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XP or Vista for Nelson?

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Nelson MinarPerson was signed in when posted
11:55 AM ET (US)
Thanks for all your advice. I chose Vista 64, a followup blog post is at http://www.somebits.com/weblog/tech/good/new-vista-box.html
06:49 AM ET (US)
Been using Vista heavily (working as a developer) for around 6 month. Unfortunately the more I use it the less I like it, which I don't think is a good sign for an operating system.

The two things that are an improvement over XP (for me) is there's this thing in the start menu where you can type the name of the program you are looking for, and the file search isn't totally borked by default.

Apart from that it either the same or worse as XP as far as I'm concerned. (I dont' play games on it, so I can't comment regarding that)
10:04 AM ET (US)
All this stuff about Vista's disappointments is hooey. Stick with it through your teething period, and you won't want to go back. Vista is as normal an operating system as you can find. I have found it to be very stable on an x64 machine, but sluggish on an x86. And, believe me, it'll make your learning curve for NT7 a lot shallower if you move to Vista rather than eek out a few more years on XP.

Just get an MS TechNet Plus subscription for $250 before buying it retail, and you have yourself Vista, plus the latest Office 2007 too.

Couple of other pointers:

If you want a multiboot system, it's very easy to set up. Just use Mahmoud al-Qudsi's "EasyBCD" download. (What's BCD? BCD is the new boot sector info that is ready (like Apple's OS X is) for the new generation of post-BIOS pre-desktop OSes, called UEFI.) EasyBCD is a totally robust little program with a VERY user-friendly GUI that'll let you put XP, Windows Server 2008, 30 different Linux distro flavors and, yes, even OS X on your machine if you want. He's extremely helpful with troubleshooting or just planning out your multiboot setup.

If you want to know how to fix anything in Vista, a guide I've found very helpful is Koroush Ghazi's "Vista Tweaking Companion" (free) here:

And there's one simple reg file tweak that makes the whole experience of living with the "User Account Controls" totally carefree. It gives you a right-click context menu to allow you to take ownership over any file, folder or app, so that you can do what you want with it, without turning off the in-built file protection. It was written by Elvandil, a Microsoft MVP at the TechSupportGuy forum. The link is here, but I'll post it below:

Copy the text between the lines, paste in a Notepad window, save the file to your desktop as ownership.reg and then right-click the file and Merge it with your registry.

----------------------------------------------------------- ------
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="Take Ownership"

@="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F"
"IsolatedCommand"="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F"

@="Take Ownership"

@="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" /r /d y && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F /t"
"IsolatedCommand"="cmd.exe /c takeown /f \"%1\" /r /d y && icacls \"%1\" /grant administrators:F /t"

----------------------------------------------------------- --------------

Come on in! The water's fine!

Edited 05-05-2008 10:15 AM
Canuckistan Bob
02:20 PM ET (US)
I've got Vista, XP, Linux, & [the system that shall not be named for fear of mockery] running right now, and I honestly don't know what to tell you.

On Vista, when it works, it works great. When it doesn't, when it has issues, well my gosh. Trying to fix anything is often 6 kinds of impossible, and MS does everything it can to keep you from getting under the hood anyway.

For example, my Vista machine has a tendency, for reasons I cannot figure out, for about half the time the mouse is about 20 pixels out to the North East. I cannot figure out why, and most importantly, I cannot figure out what to do about it, and I have been through every support board and technical article and such there is.

With Vista, you get something that doesn't work quite right, basically you have to live with it.

And you kinda have to have it, because of compatibility issues really.
05:16 PM ET (US)
Since you're committed to Windows, you should go with Vista. IT doesn't matter whether its better or not. XP will be increasingly out of date. The direction the windows OS has gone from 3.1, thru 98, XP and to Vista is a straight line. You've chosen to also go in that direction, so either you stop at XP and have increasing hardware incompatibility, and no forward progress, or you back up your decision and take Vista now, and each successive release they do.

So, why are you even asking? You've picked crap and the flavors of crap similar enough that the loss of utility of sticking with old crap outweights the fact hat the new crap, naturally, tastes worse.
Rod Begbie
02:29 PM ET (US)
My experience with Vista was that there's little-to-no gain over XP, but with enough annoyance (even after turning off that stupid "Are you sure you want to open Control Panel? alert) that I downgraded to XP again. Just little things not working.

FWIW, at my last job, I got a Windows 2000 PC after spending a year or two on XP. The only feature I actually missed? Hitting windows-key+L to lock the screen. I am, apparently, a cheap OS date.

(I would say get a mac, but to avoid the mocking, I'll just say: Install Gentoo Linux!)
09:29 PM ET (US)
You should definitely get a Franklin Ace 1000.

Seriously, XP with Service Pack 3, at least until you want to play something that requires DX10.
Carey Evans
06:57 PM ET (US)
I basically second what Parand says, including the occasional Explorer crashes, but on a desktop PC. I'd never try to upgrade an existing XP installation, though.

It may be worth noting that one of the first things I did after plugging the computer in was to disable the bundled third-party virus scanner and firewall.
06:14 PM ET (US)
I couldn't stomach Vista. I needed a new laptop for a gig.

Go ahead and mock me, Minar, I still have the most beautiful machine I ever owned, and the OS is a rvelation.
Kartik Agaram
04:52 PM ET (US)
I was going to suggest a mac* until I read the last line. Then it was jarring to have someone 'mock me' from my feed reader. You could phrase it more nicely, I think.

* - I bought my first mac a month ago because I didn't want to deal with installing linux on a thinkpad X61, and I couldn't stomach vista. So I'm not just mouthing off, I had to go through the same agonized process myself. Sadly none of the answers is perfect.
03:25 PM ET (US)
I may be the only person in the world who's had a good experience with Vista. Bought a laptop with Vista Home Premium, haven't had any problems at all with it, with the exception of Windows Explorer sometime crashing (but it's no big deal since it restarts). I'm also running an XP box, a macbook pro, and of course a couple of linux boxes, and I'd say the Vista is as usable as any.
03:17 PM ET (US)
XP, hands down. I've had odd issues such as multiple iTunes library corruptions, crappy driver support, common programs that have crazy issues (such as Macromedia Freehand crashing is you click on an empty space in the toolbar). Plus, if you don't like the Aqua graphics, you'll hate Aero. Even Ballmer says Vista is a "work in progress".
02:59 PM ET (US)


You're intelligent enough that you should have gotten a Mac by now. You can run Windows in a dual boot configuration if you want, for the few games that are windows only.

Your threat of mocking tells me that your stuck with crappy software for anything but rational reasons.

I know you're smarter than that.
Nelson Minar
12:21 PM ET (US)
Is Windows Vista usable now? Or should I stick with XP? See my blog for details of this question.