To Vista or XP, that is the question.

Don Reisinger, over at CNET, writes that we should all give up on Vista and just use XP with Service Pack 3.

Funny, because I just had an interesting conversation with a Mac guy yesterday about, “How do you like Vista?”

So, the first couple of months, honestly, were rough.  I’m not sure exactly what the issue was.  But, the particular recurring problem was that Explorer and IE were crashing randomly.  I think microsoft finally fixed that issue.

UAC is a pain, and I’ve turned it off.  As a developer, I need it turned off to do most of what I do.  I think having UAC for joe home user is a good thing.  But, I do wish that once I turned it off, Vista wouldn’t warn me about it any more when I boot up.  Maybe SP1 will fix that.

But, XP had all these same problems when it first came out.  Don, mentions this too.  So, I’m not completely surprised that there are a few quirks that need to be worked out yet.

Every version of Windows is just enough different to cause a learning curve for those of us who have been using Windows for a while.  And I think that is the biggest complaint that most people have about Vista.  ie, Vista doesn’t work like XP.  I’m not really sure it is a bad thing.

As for drivers, I’ve found that a lot of times I can get away with using an XP driver when a Vista driver doesn’t exist.  I have a relatively old Web Cam that I did this with.  The mic still doesn’t work, but it isn’t a huge deal.  Besides, it gives me an excuse to get a higher resolution web cam.  So, I’m not entirely sure that having old devices not work on Vista is an entirely bad thing.

Vista is slow?  Well sure, if you are trying to run Vista on the same hardware and memory you ran XP on, it probably is.  Get at least 2 gig of memory if you want the performance you are use to.  I’m currently running with 4 gig.  I wouldn’t call this computer slow at all.

It’s still early in Vista’s life and most of what is going to make Vista “worth it” has yet to be seen.  This is because many of Vista’s features have yet to have code written against them.  But, soon you will see software that only works on Vista.  And, I expect it to start with Microsoft Office.

So, Vista or XP? 

Older computer?  Stick with XP.  Especially if you can’t get 2 gig of memory in the computer.

Newer computer?  Get at least 2 gig of memory and get Vista.  You’ll be upgrading in the next couple of years anyhow.  Might as well do it now.  And doing it now, is a much safer bet than doing it 6 months ago when they were still getting the quirks out.

Of course, this does all presuppose that you need a Windows OS at all.  If all you do with your computer is email and browse the web, you could do that with a Mac and you’ll probably be happier.  (Yes, I’m a Windows user and I said the Mac word.)  Being happy with your OS starts with picking the right tool for the job.

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