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Windows XP's Afterlife

When Windows Vista shipped more than 15 months ago, I really thought I was through writing about Windows XP. Having written dozens of stories about XP by then, I had no problem with waving goodbye to the topic.

And yet here I am, writing yet again about an operating system to which I first devoted a column in the spring of 2001.

My latest take on XP may be my least popular yet: While many people are demanding that Microsoft keep selling XP alongside Vista--and some are urging Microsoft to abandon Vista entirely--I have come not to praise XP but to bury it.

I write that not as any particular fan of Vista, which has issues out the wazoo, but because XP is no solution to most of Vista's flaws. It's aged poorly, it suffers from major security problems that require the addition of numerous aftermarket programs and it can too easily fall apart (witness the litany of reader complaints about Microsoft's new Service Pack 3 update for XP).

Put another way, most of the complaints that people have about Vista can fairly be applied to XP as well. It would be more accurate to say not "I hate Windows Vista," but simply "I hate Windows"--to pretend that that XP is somehow an entirely different creation than Vista, much less a serious fix for the computing problems of 2008, is to succumb to a form of Stockholm syndrome.

Worst yet, none of XP's issues are going to get any better, while Vista at least has some evolution ahead of it. For example, Microsoft has already eased Vista's widely loathed protections against software piracy with the recent Service Pack 1 update for it.

And although Vista remains a resource hog, the plummeting price of memory is taking care of that on new machines--manufacturers are simply making 2 gigabytes of memory the standard allocation on their cheapest models. (That's not what I'd call an elegant solution, but it is nevertheless a solution.)

The exception to that is the emerging class of ultra-cheap, ultra-light laptops like the Asus Eee PC I tried out in January. Microsoft--which has adopted the needless and unwieldy abbreviation "ULCPC" ("Ultra Low Cost Personal Computers") for these things--is proposing Windows XP as the operating system of choice in this case. But if you're a computing manufacturer, why would you want to spend money on a nearly six-year-old operating system when you can choose from new, free Linux distributions that will easily outperform XP?

Microsoft may find that while Apple continues to eat its lunch at the high end of the market, it will begin losing customers in volume to Linux at the low end.

In that respect, people who call XP better than Vista would have a point: XP, for all of its other flaws, was never accused of being Microsoft's Waterloo.

If you've think I've got this all wrong, you are, of course, welcome to say so in the comments--or at my Web chat, starting at 2 p.m. today.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  May 15, 2008; 11:11 AM ET
Categories:  Windows  
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Comments

Hi, Rob. Every computer professional friend of mine who works with PCs is steering clear of Vista for now and urging others to, as well. Perhaps they see it as a case of the somewhat fixable devil they know v. the devil they don't know. But they say, "Run like hell from Vista."

As I shop for a used laptop, I see that some come with Vista installed. Do you know of any inherent problems with uninstalling Vista and replacing it with XP?

Nope, I'm not ready to shift to a Mac or to Linux right now because I can't afford the down time while I learn my way around them. One day, but for now, I need to stick with a PC laptop and the devil I know.

Posted by: Greg | May 15, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"But if you're a computing manufacturer, why would you want to spend money on a nearly six-year-old operating system when you can choose from new, free Linux distributions that will easily outperform XP?"

Obviously, because many potential customers, wisely or not, prefer some form of Windows.

Posted by: Jonathan Tappan | May 15, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

The thing is, ISPs' POPs are screening spam better, drive-by downloads are much less frequent, and most people are simply not troubled with these issues anymore. Given that, XP meets 99% of everyone's needs, which were met by the hardware and operating systems of "old". "Old" as defined by the folks that wish/demand that we buy new. The move to new, new, new by the geeks and manufacturers is borne of enthusiasm on the part of the geeks, and profit on the part of manufacturers (vendors and Microsoft). Maybe the six year car is good enough for most people, it clearly is. So why are they now forced to replace it?

By all means, write new operating systems, innovate. But I for one, demand that *I* be allowed to decide for myself when new is good enough to switch. But to force everyone to follow new for the sake of new at the expense of a nagging transition because the industry demands it is simply, wrong. The transition should come because the CUSTOMER demands it, not because the INDUSTRY demands it. As for Service Packs, THEY are what should have been incorporated at the start. Vista is no different. The advocates want us to trade a patched and operable Windows XP for a flawed and deficient Vista. I for one, want off the train.

Posted by: James Christian | May 15, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Rob, you've really missed the mark this time. Your whole column is based on the assumption that most users will happily upgrade every time M$ comes out with another bloated release. There are many of us who are quite happy with our current machines and don't need to upgrade. Sure I probably could run Vista on most of my boxes, but I have no need to and don't want to: everything I want to do with my PC works just fine with XP. So ask yourself "why is M$ fighting what so many informed customers want?"

As for the Linux and the Asus EEE, I bought one in February and tried to live in the Linux only world to mixed results -- the wireless performance was dodgy and it couldn't play old DOS/Windows games. So after a month, I paid for a new XP license and have been loving my problem-free EEE ever since. Now that you can buy them with XP preconfigured, I's been convincing friends to buy them as well.

Posted by: Jim S. | May 15, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Want to hear something funny? I just erased Vista from a laptop for one of my son's friends. The replacement OS will be XP (installed by his friends). The erasing OS? NOT P-Magic....the GParted Linux live CD.

Posted by: graphixgeek | May 15, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Rob, you wrote:

"Worst yet, none of XP's issues are going to get any better, while Vista at least has some evolution ahead of it. For example [...] the recent Service Pack 1 update for [Vista]."

So, this doesn't quite jive with me. XP is dead-ended but Vista still has legs due to Service Packs? If Service Packs can extend the life and usability of Vista, why can't they likewise do so for XP? And at least one of the 'problems' that Microsoft fixed with Vista Service Pack 1 are the very same 'features' that're used to sell the newer OS.

To be blunt about it, Vista offers little else but dazzling eye candy that comes at an incredibly steep price in terms of hardware to adequately support it. Desktop widgets, videos as wallpaper, sculpted menu designs, etc. may all be appealing fluff, but almost none of the selling points for Vista offer any real productivity improvements beyond what XP already offers.

Much is said about Vista being the answer to keeping up with evolving user needs. I'm part of a team that supports about 1250 PCs in a mid-sized organization. Trust me when I tell you that our users' needs don't outpace XP.

What is it about Vista (as opposed to XP) that will allow me to get my job done better

Posted by: Rob O. | May 15, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I think the value of the petition mentioned in your column is that it will catch Microsoft's attention. As far as I know, there were no lines around the block, and very few midnight release parties for the release of Vista like there were for 95, 98, XP. There have been plenty of article written showing how badly MS bungled the release and the "Vista ready" labeling.

MS has been "put on notice" so to speak. The general public isn't going to just swallow whatever they put out anymore.

As far as Linux, yeah, I love it, but some of the zealotry that comes along with some of the distributions makes it hard to take, and makes it hard to have a fully functional system out of the box. And no, "just run apt-get" isn't a solution.

Posted by: LarryMac | May 15, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"It's aged poorly, it suffers from major security problems that require the addition of numerous aftermarket programs and it can too easily fall apart (witness the litany of reader complaints about Microsoft's new Service Pack 3 update for XP)."

Wow you really missed the boat on this one. First, you're exhibiting the lazy tech journalist mode when reporting about Windows. The vast majority of SP3 updates went flawlessly. The people with no problems rarely have their voices heard. (BTW _all_ updates cause some people problems. Leopard hosed some people's Macs too, including my Macbook Pro but of course you would never describe a few anecdotal OSX problems as a "litany.")

Vista is nowhere near as bad as people suggest, but your comment that XP is a dangerous house of cards really calls into question your tech knowledge. A fully up to date install of XP is an OS that has been hammered on by malware cretins for 6 years! The vast majority of its vulnerabilities have been found and fixed. Tell me exactly when was the last time XP was compromised on a wide scale? Ummm, ya, exactly, it's been years.

Look, I love my Mac. I think OSX is a great operating system. But I don't hold blind, unquestioning reverence for anyone and the sloppy one-sided reporting by tech journalists is embarrassing. You're also doing a disservice to people who trust your opinion. Because people like my girlfriend, after having problems with OSX on her iMac, end up saying things like "I thought this didn't happen with Macs." Steve Jobs is playing you guys like a fiddle. And this is from someone who happily runs both OSX and Vista on my Macbook Pro. Shameful.

Posted by: Luke | May 15, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Rob, I'm an acknowleged Mac snot with a keen appreciation of what several different Linux flavors bring to the table but I think you're mostly wrong, here.

Yes, XP's an old and well-patched OS; but it IS patched. A well-configured install can be as stable as any other OS and as secure with a bit of prudence -- like only running it stealthed under virtualization ;-) and it can run on most of the existing millions of computers out there, a boon for the less-rich/resource-poor (who may not yet be up to fighting with Linux).

I think you will we M$ acknowledge this in the near future when ms7 is released with support for smaller/older machines as well as the Big Fancy ones. And it'll be chock full of elements ripped from Apple's latest big cat release.

Posted by: Bush -- not related | May 15, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I am tired of reading comments that the only thing new that Vista brings to the table is eye candy, because this simply isn't true. Love it or hate it, there are quite a few changes in the UI, but more importantly for me Vista simply works better than XP ON THE SAME MACHINE. Takes about 15 seconds longer to boot but once up and running it is faster, smoother, more responsive.
For those who think that there are no under-the-hood enhancements, I suggest they spend a few minutes with this video.

http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=242429

Posted by: David | May 16, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

PCs have become less and less play toys, and more and more necessary tools for personal and business use. What most of us need therefore, is stability and confidence in an OS. Xp fits that bill, while Vista is shaky and flaky.

I've come to view Vista as Windows "Me2", and I think it has an unrecoverably bad reputation at this point. Witness all this discussion about Xp! Was there ever such a clamor about clinging to Windows 3.11, 95, 98, etc?! If I were Microsoft, I would abandon the Vista trademark for the next OS.

Posted by: Noremac | May 16, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"...it suffers from major security problems that require the addition of numerous aftermarket programs..."

What after market programs would I avoid if I installed Vista? It still needs anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall program.

I think Microsoft should have a longer transition phase for XP. Many people can not buy a new computer every few years even though the software changes. Their current system meets their needs.

Posted by: Sue | May 16, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Why do we keep need to be throwing away things that we get along with very comfortably. For my work, Win XP Pro is not broken ... but Vista is seriously broken and makes my work and maintenance somewhere between very difficult and impossible. You wouldn't believe the effort I put into getting rid of my new Vista laptop (at a serious loss) and replacing it with a good Win XP Pro based laptop. Manufacturers really need to listen to the tea leaves here ... the market is driven by the needs of users. Remember PS2?

Posted by: Peter | May 16, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Before retiring I was a systems specialists. My wife wouldn't let me replace her Windows 98 Sec. with Windows, Millennium, nor with XP when it came out. I've always upgraded to the latest version of Windows through the years. But found Xp so bad I mad a move to buy a eMac that was a floor model be sold for to make room for the new replacement iMac. It only took a couple days to realize how superior the Mac was over Windows. I replace my eMac with the new 24 inch dual core iMac. I have never seen a Mac lockup like the PC. I don't play games much so the lack of gaming programs for the Mac is not an issue here. I did install "Parallels" so that the couple PC games I do like to play I can on the Mac. Switching over to the mac was easy no learning curve at all. If you don't like the Mac Mouse just go out and buy the Logitech one and it works great.If you like to do photo editing Mac is the way to go far ahead of the game there. The biggest disappointment is the iPages. MS Office has it there. Only wish that "WordPerfect Office X3" was made for the Mac. Maybe I should try using it through Parallels! Yes I have PC's on my Home network: A dell I converted to Windows XP with Dual Boot to Vista then changed it to Vista only and added a home built PC that runs only XP, and of course my wife's now XP PC. n

Posted by: Charles | May 16, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"I have come not to praise XP but to bury it"

Rob, I hope you have a lot of patience. You won't be burying XP anytime soon - especially if your shovel of choice is Vista.

I am fairly certain that Vista will eventually (given enough Service Packs) be able to rise above its current status of "ME 2". I am also certain that when MS comes out with its next OS (2 years or less), the majority of PC users will still be happily using XP, not Vista.

As for myself, I have a month old Dell (Quad core, 4GB RAM) running XP Pro Service Pack 2. I could not be happier. No compatibility problems, fastest system I have ever used.

I have not come here to bury Vista, just to point out that your stated view of XP is way off the mark.

Posted by: Rich M. | May 16, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Rob, I respect your viewpoint here. As a tech writer, you are part of the stream of new products and ideas. However, I don't think you are able to fully understand the viewpoint of small business owners like me.
We aren't sticking to XP just to be stubborn. We have valid economical and practical reasons for sticking with XP. They make sense to us, and we are Microsoft's customers. Ultimately, we choose where our money goes and how much we are willing to spend.

Whatever happened to the idea that your customer is always right and that you make your customers happy so you will make money? I know large corporations can't move as quickly as small companies, but Microsoft's response toward its own customers seems backward to me. If people want to buy XP, Microsoft should gladly sell it for a profit while it continues to build its new version of Windows. Either that, or they should make XP a free download with no piracy/activation scheme so people will use it legally. Those of us who choose to use XP are going to do that whether Microsoft wants it or not, so they might as well make some cash on the deal when we buy new computers.

Also, I wonder if you have considered the needs of people with disabilities in your assessment of Vista Vs. XP. Roughly 90 percent of blind and physically disabled computer users are choosing to stay with XP. They do so for 2 reasons. The first is that in order to access Vista, they also have to upgrade their accessibility software to the tune of several hundred dollars on top of the cost of Vista. Is eye candy and UAC worth paying that much? Second, there are features in Vista that hamper accessibility to parts of the Vista OS. Would you be willing to pay hundreds of dollars to upgrade to an OS that you couldn't use fully? Most of us won't.

Right now, if I left Windows, the Mac is a more appealing choice to me. It has a built-in screenreader that I don't have to pay hundreds of dollars to update every time Apple upgrades.

As for making the switch to Linux, I wouldn't call that a solution. It might be a sort of work-around, but there are some pretty major trade-offs there too. Compatibility is one, and limited accessibility with the GUI part of Linux is another. Lack of applications for specific tasks is another. I have yet to see good OCR software for Linux.

For these reasons, I will stay with XP. When I buy a new computer next year, I will buy it from a shop that will put XP on it, and that means a major computer maker loses a sale. until Microsoft either fixes their issues or there is more progress made on making Linux accessible, there will be over 1 million blind people continuing to use XP. Ditto for the people with physical disabilities that need special software for input. If Microsoft pushes us, we'll roll over to the Mac. If Microsoft waits too long to listen to their customers, they will lose. That's economics at its best.

Posted by: Monica Willyard | May 16, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I thought I'd get more, and angrier, comments here than these, but I'm still seeing a lot of angst. Let me try to clear up a few things people have mentioned:

@Greg: Removing Vista and installing XP is neither easy nor simple for most people. I wouldn't buy a Vista machine with the idea of putting XP on it later on.

@Jim S.: I'm not urging anybody to put Vista on an existing machine that runs XP fine--I've urged the opposite since my first review of Vista and repeated that advice in this week's column.

@Sue: Vista--unlike XP--ships with anti-spyware software and a firewall that can monitor both incoming and outgoing traffic. And Windows Mail, while still a subpar e-mail program, is still worlds better than Outlook Express.

@Monica: Not to sound too harsh, but I'm not trying to understand the viewpoint of business users at all. I am a personal tech columnist, which means it's my job to focus solely on home use. I've never pretended to offer advice to people running businesses.

Thanks for reading...

- RP

Posted by: Rob Pegoraro | May 16, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I think you completely missed the boat on this article.

I do not know a single programmer or computer person who is, or is planning, to use Vista for any "real" work. We all use XP, or more commonly, have moved to Macs running XP, Vista, and Linux under Parallels as needed. This allows us to test/develop software on Windows, but allows us to do our real work and programming with a stable OS that doesn't interfere with productivity as Vista does.

I am responsible for purchasing a fair number of computers each year for our team. We won't be buying new computers with Vista. If XP is not available later this year, we'll purchase Macs using OSX for real work and using Vista only when absolutely necessary.

I don't need Microsoft and I definitely don't want/need Vista. Microsoft has lost us as customers. There is nothing they can do to recover Vista. I don't know if there is anything they can do to regain consumer confidence even if they eventually bring out a viable replacement to Windows XP.

Posted by: Dan O. | May 16, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I wish people who criticize Vista would clearly state whether they actually use it.

Peter - the next time you have a Vista laptop you are willing to get rid of at a "serious loss," let me know. I will take it off your hands and guarantee that I'll have it running smoothly.

Posted by: David | May 16, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

well clearly i see a few points in this article, one i understand technology is ever changing therefore we do need a new OS to fully utilize all the benifits.
On the otherhand, i dont think that the consumer market was ready for an OS i think maybe another year or 2 would have been on target.. it would be nice to put XP to rest if there was on OS that would do exactly what XP does and MORE!
but sadly enough there is not!

Posted by: Justin | May 17, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey Rob, I really don't think you understand the amount of business, web, and software development that is done on the XP platform (or Microsoft paid you for that article). Do you even use XP or Vista ?

I'm in the web business. Am I going to happily upgrade to Vista? No way, too much of a risk. I even know Microsoft Developers who have un-installed Vista and put XP back on their machines. What does that tell you? And even personal users are having extensive problems with it. If it was that great of a system, us PC users would gladly make the switch - but its obviously not (That's us PC users who actually use the software).

I will not buy a computer with Vista or be forced to upgrade. When that day comes I'm converting my Business to Mac and taking the time off to learn it. By forcing customers to take it or leave it is poor business practice, and Microsoft is quickly alienating its customers.

Posted by: Avrom | May 18, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I just bought a new laptop. Given the choice I would have gotten it with XP, but it was not available as such.

I looked at a MacBook with the idea of putting windows on it as well. Articles in PCworld show the Mac runs windows better than a PC does! What I needed though was a fairly high end unit and the Macs were much much more money.

Linux sure sounds nice but I would need to find & learn new programs and do without others - something I couldn't do.

Vista it is, hopefully I can disable all the graphical "gee-wiz" stuff and get better performance. One day aero interfaces and numerous widgets, etc may be commonplace but I'd rather have a computer that starts quick, works efficiently and doesn't need a handful of add-ons to be secure -- hmmm, maybe I should have taken a loan out and got that Mac after all!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 19, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

I use XP Pro on my PC mainly for electronics and CAD design, plus running internal or external test instruments.

I have zero interest in Vista, as I see no productivity benefits and a lot of issues running on my ancient (i.e. 5 year old) computer.

Perhaps the answer for XP die-hards is for groups of people to get together and get a Windows XP Embedded dev license (US$ 999). Then configure it for a standard PC (or Intel Mac) platform.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/embedded/products/wexpe/default.mspx

With Embedded one can strip away all the junk and have a really lean OS optimized for the users needs.

"Full Win 32 Application compatibility" - so that's fine for most of us.

"Windows XP Embedded; 10-year product support life cycle."

Isn't that what everyone seems to want anyway?

Perhaps I am missing something...?

Best wishes,
Susan.

Posted by: Susan | May 19, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey Rob, let me define my position this way. Since getting XP, and setting the XP's firewall on, and using Norton for anti-virus issues plus a few spybot nabbers, and sticking with all the XP updates, XP has never once failed to reboot fine every time. I also use ceryx to ensure that not one virus ever reaches my via email, and they eliminate over 2000 spam messages every day as well, leaving me with complete control and no viruses ever via email. I will stick with XP until Vista gets a cleaner bill of health in the future...just like I stuck with Windows 98 until it was more appropriate to step up to XP.

Posted by: Noel | May 19, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Rob, I have to say it... you blew it, big time.

"And although Vista remains a resource hog, the plummeting price of memory is taking care of that on new machines--manufacturers are simply making 2 gigabytes of memory the standard allocation on their cheapest models. (That's not what I'd call an elegant solution, but it is nevertheless a solution.)"

Throwing more resources into the pot isn't any kind of a solution, it's a dodge. It's akin to driving around in a two ton SUV, getting 15mpg to go pick up your drycleaning. And having to put a bigger engine in it every few years because the manufacturer insists on strapping on big tailfins, adding more wheels, and throwing in a bunch of extras under the hood you'll never need, don't even understand, and that require greater and greater amounts of horsepower.

Face up to the fact that Vista is just more bloatware from Redmond. Don't believe that? Pick up a copy of any software that works with a wide range of Windows versions, say from about Win95 up to Vista. Look at the system requirements for each flavor of Windows. Notice anything? With most you'll find that the system requirements roughly double with each step up in Windows. To run the same, exact, version of the software.

It seems to me that we find ourselves getting faster and bigger PC's every few years, not to support the software we want to work with, but to support the ever hungry resource hogs MS keeps dishing out.

I've been in the computer business for almost 30 years now, getting my degrees in comp-sci and electrical engineering way back in the early 80's. And, like you, I was a tech writer for a major publication for a number of years. I find the current standards for coding to be simply appalling. Have you ever looked at the actual source code for the various versions of Windows? I have, and it is some of the worst I've ever seen. Not in every case, no, and there are some parts of the Windows code that is pure elegance, but the vast majority of it is sloppy, poorly written and overly commented. My teachers and professors would have been dumbfounded, and I probably would have been severely reprimanded had I ever dared to hand in an assignment that was as poorly done as some sections of Windows code I've seen.

For the record, up until a few days ago I'd been using an old dual P3 machine, running 98SE and Linux, puttering along quite smoothly on 512mb of memory. It did what I needed it to do and I was quite happy with it. Today I'm on a new AMD x2 64bit machine with 2gigs of memory and XP Pro sp3, that I built myself, not because I really needed it to do what I do but because the ten year old motherboard died.

More than likely, I'll still be using the same machine ten years from now, and the same OS.

Posted by: Bernie | May 19, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I own a small business that sells and services industrial machinery, specifically machine shop equipment such as CNC lathes, mills, etc. Like many small business owners I have a limited budget, and frankly Vista is a "solution" for problems that I don't have, at a price that I am not currently prepared to pay.

I would have to do significant hardware upgrades to, or replace, EVERY PC that I and my business own in order to make the move to Vista. Mind you, every box I own is running without any problems as I write this. I run Windows desktops & laptops: neither MacOS nor Linux is a viable option for me given the needs of my particular business. I am not going to spend thousands of dollars (not to mention the time involved) to "fix" an OS that isn't broken by installing a new OS that makes my hardware instantly obsolete.

I find your statement that "...keeping XP running safely and reliably requires a host of add-on security and Internet programs to paper over its faults." to be particularly troubling. While true in and of itself, it seems to imply that Vista does not need add-ons (such as anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware software) or MS-provided patches to be safe or reliable. I think we can agree that it would be unwise in the extreme to run Vista without the patches (and SP1) which Microsoft is providing, or without AV software and some kind of firewall. I don't see how Vista is superior to XP in this respect: in fact to me Vista seems to be keeping up Microsoft's "release first, then patch" reputation admirably. Not that there's anything admirable about it...

For the record, my degree is in computer science, and I moderate a "small" (25K registered members) PC enthusiast/builder website. Our members are a relatively experienced and tech-savvy group, many of whom work in the IT field, and/or build their own hardware. The consensus there is running roughly 50-50 (we ran a poll) regarding whether Vista is better in any significant way to XP.

So, we're down to the question of what OS should be on a "new, home PC". Frankly, all I see here is your assertion that Vista requires "less tinkering" out of the box. I have to disagree here. WinXP SP1 vs. Vista SP1? I can buy more "effective" computing power for the same price by staying with XP: less bloatware, and arguably less costly hardware.

Bottom Line: the new laptops I'll be buying this month for my latest employee and myself will be running XP Pro.

Posted by: Bill | May 20, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

This is the first mature comment line I've read on OS's. Logical, well informed replies for the most part.

Most seem more educated perspectives than the authors unimpressive article.

Posted by: Anthony, Ireland. | May 20, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Terrible article. Just stupid. I think I will be applying for your job. Take your mac-fanboy stuff to the apple store and out of a so-called "newspaper" column.

Posted by: HKK | May 20, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Windows XP will be last Windows OS. I'm going to Apple or Linux, not sure which yet.

Will have to keep an XP machine or partition a hard drive to test my websites in though, especially since Internet Explorer is only available for Windows.

Posted by: Blair | May 20, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I've been running Vista for more than a year and cannot imagine going back to XP. That seems insane. Vista has better performance, better security, and yes a cool glass interface. Yes, I do have 4 GB RAM, but why not. Hard drives are getting larger, adding more RAM is also larger. The system I bought for Vista cost the same as the system I paid for XP. I don't get all the fuss.

Posted by: Eric | May 20, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

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