Hasta La Vista, Vista!

Every picture tells a story dont it?

Every picture tells a story don't it?

Life is hard.  It’s a lot harder when you’re ugly and nobody loves you.

That’s what it’s like to run a computer with Windows Vista on it.  Nobody loves Vista.   If you want to make Bill Gates cry, ask him about Vista.   If he doesn’t slap you upside the head first that is.

When my old computer from Krazy Kenny’s Warehouse running Windows XP had slowed to a crawl and downloads could be timed with a sundial despite the high-speed internet connection, I put a bullet in the box (actually, I pawned it off to my younger brother where it lasted about a year before he gave up on it) and moved up to a bright and shiny Dell which was bigger, faster, stronger, better than what I had been suffering with and pre-loaded with the Vista operating system.

Not that I wanted Vista, mind you.  It was more of a situation where it was already installed on almost every computer at Micro Center.   It was a “take-it-or-leave-it” deal and I wasn’t in a position where leaving it was an option.  I sighed deeply and pulled out the plastic.  I was assured if I really hated Vista, it would still be possible to install its far more popular  predecessor, Windows XP.

Windows XP was the American Idol of operating systems.  It still is the most widely used operating system in the world.  Released in 2001, XP has sold over 400 million copies and its market share peaked at 85.3 in December 2006.   Most households and businesses are still running XP.   Microsoft stopped selling XP in retail stores in 2008, but the system is still chugging along.

Im afaid you aint gonna make it, Fido.

It ain't looking good for you, Fido.

Vista on the other hand started off with high expectations which soon went unrealized because it wasn’t different enough from XP in ways that mattered and the ways it was different didn’t matter.  CNET.com concluded in their review, “Windows Vista is essentially warmed-over Windows XP. If you’re currently happy with Windows XP SP2, we see no compelling reason to upgrade. On the other hand, if you need a new computer right now, Windows Vista is stable enough for everyday use.”

Stable enough?”  Control your enthusiasm, guys!   Coming five years after XP, the expectation was Vista would fix all the nasty security problems that nagged XP among other things.  Unfortunately for Microsoft, Vista was almost universially loathed upon its release.    Microsoft had given birth to a baby that both stank and was ugly too.

I’ve grown accustomed to Vista.  I don’t love it, but I don’t think it’s all that bad either.   All things considered, I knew Vista was a red-haired stepchild when one of my co-workers just smiled sadly when I told him I had bought a computer with it installed and said, “The way you can tell if a operating system is any good is how many businesses install it on their computers.”   When my employer decided to upgrade their systems from Windows 98, they chose XP over Vista.  Ouch.

As it would turn out, Vista became the second most popular operating system, but Microsoft aims for global domination, not second best.   The relative failure of Vista may not have hastened the impetus for 7, but it sure as hell became a priority to make it sexy and get it right.

Now that Windows 7 has been released and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive (mostly because it’s not Vista),  I’m wondering if I should upgrade.    I’m not the kind of guy who feels inadequate if I’m not rocking the bleeding edge of technology.  Hell, I still own a camera that uses film and work out with a Walkman.

What tempts me is my big brother—the quintessential techno geek—LOVES Windows 7.   He’s the kind of guy who spends a weekend formatting his hard drive for the fun of it.  He installed Vista several times on his own computers and uninstalled Vista several times.  He got his hands on a Beta version of 7 and it was love at first boot up.

With a buttload of tricked-out new bells and whistles and rave reviews proclaiming 7 as, “the best operating system that Microsoft has ever produced,”  forgive for  feeling like I’m stuck with the last six-pack of New Coke.

Maybe to go along with my wife’s laptop, I’ll get a copy of Windows 7 as well.  At the end of the day, all any operating system does is maximize the computing experience.   I’ll still get junk mail and I’ll still prefer Firefox’s browser over Internet Explorer.    Windows 7 won’t make me thinner, taller or any sexier than I already am.  It won’t even make me cooler.  It might however make me stop looking at my present operating system like it morphed from Halle Berry into Whoopi Goldberg.

Do I sense a bit of hostility?

Do I sense a bit of hostility?

One thought on “Hasta La Vista, Vista!

  1. As the “techno geek” you referred to in your article I will be recommending Windows 7 as the operating system of choice for NEW computer users. It’s a lot easier to live with than Vista was and will be supported for many years to come (unlike XP). I went out and picked up a upgrade copy of the new OS yesterday and will be installing it on a new hard disk this weekend (I won’t be spending the weekend formatting the drive though – I’ll probably partition it so I can install a Linux distro on it as well).

    Last year I finally bit the bullet and switched from XP to Vista. It was a painful choice, but I learned to like the operating system. It was a LOT more secure than XP and while I hated some of the nagging I got from the User Account Control (which I eventually turned off) I found that the program generally worked well. When Windows 7 came out as a beta, I imaged the old Vista-based system and tried Windows 7. I only stayed with it for a few days then went back to Vista. But when the release candidate of Windows 7 came out I tried it and have used it for several months now. Compatability with older applications is better, driver support is excellent, and UAC is turned down. The new operating system is faster than Vista, looks even better and has several new features that make XP look like a dinosaur.

    However, this isn’t a change for everyone – if you’re going to be upgrading a old system that has a lot of applications from the past you may have issues. Certainly the hardware requirements for Vista and 7 are greater than that for XP. You could run XP on a machine with as little as 64 MB of memory, 233 MHz processor and 1.5 to 2.5 GB of hard disk space. Vista takes that to 512 MB of memory, 800 MHz processor and 20 GB of hard disk space. And Windows 7 requires 1 GB of memory, 1 GHz processor and 16 GB of hard disk space. (And in every case more memory, a faster processor and a bigger hard drive will make it a lot more useful…) So if you have a system that’s 6 or 7 years old you’re probably not going to meet those requirements. And it would cost you more to upgrade that old PC (if you could considering how much computers have changed in that time) to Windows Vista or 7 level than it would to buy a brand new box. But buying a new Windows 7 system can be done for $500 or less. That means EVERYTHING will run faster (bigger hard disk, faster processor, faster and more memory) for much less than that old PC. Our younger brother can’t upgrade to Vista or 7 (the computer you gave him and the used one he purchased to replace it are both too old and too limited to bring to those standards) and he can probably get by for several years with XP. But you’re talking about a 8 year-old OS with XP versus 3 years with Vista and a brand new OS with Windows 7. How much has changed in 8 years? Everything is taking advantage of faster computers and the additional memory that today’s systems are using. You had to leave MS-DOS, Windows 98 and your old applications behind before and XP won’t be any different.

    Bottom line, moving forward will become a requirement for everyone at some point.


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