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back to article Ballmer and Gates defend Vista, drop Windows 7 hints

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer yesterday insisted that the firm was not guilty of making huge blunders with its unloved operating system Windows Vista. Speaking at the All Things Digital D6 conference alongside lame duck chairman Bill Gates, Ballmer contended: "Vista's not a failure and it's not a mistake.” He also took the …

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ben
Gates Horns

VistaSE

Nuff Said

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Linux

The wrong goal?

"The goal with Windows 7 is that it will run on the same hardware as Windows Vista..."

Every version of Windows has been "capable" of running on the same hardware as its immediate predecessor, as long as the hardware far exceeded the minimum spec, but not without a performance hit.

What MS should be aiming for is a version of Windows without the bloat, that will OUT-PERFORM Vista on a minimum spec machine. But that would break the back-scratching arrangement with the hardware makers where a new OS needs the latest hardware and new hardware needs the latest OS. Then the dreaded penguin might get a look in...

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Go

All the more reason to switch to ReactOS

The Open Source Windows XP clone: http://www.reactos.org

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Vista is great

I've been using vista for 6 months and its been a fantastic experience to be honest. Networking and security have been great out of the box. Have not had any crashes or come to think of it, any issues of any sort. Performance is great - 2ghz 2gb laptop with vista is way faster than my xp desktop which is 2.8ghz. Total boot time to get to a useable state is 42 seconds. Sleep resume is about 2 seconds. Shutdown takes 7 seconds. Battery consumption is great, with a standard 6 cell battery I get 3.5 hours of battery life.

And this is coming from a unix admin who hates microsoft....

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Gold badge

Final nail in the coffin for Vista

Who on XP would buy Vista now given there's another Windows OS on the horizon? not just a new version of Windows, a new version with the first major change to the Windows human-computer interface since Windows 1.0.

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@M Burns

Yeah, because an alpha-stage OS is a better idea than using WINE on a more stable version of Linux....

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Why don't Microsoft get it?

I thought a company like Microsoft would learn to understand its customers by now.

We don't want Windows 7.... new and improved with 10 times more bloatware than its predecessor.

What we need is a new version of windows that runs on the latest core, but is completely stripped of all the crap and automatic background tasks. Basically its just a desktop for launching apps from. 99% of users probably don't use 99% of the "features" of windows. Business users would be queuing up to buy such a product.

Is it any wonder that people are starting (yes .... after all these years sadly, its still just "starting") to turn to open source OS's .... you know... where all you need to get started is a kernel and a boot loader.... and from there you can choose exactly what features and packages you need or would rather not have.

Come on Microsoft do the right thing, a nice simple stable OS please (like windows 2000 that around 70% of the computers in our office still use)

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Silver badge

Can anyone explain the Windows numbering system?

Would I be right to think that non-NT 32bit versions of Windows don't get a number in the current system, and XP and 2000 share a number?

Anyone got any idea to what extent Apple, as purchasers of FingerWorks, can claim royalties from Microsoft for their multitouch interface? I assume that Microsoft haven't been smart enough to move away from whatever FingerWorks came up with.

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ReactOS

I'd love to give it a try - once it's out of alpha stage.

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Gates Horns

@ Vista is great

Does anybody else see a post like this and immediately presume it's a shill for whichever party is under attack in the article?

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"Another Windows OS on the horizon"

Let's bear in mind that Windows 2000 was released in February 2000, and "Whistler" (as XP was codenamed) was "on the horizon" by March 2000.

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Stop

@M. Burns - ReactOS

From www.reactos.org: "Please bear in mind that ReactOS 0.3.4 is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature complete and is not recommended for everyday use."

'Nuff said (although I'm sure some wag will say that that's the permament state of MS-Windoze)

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Stop

They know....

..it's not doing well. They can check the number of activations to get more realistic figures. That they're ackowledging it's "not really upto scratch" speaks volumes.

From my own perspective and having used Vista, it's clearly still very much beta (if even that).

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There's always been "another Windows OS on the horizon"

Windows 2000 was released in February 2000, and Windows XP was "on the horizon" (as in there was a beta on the loose) by March 2000.

Comparing that with Vista and Win7, we waited a number of months for even the screenshots of MinWin, and a bit more for a milestone release.

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ReactOS?! I'll stay with XP

Yes, it has very noble goals but even ReactOS's web site states that it is "not recommended for everyday use". I'll be sticking with XP, thanks...

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Alert

@Vista is great

Come on admit it, your Steve Ballmer posting aren't you :)

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Huh?!

@ AC ^

Thought I was the only person that visited El Reg that's found Vista to be pretty good....? Am I missing some hidden sarcasm?

Anyway, Vista is a great OS. £400 gets you a Dell with a Intel dual core 2 at 2.6Ghz and 2Gb RAM with a 128Mb Radeon to boot. The whole hardware spec thing was dead 12 months ago. The spec's for Vista to run reasonably are a single core @ 2.8Ghz and a gig of RAM. That's not some huge overhead or massive spec in 2007/2008 - that's a normal cheap PC.

For anyone who is holding off until Windows 7 due some of Vista's bad press - DON'T. If your applications aren't written to use Windows development best practice (e.g. don't use un-documented API's, don't use hard-coded paths, test so that it doesn't need admin rights etc.) then it won't work on Vista. If it won't work on Vista, it's not going to work on Windows 7 either.

By all means skip Vista and stay with XP, but your going to have to get your lazy ass 3rd party POS/ERP developers to start coding properly if you want to use any future version of Windows.

Alternatively you can ditch it, start from scratch and then move to Linux or OS X - however tweaking current code is probably quicker and cheaper.

And the whole "Vista SE" is no different to Windows XP being "Win 2k Pro SE" is it? It's all on the WinNT kernel....

Though to be fair, Vista is such a dramatic change under-the-hood from XP (UAC, file locations, IE7+, SuperFetch, default permissions etc) that to be fair a minor release may be welcomed! :-)

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Gates Horns

If only microsoft lessens the crap they shove on us.

I think they should really allow users to take advantage of the "modular" (hold the jokes till later, please) nature of Windows' core by letting users control the kind of setup they want/need.

Instead of shoving/forcing us their idea of what we want/need (read: Home, Business, Ultimate, etc), they should tweak Windows' core to allow a more barebone setup to function. By doing so, they can accommodate alot more users, from the uber/cash-strapped to the budget-concious users, in terms of the kind of hardware the users have/can afford.

Let's take a look at Vista's services. Let's face it, alot of these services just don't provide enough, tangible benefit to most common users, more so when one considers the cost in terms of performance drain. These services should be easily customized before installation. But how do you control the experience of the user w/o forcing them these services, you ask? Simple, you already have two ways of doing so: 1) Default Settings: if you truly understand your typical user, you'd know that they would hardly tweak things, leaving things as it is; 2) Simple warning messages/pop-up message boxes: these should give them some idea as to what is being traded-off.

Again, give the users control of what they want to install. DRM-infected components? I'm happy w/ DVD (won't bother w/ Bluray, atleast in the near future). Indexing? I don't need it so why force it to me in the first place (before installation, that is).

Sorry for the long message.

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No Shit Sherlock

The super duper head honcho man admits that 7 will build on vista in this interview:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-9951638-56.html

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Replies

NT Versioning:

There was NT4, that was obvious, then 2000 was NT5, then XP was NT 5.1, since it was the same OS. Vista was 6, 7 is 7, though it sounds like the changes will be comparable to those between 2000 and XP, so they probably didn't call it 6.1 for marketing reasons.

@Luke Wells:

I don't know if you've been reading much, but all the indications point towards /less/ bloatware with Windows 7, since MS almost seems as if they learned their lesson. They obviously made some improvements with Windows 2008, because that's actually a decent OS that seems (to me) at least as fast as XP, if not faster at some tasks.

My conspiracy theory is this:

Vista was designed to suck. MS had to push through a whole lot of new driver changes (for DRM crap,) which meant that Vista was going to have terrible Video and Audio support / performance for a while. Now that MS has set the bar so low that anything halfway decent they shove out the door in Windows 7 is going to look nearly amazing, which is something that they wouldn't have been able to do without releasing crap first. And I'm sure that another 3 years of computers speeding up doesn't hurt.

Now if you want to hear my conspiracy theory for Windows ME... well that's really another story.

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Anonymous Coward

Vista is a huge turd

This story reminds me of the crap coming out of the White House. I'm waiting for Bill and Co. to say they had bad intelligence when they thought up XP.

-Only a piece of crap that was not designed properly needs a constant reminder to buy antivirus software?

btw my linux and OSX boxes are faster to set up easier to maintain and generally are less expensive and much less annoying to keep running, they also last longer (the hardware and the software) than windows boxes. Keep windows if you need it but stop fooling yourself that it's the best system out there, its not and I work with a lot of systems. The last thing we need are more features.

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I got a high-end computer a year ago

...and XP ran great. Up until the point where I installed graphics drivers, flash plugin, etc.

contrariwise, I've just bought a lapop with vista pre-installed, with specs lower or equal to my desktop machine - specifically the FSB is lower and CPU is marginally lower and gfx card is definately lower - and vista's performance is fantastic.

Things seem much more /controllable/ than XP as well - there's a lot more you can tweak, and a lot more of the behind-the-scences data can be got at.

It's not the fantastic leap that 98->2000 was (and half of the stuff that made 2000 good was in ME anyway), but it's a strong incremental increase versus XP, and as soon as I have a day to have my desktop machine out of commission I'm firing up the MSDN-mobile and getting vista for it, too

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@ Thomas - Windows version numbering

This was discussed at length in El Reg comments here:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/23/windows_7_release_2009/comments/

The 32-bit single-user 3xx and 9xx ranges are not part of the current numbering scheme. The current numbering is based on the NT line thus:

NT3.5

NT4

Windows 2000 (5.00)

Windows XP (5.1)

Windows Vista (6)

BTW, to check the number of an NT-based system, open a command prompt, type ver and hit enter.)

@ Luke Wells

Quote: "Come on Microsoft do the right thing, a nice simple stable OS please (like windows 2000 that around 70% of the computers in our office still use)"

Hear hear. I've used 'em all from Windows 2 through 3xx, all the 9xx series, NT 4, W2K, XP and (very briefly) Vista.

IMO W2K was the least over-complex, least unstable and (if fully patched) the least insecure (or, rather, it was the easiest to make reasonably secure by careful configuration and robust security policies). And on hardware above a 1Ghz chip and 256MB RAM it was reasonably swift

I used XP for several years but my spare home box has reverted to W2K SP4. My main machine runs Umbongo 6.06 (Dapper) - on 2.8Ghz P4 and 1GB RAM, it really flies.

Windows has always been a resource hog and each version has upped the hardware ante. You can (but why would you?) run a usable Linux set-up on a 486DX with 64MB RAM. IIRC the last Windows that would run well on that spec was 3.11 (or at a crawl and with frequent BSODs, 95)

Progress, eh? ;)

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Paris Hilton

@ Vista is great

Who, when reading the post, immediately comes to the conclusion that the poster hasn't actually been using Fista? and, as another AC posted, assumes it's from a Microsoft shill.

If he had, and I'm in the unfortunate position of having to use it at work, he certainly wouldn't be posting such utter bollocks.

Paris, because even she isn't stupid enough to use it.

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I'm switching to Linux

I dual boot XP and Mandriva now.

I bought Vista Ultimate and it wouldn't run games successfully so I switched back to XP.

I might try again when SP1 has been out a while but my next move will be Linux and perhaps reactOS (thanks for the tip M Burns

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Tom
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That’s an OS that sounds remarkably like Vista mark two to us.

With more shinny bits added. That was the problem with vista, it didn't have enough shinny bits!

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Flame

@@ Vista is great

Actually what I thought was either he's flat out lying about even owning a computer (sort of supports your shill idea) or if I were more generous then he indeed exists, and is a unix admin. The obvious conclusion then is that he has a bare system load of the Vista OS which he uses to run an SSH client (which AFAIK windows does NOT provivde). So, what he's really got is a super spiffy X STATION!!!!!!!!!!

Ah yes the bad old days, my X Station used to boot in about 20 seconds and shut down in 1. I guess Vista doesn't even make a good dumb terminal.

I will however accept on face value that if you don't install any applications, use any devices, or run any software that auto-bloats the registry, Vista is probably a very stable solitaire platform.

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Tom
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Self inflicted vapour ware?

So Microsoft can later say

Vista was good but no-one bought it because they were waiting for W7 which will be really good

if you've got a new 4 core 64GB Barcelona setup.....

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Windows numbering

goes something like this:

NT4 = 4.0

2000 = 5.0

XP = 5.1

2003 = 5.2

Vista = 6.0

2008 = 6.1

Windows 7 = 7.0

I'm not 100% sure about the last three.

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Dead Vulture

Of course it wasn't a failure...... for MS

but it is a failure for a lot of people who laid down cold hard cash for it

They managed to get people to pay a fortune for a product that by Balmers own admission is a work in progress. You have to either give them credit for pulling it off or lambast people for being so naive.

I would have said it is only the software industry that gets away with this stuff but with whats going on in the world i'm beginning to think we are all being taken for a ride by the owners and people of power.

- Rising oil price which by the looks of it is going to be justified by saying we need to invest in alternatives.

- Credit crunch because of cowboy lending practices

- Draconian Copyright enforce due to dated and flawed buisness models

- Rising Taxes to pay for inefficent and short sight government decision making.

All these have something in common, its the common people that are being hit to pay for these mistakes while the super rich corpRats and there major shareholders just seem to get richer.

Call me commie if you want but thats what i'm seeing. Dead vulture because it all smells bad to me :)

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@ Thomas

Yes you would be correct. Windows 2000 is NT5, XP is NT5.1, 2003 svr is NT5.2 and Vista and Svr 2008 are essentially NT6 as they both share the same kernal so the next bag of spanners out of the mill will either be NT6.1 or NT7 depending on just how long it takes them to get version 7 out of the door.

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Go

@Kyle

If a mere compatibility layer like WINE works for you, fine. But remember, WINE stands for "Wine Is Not an Emulator"; it's also Not an Operating System.

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Vista, a real looser

After spending 10 years supporting all of M$ OS's. All my machines are now Linux powered, I might have to still support M$ but the issues that vista gave me with networking (try taking 20 minutes to copy a 10Mb file to a nas share or a usb drive?) and no access to things I am used to having as a systems admin (I support over 200 M$ servers and g*d knows how many desktops) I had had enough and deleted it from my local machines.

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Interpretation

"The firm has in recent days gone to great pains to convince its business customers that grasping the Vista nettle first would ease the path to Windows 7 deployment when it reaches the masses – with January 2010 being the date Microsoft insists it will land."

Microsoft would really prefer you to buy two upgrade licenses rather than waiting another two years.

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Joke

@ Kyle

Given that Vista is little more that an alpha-stage OS I'd say that ReactOS is a viable competitor...

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@Vista is great

42 seconds to a usable desktop and you think that's great? My AMD4200+ with XP boots to a usable (ie I can open a program and start doing something) desktop 14 seconds after I press the power button. I'm thinking about putting puppy or dsl on it to see how fast that will boot.

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/ignore

An anonymous coward bigging up Vista, and also taking a knock at unix..... of course he was a shill. Pathetic really.

Ive had XP and Vista on dual boot for nearly a year. Can't say i've had much reason at all to go into Vista. I'm just glad i didnt pay the insane asking price for the thing.

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@ Vista is great

Oh yeah, I also know quite a few people who thought WinME was great.

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Gates Halo

@Luke Wells

Part of the plan with Windows 7 (as I understand it) is to strip a ton of legacy support from the OS. Then provide that legacy support in appropriate packs to businesses that require them (and of course pay for the support).

Thus your Win7 install will support 32 and 64 bit software, Vista certified hardware, etc. The old stuff will no longer be supported which is partly what makes the Vista codebase so freakin' huge.

As for *nix, when it can support all of my games without requiring a Windows Emulator, I'll consider looking at it.

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Anonymous Coward

I have the utmost confidence in them

Ballmer contended: "Vista's not a failure and it's not a mistake."

Gate said that the company could learn "plenty of lessons" from its handling of the spurned OS. "We have a culture where we need to do better,"

Customers are waiting for Windows 7 because by 2010 Microsoft will have learned and can release a definitive failure with better mistakes.

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What They're Good At

Bullshit

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Alert

Ballmer is totally nuts.

This is just sad, this guy is further separated from reality that Bush.

I'm getting normal "non tech" people asking me about Linux. And you practically have to fight your way into the Apple store, and Vista is a "success"?

I had fifteen years of their junk software, before I finally said no. Simply ENOUGH. Enough apologizing for a company that sells unrepentantly bad crap and blames everyone else!

I run OS X and Linux now, with a little bit of XP for some old games on the Wintendo. If it hadn't been for Vista I'd still be using Windows for my primary OS, For that I'll thank him.

How many people do they have to lose before they figure out, PEOPLE DON'T LIKE VISTA! And forcing them to take it if you want to buy a PC is not a sign of popular acceptance!

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Pirate

Gobsmacked... MS have *utterly* lost the plot

>"Ballmer contended: "Vista's not a failure and it's not a mistake.”"

Holy fuck, I cannot believe my eyes. YOU DO NOT DENY THOSE THINGS OR YOU HAVE ALREADY ADMITTED THEM BEFORE YOU EVEN BEGIN. This is the most appalling PR blunder I've heard of in a long, long, looong time... Ballmer should be fired on the spot for that and sent back to infant's school, or possibly even nursery. Coming next week:

Steve Ballmer denies Vista kicked your puppy.

Steve Ballmer denies that he still beats his wife.

Steve Ballmer denies that he routinely has carnal knowledge of the sows on his pig-farm despite the pleas of his wife and children.

...etc. PR and marketing is the one and only thing MS have ever gotten right - certainly not their software - and if they've lost that now, then they have *nothing*!

BALLMER! GET UP OFF YOUR KNEES AND STOP PLEADING AND WHINING LIKE A KICKED CUR! IT'S UNDIGNIFIED AND AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THE REST OF US!

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Gates Horns

iPhone?

ok I'm not wanting to hump apple here but windows 7 touch looks like a large iphone interface.

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Stop

Are you guys even using Vista ???

I can only shake my hand when I read all the comments posted here...

Yes, I'm using Vista -admittedly the 64bit version, which meant that I could forget about ssome of my old apps-, at home, and quite frankly, I have very little issues with i, especially now that SP1 is out. The only thing I'd appreciate for Ms to fix would be that explorer crashes randomly when unplugging a usb drive, but I can live with it.

Apart of that, it is STABLE, ,I am still to get a blue screen, and my box usually stays on for weeks without a reboot.

But, of course, I also bought decent hardware. If you plan on having it run on some exotic 20€ motherboard, with a Trident or Virge graphics card (am I showing my age? ), 512MB Ram, and dodgy drivers, don't expect anything positive of it.

Rememmber how people ranted at Win95 ? Sure, it wasn't very good, and sure, it waas only a DOS with some bad graphical interface, but that's what Linux is today, in more stable. People also ranted about 2000, about XP, well, today, they don't want anything else.

A stripped OS ? sure, that might be nice in a business environment. Oh, wait, would it mean I'd have to buy some ACDSee license to view pictures, winzip for compressed files ? Find some video player that wouldn't install spyware? Install that nightmarish thing called Firefox, and at least 20 other programs that my users need ? Been there, done that, did add at least 150€ on a PC, and it was a nightmare to get it all ready. And then to explain to users why they all had different interfacess. No, thanks, in a corporate environment, I'd rather have an integrated OS, even if some functions are a bit reduced compared to specialized software. Users won't notice anyway. (But I could do wihout the DRM stuff).

So, if you hate Vista so much, go buy a Mac (and don't try to inplement even a new service inside, it is a jungle of non standard Linux in there), or be happy with the latest X11 interface of your choice, but please, stop whining about an OS that you openly admit not to use.

And before anyone starts making comments, NO, I don't work for any Redmon affiliated company, and yes, I do exist. I'm also confronted to Linux systems all day, and also use XP on a daily basis, which isn't any better or worse than Vista.

So... get real, guys!

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Nic

Vista aint great but its not as bad as you whiners make out

Okay so I have a very high end computer but Vista 64 ultimate crashes far less than XP did for me and I can handle vast amounts of open programs at a time.

I like new toys so I shall be upgrading as and when.

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@ReactOS Steve

...where it has been for the past 5 years and shows no sign of movement.

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Gates Halo

@Steven Hewittt

Hmm. Two things:

a) According to MS, the 3D GUI requires 512MB in the graphics card. So not Aero ready.

b) I think your meds are oversubscribed. Unless your name really does end with three t's.

PS That's not a halo he's got his head up...

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Anonymous Coward

I'm not a Microsoft Shill

Why assume that I'm a Microsoft Shill just because I have had no problems with Vista, there are plenty of people having a great experience. This seems like very narrow thinking. Sure you can also have a good experience on other OS's, I'm just saying that Vista is working fine for me. No driver issues, no crashes, nothing.

I use it for web surfing (firefox 3 RC1 now), office, photoshop and graphics editing, watching divx and dvds, and listening to mp3's. For this it all works fine. And the performance has been great. Why does stating this make me a shill??? No I don't do any gaming, but with SP1 vista's gaming performance on the whole is up there with XP (with some exceptions - see recent comparisons that anandtech or whoever it was did).

I did a little tuning but who doesn't. Turn off indexing service and a few other things and job done. I did notice my CPU was jumping to 5% used every few seconds and my hdd would do an IO every 2 seconds or so, and using Procmon (the SysInternals program - free download is great) I discovered the cause was a sidebar widgit I'd downloaded, so I stopped using it. Also disable system recovery on all drives except OS drive.

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Linux

@M Burns

Yes, WINE is not an OS. Neither is DirectX and the Win32 API, which is what WINE is a reimplementation of. It doesn't *emulate* Windows, it *implements* the various API's.

Wine is getting pretty good at DirectX compatability (up to 9, though if they get 10 working, Wine/Cedega will be a better gaming platform than XP!!!) and since the OS is leaner, the games often run faster. Of course, if you're using a game that uses OpenGL, then Wine works even better. Only problem is that you can't often use the installer because they have "Copy protection" that ought really to be called "installation protection" since it seems more likely to stop installation...

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