performs more slowly than its predecessor
      - uses more resources than its predecessor
      - claims to be better
      - costs money
      then you should feel obliged to run a campaign questioning whether the
      manufacturers are in violation of the Trade Descriptions Act (sorry, UK legislation -
      not sure of the US equivalent). Two counts - 'quality not merchantable', 'claims for
      testing not carried out'.

      May I correct your, "Buy a new PC and peripherals and you?re fine." If you look on
      DELL's blog then you will see dozens of counterexamples where brand new
      machines don't work (as I said - I've got one). That's because the DELL moderators
      have deleted the millions which would otherwise have clogged up the group.

      It's not so much the lack of WOW, it's that after FIVE YEARS the tier 1 vendors
      cannot even match existing standards.

      And where are my ultimate extras?

      I think I should be able to ask for my money back ... and the vendors punished
      under trading legislation.

      Back to you Adrian ;-)
      jacksonjohn
      • Downgrade? You mean upgrade!

        ... more unrelenting M$ and DELL (and INTEL) requests ...

        I do not want to pay $200 for the Yoggie security appliance.
        I do not want to buy another whole machine running Windows Home Server.
        I do not want to buy any expensive SAN interconnect technology
        I do not want to pay $100 for a dual core processor and $400 for a quad core CPU.

        I want you guys to do some real design ... and deliver me a WIndows Compute
        Cluster with a built in bullet-proof security appliance, RAID 6 with automatic real-
        time fail-over. I only want to know about the following:

        - DISK 3 in RAID array 1 has failed: please replace
        - cluster failure rate increasing: please check xyz

        I want it twice as fast but only in failure mode, otherwise 4x.

        I'd like it to look as good as 3 Apple minis (can you people take a hint?).

        And I don't wanna wait another 5 years!
        jacksonjohn
        • Windows Vista is Crapware in disguise

          I haven't seen, expierenced nor read a thing yet that makes me want to shell out my $ for any of the versions of Vista, let alone the obscene prices Micro$crew wants for "Ultimate", oh, and those so-called Vista extras you were promised, you'll get them, eventually..., uh, maybe...what a rip-off!

          Something is very wrong with the Vista pricing scenario when for the price of Ultimate, you could go to the corner PC store, buy an bare-bones computer, install XPProSP2 AND Ubuntu on it, and still have change left over for lunch...
          jaybyrd
          • Where's the disguise?

            I made the mistake of buying a brand new laptop with vista installed. Unfortunately the hardware is too new for linux, unstable in vista (even after I doubled the ram to 2gb) and I can't get xp drivers either. Vista occasionally lags, or jumps randomly from focus where I'm typing to someplace else on the screen. I really miss the days when it wasn't too hard to buy a machine without the OS.
            keepu
          • To new for Linux?

            What version(s) have you tried? Half the fun I have at work is when the new HP/Compaq, Toshiba, Acer, Lenovo laptops and desktops come in. I start tossing Linux discs in testing which work out of the box best with which distros.<br><br> My most recent surprising find is that "Simply MEPIS 6.5 " works great for most of the laptops I've tried so far especially those with the dreaded Broadcom wireless adapters.
            devlin_X