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back to article How to speed up Windows Vista: official and unofficial tips

Microsoft has published an article on speeding up Vista, aimed at general users. It's not too bad. Here's the summary: Delete programs you never use Limit how many programs load at startup Defragment your hard drive Clean up your hard disk Run fewer programs at the same time Turn off visual effects Restart regularly Add …

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Alternative Strategy that works

ubuntu

Try it I have. It's x3 performance boost, x5 stability x10 security and you're conscience will be clear. Take control of your life and your hard-earned money.

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Silver badge

Speed up Vista?

Pretty simple if you ask me. Switch to XP!

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IT Angle

How to REALLY speed up Vista - 4 steps to doubling system speed

1. format your harddrive

2. Grab your Windows XP installation discs (or demand them from your supplier, screw forced upgrades)

3. Install it, get it patched

4. Get some fancy window-dressing program to emulate the pretty looks of Vista

Sorted!

Moore's Law tells us computing power doubles every 12-18 months.

The Redmond Corollary therefore states that in the same timespan, software must become twice as slow and a magnitude more painful to use ...

There's no IT angle - we're talking Windows ....

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This post has been deleted by its author

Reliability and Performance Monitor

Is already included with Vista and shows you what processes are doing with regards to disk access etc.

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Alert

Okayyyy

So, what you're actually telling me is that the tips for speeding up Vista are *exactly the same* as the tips for speeding up XP. Nice.

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Defrag?

Defragment your hard drive? I thought that had gone years ago. Is NTFS still not able to control fragmentation sensibly?

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Flame

Sounds like advice for previous MS operating systems!

I gave up on Vista Ultimate two weeks ago, reformatted and went back to XP Pro and installed SP3.

THAT's how to speed up Vista!

All these MS suggestions date back to Windows 95/98 era.

Now, my homebuilt PC (2.667 ghz Core 2 Duo with 4 gigs DDR2, P35 Chipset, NV8600GT and all SATA II drives) seems like a real computer instead of a Windows 95 box on a PII.

In fact I built the dang pc to be at the high end of the "Vista Experience" range (5.4 out of 6).

Boot time on Vista was 60 seconds just to the login, now around 20 seconds (including all programs) w/ XP Pro.

Nag time with UAC on was infinite. Turned UAC & "Offender" off and then got an "automatic update" that fried folder permissions system wide (Mr. Gates, the Documents folder is MINE and I don't need your frikkin permission to open it!!)

My drives churned the whole time the PC was on. Tried all the suggestions made in your article and they did nothing to speed up operation or boot. Okay maybe turning off indexing helped a very little.

Windows update (on Vista) cannot be prevented from installing stuff you did not ask or give permission for. In fact, as long as you have a connection to the internet, it will use your internet connection before you have finished setting up the OS. Now that is scary.

Even worse was the continuous scanning of all files and folders for copyrighted material and the phoning home to Mother MS of what was found. (Too many outgoing packets on a clean install to be anything else)

Driver support sucks for last years hardware even with all updates and hotfixes applied. Intel chipset and SATA AHCI drivers overridden by Microsofts crud at every turn. Damn, I could have sworn I had a dual core processor! (Which I did, but Vista could not figure out at setup)

Driver & program protection is way too tough for it's own good! System refused to recognize AVG Free, Zone Alarm Free & Spybot S&D as allowable programs.

God forbid you should want to use Windows Explorer to look in any of your file folders. I still see "You do not have permission" burned into my retina's. I tried logging on as Admin with Ctrl + F1 to no avail, then found a reg file called "Take Ownership" and tried that which worked to some extent. Do I really need to "Run as Admin" when I AM the frikkin ADMIN?!?!

I should not need to jump through hoops to have "permission" to print documents or edit my printers settings (took 2 evenings to find which permissions needed fixed)

All in all, there were things I liked in Vista, particularly the installation and drive partitioning during setup, but the rest just sucked beyond belief.

The very last straw was trying to load Service Pack 1 for Office 2007 and getting the message that I did not have permission to access the required network resource whatever that meant.

FWIW, Office 2007 and Outlook 2007 works just fine in XP Pro. Programs just snap open

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Gates Horns

Vista

The uninstalling programs when not used is because vista has that habit of preloading programs you frequently use into memory. but if you do a lot of testing and use a program alot for a few days and then drop off, it can still be loaded into the memory I guess. just my analysis of how it works I could be wrong how it actually works but i know that vista does this.

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Boffin

What would be usefull...

Is a tool that gives users a simple selection when they log in (Performance, General, Full, Media Centre, Gaming) that determines how Vista runs. This could be set for different users, or changed during a session if the user wants to, say, change from surfing to gaming.

If the tool was smart enough it could be linked to user defined software.

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Bronze badge

What, don't use it?

Why is it that the tips basically boil down to "don't use it and it will go faster" instead of real performance improvements?

All of the Microsoft points are applicable to most operating systems. Plus you can add in another point for "throw faster hardware at the OS" as another "improvement."

Face up to it: there is no real way to speed up Vista. Its a dog, and its going to stay that way.

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Sysinternals is a must for any Windows OS

Sysinternals is a must for any Windows user - the "autoruns" application, which lists every program that starts on boot-up, no matter how deviously hidden in the registry, is a must.

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h
Happy

Stripping Vista Bare

So when you have stripped out all the new features, you are left with something approaching XP.

Ah I get the idea.

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Jobs Horns

I have a better solution

Buy a Mac.

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Happy

Heh, heh...

On the other hand there is/are:

OS X

Boot Camp

A combination of the above two :)

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Process Monitor?

I'm not entirely sure (don't have Vista booted ATM), but isn't Process Manager available in Vista anyway, from Task Manager???

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Bronze badge

Recycled advice?

Aren't those the same suggestions they had for making Windows 95 run better?

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Gates Horns

I'm confused

I haven't been using winslows for quite a while, however I thought we were in 2008? Surely Microsoft can make a system run efficiently without having to publish articles like this on modern multi core, massive ram computers? Also why does it seem suprising that a windows machine has stayed up for more than a few months? Is it different decade, same problems?

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Bronze badge

Bloatware?

Isn't the point of these latest zoomy multicore CPUs to allow you to run more and more apps simultaneously? So isn't the advice to do exactly the opposite like well a step backwards?!

To me Vista sounds much too much like a classic example of the OS getting IN THE WAY of you working, ie. eating up processing that should be really leaving well alone for you to do useful stuff with!

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Happy

My best tip . .

is to put an Ubuntu disk in and make sure you use the WHOLE of the hard disk. Then you don't get tempted to revert.

(Ducks the blaze)

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Anonymous Coward

... uninstall ...

... Vista, and use Linusk with an Aero look.

Sorry but M$' piece of advice is as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.

-Delete programs you never use

Get M$ to stop loading gazillions of services that may cause security issues on top of guzzling memory & CPU

-Limit how many programs load at startup

ditto see above.

-Defragment your hard drive

plx M$ stop littering the HDD with $temp files for uninstall purposes that never work.

-Clean up your hard disk

copy linux and create a dedicated swap partition so the swap file is clean.

-Run fewer programs at the same time

Shan't M$ start applying its own advice and stop running Annoyware.

-Turn off visual effects

Yeeah a M$ Win version that can be used entirely from the command line.

-Restart regularly

Shouldn't be too much of an issue, BSOD happens to me a lot

-Add more memory

which is based on the fact that M$ knows how to handle it ... has to be proven.

-Check for viruses and spyware

thought Vista was immune ...

-Disable services you don't need

that may send back to square one ...

One kernel panix on me Macintel since Jan 2006 a couple BSOD every week on Vista ... go ahead M$boys. Jobs may be a pompous arrogant ... but Gates is one too and sells shitware. And don't start on the money thing.

Apple 20" 2Gb 320Gb ATI HD2400-128Mb = $1248

Dell XPS 20" 2Gb 320Gb ATI HD2400-256Mb VistaUltimate = $1268 (1368 - $100 instant saving)

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Gates Horns

Fish? Check! Barrel? Check! Gun? Check!

* Delete programs you never use

If I never use it, why is it taking up system resources beyond the diskspace?

* Limit how many programs load at startup

Most of the stuff that loads on startup are interdependent system processes with functions I cannot begin to guess at. Which ones are superfluous and why are they there in the first place?

* Defragment your hard drive

* Clean up your hard disk

Fair points (Damn, this is supposed to be a rant!)

* Run fewer programs at the same time

So this is not a multi-tasking OS? Why is it advertised as such?

* Turn off visual effects

Look at our shiny new interface! Now switch it off!!!

* Restart regularly

Once a week? Once a day? Once an hour?

* Add more memory

Typical MS solution, ever increasing hardware requirements, just to stay still.

* Check for viruses and spyware

Why not fix the holes in the code?

* Disable services you don't need

Why are all these services enabled by default?

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Happy

LMAO

Hahahahaa !!!!

I cant believe they released this statement, must be a joke somewhere..

Restart regularly ???

Run fewer programs at the same time ??? HAHHAHAA

Turn off Visual ?? So whats the point of Vista without Aero ?

Defrag your HDD ? meant what ? Vista creates/delete files all the time ?

Disable services you dont use ??? This statement were aiming for the average home users, you think they have a clue how to ??

All I can say is nothing because I am too busy LMAO

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Flame

*headdesk*

" adding memory beyond 3GB is pretty much wasted on 32-bit Vista, since the system can only address 3GB, and the BIOS will likely use a lot of the fourth gigabyte address space "

A professional "IT writer" really ought to be just a little better informed on the difference between the per-process virtual memory layout and the physical memory present in the system.

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Gates Horns

You have got to be kidding

So, 5 years of development and one of the 'top tips' to keep your PC fast is to restart at least once a week? Quite frankly, that is pathetic.

OK here I go, launch Terminal on my Mac

uptime: 19 days 23 hours 17 minutes

And it is still as fast as it was when it was turned on.

Vista is a turd.

paris, cause she'd be dumb enough to believe Vista was better than 95, 98, XP & ME.

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Anonymous Coward

Stop the f*ck*ng presses

I've been doing all of the advice in the report since I started using Vista back in march 2007. Does that make me some sort of genius? Nope, just makes me a long term windows user who knows to never trust windows fresh out of the box.

I only feel sorry for those who are new to computing who bought a brand spanking new unit with vista installed, and all the toys on. I can only imagine how slow some of those systems will remain until a competent tech gets his/her hand on it.

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Strategies

Some naive and obvious recomendations and a few that could really randomize your PC. Degragmenting is good, and programs like Diskeeper do a better job that Microsoft's default. If you don't have enough ram, adding more will make a big difference. Disabling services or deleting arbitrary things with msconfig are a good way to screw up your machine.

Of course, some zealot has to tell you to run Linux. Even if you only use your computer to do email and web browsing (and that's about all you can do with Linux), you're better off with a more advanced OS like Windows.

Claims like 3x performance or 10x security are absurd and not based on any facts or benchmarks. Server benchmarking is generally neck-and-neck among various operating systems, and they are always followed by wild claims of fraud from whoever didn't finish first.

Security is hard to quantify. In terms of CERT advisories, Windows and Linux have always been about the same. Windows is constantly being attacked and patched, which has certainly toughened it up in ways that Linux has never been. I believe if LInux on the desktop ever gets big enough for anyone to care, hackers will have a field day with it.

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32-bit Vista and RAM

> system can only address 3GB, and the

This is a typo. Vista can address 4GB. However if you install 4GB then in many cases the BIOS will not present that much RAM to the OS. This was exactly the case on an Intel board I have just swapped out - 4GB installed, 3GB visible to Vista. A better-designed board can remap the memory to overcome this problem.

Tim

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Hah!

Use PerfectDisk for disk defragmentation, Microsoft's defragmenter is crap

Turn off System Restore it doesnt work half the time anyway - especially when you need it most

Preferably boot from a Windows XP CD and format your Vista installation - install Windows XP..... usually works for me ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

How many of you actually read the referenced guide?

So many "witty" quips and "omg M$ suxx" comments whose points are already covered by the original guide.

This article makes a poor attempt to show how the bullet points can be ridiculed when taken out of context.

And the "can't use more than 3GB anyway" remark (pitched yet again to appear as a Windows-specific issue instead of a hardware limitation)... erm...PAE & memory remapping, anyone?

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Huh

I've always found repartitioning and reformatting to be the ultimate Windows speedup measure. So nice to see that nothing's really changed.

@ Don Mitchell

> you're better off with a more advanced OS like Windows.

Er - so advanced that users are recommended to restart regularly and run fewer concurrent programs? Yeah, right.

> [security] Windows and Linux have always been about the same.

Only when resorting to simplistic vulnerability counts and ignoring any detail.

> if LInux on the desktop ever gets big enough for anyone to care, hackers will have a field day with it.

Balls. The source code is and always has been freely available so it ought to have been hacked to bits by now. Quite unlike the closed-source Windows model which <kof> remains as secure as it ever was.

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Anonymous Coward

With all due respect to Microsoft

That's pretty frigging stupid of them to force Vista down everybody's throats, at gun point.

Let's face it, in some aspects Vista has a few positives going for it... But as a whole, it sucks for power users, businesses and IT Departments.

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Bronze badge
Coat

Speed up Vista?

Wanna really speed up your desktop? Forget Vista, XP, 2K, GNU/Linux, *BSD and OSX! Install Plan 9 From Bell Labs! Oh sure, none of your software will run on it, but the speed has to be seen to be believed!

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Boffin

@ What would be usefull...

(Actually I've been surprised. I was expecting lots of "Speed up Vista by moving to Linux/Mac OS" comments, but almost everyone here seems to advocate XP. How curious... anyway.)

"Is a tool that gives users a simple selection when they log in (Performance, General, Full, Media Centre, Gaming) that determines how Vista runs. This could be set for different users, or changed during a session if the user wants to, say, change from surfing to gaming."

That already exists in XP and probably in Vista too - it's called Hardware Profiles. The only thing it can't currently do is change during a session; it must be loaded during start-up, and that's always put me off, although I would consider it for the laptop (usually it goes on for a single purpose - work, games, or internet - and then goes off again later. Also handy for disabling devices at startup for power-saving (eg network adapters, etc). Plenty of stuff, just search for it on Google (not "Google it" - I'm sorry, but I still don't believe in or accept corporate verbs).

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64-bit is answer to Vista's problem

Vista is limited by 32-bit memory architecture. If Vista was available exclusively as 64-bit, then system integrates would be able to throw lots of memory at it and make it work.

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Speeding up Vista?

I think the best way to speed it up is by 9.8 meters per second per second. After just a minute your Vista box will by flying faster than you've ever seen a computer (unless you're an astronaut or professional pilot).

What disturbed me about people punting Mac OS as an alternative is that Mac OS software is inextricably linked with Apple Mac hardware, if only in the public mind.

I'm not sure why I don't like the idea of software and hardware manufacturer's being the same person. Maybe its because if Apple gets any market power they'll be even worse than Microsoft.

As soon as Ubuntu gets stable on my hardware config I'm swapping over.

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Alert

Stop Knocking Vista...

I love Vista, I don't use it personally (and I hope to be able to skip ato the next version of windows) but more and more of my customers have made the 'choice' to buy it so I'm making a fortune from tech support, configuration and XP installation jobs.

I'm going to have a lovely holiday this year and there's this 40 inch Sony telly I've got my eye on, have to check I can get it home in the new BMW, long live Bill.

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Sleep State.

re: "Windows Vista promotes the use of sleep as the default off state"

It may be me.. but i seem to have an issue with "Sleep". If my vista pc ever goes to sleep. i seem to be unable to wake it up. I have tried every button on the pc. every button on the keyboard. every button (all two-and-a-half of them) on my mouse.

i resorted to pulling the power plug out.

This isn't just on my machine - the missus had the same issue "why wont my machine power on"

So far, "Sleep" seems a little "Big Sleep" to me.

These are machines bought with vista pre-installed (poor me, i know..) as i failed to find any of my other 4 machines that i could install vista on (anyone wanna buy a box set of Vista Pro Upgrade?)

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Coat

@Don Mitchell

"Of course, some zealot has to tell you to run Linux. Even if you only use your computer to do email and web browsing (and that's about all you can do with Linux), you're better off with a more advanced OS like Windows."

Truly spoken like someone who has never used Linux.

About the only reason to run Windows is for gaming (because the games companies don't write for Linux).

So get back to your WoW me lad and let the grown-ups talk.

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Alert

Am I the only person

Who is yet to see any of these problems with Vista?

I was given the job of evaluating it for work, and while I can't justify the cost for us to upgrade just yet I still have it as my primary desktop 8 months later.

No slowdown, No network copy issues, No driver issues, using Aero and all my software runs. It was a bit heavy on disk access at first, but trim down the indexing feature so it doesn't scan as much and it runs better than my copy of XP did on the same machine. So far not a single system crash!

It may have something to do with the fact I did a clean install and it hasn't been burdened with all the unnessary bloatware OEMS seem to feel is essential. Just a guess, but I am happy with it so far it was just a bit of a learning curve as it's different.

Athlon X2 5000, 1GB DDR2, 150GB Sata 300 disk and Nvidia 256mb Geforce 7300GS running Vista Business x64 in case anyone was wondering

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Gates Horns

Clean install still runs like a dog

None of their suggestions really improves base performance. I really don't know wtf Vista is doing. I just bought a new quad core machine, all high spec. I have both XP and Vista installed on it now so I can do side-by-side comparisons, and there simply isnt any competition. XP trounces Vista in every area. XP's response time on a modern high-spec machine is really nice now. Its almost instant on, and runs like a dream. In short, it runs the way I'd want. Vista by comparison... I may as well have bought a cheap £200 machine from PC World.

Whats amazing is both OSs are doing the same task - being an OS. I really have to wonder wtf is going on inside Vista. Why does it take 2 minutes to boot when XP now starts in 5 seconds? Why are my Vista menus sluggish (and I have all that b*llshit eye-candy off) when XP's feel so snappy?

Vista is today's Millenium Edition. I'd really like to see Linux make some in-roads into the average person's home. Not because I want to use it personally, but because I think some commercial pressure on Microsoft to actually deliver what customers want is whats needed now.

Personally I'd be more then happy to use Linux (free? secure? stable? yes please!) but for me, and a *lot* of people like me, a PC is now a high spec games machine, and sadly very VERY few games bother to support Linux (this isnt Linux' fault).

/rant

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Boffin

Windows and Uptime

I found that by redefining uptime for windows to "time between reinstalls", it's usually in the same ballpark as any *nix.

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Thumb Down

Reduce start menu entries? What about registry entries?

I disagree completely with your statement about uninstalling programs being only for freeing up hard drive space.

Compare a relatively new machine with one that's been chugging for a while, now it doesn't matter how clean the chuggers' been kept, it's still going to run like a tractor after a while unless the registry is properly cleaned from time to time, and I don't mean with one of those general registry cleaners either, you actually need to look through the results of those, including some and removing others from the delete list. This my friend goes hand in hand with uninstalling crud :)

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make vista better..

.. I thought it was sopse to be the best (wow indeed).haveing used Vista/ XP and Mac OSX (since 10.3) i think i may stick to my Mac its curent uptime is 26 days 14 hours and a copple of minutes in change, Vista uptime was 7 hours before its last restart, and it BSOD seven times since i got it in june last year, OSX has done it 3 times so far.

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Paris Hilton

2000/xp/linux

As others have said.

Format hard drive and then install your choice of Windows 2000 / XP / Linux (I do suspect that being forced to use Vista will create several hundred thousand linux users)

I for one will never ever pay for Vista. It is over bloated rubbish with enormous memory and cpu requirements just to get the desktop up.

Who actually decided that they wanted an operating system that uses twice as much memory and runs twice as slow as XP? What benefit does this overpriced piece of software offer to the user?

Personally I use windows 2000 (mainly) still, which works with every single driver disk or piece of software I have ever tried to install, uses hardly any memory and runs fast. There is not one single benefit for me to upgrade to Vista (XP I can accept that I may have to upgrade to - and thats ok)

All this new wave of Vista laptop users. I am sick of people asking me how to install their old software that comes up with a dialog box telling them that it is not compatible with Vista .... grrrrr

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Boffin

Remember Windows 95 and development in the 90s ?

Strange that XP&windows server std can only use 4gb and vista less. I also recall all these measures in the past, needing restarting 5 times a day with windows 95 (solved with Win98).

The removal of services suggestion - imagine a VistaHome Edn user being ok to fix these things?

So I am sticking to using WinXP or Windows 2003.

As much as I would like to use IIS7, it is impossible due to the damage of VISTA.

I recall with each Windows upgrade (98/2000/xp/vista) you have to double the resources just to stand still.

Sadly MS seems to have lost the plot with Vista in its search to be 'just like mac' rather than focusing on what it is good at.

If I wanted a Mac I would have bought one, and the mac Air at that.

So I will be sticking with XP64 till it is beyond not supported. Windows2003/2008 might be more viable than vista.

MS is giving vista away for free as a pre-installed system but you have to pay to have something performant on your pc or laptop.

The big contrast of course is to put Vista and then Ubuntu on the same spec laptop and then bench mark it then see what Vista is really worth.

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Dead Vulture

@Don Mitchell

"...(and that's about all you can do with Linux), you're better off with a more advanced OS like Windows."

ROFLMAO! Oh Good heavens above. Ignorance is indeed bliss isn't it.

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Paris Hilton

My Vista runs fine...

...admittedly I know not to install half the internet on it and all the spyware under the sun...

...ok, there are some foibles, but on the whole it does what i want to do for work, gaming, image and video editing, media centre etc. Yeah I could faff around with red hat for this, unbuntu for that but Windows does (usually) make life easy.

Horses for courses. Oh, and for those that are wondering why XP runs so great compared to Vista, I remember the number of machines I was forced to sell still running 98 when XP came out 6 years ago - "It's so slow and clunky and Fisher Price Teletubby" they all cried... six years worth of hardware advances and suddenly XP the sperm of the devil is XP the second coming of Paris Hilton...

In 18 months we'll all wonder what the fuss was about. And why Windows Backcomb is crap...

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N

youre right...

Get a Mac!

After my son got one, I got a Macbook & then his girlfriend got one and my daughter wants one...

its amazing & supremely fast, comparing it with a Vista laptop is comical, the two are poles apart, like a Porsche911 & an old bicycle.

So when my XP desktop that Microsoft wont validate the COA thats stuck to the side of it packs in that will be replaced with a Mac Pro.

If I need windows theres plenty of Windows 2000 Pro discs on e-bay which I can run in VMWare.

So bye bye Microsoft

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Dead Vulture

@Danny (et al)

I have a similar spec PC - AMD Athlon64x2 4600, 4GB DDR2, 256MB 7600GT, 2x 320GB SATA. It also runs Vista Business 64bit very nicely thankyou.

I previously tried the 32bit version but had loads of problems including blue screens after auto-updates. The 64bit version seems to be much better sorted and despite my original scepticism (I'm an XP devotte too) I'm keeping Vista64.

And, for all you Linux zealots - I've previously run Fedora Core6, Ubuntu etc, and while marginally - marginally - faster than Vista64, I found that Vista is the more enjoyable and easier to live with. Configure your firewall correctly and Vista is as secure as Linux.

Now, where did I leave that asbestos suit - I just KNOW I'll need it very soon...

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