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back to article Dell offers 'Windows Vista Bonus' to frightened customers

Dell is actively promoting a Microsoft licensing loophole to channel partners eager to keep selling PCs installed with Windows XP, after Microsoft's official cut off. The Dell channel blog is pointing resellers to the loophole in the Windows Vista license that enables business customers to downgrade from the unwanted Windows …

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Listening to the customer

At last, it appears that Dell understands the concept of selling what the customer demands as opposed to pushing pointless bloat on them under the guise of 'progress' and 'improvement'.

Probably realised that more people are refusing to buy, and don't, want vista as it has become apparent on a large scale of how rubbish it is. I know, before I get flamed, that some people love it but all in all, it is not fit for purpose (flashy gimmicks and drm aside)

I had to use it on a 3 month old 'pc world' type of box, when a colleague had a problem and wanted to transfer data off the machine before selling it. I had no patience at all with the constant dialogue boxes, things not where they used to be and logically should be, stupidly slow file transfer, constant crashes, but all done in a graphically pretty way.I am in no way an IT expert but know quite a bit, having built and repaired pc's as a hobby and a necessity for the last 10 - 13 years (since win 95 ) but am at a loss of how this OS is supposed to be handled by the average email sending web browsing letter writing non-power user or enthusiast.

As no doubt many others have found out, it is unneccessary and wasteful so they are not buying it. It is nice to see that the message is finally getting through to the mostly arrogant vendors and manufacturers and here's hoping that they have enough balls to tell MS where the problem lies.

Final comment: don't tell me vista is popular because X million users have it. Most people have to pay tax, lots of people have cancer, both through not having a choice. It doesn't make ieither popular.

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Gates Horns

A significant shift in the OEM's relationship with Microsoft?

Suuure.. MS are still selling Vista licenses. They are still keeping out the competition by locking in the customers to an MS operating system. And they still appear to be supporting Vista. Dell is doing their job for them - No shifting necessary.

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Bronze badge
Linux

I'm switching...

to Linux once XP is no longer supported.

Long live Tux!

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Anonymous Coward

But how to get them?

I ordered 5 XP pc's from Dell last week and they arrived with Vista on them.

Dell apologised and said that in future all shipments would have Vista installed but with a downgrade option. No one know how this will work.

My big concern is laptops. Laptops run like a three legged dog with Vista and I have to test my VPN clients again which is a miserable process.

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Re: But how to get them?

Well, the way Dell apparently does it now is that you buy a "Vista" box, and what you get is a box with XP preinstalled and a locked-to-the-service-tag DVD of Vista Business in the carton. It seems likely they'd just do it the other way, so that you get your Vista box with Vista on it and an XP CD alongside.

Seems to make sense, anyway, and Dell appears to be on this new "doing things that make sense" kick, which I have to admit is something of a pleasant change from the days of selling refurbished hard disks as new. I wonder whether it'll last.

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@AC

Poor comparison there dude, three legged dogs actually run very well!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7NkMgTp7Ug

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Unhappy

Is this for business only?

I'm guessing this is for business only as I was researching prices for laptops for home / personal use last week (for a family member) and there was no option for XP (only the various Vista editions).

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Give over Huw Evans.

You're at a loss how Vista is supposed to be handled by the average email sending web browsing letter writing non-power user. Give it a break mate.

The FUD people, such as you have given Vista a bad name. Along with the mongy OSX crew and Linux geeks.

Sure, it is a step sidewises from XP. However it is no-where near as bad as some of the bullshit spouted out by people who have never used it. Especially those who claim they are not IT experts and then go on to say how much experience they have with computers and class themselves as power users.

Prick.

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Alert

You know Microsoft goofed

When mainstream sites are reviewing and praising pirated versions of XP!

http://apcmag.com/pirated_windows_more_impressive_than_the_real_thing.htm

XP users, start your torrents! (I'll stick with Puppy, thank you.)

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@Rick Giles

How very noble of you. Clap Clap.

Where is the penguin icon with devil horns eh? Or can linux do no wrong? 'tards

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@ rick giles

Why wait? Start your switching now...

And @AC:Is this for business only?

Business and Ultimate, AFAIK, both have downgrade rights. And anyone with those editions can downgrade. How it works, I don't know.

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Half baked

I ordered 5 new PC's a few weeks ago from Dell with Vista business licences and XP pro pre-installed.

They came with a Vista reinstall dvd and a CD containing Vista drivers.

NO XP install CD and no XP drivers.................

There is no easy way to re-install XP if the system crashes.

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Paris Hilton

It make business sense!

For MS.

Dont all producers/Manufacturers have "planned obsolesense" ? New range, different designs etc etc. For MS to survive, they have to be doing it this way only!

Even hadware makers do this and dont support via firmwares all the time. Gone are the days when My toaster/Radio/TV would work 25 years and I'd be proud of it!

Did I read it here in Elreg by a Newzealander that Vista was one of the longest suicide notes in history? I hope its true and that it gives alternative OS's a boost, for the sheer arrogance of Microsoft.

But business sense, it surely makes for Micro$oft!

Paris, 'cos she also cant figure out how to use Linux either, as its not mainstream alternative yet.

PS : I dont work for M$.

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@William

I have brought and used Vista, I have uninstalled and re[placed with XP

The main reasons

1) Its slower

2) Its slower

3) Its a lot slower

Thats about it actually, compaired with the older product (and doing the same thing) its noticably slower in every respect.

And not offense, my machine pisses on Crysis, so its not the hardware

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@William

While I agree that much of the anti-Vista posting is a little OTT, and often by non-IT-pro types, I AM an IT pro, and have been for several years.

I've had the (mis)fortune to to use and support virtually every commercial OS released since MS-Dos 5 and, with a certain degree of sincerity, I can say that Vista makes Win ME look good.

I'm currently running Vista x64 Business on a Dual Core X2 with 4GB, with all the pretty bits turned off, and it still runs like a slug. Next to it I've got a box with an old Athlon XP 2G and a massive 2GB, running 2008 server, and it flies!

The fact is that Vista is bloated far beyond necessity (do we really need 60 processes running on startup ?!), slows down the professionals with unecessary wizards and x Centre screens, and has a whole collection of security "enhancements" which are immediately turned off by home users.

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Anonymous Coward

@By William

"The FUD people, such as you have given Vista a bad name. Along with the mongy OSX crew and Linux geeks."

"Sure, it is a step sidewises from XP."

Speaking like that I'm sure you are from another planet, 'Planet Microsoft' perhaps.

It's also interesting that you sign your message with the name 'Prick'

H.

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Eee...

>From now on, you can only get Windows Vista. Officially.

So what does this mean for the Asus Eee PC?

Linux only or, as I've raised before, actually a Vista license sale with XP installed?

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Black Helicopters

Big deal.

HP have bere doing this for awhile.

As soon as find their news letter showing it I will email the author.

Cant allow free good press to SMELL.

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Gates Horns

The most important thing is...

...that Dell provides full Drivers for XP for their products....

I ordered a new Latitude Notebook a few weeks ago, it shipped with Vista Business. After some frustrating hours I decided to switch back to XP and found all drivers on Dells website and the switch was no pain at all (and it does what it's supposed to do: wotk...)

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Anonymous Coward

@William

OK, I am an IT expert (well I've worked in IT since before Windows 3) and I think Vista is crap. I have used it and built several system with it on.

If you are lucky and have all new parts and peripherals it can run OK (but in my experience always slower than XP). The problem is that it isn't stable with some hardware combinations or just doesn't work with some peripherals. There is also no real reason to change, in that there is nothing Vista does which is a "must have". Perhaps some people will do it for the latest and greatest DirectX but It's not sufficient motivation for me.

For these reasons I will stick with XP.

Before you jump on your high horse I am not a Mac user, in fact I've never logged on to a Mac.

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@William

Finally got to see Vista in inaction as it booted yesterday; a new PC has Vista Home Basic on it and took nearly ten minutes to get to the point where my nephew could actually get at the game he wanted to show me, and another five minutes to shut down with no User-initiated processes running...

There's sod-all in the startup, certainly nothing that should be causing any sort of a go-slow or lack of performance but still the thing started slower than a Metro City 1.0 towing a caravan...

Most people I know with that pile of garbage leave it booted up since shutdown & startup take so long.

I'll stick with XP, thank you very much. It may be MS bloatware, but even with all the crap I've added over the years it's still much quicker than Vista.

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Vista Mmmmmmm

Had Vista on a good few machines now, including 10 ordered from Dell although XP was ordered, Vista arrived plus a some Laptops too.

I am an IT professional of the pragmatic type. I like operating systems that are clean and easy to use, and above all easy to support. Vista is none of these.

It does pretty much the same job as XP, which is easy to support, Vista uses more CPU cycles and more memory to achieve the same end - so where, pray tell, are the advantages. OK, security may be better but you still need a decent AV and spyware package installed to make it safe.

No doubt I will get a severe flaming for this but Vista is bloatware at its worst, it is slower, more resource hungry, harder to use than XP (if you need to do anything half interesting) and it still has large lumps of 95 (and probably 3.0) code lurking in its kernal. Stuff it - it was only released to improve Micro$oft's flagging cash flow.

What ever happened to Digital Research, so much cleaner and greener...

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WPA

The truly frustrating thing is, once again, Windows Product Activation, aka "Bill owns your soul, so bend over and take it like a man!"

Ultimately, Redmond can just switch off their XP WPA service, so no new XP licences can be installed, regardless of what Dell or anyone else wants. They can make WPA work only for Vista, or XP only on SCCs, or whatever the hell they want.

You'll be forced to use whatever they say you must use.

Sure, one can argue that they'd never do that, the backlash would be too great. But they still have that ability, which doesn't make me sleep well at night.

Oh wait a second: If I really want to play games (Windows' only attraction) I can get a PS3 or a Wii. And I can do actual computing on Linux. At work I'll have to use Vista, but it'll be the company's problem to pay for and support it.

Windows' share of the home market may well start shrinking much more quickly than their corporate market-share. Home users now have more choice, and aren't as beholden to corporate policies or compatibility with corporate or specialist software.

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Anonymous Coward

To those asking how the downgrade to XP worked

Follow the instructions here

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9040318

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Re:Give over Huw Evans. by William

"Prick"

Offensive little irk :[

At least Dell are listening to customers if Microsoft aren't. I do hope more resellers pick up this loophole and run with it, Stick it to the man, so to speak.

Vista has been universally slated, its impossible to see how you can take any other standpoint. From its inception and promised features (which were dropped like leaves in Autumn) right up until now it is viewed (and rightly so) as a slow beast of an OS, with poor stability for a not insignificant number of people, massive driver problems, insane hardware requirments (not just to *run* it, but run it well). Yes some people are running it fine, but by jimminy, put XP/Linux on the same box and watch it fly!

I myself run Linux, I ditched Windows XP at the time when loading a simple jpg image could infect your PC with a virus (and yes I had/have legal nod32 license and firewalls etc). I recommend many people to *try* linux (such as relatives, which has had a great impact on reducing my maintenance of their machines, from weekly to non exsistant) but I also recommend some stay on XP due to their computing needs.

Personally I would at this time not suggest any single person gets Vista, it can cause unnecessary problems with no benefit which can be avoided simply by sticking to either XP (for some mid range power users, or people needing specific apps) or Linux for full on tweakers and power users OR those folks who do little more than write a letter and email or browse the web whilst needing something to plug a mp3 or digital camera into. Linux is actually the simpler of the two to setup and have working!

Sure I run Linux, I enthuse about it, but I don't believe it is suitable for everyone as peoples needs vary, People simply don't need more problems from an OS than necessary and by using Vista up until now (and perhaps for a while longer) is simply rolling those dice and taking a gamble... Last thing I want when installing/buying an OS is to have a mental image of Dirty Harry pointing a .357 at my head asking "Do you feel lucky?"

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Culture of shifting blame

Could it be that the problems people have experienced are not actually with Vista, but because they don't have a clue how to use it or fix something that isn't working quite right? I've been running business x64 for over 12 months now and I have had 0 (yes ZERO) problems. It's far more stable and usable than XP64 is. And for those people who think that moving to OSX or linux is an answer once they stop selling XP, the learning curve is even steeper than the transition from XP to Vista so stop being scared of change and put a bit of effort in. It's not all that scary and there are a lot of great features in Vista. It just seems like its fashionable to jump on the MS bashing bandwagon these days regardless of whether or not you know anything about it. And as a final note to the great unwashed, much as you may not like to admit it and much as it will pain you to realise this fact, but without MS most of you would not have jobs in I.T. today. Computers would not have become so popular without this company and it's very likely possible that we would still have too many different incompatible systems for something like the internet to work. Remember how it used to be? Couldn't use anything from commodore on anything else, same for Atari ST, same for Amstrad, same for Acorn, same for Apple, the list goes on and on. MS were the first to give a usable system on a standard platform that appealed to home users and so give the computer market the massive growth that it did. They may not have been the first to develop it, or first with some of their ideas but they were the first to package it together neatly and that was what the customers wanted and what the market needed.

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Paris Hilton

@William

I don't claim to be a power user, but I have enough knowledge/experience to deal with windows. My OH bought one of those PC's from Aldi, with Vista preinstalled. If I had not been there I don't think she would have had a clue what to do with it. Yes, she has used computers before, mostly Linux and w2k. But for all those that have not had a computer before, this could be a nightmare. I tried to set up the wireless network. What a pain in the a##e! w2k and xp did ok, but vista did not want to know. I did read somewhere that vista won't connect to wireless if the SSID is not being transmitted, even if you manually add it. So it is connected to our LAN via wire.

Me? I use Linux, specifically Slackware. I find it easier to use and work with than windows. I use windows at work but only because I have to. I have also used it at home right the way back to 3.1.

And one other thing about Vista - I am not the only one to notice that even if the computer is not running any apps, it seems to be constantly thrashing the hdd. I am trying to convince her to go back to W2K or XP. It should be faster but I have to make sure I can get the necessary drivers. Either that or Linux. NO I'm not a fanboi, I use what I want to use and respect that fact that everyone is entitled to use whichever OS they prefer. The right tool for the job.

Paris. I bet she doesn't bother about her OS.

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Coat

It's all a big con

This is just one big con by Microsoft. People make out that this 'downgrade' thing is wonderful but what you don't realise is that you are being ripped off. You buy a machine with Vista on it, so you have basically paid Microsoft £50-£100. Then you hand over even more money to Microsoft for the right to install a 7 year old operating system!

And whats more, your downgrade to XP doesn't count in the figures. Your purchase is still being counted in the Vista figures. Despite you (probably) using XP you are one of the many millions of Vista 'users' according to Microsoft. This isn't your fault of course, but just Microsoft distorting the figures yet again!

Are Windows users so stupid that they will pay for two operating systems just to get what they want?

Mines the coat that used to be a £300 leather jacket that I paid £80 extra so I could downgrade it to an anorak!

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@William

If Vista is a sidewises [sic] step, how come it's only illiterate morons who're willing to defend it?

Prick.

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@ AC, Business Only?

Most dealerships like this will sell "business" laptops etc to private buyers, you just need to pay VAT, whereas business buyers don't.

(For some reason our central IT have blocked Dell's website as "unsuitable content" - so I can't check, but I've just checked PCW and they're selling an Acer laptop for £450 with XP, available to private buyers, but in their business section. Whether you want to deal with them is up to you!!)

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Anonymous Coward

@William

Vista has a bad name because vista is a bad product - badly designed, badly executed and untested in real-world situations except by the poor end-user who has paid a small fortune for the privilege of beta testing what was supposed to be the most stable OS of all time.

Vista was released over a year and a half ago - it was over 2 years late. In the same timeframe, XP had gone from flaky to reasonably stable; unfortunately the same cannot be said of Vista.

There's no two ways about it. The "average" user is asked to verify system operations they know nothing about and care even less. MS obviously are after absolution so when users lose their work / have to reinstall / etc etc they can say "well you DID say yes to that dialog box!"

I tried on Vista with my 11 year old daughter and 9 year old son - not quite in the IT expert category you whine about; they hated it. After a month, they asked to have Linux on their laptops - of course, this may be due to the eye-candy of Compiz which doesn't actually need the power of quad-core processors to produce visually appealing effects (if that kind of thing appeals) and they'll want to move back to XP when they find their games don't work under Linux.

No loss there as their games didn't work under Vista either.

So if you're using your PC as a glorified type-writer, sure upgrade to Vista. If you want to do more, stick with XP or try one of the more exotic environments.

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Anonymous Coward

@ William

Would that be William Gates by any chance?

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Happy

Vista does work

I am running 3 x Vista and I x XP machines including a Vista laptop on a Windows Home Server Network with nothing unpleasant happening at all!!

Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong?

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Flame

reply to William

William - get a life and clean your mouth out.

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Happy

Pleasantly surprised

Well I am now finally in a position to comment on Vista and its lack of/or not of performance and usability.

My company is slowly migrating from Win2000 to Vista. I am one of the first pilot users at my location and to be honest reading all the negative comments on the many threads I was very concerned and tempted to delay.

My company is large, IT have been testing the Vista change for over 1 year, which I feel has made the difference. IT took away my laptop and returned it the next morning with it reinstalled with Vista Enterprise. All certified applications just work of course, which is to be expected.

Yes it is very different to Win2000 but after using it for 2 days I must say I am impressed. It is a hell of a lot faster than win2000 as it uses the dual core effectively. Power management is much better on the laptop, win2000 the fan was always working at high volume, even with the dual core disabled in the BIOS. Boot and login time is halved from win2000

To the detractors, yes it uses a lot more RAM and disk space. On my installation it is using around 1.5GB on first boot and the disk space with all the Vista and Office around 20GB, but my machine has 4GB and a 256MB video card and large hard drive so not an issue. There is a lot to learn with the changes in file structure etc. But I think it is a vast improvement, the frustration I used to feel with 2000 is gone.

Bear in mind I am not a power user, I use the laptop as a tool. My main work is to install differing versions of Solaris and Linux systems at customers and so SMS and all the things in the background with the servers I have no idea about.

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@William

"Sure, it is a step sidewises from XP"

the point is it should be a step up and the amount of extra resorces it takes to just do basic stuff (in my office we have 2gb computers for xp and 4gb for vista) it should be a big step up and it is just not

when I did the 98/xp step I imadulty noticed big improvemnts in network managment and userbilty these improvments I have not noticed in vista infac some basic network managment features (checking ip's subnets) are harder to do

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@WIlliam

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/03/26/vista_copying_bug/

STILL not fixed.

So Vista really is pretty crap.

Moreover, I don't see why Huw Evans' comment was so offensive that you would decide to respond in such an agressive manner.

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Paris Hilton

HP has got the Vista religion

Apparently now their workstations come with "Genuine Windows Vista® Business 32 with downgrade to Windows® XP Professional 32 custom installed." Please note that Vista is still not an option. Will it be tomorrow?

Forgive the tinyurl link, but HP has long URLs. It's the real deal, honest: http://tinyurl.com/45uank If you must have the ugly link it's here: http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF06b/12454-12454-296719-307907-296721-3432827-3432828-3651658.html

Apparently the new concession to Vista is that although you can't have Vista you get XP "custom installed." Last week it was all that without the "custom installed." That's progress, eh? "HP recommends Windows Vista® Business" indeed. But not enough to actually install it for you.

BTW, this box supports up to 128GB of RAM. "Windows® XP Professional 32" isn't going to use that much RAM even if it's "custom installed." Ubuntu will though:

http://mirrors.us.kernel.org/ubuntu-releases/hardy/ubuntu-8.04-server-amd64.iso

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Anonymous Coward

Ooh... controversial!

Sorry guys, but I love Vista. I think it is a fantastic OS. Granted, I didn't start using it until SP1, but the vast majority of stuff that I hear people complaining about is complete rubbish. It is very stable, much more usable, looks good, lots more functionality, ALL my hardware works on it and I have never had any troubles at all.

It seems to me that most of the people complaining about Vista have never used it, based on what they say.

Oh, and it runs without a problem on my laptop (Dell XPS M1330).

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Flame

Not much help for non business customers...

Well much as I hate to say it (long time mactard flamer here) it looks like my next personal laptop will be a mac, I dislike Vista that much.

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Microsoft won't care.

They'll just count every bit of hardware sold as two MS licences and one Vista machine. This could do wonders for their Vista sales figures.

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Anonymous Coward

re eee pc

Microsoft is continuing to allow xp installation by OEMs on "ultra low cost" pc's such as the eee pc:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-9910253-56.html

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Anonymous Coward

Hardware

Perhaps all these people winging about the extra hardware requirements should go back to using windows 95 if they want the speed :P

Times changed, hardware improves, the software improves to take advantage of it. If you don't upgrade, you get left behind, and it doesn't give you any grounds for complaining that you can't run the latest software.

Lets not forget that Vista is the first MS OS not to support a 486, while Mac OS9 REQUIRED a G3 processor and firewire to install...

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Unhappy

Same old same old

The problem with Vista is that it's still Windows. Things have moved on - people don't want a revamped Win95 or Win98 any more. Vista doesn't do much than XP can't.

They need to start from scratch, but they can't. It's too risky if they get it wrong and businesses don't like big upheavals. I don't know what they can do.

Being smaller, Apple had the luxury of being able to ditch OS 9 and start from scratch. OS X was crap at first, but nobody cared that it took a couple of years to fix. If they hadn't ditched OS 9, I doubt they'd still be in business.

MS can't ditch Windows and start from scratch, but needs to. Windows 7 will be just like Vista, which was just like XP, which was just like ME.

An unenviable position.

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@Half baked david miller

"They came with a Vista reinstall dvd and a CD containing Vista drivers.

NO XP install CD and no XP drivers.................

There is no easy way to re-install XP if the system crashes."

Aw diddums. Too difficult for your company to buy a drive imaging tool and take backups when the PC(s) arrived, then? Tell you what, for £50/hour I'll do it for you.

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Gates Horns

SLIGHTLY off topic...

My genuine bought and paid for XP Pro decided to deactivate on boot the other day. I've heard that the latest version of M$ Genuine 'Advantage' has tightened up somewhat - but this is bloody ridiculous.

While arguing with M$ about this outrage, with a '24 BUSINESS hour' response time, I am, to use a technical term, buggered!

Try and hunt down a new OEM XP Pro? Why should I? 'Upgrade' to Vista? I'd rather install Ubuntu (well, I tried that anyway, what garbage!). Luckily I have more than one computer - unluckily the one Micro$oft have just screwed for me is my prime PC...

I'm frankly amazed at the depths M$ will descend to to prevent people using a product they have paid for and want to use, while attempting to ram a product very few people actually want to use down everyone's throats!

It's rather interesting that all this is going on while Gates is slithering out of the hot seat too, isn't it?

Now, while I'm waiting, I'm sure I've got an old 2K install disk kicking around somewhere...

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Silver badge

Re: Microsoft is continuing to allow xp by OEMs on ULCPCs

"It's a category that covers machines with slower processors, smaller screens, and in many cases flash memory for storage, rather than a traditional hard drive."

Thanks for the link. It's strange to see that one of the qualities for a ultra low cost PC is not to be low cost, that would exclude that latest incarnation of the Eee. However nicely it's spun it is, however, an admission that a machine that is perfectly capable of running XP can't handle Vista at all.

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Before you blame the OS ...

... consider the other stuff which you might be mistaking for Vista itself

My XP laptop takes about 5 mins from power on to logged on and ready for action. OTOH, I have a "copy and throw away" XP VMware image which I use as a sandbox for testing stuff out. Without and anti-virus, security suite or any other installed software, this image boots *under VMware* in about 15 seconds, and takes less to log in. Sadly, most new machines are now sold pre-bloated, with loads of "bonus free software" with associated services and startup items which kill your machine and can't be cleanly removed.

Those who are saying Vista is slow - is this a clean install, or a corporate/retail image which is full of extraneous software?

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Anonymous Coward

A title is required.

"The problem with Vista is that it's still Windows. Things have moved on - people don't want a revamped Win95 or Win98 any more. Vista doesn't do much than XP can't."

Have you used it? There is as much change as there was from ME/9x to XP. Probably more. XP didn't change all that much when you think about it, it was all under the bonnet - same here.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm switching...

Best buy your PC as components, not an OEM-box. Otherwise you'll still be *paying* Microsoft for Vista, even if you decide to subsequently install XP or Linux, or even (I suspect) if Linux is pre-installed.

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