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back to article Why I downgraded from Vista to XP

Freeform Dynamics I blogged a while back on how a Vista upgrade effectively rendered my old desktop machine useless for business purposes (see Retiring Leonardo from last year). I got a lot of feedback at that time as many people out there were obviously trying to get a handle on the viability of upgrading older kit. While …

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Linux

Or, instead of shelling out more money to M$

Install Ubuntu instead.

It really is quite incredible that the “solution” to the problem of crap software from Microsoft is to give them more money installing yet more crap software from Microsoft.

Seesh.

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Errrrrrrrrrrm

Surely you're just preaching to the converted here?! We already know this! Most of us would probably have said even just reinstalling Vasta would have solved some of the speed problems!

Oh, and: "so far, the only thing I have missed is the enhanced application switching mechanism in Vista, i.e. the Alt-Tab and Windows-Tab functionality."

You're doing something wrong if you can't get Alt-Tab working in XP! ;-)

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Downgrading

I thought if your machine came preinstalled with Vista you had the right to "downgrade" to XP for no cost?

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Anonymous Coward

ubuntu

yeah but would ubuntu support the fingerprinter and 3g modem?

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Anonymous Coward

Cue Webster.

he said MacBook, huhuhuh.

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Huh?

So, in effect you "punished" Microsoft for selling you a crummy product by buying another, slightly less crummy, product from them?

Yeah, that'll teach'em to produce sub-standard software...

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Thumb Down

Who would think it......

.....that XP would perform better on older hardware than Vista does!

What next? Why I downgraded from Crysis to Doom?

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MS?

I agree, you'd think there was some clause that allowed you to install XP instead of Vista, wasn't that included in the Ultimate edition?

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Boffin

You lu'y, lu'y...

...bar-steward! Some of us work for large software companies and so have to use Vista on laptops that are grossly underpowered for it. Then the relevant IT types have the temerity to suggest that it's the laptops that are causing the issues, rather than the OS....

But when I recently bought a new Dell laptop for home/ gaming use, the first thing I did was format the hard drive and install XP on it. As previous columns have suggested, after 2.5 service packs (well, the 3rd one's still in beta), XP is stable, generally bug-free and a pleasure to use when compared to Vista.

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Linux

Claim back Money for unused OS

It is also note worthy that if you decide not to use the bundeled OS, simple decline the EULA and ask the re-seller for a refund.

I know this was simple with XP, not sure about Vista, but the same laws apply so do yourself a favour ditch Vista and claim the cost of it back

"By using the software, you accept these terms. If you do not accept them, do not use the

software. Instead, return it to the retailer for a refund or credit. If you cannot obtain a refund

there, contact Microsoft or the Microsoft affiliate serving your country for information about Microsoft’s

refund policies. See www.microsoft.com/worldwide. In the United States and Canada, call (800)

MICROSOFT or see www.microsoft.com/info/nareturns.htm."

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Dead Vulture

Fine with Vista on a lower spec than that

But then I suppose it's because I don't really use so much bloatware. OK, so I use Visual Studio 2005, but I don't use Office 2007 (I still keep Access 97 around) but I stick to OpenOffice.org. I don't use Photoshop, I use GIMP.

In fact, the only problem I have is the change in DirectX which means I can't run Carmageddon 2 any more. Which of course means I do more productive things like commenting on stories on The Register. Or playing Unreal Tournament instead.

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Go

Alt-tab

Dale,

There are a number of Alt-tab replacement programs which give you features similar to vistas.

Microsoft even have their own one in their 'power toys' section which is quite nice.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/whistler/Install/2/WXP/EN-US/TaskswitchPowertoySetup.exe

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EULA Hell

More and more I hate having Vista(tm) crammed down my throat...

I have several "customers" crying that Windows(tm) XP(tm)'s nearing the "end of service" lifetime and, unlike the entire(?) Windows(tm) series to this point, you are _*not*_ allowed to use the supplied Vista(tm) license to cover an installation of a "lower" version?!

I can only sincerely hope to GOD(tm) that either:

1) A simple, easy-to-use (dummy L-user) Linux distro that seamlessly runs Windows(tm) apps achieves critical mass and becomes a de facto "replacement."

2) Microsoft(tm)(r)(c) finally comes out with a stable, fast OS instead of a thinly veiled "computer graphics exercise app" that you happen to be able to run apps, other games, etc. on.

(sigh). I have a feeling my hand will be a carpal claw from crossing my fingers that long...

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Gold badge
Gates Horns

Alt-tab

MS power toys for XP. Task switcher (a.k.a. Alt-Tab replacement). 'Nuff said.

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Linux

Downgrade or go to Linux

Bought a new pc in July

AMD 64FX2

4GB RAM

Nvidia 8800 GTX(S) Pro 640MB Cannot remember the exact lettering as I am not home

SATA HDD

Vista

Ran slow as a dog.

currenlty on XP Pro till I finish my current game of Oblivion then back to Fedora or Suse as it actually works. Vista would grind it to a halt on a regular basis.

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Same here

I had the exact same thing with my Sony UX1N1 UMPC - Vista business ran fine for the first few hours - The novelty of having Vista on a pocket sized device was great.

The novely soon wore off - Having more than 50% of my system resources being taken by a clean OS install (I never use the OEM installed OS - I never trust what "extras" they've decided to install) was simply unacceptable - It made gaming impossible :)

So I managed to install Windows XP (Which wasn't easy on a device with no built in CDROM and a USB CDROm which wasn't recognised by XP setup) and havn't looked back. Command and Conquer Generals works brilliantly on the little touchscreen, as does Civ and Quake3.

I do like Vista - My Gaming rig at home has been running it for a year now, and has only just started to feel like it needs a reinstall. My 1.8Ghz P4 bathroom media center has also been running Vista 24/7 for over six months now without any problems. It's far more stable than any other pre-SP1 M$ os I've ever used since 3.11 :)

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Unhappy

I actually used to like MS OSes believe it or not

I really cannot believe how a company with this much money and time have come out with Vista. I use a quad core, 4GB desktop which is more sluggish than my single core old laptop with XP. The daily crashes of Windows Explorer and various other Windows components amaze me. How could it be so bad? I have SP1 installed and it hasn't made any difference, so sorry all you people who are looking forward to SP1's general release.

I have to use Windows OSes for my work. I stick with it because you can't fight the inevitable, so I might as well get used to the crap.

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Gates Horns

@Neil Daniels

The downgrade right applies to Vista Business and Vista Ultimate, but only those two. You can read about the rights here: http://download.microsoft.com/download/d/2/3/d23b9533-169d-4996-b198-7b9d3fe15611/downgrade_chart.doc

If I understand it correctly, you only need an XP installation media, then you can phone up MS and get a valid license key, by giving them your Vista license key.

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Vista licence

I downgraded a Vista machine to XP not 2 hours ago. I'd asked microsoft on the phone what would the procedure be, and they said find XP media, use ANY XP key that'd get it to install, and ring them to activate it. When I rang them, I explained it was a Vista downgrade. their one and only question was how many was I downgrading. They didnt even ask me for the Vista licence. According to the microsoft bloke, its noted on their system that the XP key I used was used in a Vista downgrade, so re-activation on the orginal system or any further system shouldnt be a problem. I take it from all that that Vista licence covers XP install, and certainly didnt require me to go buy the thing.

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N
Bronze badge

why not?

Vista is a heap of crap anyway,

Perhaps the mugs that insist on buying the latest OS from Microshite wont be so quick in future but I doubt it.

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Happy

Should have waited for SP1

Having used SP1 for a month or so (Got via MSDN subscription), it makes Vista a lot more responsive!

I no longer use XP on my home PC. I don't know why people love the out dated interface of XP.

In 5 years time we'll be having the same argument about Vista's replacement verses Vista.

P.S I'm no M$ fanboy - I'm a Linux developer with a ubuntu powered mythtv box.

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Unhappy

drivers

It's all very well downgrading if you can get the drivers. Acer and HP have stopped putting XP drivers for their latest desktops on their websites.

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Pirate

Won't use it even when it's free

I have an HP laptop that I bought just as Vista was going mainstream. As such it cam with XPpro and a free (£16?) upgrade to Vista.

When I got the upgrade I did install it. Vista sucked. I put in another gig of ram and the performance increased greatly. Vista was pretty much as fast on the laptop as XP. BUT. The fan never came off high speed with Vista, the HD never stopped flashing, the battery drained twice as fast, the battery seemed to drain even when the machine was off. Vista was a PITA to do anything on. It took days to switch off the 'security' so I wasn't fighting advisory boxes and longer still to switch everything away from 'sleep' to 'off'

So I went back to XP. I didn't see the speed boost I expected but the machine is far less stressed.

I have a dual boot of Ubuntu on it but Ubuntu Broadcom wireless support for WPA is not good and I don't have the time to fight it, When Ubuntu have that problem licked I will remove MS form the machine.

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Ty
Jobs Halo

Windoze? Linux? pah

Linux freaks go home - your desktop dreams were shattered long ago.

A Mac is the only box that can run Mac OS X (and all the Windows trash) beautifully.

Dale will realise what thousands are realising every day. The Mac is the future.

Wake up - don't get left behind.

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Linux

Ubuntu rocks...

... for any it-savvy person, moving to Ubuntu should be fairly painless - I got it to replace my XP machine with no loss of functionality - for surfing, email, the odd letter web development, and media operations it does just fine.

If I'm going to let lack of Linux support dictate my component buying from now on (and I'm not a Linux fanboy) then I'm sure there are others out there thinking the same ....

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Gates Horns

Snap, crackle and revert from ghost image.

Well i upgraded my system, which scored a flat 6 across the board on the vista hardware test, but my patience with the speed of file transfers from drive to drive and drive to dvdr lost out in the end.

So with patience snapped and with a crackle of the power off it was time to revert from the ghost image i had of xp sp2, and all is right with my windows os again.

Half the problem is the extra effects and processes running in the background and all the sparkling graphics, well i for one have always said vista is pretty, but useless.

on my other box i have slackware which outstrips vista for speed on a machine not even half the power of my main pc, and it has pretty effects, ms seems so concerned with "prettyness" than true functionality. Vista maybe the death of MS, we can but hope they will relise the error of thier ways and go back to a simplier design.

Too much junk requiring too much hardware for very little functionality.

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@Neil & Alex

The option to downgrade was only given with the more "hardcore" (i.e. expensive) of the twenty or so versions of Vista. You can only downgrade to Pro, not Home as well. I also believe it still costs extra which is ludicrous.

As for the "why not install Ubuntu" line, there are a couple of responses. First of all, try and find a laptop that comes *without* Vista/XP pre-installed. Even if you wipe it and install Ubuntu, you've still paid for the initial OS.

The other issue is application compatibility and usability. I have Ubuntu running on a fileserver here in the office (on an old Windows 2000 desktop!) and it's a dream. Fast, reliable, unlimited connections... but not something that one of the office staff could use day to day. Just because it has a WIMP environment does not make it comparable to Windows.

XP is great. I really hated that when I said it the first time, but a decent install makes it a joy to use. I am very impressed that after so long, MS have released an OS that's actually useful and pretty reliable. Ubuntu would be my second choice for my own use but I'd not recommend it to any of my friends who aren't very computer literate.

I'd not recommend Vista to *anyone* while XP is still available. It seems pointless to get something all glitzy that offers nothing whatsoever featurewise compared to XP - and runs slower than the older OS on the same hardware.

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Alien

Old Windows on new...

Yeah, under the MS license, both Vista Business and Ultimate allow you to run XP. Exactly the same as how XP Pro allowed people to use 2000. Both Home editions don't though....Unsure why Dale had such an issue with it and had to buy a license, since he already owned one.

HP, Toshiba and a few others even throw in a XP restore CD as standard on all machines with Vista Business or Ultimate. No idea why Sony doesn't, but well...thats Sony.

Alien icon...simply because Sony is run by all those odd lil aliens who ignore the world and go around blu-raying everying :P

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Tim

A word of warning

While I agree with the comments about vista (my overall impression is that as well as the resource usage, it's simply "not finished yet"), I would like to add a word of caution about downgrading.

Several colleagues of mine had Dell Latitude laptops (I don't know the exact model) that were preloaded with vista. After downgrading to XP they had some problems with instability and eventually had to revert to vista again.

So don't take it for granted that vista-certified hardware will work with XP. Not only will the manufacturer not support it if you have changed the OS, you might be letting yourself in for stability/driver problems.

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Gates Horns

re:Alex Wright

Problem is, all Linux distribututions suck badly on the desktop.

Leave Linux as a server OS, where it belongs.

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SP1 is on the way

I also have Vista the Sony TZ laptop.

I wonder how SP1 will change things.

I do, however, dual-boot and run Ubuntu most of the time, because I am finding Vista to be sluggish.

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Anonymous Coward

Still running 2K

I'm still running Windows 2000 Pro on my one remaining machine running Microsoft stuff. I get fewer problems with it than I get with my XP desktop at work.

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True

If the hardware isn't good enough then run XP. Vista is a superior operating system to XP in nearly every single way - however it takes a little more horsepower to run.

I wouldn't try to power a Bentley with a 999cc engine, but I would a Nissan Micra.

It's also worth noting that laptops are often less powerful than desktops. From 1st hand experience I can tell you with confidence that Vista will run smoothly on any desktop purchased in the last 3 years or sometimes even more.

I'm writting this on a Vista Business x86 powered Dell Latitude D820 using a Core 2 T7200 (2.0Ghz) and 2Gb RAM. And it runs like lightning (after about a years worth of heavy IT type work on it)

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Pirate

Valid comparison?

OK, I'm no fan of Vista, but the article is a bit unfair. Compare, if you will, a stripped down car like an old Mini Cooper (the original, not BMW's over-fat LardINI), which can produce sportscar scaring perfromance from a 1275cc engine beacuse the car has NO EXTRAS - no ABS, no traction control, no aircon, etc. Compare it to a nice, new and solid family saloon that has a bigger engine but doesn't give the same performance, beacuse it's lugging around the extra weight of side-impact beams, airbags, four real seats, etc. And as it's a new product, it's going to have those recalls and niggles before the maker gets it sorted. Now, with forty-odd years experience in the Mini enthusiast camp, a Mini can be a fast and reliable car. But if it was loaded up with the extras of the saloon it would hardly start! This is the difference with Vista, it has security and functional extras that need extra grunt in the system to make it work properly. If you take your old "Mini" PC or laptop and expect it to run Vista better than XP then you're technically naive.

I have let friends test Vista, some love it and others have gone back to XP. One has commented on the fact that he has LESS issues with Vista than XP. The gamers avoid Vista like a plague, whilst the "avergae family user" types think they have bought an extra-secure product just like someone that has just bought a new Volvo. Now, if Volvo had stupidly sold a new saloon with a 1275cc engine and let buyers think it was going to be a real motorway burner then you'd think Volvo were stupid. Obviously, it is Sony that are the stupid party here - selling a low-power laptop with Vista is just going to annoy their own customers.

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Anonymous Coward

@Alex Wright, Karel Jansens et al....

...who keep on carping about "should use Ubuntu, Kubunto, Ubukunubloodytuntu or whatever fucking flavour of Linux is doing the rounds at the moment. Read the bloody article. He states he uses the machine in a corporate environment, and so quite possibly uses applications (be them in-house or not) that have never been nor will be written for Linux.

Does Outlook run on Ubunto?

No, it fucking doesn't, therefore he's pretty bloody stuffed if he wanted to, god forbid, access his corporate mail.

Meh...

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Welcome to Sony

This was exactly the case with older Sony laptops and XP. In my old company we had to downgrade every single one of them.

If the 2K to XP transition is anything to go by it will take Sony 2+ years to catch up completely and make all their drivers and utilities fit naturally with Vista. Buying a Sony with Vista prior to that means shooting yourself in the foot.

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Gates Halo

Some of you must be configuring it wrong..

I have Vista, running on quite a beefy machine, I'll admit. However, I don't see any problems with it. I am fortunate enough to be running SP1, and it is a VAST improvement on the SP0 of Vista.

SP1 fixes all the performance issues present as one or two have mentioned in this spiel above.

Also, @ Anon. Coward - HD never stopped flashing - maybe your laptop was constantly Indexing. It can easily be turned off through Control Panel.

Innit.

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Silver badge

Why...

...did it take you so long?

A friend of mine's boyfriend bought a brand new top of the range HP laptop, which came with Vista. He liked the flashy eye-candy on Vista, so declinded his girlfriend's offer to "down"grade it. Her response? "Within a week you'll change your mind, let me know when you're done playing".

A week later, he had taken to swearing at his laptop all day long while waiting for it to do the simplest opperation, and decided to get Gem to downgrade it. A couple of hours later, he was given it back, and his first comment was:

"I thought you were putting XP on it"

That's right, it was XP but looked exactly like Vista, with all the eye-candy. She had installed Vista Inspirat. Everything was much faster, but it looked (almost) exactly the same.

Unfortunately it has been back to HP twice so far, and each time (in spite of her pleading for them not to reinstall vista) it took another couple of hours to reinstall XP and all his apps. Worth it to get a top-end laptop to stop running like a P90 with 8Mb RAM though....

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Linux

@Iain Purdie

"As for the "why not install Ubuntu" line, there are a couple of responses. First of all, try and find a laptop that comes *without* Vista/XP pre-installed. Even if you wipe it and install Ubuntu, you've still paid for the initial OS."

Found one

http://www1.euro.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspnnb_1525_ubuntu?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en&s=dhs

I believe Acer also provide Linux solutions although I am not sure if they do in the UK or not.

Incidentally, Dell also provide desktop systems running Ubuntu as well.

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Thumb Down

Is this guy serious?!

For somebody that is supposed to know what they are doing you seemed to give up pretty easily, did you turn off features like Aero to try and speed it up, did you try ANYTHING!?

And to be honest 12 minutes to startup and 6 minutes to shutdown suggests other problems with the machine e.g. malware or bloatware, dodgy drivers, registry problems!

I have 2 vista machines (one a Sony laptop) and have NEVER seen any noticeable degradation over a long period of time.

I am in no way a Vista fanboy but your article annoyed me, as it seems that you went looking for a solution (which ended in an XP install) without even even bothering to see what was causing the problem.

finally, If your machine really isn't capable of running Vista, surely it's the manufacturers that you should be blaming, not the OS?!

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Thumb Up

Not my experience

Happily running Vista Business x64 for 12 months with no problems at all. At first the hard disk kept going nuts when idle, but when I configured the indexing to only do my documents folder instead of the whole drive this stopped. It runs just as well as XP ever did on this machine. Still waiting to see 'The Horrors Of Vista!'

Athlon X2 5000

1 Gb DDR2 with an extra 512 on a memory stick using ready boost (didn't need it, I was just curious to see if it worked)

SATAII HDD

Nvidia Geforce 7300GS

Only get a 3.0 rating but it's the graphics card that brings it down. Still no problems though

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Stop

Trying to understand why you paid for XP

According to the system builder licensing faq:

"The OEM versions of Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate include downgrade rights to Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition."

Now I could be losing the plot but that says to me that if you have an XP disk knocking about you can just remove vista and install XP at no extra cost the only time you might have to buy a copy is if you dont have one already.

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Silver badge

No surprise

If I took any OS (not excluding Ubuntu :) and installed it on a box that just about meets the manufacturer's 'minimum spec', I'd not be surprised to find it pretty sluggish. I'm writing this from my Vista box, which is a 2GHz dual-core Intel + 3GB + GTX8800 and it flies. It's far more responsive than my old XP/SP2 box, but then it is 4x the spec (in each 'dimension').

I recently upgraded my Linux box from Suse 9 to Suse 10. Is it faster? No! Have I got less free memory? Yes! Am I surprised? Not really :(

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That tingle's not from the shower gel...

"My 1.8Ghz P4 bathroom media center has also been running Vista 24/7 for over six months now without any problems."

Hang on; "bathroom" and "media centre" in the same sentence.

B*gger the OS - tell us about the hardware, Shaun. Inquiring minds want to know.

I guess a P4 could make quite a good towel warmer ; )

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Paris Hilton

@ Tim

Well said. Very eloquently spoken. And a F*ck you to all the haters who seem to think that they have a right to judge! FFS, i wouldn't mind betting that all the people, that commented negatively, would give their eye teeth for the ability to provide for their family as this man can. All you have to do is concentrate and work hard. A concept lost on most of the inhabitants of this green and pleasant land!

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Dabs.com

I've noticed on the spam from Dabs that laptops either boast that they have XP, or don't say anything.

VIsta must be hitting the sales then.

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Windows 3.11

Anybody tried downgrading to Windows 3.11?

Was this the best there ever was or I'm I just old and my eyesight is failing?

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Flame

vlite makes all the difference

theres a little utility called vlite that will strip the un needed crap out of vista, as a result im using a very cut down, win2k look alike version of vista business on a 1.2ghz p3 mobile 512mb laptop (even the non vlited version ws perfectly usable), the whole thing runs as fast as xp did and retains the more useful security aspects of vista (namely UAC and IE protected mode)

its also worth remembering, that

A) all the performance gripes are played out with every new windws version: 95->8->2000->XP->vista

B) the group worst for publishing unrealistic system requirements are game mnaufacturers yet there is never the threat of legal action when the bottom of the spec list system can only just about manage to produce a regognisable image on screen let alone play the game

all the key aspects of vista work fine on normal XPesq hardware, its just the famcy oo-ah made for qvc demos aero interface that struggles, and the novelto fo that wears off after 10 minutes anyway...

tho one thing does puzzle about vista - if vista business was meant to be a more security aware business OS then why the hell is bitlocker only in vista ultimate? surely as TPM is largely only present in business class machines it should be in vista business too!

AC

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Silver badge

Another excellent source for Linux laptops/notebooks

http://www.linuxemporium.co.uk/products/laptops/

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Gates Horns

Linux

is great except.... I can't play the bloody games I want to, when developers release software for linux as well as M$, then I'll gladly burn every piece of M$ software I own

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