I have always been an early adopter of new Microsoft Operating Systems (OS) including Windows Vista. With Windows Millennium (Me) being the obvious exception each OS prior to Vista has been an improvement over the last. I was an early Windows 2000 convert, so I never had to use Windows Me, and Windows 2000 was a major improvement over Windows 98 and Windows Me. Windows XP even better and then Vista, not so much.

I finally removed Windows Vista from my desktop computer and reverted to Windows XP. I would ordinarily suffer through the temporary troubles until Microsoft released updates that cured it’s ails. The main reason for removing Windows Vista was simply poor performance. Oh, I had issues, like always having to print twice to get one print, and not being able to print 100 pages, but rather have to send 100 individual pages to the queue – very frustrating! All-in-all though I expected those issues to get resolved, and they did. Vista is simply slow. Much slower than XP on the same hardware and with no major improvement to make the slower system worth it.

Vista’s poor performance is due to the fact that the Operating System simply requires far more resources than most hardware can handle. The vast majority of laptops sold with Windows Vista had memory limitations of 2GB and Vista performs better with 3GB of system memory.  If you are a power user – the kind who works with multiple applications, and/or applications like Photoshop, GIS, or AutoCAD then 3GB was still not enough. But 3GB is the 32 bit limit. We would have to have the 64 bit Vista in order to go to 4GB and even then that was the physical limit of most computers.

Why? That is the question I began to ask. What did Widows Vista offer over Windows XP? Other than some minor user interface improvements the answer is NOTHING!

Even today you are better off buying a used, refurbished or off-lease computer with Windows XP than just about anything under $1000 with Windows Vista. Looking for a laptop with Windows XP? Here is a list at Tiger Direct.

I predict that Windows Vista and Windows 7 (which is Windows Vista 2.0) will require no less than 6 GB of RAM in the near future and maybe even 12 GB in the next 4 years with the updates applied on a regular basis. So if you buy a computer with Vista or the new Windows 7 make sure you get the 64 bit version and a computer that can upgrade to something like 12 or 16 GB of RAM.

Vista is not terrible, it just requires the newest hardware to run well, and even the best hardware today seems to run only as well as computers two years ago with Windows XP. Users who have replaced computers in the past are used to the new computer running faster than the old. It is quite a let down to find that the $1000 you just spent gave you a computer that is no faster than the four year old machine you replaced.

Don’t get me wrong, I know we will all be on Windows 7 eventually, but if you can put off a new computer purchase you should. If you can’t then I still recommend that you spend as little as you can and get Windows XP because you will be replacing any computer with Vista in no less time.

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