back to article Microsoft spits out final XP service pack, beta version

Microsoft yesterday quietly dished out a beta version of its Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), but also continued to bang the less-than-convincing "Vista is better for you" drum. By the time a full version of the update arrives, expected in the first half of 2008, it will have been nearly four years since Windows XP SP2 was …

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  1. Will
    Jobs Horns

    Yay

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    When those functions are "slowness" and "instability" i'd rather they didn't...

    Were they clever they'd make XP as bad as Vista, so there was no benefit to not upgrading...

  2. bambi

    Thankfully

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    Does this mean it works?

  3. Daniel Silver badge
    Coat

    Vista vs. XP

    Microsoft said in a statement: "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    What, you mean I won't get the "New and Improved" file copying, a.k.a. 4 hours to delete 1GB, User Access Control, a.k.a. "we'll secure you against yourself by forbidding you to do anything" and other nice touches?

    Superb - I'll download it immediately.

    Cloakroom's that way? Great, thanks.

  4. DirkGently
    IT Angle

    Well Thank Goodness!

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    It would probably bring significant bugs too if it did.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An example of Microsoft listening to customers perhaps?

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    Thank god for that!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    What a relief...

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    Do we hear a chorus of "Thank <insert deity of choice>, for that"?

    Dan

  7. Steven Griffiths
    Thumb Up

    encouraging quote...

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    Well praise be to his noodly self, seeing as though Vista's (dis)functionality is the reason people are avoiding it like the plague, that's surely another reason to stick with XP?

  8. Alex
    Black Helicopters

    Cynical thought

    Suppose SP3 just happened to irretrievably break some parts of some peoples' XP. Incentive enough to 'upgrade' to Vista?

    Conspiracy theories are fun (and sometimes hard to easily dismiss).

  9. Ross Fleming

    Vista better for you??

    Reading a magazine about the initial reports on XP SP3, apparently it is running about 15% better than XP SP2. So, XP is currently quicker than Vista and the SP3 release will widen that gap even further.

    Any surprise that there's rumours that the SP3 release will occur after Vista SP1 to get as many people to make the move as possible?...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nice of them to promise no Vista infection

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    Do they realise that's a GOOD thing?

  11. Senor Beavis
    Gates Horns

    Hooray

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    I'm sold. You can keep Vista, M$

  12. Nick Drew
    Thumb Down

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    Thank heavens for that! Do I want some airy-fairy rotating view of the different windows open? No! Do I want my OS to run as if through treacle on even a highly specced machine? No!

    As an aside, do I want to have to use Vista at work - no!

  13. Eric Olson

    I can't help but be thankful that...

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    That's a load off my mind. I was worried that Microsoft might want to replicate the look and feel of Vista on my XP.

  14. Aaron
    Thumb Down

    What do they expect?

    Vista add nothing, and takes away a lot. Even the most powerful of today's computers perform badly on vista compared to xp. Directx 10 adds oh slower games that don't look any different than they do on directx 9. GDI components render upto 3 times slower on vista than they do on XP (which is a major issue for a lot of the CAD software I have to use). Copying files on Vista is just plain ouch.

    Im sitting here with a load of office pc's and I cant find one good reason to slap vista on them. Nothing vista brings gives any benefit for the work they do, and in fact will hinder a lot of the tasks they are used for.

    My home machines are gaming pc's and I dual boot vista and xp but I find that I don't use vista at all because when I want to game I just play the faster operating system that does everything I want with a lot more efficiency.

    I know the vista vs xp subject has been done to death but I'm not seeing a single good reason to switch. Microsoft really has gotten out of touch with what users want and expect and vista just doesn't deliver. The rates its going its going to rank up there with MS BOB and Windows ME.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Infinite number of tech monkeys...

    ... + infinite number of keyboards = 9 x same punchline.

    Well it was obvious, MS need a "foot in mouth" department to go over press-releases, heh heh heh

  16. Scott Coe

    Just In Time For The Holidays

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP." That's the best news I've heard out of Redmond in quite some time.

    Yes, Virginia, there [b]IS[\b] a Santa Claus!

  17. Mark Leaver
    Stop

    Installed Vista once just to have a look...

    and it lasted a whole 38 minutes before I nuked it and put XP back on to play games.

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    The only reason I still have a xp setup is because I cannot be bothered to setup wow under wine or other windows emulators...

    I think that Microsoft has just about hit their use by date.

  18. John

    Regarding Vista:

    When did Windows become a turn based game?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Apple

    On various "Apple are" topics, the old "paid Microsoft lackeys" was brought up. So, in order to obtain balance.

    You are just a bunch of anti-Microsoft schills paid by Apple to bad mouth Microsoft.

    The Register is obvious in the hands of the devil Jobs, and is taking bribes to run anti MS storys.

    I have an XP machine and it never crashes or gets viruses or.... etc, etc, etc.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ our friends in Redmond

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    You say that like it is a BAD thing.

  21. Steve Skipper
    Jobs Horns

    @Cynical thought

    XP used to run just fine with 256MB RAM, now 512MB is barely enough. I do wonder sometimes if the updates MS releases slow your machine to a crawl to make you go out and buy a new one. although some of the blame for this is the bloated "Internet security" suites that in my view are unnecessary for most users behind a decent router.

  22. Fly On the Wall
    Pirate

    Just wondering...

    Maybe I've lived too long in the District of Confusion but:

    "does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista"

    seems to beg the question of what ARE the "insignificant portions of Windows Vista" that this update introduces?

  23. SoltanGris
    Gates Horns

    Praise Allah

    In case it wasn't stated often enoiugh let me add my voice to the :

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    PRAISE BE TO ALLAH !

    I fully endorse this sentiment even though I'm officially an infidel according to

    the 'true believers'.

    Vista, you will not be missed. Bon Voyage. May your demise be an early one.

    May your mustache rot and fall off.

  24. Drew Thorne
    Alert

    Read between the lines...

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    Actually, this kind of scares me. With all of the double-speak of legal mumbo, the word "significant" makes me twitch. Sure, they don't bring "significant" portions, but they may still try and squeeze SOME aspects of Vista into SP3. I fear. I think I'll wait for the user reviews before I install it myself.

  25. Andy Worth

    Lol at punchlines

    I gather we're all HAPPY that XP is not as crap as Vista?

    Oh and the version we've seen is a release candidate, so a step past a beta afaik.

  26. Rik Silver badge
    Coat

    @I have an XP machine and it never crashes or gets viruses or.... etc, etc, etc.

    It's switched off and disconnected, sitting in the back of your shed supporting whatever is piled on top of it?

  27. Ash

    DX10

    I pray SP3 gives DX10 support.

    If not, i'll just install Cedega on Ubuntu once they have their DX10 compatible rendering engine running and sod Microsoft altogether.

    The horse is dead; you may as well give us the meat to chew on instead of locking it up in a skip.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amusing

    Love the comments. This re-occuring theme of hate for Vista. Granted I wouldn't touch Vista if you paid me, as i have before, and the experience has tainted me to labeling it WinME V2. XP will stay on my PC till my computer no longer will run.

  29. Celtic Ferret
    Boffin

    WinXP SP3 ≠ WinVista

    Like that "random number generator Microsoft is bundling with (Fistula) SP1 with the backdoor exploitable by the National Security Agency?

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/12/dual_ec_drbg_ad.html

    Or more "Digital Consumer Enablement?"

    Actually, this is completely backwards. It should be

    Review: Windows XP

    http://dotnet.org.za/codingsanity/archive/2007/12/14/review-windows-xp.aspx

    "I have finally decided to take the plunge. Last night I upgraded my Vista desktop machine to Windows XP, and this afternoon I will be doing the same to my laptop..."

  30. Matt

    Happy too

    Glad the vista stuff isn't being sneaked in;

    I've happily avoided the beast so far - XP in work and Ubuntu at home - was looking at a new laptop the other day - had 2 gig of memory. With nothing running other than the o/s and it's various sub processes 31% of the memory was being used. That's over 600meg! What the hell is it doing??

  31. Steven Hewittt

    I love these comments on Vista news

    I'm sitting in a office with 300 machines running Vista Enterprise - and the feedback from users and the helpdesk hasn't been better. We have a 28% reduction in calls to the helpdesk (which is pretty high when you think we've rolled out a new desktop OS).

    I do find it funny when people complain about the speed of VIsta. My Win98 VM runs so much faster than Vista too. Then again it's also designed for hardware that is nearly a decade old.

    Speed, performance, "DRM", stability hasn't been an issue for us so far. The GDI rendering is fair game, though DX10 seems pretty good and snappy. File copying is only in a few circumstances I believe - can't say I've had that issue, although I acknowledge it exists.

    Interesting enough, 200 of the machines we have are used by developers and technical projects managers. Most are MCAD or at least MCP, most with a good 8 years + in IT. Yet no complaints....

    Then again the people here aren't hell bent on one OS over another - just use the one that works.

    Whilst we don't exactly have the cutting edge technology, we do have a 3 year hardware life cycle policy. Oldest machines have 1Gb RAM, integrated graphics chip and P4 2.8Ghz with HyperThreading. That really is 3 year old equipment - but even aero runs fine on it.

    And the performance on my Dual Core 2 / 2Gb / Radeon desktop is fine. No difference to XP performance.

    In terms of new features, to be honest, there's not many for home users other than the GUI (not just aero) and security. Instant search is pretty cool though, so is the parental controls. And Media Centre is just awesome.

    For businesses then there's a mound of reasons to upgrade. Ranging from the huge sum of GPO's that Vista has, permissions for mobile users have been revamped, instant search, IE7+ security model is superb, pre-approved ActiveX controls, IIS7 which completely rocks, BitLocker which gets rid of 3rd party apps, UAC which brings Windows in line with *nix, image and modular based deployments without 3rd party tools, ReadyBoost, Mobility Centre (which again, our mobile users love), Mobile Device Centre which means no more shitty ActiveSync problems, network 'location' checking to apply the right level of security, the superb new firewall which knocks the socks off XP SP2, more intuitive GUI, improved event viewer, troubleshooting and performance monitoring tools, multiple local sessions running at the same time on a domain network, new backup application, "Previous Versions" on the local system etc....

    You seriously want more reasons to upgrade? What did you want for £100?!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's XP?

    I need a Windows 2000 SP5. This morning I installed W2K with SP4 then had to wait a few hours before the 67 critical updates were installed. Then wait a bit more because it seems that some of the critical updates needed critical updates. It must have taken 7 reboots. Fortunately this will be the last time as I installed it under VMware and will keep that installation to clone virgin test machines. Not sure if I'm really allowed to do that but what the hell I've had enough of having to reinstall windows.

  33. mego

    ermm...

    "Were they clever they'd make XP as bad as Vista, so there was no benefit to not upgrading..."

    Who say's it's not the first step towards doing this? Like, adding a call-home feature to muck up XP SP3 when the hit the button?

    I've seen MS do so many lame things, the above would not surprise me.

  34. Jason Togneri
    Heart

    Ho hum

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    Well, everybody else was posting that, I just thought I'd join in.

  35. Keith Wingate

    Really cynical thought

    Having compared my 18 month old laptop to my wife's six-month old laptop, which are differentiated almost solely by O/S (Vista vs. XP), to the Win2K box I'm still stuck with at work, I've come to the following conclusion: MS knows Vista is terrible. They are simply trying to make XP look good by comparison, so we'll finally upgrade our reliable, relatively secure and easy to use Win2K boxes.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    You just can't please some people...

    I just don't get what the problem is. MS got slated for years because XP was/is insecure. They rectify that in a new release, but that's somehow a bad thing. Sure UAC asks you to confirm certain things now and again, that's the security you cried for. If I put an extra lock on my front door, it's going to take me marginally longer to get it open than before.

    I have been running Vista since release pretty much, and have not noticed any significant stability issues, all of my apps now work fine, but if they didn't, I'd expect the app maker to change them to support the new OS, not the other way round.

    Before you start, I'm not some kind of Vista fanboy, I'm a Mac one, and have to say that Leopard doesn't run as well as tiger, crashes more often and the odd app doesn't work 100%. But that seems to be overlooked on Macs as they are the underdog.

    I worked for MS in the early XP days, and was party to an awful lot of the activation debacle. I was hearing all the same stuff I'm reading here on a daily basis. People behaving like I had suggested their mother was a prostitute, just because someone had dared to change something. Go install 98, or find a machine at work still running NT 4 and tell me that wasn't a good and (with hiundsight) much needed change, I'm sure that a time will come when exactly the same happens when Vista is replaced, but If I have my way, we'll all be using an open source OS running on Mac hardware by then.

  37. Evil Graham
    Happy

    Anyone remember Windows ME?

    Looks like we're unanimous - Vista is the new ME then.

  38. Aaron

    DX10 in XP NEVER gonna happen

    @ Ash you wont see DX10 in xp, directx10 relies heavily on the WDDM of vista, something that cant be changed on XP without some very major code changes. MS wont put the work in to code such a thing as directx10 is just about the only reason people will switch.

    What I would ask you is why do you want to see direct10? What have you seen that looks/plays/feels better in directx10 compared to 9? Myself I run a Q6600 @ 3.8Ghz per core with 4Gb ram and 2x8800 GTX in sli. But not one game that does dx10 that I've tried has looked better, performed better, felt better etc. Each time I just reboot boot to XP x64 and play and and suffer no negative loss that I can detect.

  39. This post has been deleted by its author

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So Vista is ok then eh?

    Hmm...

    I installed Vista Business 32bit on my 6 month old dual core PC at home... and it promptly blue screened following installation. I've been running XP happily with no hint of a blue screen for as long as I can remember - so why Vista should bring back the instabilities that I last saw in Windows 2000\NT4 is beyond me. This is progress?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Functionality or Service, Pack

    All joking about not bringing Vista's flaws to XP aside, service packs aren't supposed to add "significant ... functionality" anyway. I'd be happy with a roll-up of the 80-plus post-SP2 fixes in one file that I could download and keep somewhere instead of having to wait through Microsoft Update for them any time I have to format and reinstall to clean up an XP installation.

  42. Daniel Snowden

    You'll have to upgrade sooner or later.

    When Microsoft discontinues support for XP I have a nagging suspicion that they'll discontinue product activation. You'll be able to continue using XP but come reinstall time, guess what you'll have to install?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    sO WHAT!

    iv been using Ubunto linux for to months now and theirs no way that im going back to VISTHELL

  44. Matt
    Joke

    @AC

    Doesn't Ubunt*u* come with a spelling/grammer checker?

  45. Si
    Gates Horns

    To be fair to Vista

    I remember when XP first came out there were lots of broken applications, dodgy driver support and at the time it was a real resource hog compared to the extremely nippy Win98 and didn't really offer much over Win2K beyond booting more quickly.

    So I do wonder if maybe in 3 years time or so we'll all be quite happy with Vista and have forgotten all the problems at the moment. I think the answer could be yes, were it not for the DRM infections which cause file copies/deletions to take forever etc. I do wonder if that is really a step too far and it will push more and more people to XP/OSX/Linux.

    It's a bit like the PS3 really, MS have been the market leader for so long, it's hard to tell if the momentum of being the market leader means Vista will succeed despite being crap or if this really is the turning point, especially with so many apps now becoming web based making the OS less and less pivotal.

  46. Steen
    Flame

    Hardware is catching up tho'

    I've seen a few Vista laptops and desktops since its release, most of which were slow performers to the point that they were almost unusable. Generally they had been sold with 512Mb ram, some sort of dual core processor and inbuilt graphics. Minimum spec, not nice, not clever, not suited to Vista.

    Anyway, I recently saw a Vista PC with a E6750 processor, 2GB ram and a NVidia 8600GT 512Mb. Using the onboard graphics, the performance was ok but not good with games, adding the the 8600GT improved performance significantly to make it very usable. The performance index jumped from 3.6 to 5.6 on the Vista performance-o-meter.

    Vista needs loads of memory, at decent processor and motherboard, a decent Graphics card and fast disk access, all of these together.

    XP needs lower specced hardware to give a comparable performance at a lower cost, theres the rub! As I see it, there are a lot of functioning computers out there that will not run well with Vista even with some changes to the hardware, XP can work well on these machines in most cases or just by adding more memory. I'm speaking about Windows but Linux is another option.

    I guess that a year (Two?) down the line, fewer people will complain much about Vista performance as they will be running it on better hardware which will by then be cheaper.

  47. John F***ing Stepp

    I think I will wait a while.

    Until I install service pack 2.

    I want to make certain that the Good People At Micro$oft have got it right.

  48. Thomas Martin
    Thumb Down

    They'll have to pull XP from my cold, dead hands

    XP does everything I need and it is compatible with all my software that I use for my job and my side company. Why in the world would I want Vista? There are so many bugs in it and with all the "security" I could never get anything done. Not to mention half my software did not work (was told to "update" my software to the tune of about US$1000) and devices did not work (aka "no drivers available" or "the driver will be released in two months").

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    If it did, I would have to go to Linux for my equipment. I have about as much chance of finding drivers there as in Vista. In fact, I would take Linux over Vista, no problem!!

  49. Warren
    Happy

    re; You'll have to upgrade sooner or later.

    "When Microsoft discontinues support for XP I have a nagging suspicion that they'll discontinue product activation. You'll be able to continue using XP but come reinstall time, guess what you'll have to install?"

    A cracked version of xp? because that will be the option. you use your orginal install disc and key. then you crack the activation, which has been available since the beginning of xp's life-cycle.

  50. Jim D
    Linux

    Just bought a new laptop

    Just bought a new laptop last week. It's a Centrino Dual Core with 2 GB RAM. The OS had been "downgraded" to XP with Vista Basic available for activation in a hidden partition.

    I booted it with my Fedora 8 DVD and eliminated all existing partitions, formatted the HD to ext3 and 20 minutes later it was running beautifully. Never had a chance to see what XP or Vista would do.

    The last version of MSWindows I tried to run was Win98, but it had issues with my hardware and kept blue screening and freezing. RedHat 6.2 fixed those problems and since then computing has been a breeze.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @By Daniel Snowden

    interesting thing .I have XP upgrade . I've upgrade 4 times since I've bought XP upgrade. The first two times I had to call in. The las time I did not. I was able to intall it on 3 other computers and have not had to call in since the last two times I've resinstalled it has not asked me to call in

  52. Darryl

    What? You have to use up to date software on an up to date OS??

    You mean I may not be able to run my Acrobat 1.1 on Vista? The hell with it, I'm going back to Windows 3.0.

    I'd like to go back and take a look at comments made when XP came out... Things like "My computer ran Win98 just fine. Now that I've installed XP, it's really slow. I mean, I have 64 megs of RAM on my P2 300, what more do I need?" "Kids these days don't know what they have... In my day I had to walk 10 miles to school and back, through 10 foot snowdrifts, uphill both ways, chased by rabid dogs, in my socks. (although how they got in my socks, I'll never know.)" etc. etc.

  53. Morely Dotes

    @ Alex and Steve Skipper

    "Suppose SP3 just happened to irretrievably break some parts of some peoples' XP. Incentive enough to 'upgrade' to Vista?"

    No, it will be incentive to reimage the PC with XPSP2 (or Ubuntu, if my customer is smarter than average).

    "...although some of the blame for this is the bloated "Internet security" suites that in my view are unnecessary for most users behind a decent router."

    IME, there is not one single "Internet security suite" that is more than 15% effective, but every single one of them has a nasty habit of required 100% of the CPU time at critical moments. A good anti-virus (e.g., AVG, Avast!, ClamWin) and intelligent router policies (block all of China, Korea, Turkey, South America, and most of SE Asia, the Arab states, and Israel, plus any ISP known to be lackadaisical abotu security, such as T-Online and Fasthosts) are vastly better.

    Of course, that doesn't help the average punter who's stuck in one of those places.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Vista? Huh! What is it good for?

    It is easy to think that the sole reason for Vista is to make MS money... but this seems unlikely. Even MS must have come up with some justification for why Vista is the way it is. Perhaps the problem is that the people who drew up the basic essence of Vista were too easily swayed by the media. After all, what is the biggest stick that the media has used to bash XP? Security! So, MS decided increasing security would be priority 1. What else? OK, well what has the biggest technology related success in the last five years (this is before the Wii)? iPod. So MS decide that what people like is overpriced, stylish things that on the surface appear to be technologically advanced but are actually poor value for money. Hence the Aero interface etc.

    And there we have it. Vista is designed to silence the media hacks on security and please the teenagers and gadget-philes. Unfortunately that leaves the bulk of the computer using world out in the cold. MS lazy programming has made sure that for most people the new stuff isn't worth the cost of replacing the old stuff. Vista moved the OS from staple goods to luxury goods!

    If XP SP3 really does offer 15% gains in speed, increased stability and extra security, then one wonders how fast MS could have made their new OS if speed, compatibility and stability, rather than fancy looks and money saving design processes had been the priority. If MS had released XP v2.0 rather than Vista v1.0 and XP v1.3, and then withdrawn support for XP, I bet they would have shipped more OS's than they have with Vista. And our computers would all be faster and more secure, and would have lasted a couple of years longer, helping out both poor computer users and the environment.

    But then perhaps there are other agendas with Vista. DRM certainly seems to be a part of the design of Vista, and the OS's drain on hardware resources seems unnecessarily great. Perhaps deals were done behind the scenes? The US government has been protecting MS monopolistic existence for years now and one must ask where the catch is. We already know for a fact that Hollywood gets support for films if they are receptive to suggestions made by the US government and its various bodies. Imagine this conversation: 'OK, 'insert name of MS rep' we'll make sure we don't penalise your monopoly status like those Europeans do. But perhaps you could do the hardware and multimedia sectors a favour or two when you make your next OS.'

    OK, so this is a bit conspiracy theory - but judging on the behaviour of Bush's government you have to admit it isn't exactly out of the realms of possibility.

  55. Herby Silver badge

    Remember the "Vista Killer"

    In many respects it is Vista itself. I was listening to a tech radio show this last weekend, and the host said that the best upgrade to Vista was XP. At the moment not much that runs on Vista won't run on XP as well. That is the rub. When applications that are perceived to be necessary (the next version of Word, Excel, Powerpoint) only run on Vista people will finally upgrade. It won't be because they WANT to it will be because they have no other choice. Until then we will hope that activation for XP is still around for the users who are fine with that version.

    Unfortunately operating systems aren't like cars, as even ones built in the early part of the last century (say 1930 or so) still work "just fine" on the roads today. They even use the same gasoline (wonder upon wonders). Lord help us if it weren't so, as I still appreciate my 1997 vehicle (long obsolete by operating system standards).

    Me: I'd rather be using Linux, but here at work they some silly timecard application that only works under IE which I have to use to get paid (*SIGH*).

  56. J
    Joke

    @@AC

    "Doesn't Ubunt*u* come with a spelling/grammer checker?"

    Both my Kubuntu and SuSE 9.2 copies have the system-wide spelling checker (which means some things are being underlined here in Firefox as I type...), but the grammAr checker is not currently available...

  57. Anonymous from Mars
    Heart

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP."

    I find it funny that that line was quoted by 12 of the 13 comments in the first hour.

  58. N Silver badge

    SP3 at last...

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP"

    Thats good news then, the less 'Vista functionality' I have the better!

    Lets hope it dosnt put the 'Fisher Price' look back into XP or muck around with Windows Genuine Disadvantage it may be worth installing, but Ill image my disc first, just in case theres any low underhand tricks from Microdaft.

    But to be honest, Windows 2000 is still fine, under VMWare on my mac

  59. BitTwister

    @Steven Hewittt

    "UAC which brings Windows in line with *nix". Oh dear <snigger> that's just sooo funny <wipes tear from eye>

    You are Bill Gates and I claim my $10.

  60. Lee
    Thumb Up

    we shall see.. but

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP"

    the best move MS have ever made for the punter?

  61. Captain DaFt
    Happy

    @ Daniel Snowden

    "When Microsoft discontinues support for XP I have a nagging suspicion that they'll discontinue product activation. You'll be able to continue using XP but come reinstall time, guess what you'll have to install?"

    Um, anything I want? These days, anything can be run, either with virtualization, or emulation. Case in point, I've got a test machine running Win 3.1 installed on Dosbox.

    Finally able to play some old games I hadn't been able to in years! (Some of the oldies just don't run right or work at all on anything higher.)

  62. joe
    Thumb Down

    Am I ever so grateful

    that I have my XP install disks. As was previously mentioned, I too wouldn't put it past M$ if they tweaked an update to break XP to a point of having some people go for Vista. XP works great for me and I too do not suffer from unexpected crashes or virus/trojan/malware problems. M$ has gone to the outermost extreme in securing Vista with annoying delays and popups asking "are you sure you want to do this?" dribble. If people were to become more savvy about security, it wouldn't be such an issue and maybe Vista would have turned out to be a more friendly OS. I have seen Vista in action on a new PC bundled with the software and I am not impressed at all. The security features almost make you out to be a moron..... but then so many people are so ignorant when it comes to security that M$ thinks it's best to hold your hand and let you do what IT wants. Do we blame them or the end user for all of this?

    No thanx, I'll stick with what I got even if updates become unavailable for XP. If for some reason XP becomes unusable I may spring for the extra money and go to Mac or open source Linux distros. As for games, I'll buy a PS or Nintendo.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    I find it funny

    that with the exception of 5 or 6 posts there is an almost underwhelming support for Vista. Psst... MS, ever hear of the phrase "The customer is always right"? I do believe that the vast majority of customers have spoken... Vista sucks! And for those who haven't been alienated enough to buy a Mac or smart enough to handle *nix, the public is pretty much standing on the rooftops screaming "Viva la XP, you bastards"!

  64. Victor Hugo Gil A.
    Gates Horns

    Over and over again

    I've read the white paper about the SP3, and the only thing they repeat over and over is that "Windows XP SP3 combines all previously released performance, security, and stability updates. It also provides a limited number of new and enhanced functionalities, although it does not significantly change the Windows XP experience or bring functionality from newer versions of Windows to Windows XP." I DON'T CARE, Really, i have Win XP because it performs better that Vista on many task, so, why would i want to change my speedy XP for a lengthy Windows Vista?

  65. Alex

    Re: @@AC

    The red squiggles will show up in Firefox with XP, too.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    XP Service pack is good.

    Now, just to be serious for a moment, I'm pleased that there is an XP service pack. This means that a re-install of XP will not require the 60+ critical downloads, plus reboots, and more downloads. This adds quite a bit to the re-install time of XP currently. If it's all rolled up into a service pack, well, that makes the useful life of XP that much better.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt

    I might be wrong, but I believe the correct spelling is "grammar". ROFLMAO

  68. Ben Norris

    Aero

    That guy above obviously hasn't seen the power bill now that all his office machines are running Vista. It amazes me that people worry over leaving TVs on standby but choose Vista which not only takes a 20% performance hit pushing people to upgrade sooner to more power hungry machines, but those graphics cards which were sitting near idle most of the time before are now working overtime rendering pointless flashy windows that have absolutely no benefit to productivity.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Maybe on the DiscWorld

    "IIS7 which completely rocks"

    Did someone have the unmitigated gall to actually slip that in?

    Rocks serve content rather better than IIS

  70. Erik Aamot

    @ Apple By Anonymous Coward

    I'm typing this on PIII 933 with a 6 year old install of Win98SE ... which ...

    .. eh .. so what if it crashes *rarely*? ... actually only when clicking hyperlinks in OE 6 opening in IE 6 ... was totally fine with IE 5.5 SP2<sigh>

    no big deal to reboot once every 4-6 hours .. if that bothered me I'd run Win2k on PIII hardware

    no virus infestation in 5+ years .. they write for NT5.1 these days. not 9.x .. granted I keep my preview pane off in OE and don't frequent .ru websites

    Runs pre-2000-2001 games better than XP with smaller hardware requirements .. My favorate JoyStick, a MS Precision 2 USB, isn't XP compatible (now how f**k'n idiotic was that ?!?)

    Have an XP Machine for newer games and programs, but didn't find the need based on Win2k or XP being more stable than Win98SE .. I think alot of Windows stability, or not, is a function of hardware quality and with apps, well, some apps are hogs and you just gotta know not to have 4 IE windows, Outlook, PhotoShop, Word and Solitaire open all at the same time !

    My quality clone 200MMX still runs fine on it's last 1998 install of Win95 OSR2 FAT32 ... granted I only boot it up once every few months for the last 7 years .. but it was always stable too .. and the only advantage I saw in Win98 was the back and foward buttons in Windows Explorer and good USB support

  71. mark woodward
    Alert

    Ordinary Punters

    The problem is, most of you on here are IT experts or heavyweight users. The "average" punter on the street knows no different. He see the latest MS ad showing this wonderful new system that can protect him and do evrything he/she wants. How is he to know any different? The MS marketing team are good at selling to the average user.

    Unfortunetly Vista is here to stay...

    woody

  72. Robert Stokes
    Happy

    It's all true

    Put SP3 RC1 on my system last week. Though its a Intel E6850 with 3GB ram and a 512 video card, it is definately quicker under SP3 than it was under SP2.

    As for Vista... we're system builders and so far this year we have had 2 people request Vista systems whilst everyone else wants to stick with XP - and we'll be doing this until we're no longer able to buy XP OEM media.

    I've installed Vista Business 4 times and everytime have had problems. I'd like to say I can recall Windows ME with fondness but I shudder whenever someone brings an ME system in for repair). Vista IS the new ME but at least they've released a service pack for it. When ME is based partially upon Win2K, how come that has 4 service packs and ME has none. You can't seriously tell me that none of the code in ME has been borrowed from 2K.

    That rug had better be a big one so that MS can quicly brush Vista under a corner of it and get onto putting out the next version.

  73. Kenny Millar

    Before you strike out at me...

    And before you even think about using Vista...

    Let me implore you to spend a week playing with Mac OS X Leopard.

    All of those of you who have just issued a huge groan - but who have never actually used Mac OS X - shut up and think about it.

    Better performance, better security, better price.

    Don't even THINK about posting a rebuttal to this till you've actually tried it - other wise you'll just be writing about something you know nothing about.

  74. Steven Hewittt
    Stop

    @BitTwister

    Love to see something a little more solid than a snigger and a quote....

    From playing with Tiger recently I see little difference. Instead of clicking a padlock then getting a prompt I get the prompt when double clicking an icon...

    Still yet to hear of anything reasonable in the comments of El Reg as to why Vista is so bad. Performance is bollocks (run it on modern hardware and it's fine - as the 300 PC's we've upgraded to Vista will testify), and drivers/applications all seem good so far. (Ranging from TortoiseSVN through to Visual Studio and Adobe Acrobat 7)

    FYI to the people that are unable to grasp the basic concept of how Vista works (happy to slate it without even looking into it), Vista uses as much RAM as it can instead of just the bare minimum. Once an application requires RAM, the less used components of Vista are taken out of RAM so there's enough free for applications. Called making the most of what you have - if RAM is there then it should be used. If something with a higher priority requires it then the system will drop out components it doesn't require to free up some space on demand.

    My 4 year old 512Mb Ultimate box that I use as Media Center ticks over fine. Freeview, Recording TV, Ripping/Converting/Storing DVD's, Music, Pictures etc. Post logon it takes up about 380Mb RAM. When installing my TV Tuner card I knocked a 256Mb module out by mistake. Vista still ran (albeit slowly), using up 160Mb RAM...

    Come on - give me some reasons why I shouldn't have upgraded my systems to Vista from XP? (Cost is irrelevant as we have Software Assurance, we use hardware not older than 3 years and WGA is on XP too so that makes no difference....)

    OSS Fanatics rant on here with little justification or even understanding of Vista. In fact there's even people chipping in saying they are staying away from Vista just based on what others have said. It's very sad that so many "professionals" are hell bent on their OS of choice or anti-MS religion that they won't even give the latest version of the worlds most popular desktop OS a try before posting comments and passing judgement - presumably as it's 'cool' to slate MS.

    FYI - Got 12 Linux development servers and a few Mac clients that I manage/support too before the fanboi comments start...

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Eeeee the good ole days

    Remember the complaints when win95 came out

    argggggg in realy needs 8mb of memory Who has such HUGE amounts

    remember the complaints when XP came out.

    Unstable , ate cpu .. etc etc etc

    We assume when Vista dies we will hear Arggg i am staying on Vista

  76. Mark Rendle
    Flame

    @Almost everybody

    Haven't you "me too!" idiots got an AOL chatroom to lower the collective IQ of? Not liking Vista is fine, not using Vista is fine, but repeatedly posting about how you don't like it and won't use it every time it gets mentioned on The Reg is pathetic. Haven't you got anything better to do?

  77. Matt
    Coat

    D'oh

    First rule when making sarcastic posts about other people's bad spelling is to spell everything correctly yourself.

    Where's the icon for eating humble pie?

  78. Richard Austin

    Vista vs Linux

    I'm a network administrator and have worked with Windows systems for about 6 years now so have always liked the latest and greatest OS on my desktop. I bought Vista 64 bit on release and I've had no major problems with it at all but I just wasn't happy and couldn't quite put my finger on it.

    I've since installed Fedora 8 on my main PC with my vista drive as an alternative boot option. I think I've booted Vista once in the last month.

    I finally understand all the evangelism that seems to follow Linux. Granted when you want to do anything 'fancy' it can get complicated but my wife and 2 children barely even noticed I'd changed over for what they use. They still found the internet, managed to locate 'Word Processor' and manage to find my NAS server and play music.

    I've since reinstalled the laptops in the house with Ubuntu and there hasn't even been a whimper from the 8 year old - just started to use it and off he went.

    Now why should we be lining Bills pockets again?

    Oh - well I suppose for the games on the 360 we are still making sure he can still afford socks.

  79. Mike Dyne
    IT Angle

    Vista

    I have been forced in to using Vista. I must say that after an IMMENSE amount of tinkering and fiddling and general poking, I can't really complain. Does what I want it to do. Stable it is, runs the half dozen or so apps I use and works fine on my wireless network.

    Mind, couldn't get it to talk to my 360. Ho hum!

  80. Stephen Sharpe

    Vista, XP, Leopard

    Vista isn't the disaster it could have been. UAC is irritating, but you can turn that off. The new control panel names are also irritating, but not a showstopper.

    For my sister's laptop it works fine. But I object to two things.

    1) It's speed. Sorry, but it shouldn't be that slow on a Turion-X2 / 2Gb machine. I'm hoping SP1 will fix this. I upgraded from OS X Tiger to Leopard, on an old iBook G4 and yep it was often faster, definitely not slower.

    2) And this is the fault of manufacturers. The amount of underpowered things they bung Vista on. Knock it off! Install XP.

  81. TeeCee Gold badge

    Yes, but.

    So, Vista runs ok on modern hardware. I have this. Vista seems stable, I'll believe you, but to be on the safe side I'll hang on for SP1. Vista has a better firewall, nice. Decent parental control, handy. Better security, ho hum, hasn't really been a problem for me.

    BUT! Remind me again why I *want* to upgrade? Exactly why I'd spend several days rebuilding my system to install something that just doesn't have that "killer app" effect? Yes, XP (post SP1) had this. The compatibility of 98SE and the stability of 2000 made it a winner for me.

    Oh, and more GPOs? I think I'd rather have the DRM and WGA thank you. GPOs exist so that graduate trainees with the network admin passwords can arse-lick management security nazis and make life miserable for real IT professionals. I dread the day when Vista turns up at work.....

  82. Rob Stiles

    Vista Service Pack 1

    Although I can't speak from first hand experience, a friend of mine says he altered a registry setting in Vista to download the Vista Service Pack 1 Beta. According to him it's "awesome".

    I'm considering moving back to my 64 bit Vista if there is significant improvement. I'd like access to my 4GB of RAM again.

  83. Ross Fleming

    @Aaron

    Need a reason for dx10? Try the Far Cry sequel.

  84. Chika
    Flame

    The customer is always...

    ...subjected to more and more cynical attempts to sales hype. "Right" has nothing to do with it. M$ are in the business to make money, and they make more out of selling a farty one brand new OS than they do from upgrading the old one, no matter how stable either is.

    Yes, WXP was flaky when it came out, just as all the other M$ systems (whoever wrote them) were. Some of them improved with age and patching. Others didn't. It took M$ many years to admit how wrong they were to release ME, and I have no intention of waiting for years to hear them admit the same thing about Vista. I'll switch when *I'm* ready and when (if) I see that Vista is ready for me, and *not* when M$ thinks they need a cash infusion.

  85. Soruk
    Gates Horns

    Regarding the insignificant portions of Vista functionality in SP3...

    I fully intend to take a Ghost (or similar) snapshot of my XP partition before installing this. Just in case....

  86. Kevin Gordon
    Heart

    Vista - I like it

    I have no problem with Vista. I really think a lot of people haven't given Vista a proper chance and are putting it down because they have joined the anti-vista bandwagon.

    I have Vista running on a two year old Core Duo 2.0Ghz laptop (not even Core 2 Duo), with 2GB RAM, an ATI X1600 video card, and a 5400rpm SATA Hard drive.

    I did a clean install of Vista Home Premium over my previous XP SP2 build. Vista installed without a hitch, connected to the internet and downloaded all the device drivers required except for a modem driver, which I got from the manufacturers website.

    Windows Update then installed all the latest updates, which installed without causing any problems.

    I've installed all my usual applications, about 20 in all, the main ones which are Paint Shop Pro X2, Photoshop elements 6, utorrent, Office 2003, Ulead Videostudio 11, Ashampoo Burning Studio 7, ACDSee 10, amongst others. All these apps installed without a single problem, and work flawlessly.

    OK, there are a few minor niggles - copy/move operations are slower than XP, I have to endure about a minutes worth of sluggishness when booting up for the prefetch/page file stuff to fill up, and yes I do notice it's not quite as snappy and responsive as XP. Without a doubt, 2GB of RAM is the sweetspot, and more would be better. However, to be honest I was running Vista with 1GB and it was perfectly fine. I didnt notice a huge increase in performance with 2GB, but it was so cheap to buy I couldnt resist.

    For me at least, the good of Vista outweighs all the above bad. The eye-candy-licious Aero desktop, the built in search/indexing, Media Center, the new links pane in Explorer windows, the search box in the start menu, extra security (I've reduced UAC prompts with the Tweak-UAC utility), the sidebar and it's useful gadgets, the new My Photo's screensaver (which plays video too - neat), and many many other features which I can't think of right this minute, but would miss if I went back to XP.

    I'm not some dumbass newbie/idiot user - I've used Windows since 3.0, and I work in the IT Desktop & Server Support dept of a large company, so I really do know more about Windows XP, Linux, and now Vista than the vast majority of general PC users.

    I wouldnt go back to XP, despite the niggles with Vista, and given a year or so, when all computers come with 4GB of RAM as standard, and faster CPU's, and Vista SP1 and other forthcoming updates have ironed out the current problems, I'm sure a lot of those Vista haters out there will have converted too.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Re:Re: @@AC

    "The red squiggles will show up in Firefox with XP, too." - Alex.

    True, I use firefox at home and use the add-on spell checker, which is very handy as my spelling is horrific.

    However its not quite as nice as a system wide spell checker I think. As not having to get it to relearn my words (Ach-no!!!, for example) would be quite nice. O'yes and not having to get it to reload the 'add-ons' every time it does an update.

    I wish they used FF at work because IE 6 sux, and IE7 is to buggy with our curent crop of software.

    As for Vista, yes I am sure that at some point we will get used to it, however I would rather go linux than get unwanted DRM shite.

    -ano

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any need

    To be honest I have no need of vista, everything I do is either in SuSe or XP (games for xp). I am looking to upgrade my PC soon, and If I go to major vendors I have Vista shoved down my throat, the real problem with vista is not its compatibility, greater security or performance.

    But the fact it offers me very little I don't already have, eventually I will have to upgrade to Vista, with games coming out only for vista though like Age of empires III (which was XP only but could run on 2K) they be artificially prevented from running on the systems. I wont get a mac OS, the only reason I have a commercial operating system is to play games and mac OS doesn't have as many out of the box.

    Vista is just like high definition trying to create demand to supply. Rather than supplying an existing demand.

    As for productivity, I am of the opinion that gui gets it the way (for most task) a good knowledge of console usage can increase your productivity greater than any swish interface. Search a 1000s files for a particular value or set of values, copy them into appropriate directories then create a summary of the information which is passed to a graphing application 40 line scripts, 30 mins tops. Or I could spend all day opening each file looking for the value and click drag to a new directory you get the drift.

    How many times have you heard "I didn't know you could get the computer to do that"?

    These products are for consumers, who in the majority do very little computing and while away doing repetitive task on a machine who's sole existence is to do it for you.

  89. Rik Silver badge
    Flame

    @Steven Hewitt

    "Vista uses as much RAM as it can instead of just the bare minimum. Once an application requires RAM, the less used components of Vista are taken out of RAM so there's enough free for applications."

    So tell me, if it doesn't *NEED* it, what business does it have grabbing all that RAM in the first place?

  90. Peter Kay
    Thumb Up

    Vista SP1 RC isn't bad

    It still has a few bugs, and personally I think driver support is a bit crap (on Vista x64. Not specifically Microsoft's problem - big hint, Nvidia, Creative Labs..), but it's definitely better than XP in some areas. The interface is much smoother, especially under multiple monitors. Networking is fast. File copies managed to max out an old server on the network, something XP couldn't do (although NFS is buggered in the latest build. Then again Vista actually *has* NFS and SFU in Vista Ultimate. XP doesn't).

    I'm reasonably hopeful SP1 will make using Vista 24/7 a definite option.

    The only real worries I have is that it's mostly bug fixes, when the interface and UAC definitely need tuning. Losing accelerated DirectSound is an arse too, because Alchemy doesn't work with all games - but then again, Microsoft have done what was asked and made the kernel more stable - you can't have it both ways

  91. Busted

    Re: @BitTwister by Steve

    "Still yet to hear of anything reasonable in the comments of El Reg as to why Vista is so bad. Performance is bollocks (run it on modern hardware and it's fine"

    Well I didn't need to try it on 300 odd machines as the 8 core 4GB Raid 0 desktop I built and installed Vista on acted like a Celeron 2.6Ghz 512MB with XP SP2. So to reiterate what everyone else is saying Vista is a lot slower than XP FACT!!!

    Despite this I do think Vista has some good points however like Stilton Cheese it still needs some maturing before it's going to be any good. It's quiet possible that vista is the ME of its time however W2k and XP came after that and were both good IMO.

    PS. I'm using a MAC right now for business and XP for home/gaming.

  92. wibbilus maximus
    Boffin

    Vista

    Can people who are comparing XP to Vista take a step back and THINK first. Vista is no WAY similar to ME. ME was an attempt to remove DOS from Windows 98. This rendered it unstable. Vista is built on XP and is NOT unstable as an OS however, due to the lack of driver support provided by manufacturers, there is a lot of hardware that DOES cause the OS to crash. This problem existed for EVERY version of windows since 95.

    As for Vista being a resource hog, It is clear that people have very short memories. Windows 98 ran fine on 32MB of RAM (24MB was recommended, 16MB was minimum), however the resource hog XP needed 64MB minimum, TWICE as much, and had 128MB recommended. And that was only after 3 years!! XP is 6 years old!! Relaistically now if you have under 512MB of ram XP will run like a dog. Vista memory specs are in truth just double what you would expect to run XP on and with memory prices being so low now, this is MUCH cheaper then the hardware upgrade needed to go from 98 to XP.

    Finally for those of you who are reluctant to change, how long were you stuck on windows 3.1 before you moved to windows 95? The change is NOT about moving from XP to Vista, it's moving from 32Bit to 64Bit computing. Try using XP64, it's a whole new world of hurt that even ME can't match!! Personally i see no advantage to using Vista 32Bit and if you don't have a 64Bit machine, stick with XP a bit longer. XP is still a solid OS (for a Microsoft operating system anyway!!), but after having been using Vista for a year and replacing non-compatible hardware, I have a computer now that doesn't crash (it actually is a bit more reliable then XP for that) and has no compatability problems.

    Summing up:

    XP: If you can't change to 64Bit, stick with it a while longer

    Vista: Look to build a new machine and consider peripherals and also enquire about software. It's a bigger step then people realize to go from 32 to 64Bit but it's a change that will have to be made

    I went through the same problems when I went from 16bit to 32 but this time i was better prepared

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it isn't about Vista being rubbish - it's about not needing it

    XP works perfectly well for me. Moving to Vista would serve no purpose other than to line Bill Gates pockets further.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re Cynical thought

    I doubt Microsoft would do anything dodgy like sneaking in crippleware to reduce the performance of XP in a bid to push people towards Vista, or faking an error in Windows 3.1 and forcing a crash in order to prevent it being run on DR-DOS...

    Hang on, I'm getting confused now.

  95. Matthew
    Boffin

    @ wibbilus maximus

    Hi mate, you do make fair points and try to make a balanced argument (nice one) but you are forgetting something very important - Vista is SHIT.

  96. Chris Fleming

    Poor Comtech Sod...

    Yip 6 years... Hold on a sec. This program has performed... 6 years is a long time for an eX to Pee. An XP, just old water.

  97. Frankaz
    Stop

    "Windows XP SP3 does not bring significant portions of Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP"

    like Internet Explorer 7. Have done a slipstream to see if it had been included and it hasn't. Even better - they removed it from Windows Update!

    Same applies for WMP11 too. Keep to SP2 - even though it's 100+ updates at least you get to choose everything.

  98. Daniel
    Boffin

    @ Steve Hewitt

    [Excised by Reg moderator.]

    I must take issue with your disparaging remarks to those (the vast majority) of posters here that find Vista to give an unacceptable ROI or Cost/Benefit ratio.

    I too have a large infrastructure that I operate in. Mine might even be larger. I recently led a test team that rolled Vista out on 1500 high-end desktops as a testbed. I have 40,000 units that will be replaced over the next two fiscal years (with more to follow), and wanted to find out upon which side of the Vista/XP fence my organization should stand. The results were quite definitive. My team found that Vista operated 28%-30% more slowly than an equivalent XP box overall. My organization manipulates very large files and drawings and must have high render times with minimal file transfer lag. Vista could not touch XP in either area. A single user will transfer or operate on several very large files in a day. Each operation under Vista took 19% longer than the equivalent render operation under XP. File transfer times were even more disappointing.

    Software compatibility was another disappointment. Vista would not even try to run several of our core applications, and the ones that did run did not generally run as well as they did under XP. There were a few examples that did not follow this trend, but I cannot justify moving my organization to Vista, given all of these negative factors. We keep Microsoft experts in-house, on contract with Microsoft. Even these experts could not rectify the various issues cited above, without additional patches and the promises (genuinely offered and firmly believed by these fine people) that upcoming revisions would fix these problems.

    I am less concerned with DRM, 3rd party software, or software firewalls. I have an excellent firewall solution in place at my borders, with internal firewalling and 'dirty word' checking operating between business centers and have no need of another. If I did want an onboard firewall, given the other results of my Vista/XP volumetric analysis, I would probably not select Vista's firewall anyway, just on general principles. My organization prohibits external media from being introduced into the workplace, although our vetting of user requested software is very easy and straightforward, and we don't remove benign games from the OS.

    We are using XP and will continue to use XP until we cannot

    I'm sure Microsoft will try force XP obsolescence as soon as possible, due to direct and indirect revenue flow dependencies, but I now hope that market forces will 'strongly encourage' their executive officers to reexamine the folly of Vista and will deliver an OS that users and IT staff want, rather than what is best for Microsoft. I am fully prepared to examine a full conversion away from Microsoft, if the need presents itself. I have worked in several different OS environments before and am willing to steer this organization in that direction, if need be. I rather hope, however, I won't need to.

  99. BitTwister

    @Steven Hewittt

    > Love to see something a little more solid than a snigger and a quote....

    But you use Linux, so you should already be well aware that UAC is nothing remotely like the security/privilege structure of any *nix system and hardly qualifies as "being in line with *nix". At best, UAC is an annoying bolt-on masquerading (badly) as a root account. Someone here has already commented on its nuisance value (along with many other similar comments elsewhere). No surprise, considering how Windows users have had 'ease of use' (at the expense of designed-in OS security) drummed into them since Windows v1.02. The OS needs a rewrite to address *that* little issue but then, just about everything which currently runs would break. Microsoft seems to have shot itself in both feet with this one.

    > yet to hear of anything reasonable in the comments of El Reg as to why Vista is so bad. Performance is bollocks (run it on modern hardware and it's fine (...)

    Which rather neatly answers your own question, surely? Not everyone wants/is able to rebuild their kit to something which simply shouldn't have to be so high-powered in order to adequately run an OS. It's just a program launcher with some housekeeping/convenience tools built in.

    > Once an application requires RAM, the less used components of Vista are taken out of RAM so there's enough free for applications. (...) if RAM is there then it should be used.

    Well, it seems a promising sign that Microsoft's poor memory management is finally growing up. 'course, this is nothing new in *nix but I suppose Microsoft will still claim it as their own 'innovative approach'.

    > give me some reasons why I shouldn't have upgraded my systems to Vista from XP?

    I'm not really bothered what OS you run, to be quite honest. I'd only pointed out the ludicrous 'UAC brings Windows into line with *nix' comment.

    > Cost is irrelevant

    Although it's doubtless a contributing factor to why your Vista experience seems much shinier than the majority of Vista users.

    > presumably as it's 'cool' to slate MS.

    I suppose some do it for that reason but on the whole, Microsoft's inglorious track record doesn't exactly encourage shouts of unbridled joy from Windows users.

  100. Steven Hewittt

    @Busted and @Rik

    @Rik

    Vista will load as much of the OS and related applications into RAM.

    Whilst the RAM is sitting there, why not use as much as possible for stuff you are likely to use? See the SuperFetch section in TechNet Magazine:

    http://www.microsoft.com/technet/technetmag/issues/2007/03/VistaKernel/default.aspx

    "After you’ve used a Windows Vista system a while, you’ll see a low number for the Free Physical Memory counter on Task Manager’s Performance page. That’s because SuperFetch and standard Windows caching make use of all available physical memory to cache disk data. For example, when you first boot, if you immediately run Task Manager you should notice the Free Memory value decreasing as Cached Memory number rises. Or, if you run a memory-hungry program and then exit it, or just copy a very large file, the Free number will rise and the Physical Memory Usage graph will drop as the system reclaims the deallocated memory. Over time, however, SuperFetch repopulates the cache with the data that was forced out of memory, so the Cached number will rise and the Free number will decline."

    Hope that has answered your question.

    @Busted

    Seriously, if you are having performance issues on that sort of setup I strongly suggest removing the network cable ASAP, do a low-level format, then virus scan and re-install. If it's slow enough to post in a comments section of a IT news website with that sort of hardware then you've gotta have something dodgy on that box.

    Alternatively please tell me why I have yet to hear of a single complaint about Vista performance from any desktop user. FYI the typical setup is a Dual Core 2.6Ghz with 1Gb RAM and a single 10k rpm HD. Not a patch on your system.

    This isn't forgetting friends and family that have Vista on their new laptops. I haven't been round to look at their PC or anything. Just noticed they had a new Vista laptop (thus not a patch on your system). I asked how they were getting on with the new machine and they said.... fine.

    Suggest maybe looking into what is eating up your resources. Try the new diagnostics and troubleshooting tools in Vista. They are really very good. (Reliability and Perfomance monitor is excellent.)

    The guy opposite me at work was very unsure about Vista on his machine after using XP for years. Guess what he said after I re-imaged his desktop with Vista.... go on, take a guess.... "wow, it's actually faster than the old XP build - thought Vista was slower?" (FYI He's MCAD, CheckPoint and Oracle certified with a good 10 years in IT as a developer)

    I find it simply incredible that you think the worlds largest software company, would release the latest version of the worlds most popular desktop operating system and it's slow on your way above average setup.

    P.S. I'm typing this on my HOME Vista PC with a <2Ghz single core Athlon and 512Mb RAM. And yes, it works fine. Ask my wife who is using this box as her media center - e.g. Freeview EPG, streaming music, photo's and DVD's etc at the same time as me being logged onto the system writing this post.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    various response

    > I need a Windows 2000 SP5.

    You're not alone on this. I recently replaced XP on my laptop with Windows 2000 just for kicks. It's really more responsive than when it was running XP and I ended up deciding to permanently use it for the lappy. I hate to think of what will happen if I should plop Vista on that machine.

    > come reinstall time, guess what you'll have to install?

    Well, I already run Debian, and I don't want Ubuntu due to it's feeble nature of lacking a root account, so I'll probably try Knoppmyth on my Media Center and Mandrake on my gaming rig. My old laptop will either stick to Win2K (for those just-in-case conditions that may arise) or run OpenBSD. Win2K couldn't be that bad. I even still run Mac OS 9 on my PowerMac instead of plopping a PPC Linux or BSD distro on it.

    Too bad I'll probably end up with a printer I can't use and a useless PhysX card (Where's the Linux driver Ageia promised years ago?!?).

  102. amanfromMars Silver badge

    @Ordinary Punters

    "The problem is, most of you on here are IT experts or heavyweight users. The "average" punter on the street knows no different. He see the latest MS ad showing this wonderful new system that can protect him and do evrything he/she wants. How is he to know any different? The MS marketing team are good at selling to the average user.

    Unfortunetly Vista is here to stay...

    woody"

    And that is an exact mirror of the sub-prime/credit crunch markets unravelling disaster, is it not. Dodgy Deal Control Meltdown/Payback.

    And if proved to be Valid, will lose Microsoft all of ITs Credibility as a Team Player.

  103. Mike Dyne
    Happy

    Why upgrade?

    Simple - Solitaire is prettier and you can have a DX10 "My Pictures" screensaver AND Minesweeper has sound effects! YEAH!

  104. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Historically the Last SP is always sabotaged...

    I'm convinced (this is pure speculation of course) that every last Service Pack I've ever used since Win 95 has sabotaged each OS at the end of its life. The net effect of this (alleged) strategy psychologically makes everyone "warm" to the next "shiny" OS as being "faster". And up until the final SP no-one wants to install it before that stage.

    Microsoft need to start realising that people do not want to continually upgrade PCs to the latest version just because of a service pack update, and of course the extra system demands in terms of performance that the new OS brings to bear on 2 year old tech in your "box".

    Does your Mum really need something that rivals the performance of a CRAY supercomputer to send emails or surf the web? Do they even need Office 2010 for that poster to sell their car?

    I've always thought there's a big conspiracy between M$ and the hardware manufacturers. Or of course they might just be helping drive technology forwards... (irrespective of the commercial benefits) for the betterment of all Mankind - After all - If we were technological luddites - I suppose we'd all still be running DOS or using 8 bit machines and bulletin boards via dial up still.

    Cue garage tech throwout dilemma - or hours googling sources for a 5.25 inch floppy drive for my PC to read all my 8-bit Atari games?

    Recycling driven by OS changes... now there's an idea - does M$ consider their strategies to be helpfully "carbon neutral" as the media refers to it... :)

    Dirk

  105. wibbilus maximus
    Boffin

    @ Matthew

    I presented what I hoped was a balanced argument (thank you for the acknowlegement) but to respond with "Vista is SHIT" is just an awful response. Like i've said, I've been using it for nearly a year. I still find some things about it annoying, but that is to do with the UI. There are a few features removed which again is annoying but not critical.

    As I have stated, use XP if you are not going for 64Bit computing, but there is almost nothing (and I have found a few things which personally I find annoying or inconvenient) that is in XP but NOT in Vista.

    Vista is XP with a flashy UI. Personally, I wish they had left the UI alone. Some things about it look nice but that doesn't bother me. In turns of performance, Vista is slower then XP on the same hardware, no argument there either.

    Saying that Vista is shit though is just not true, UAC (which i turn off) is annoying but then if you speak to the vast majority of computer users, UAC is something they need to protect them. Yes it is a typical bolt on from MS, but to an ignorant user it MIGHT just stop them doing something stupid.

    In the end of the day, Vista just takes a couple of weeks of using to get used to and then the UI stops getting in the way because you've learnt all the new names and the new routes to all the old stuff in XP. Use it for a while and you'll see it's not the radical change that MS wants people to think it is and, unfortunately, a lot of people have fallen into that trap

    In essence Vista is to XP what 98 was to 95.

    It's the 64Bit support that is the real difference

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ah go on

    seems that a fair portion of the blame can be laid at the door of pc world et al for selling underspec "designed for xp" machines with "designed for vista" labels slapped on 'em.

    mind you we're doing a roaring trade in memory to non savvy clients so i ain't complaining

  107. Andy Enderby

    @Steve Hewitt

    errrr......

    DX10 - Unless you're in a game dev house, what the hell is this bloat required for in an enterprise environment ? Or are the techies all playing Crysis when they should be on the blower.....

    DRM - Media player apps in the workplace ? Truly marvellous time-sinks, the users will end up spending their time loading their CD/DVD collections onto iPods/youtube/who cares......

    The problems with both of the above are more truly anchored with home users and the appropriate home versions of Vista, where the lack of performance is going cause a deal more anger when wee Johnny/Jane can't play Super Turbo Turkey Thwacker DX10 edition (insert real game here......) with all the detail turned on. Especially when Johnny/Jane could do so with the DX9 version that looked no different, but they had been running it on considerably more modest hardware.

    DRM - Home users and media...... Show stopper if only because this what the home user typically uses a lot. Yes users shouldn't be raiding the web for free content, but haven't the ISP's and everyone else been implying for years that the internet is all about just that - free content. Basic file copy/move operations should not be bollixed by DRM which it currently is. If content is stolen/misappropriated what the **** is wrong with it being checked at the time it is played, and simply not played.... ie it simply occupies space on the hard disk. MS should not be attempting to take corporate responsibility for other vendors failure to implement DRM into apps or hardware.

    SuperFetch sounds like a great idea but the truth is everything in RAM has to get there through the same bus as everything else, and as the computer is used superfetch is going to run its arse off trying to pre-empt the user. It's a recipe for the whole PC to become I/O bound for no good reason. It sounds like the kind of thing that happens when you mistune kernel parameters in *nix in search of ever greater interactive performance only to see that performance disappear. It should be switched off as default. Given PC architecture, superfetch seems to be a brain damaged decision in the majority of cases.

    Performance.... In the majority of cases is going ot be better with XP, especially for gaming.

  108. BitTwister

    @various response

    > I don't want Ubuntu due to it's feeble nature of lacking a root account

    Rightly or wrongly, Canonical put quite a bit of effort into protecting ex-Windows users from themselves and their inherited bad OS habits - hence the push towards using 'sudo' instead of logging on as root all over the place. But, doing 'sudo -s' will likely get what you want. Or, edit the 'sudoers' file as required - or indeed, tweak the already-existing root account via sudo to allow a more conventional root account.

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Makes you wonder though

    "Vista is built on XP and is NOT unstable as an OS however, due to the lack of driver support provided by manufacturers, there is a lot of hardware that DOES cause the OS to crash."

    Built on Xp eh? Not redesigned from the ground up with security in mind then? Damn, I've been conned again!

  110. Chad H.
    Flame

    @ wibblus

    [Excised by Reg moderator.]

    If vista was xp with shiny, like you claim, there wouldn't be any serious compatibilty issues, old drivers would work, as would almost all programs.

    But wait, they don't. Vista isnt 98 to 95. Vista is NT4 to 95 (Or should that be the other way round?). The kernel has changed, this is why a billion pieces of hardware dont work anymore

    [Excised by Reg moderator.]

    Btw - if vista isnt crap, why are there articles in every it magazine, with the notable exception of windows vista magazine outlining huge performance drops when compared to the same, or even lower spec pcs, running XP

  111. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  112. wibbilus maximus
    Boffin

    @ Chad

    Time for an education lesson. Of course the kernel has changed. If it didn't change, it would still be Windows XP. That is a stupid statement to make. Every new OS has a different kernel.

    Vista is built on XP which is why there is compatability in Vista for XP. And as most new hardware actually does work if you force XP (and sometimes even W2K) drivers to be used, this makes your argument worthless.

    And BTW, if you go back and READ my post you will see that as I have stated and for your benefit will state again, I agree there is a performance drop in Vista to XP on the same hardware. Logically if you stick to your argument, you'll still be using windows 3.1 as no Microsoft OS can perform as well as DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1 on the same hardware.

    To say that Vista is crap because of performance issues is a very poor argument. There are several issues that are negative points for Vista and there are several plus points as well.

    As i must keep saying, if you are going to compare XP to Vista, make sure you are comparing EVERYTHING.

    XP 64Bit versus Vista 64Bit, I dare you to still say XP is better (if you do prepare to be riduculed by everyone who has ever used XP64).

    And BTW, as NT4 and 95 worked completely differently, you might want to retract your statement which undermines your arguments even further almost to the point of them being just an Anti-Vista rant from someone who has clearly not used it.

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