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One Third of New PCs Downgraded To XP? 617

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the if-only-they-could-just-be-not-bought dept.
CWmike writes "More than one in every three new PCs is downgraded from Windows Vista to Windows XP, either at the factory or by the buyer, said performance and metrics researcher Devil Mountain Software, which operates a community-based testing network. 'The 35% is only an estimate, but it shows a trend within our own user base,' Craig Barth, the company's CTO, said. 'People are taking advantage of Vista's downgrade rights.' Last year, Devil Mountain benchmarked Vista and XP performance using other performance-testing tools and concluded that XP was much faster. Barth said things haven't changed since then. 'Everything I've seen clearly shows me that Vista is an OS that should never have left the barn.'"
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One Third of New PCs Downgraded To XP?

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  • by smitingpurpleemu (951712) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:08PM (#24651279)
    Ordinary users expect stuff to work easily. Vista has an awful reputation in this regard, and it chews up more processing power/RAM and is slower than XP.
    • by McFortner (881162) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:12PM (#24651343)
      Not even a first. Anybody remember Windows ME? Redmond is forgetting their history apparently....
      • by peragrin (659227) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:15PM (#24651373)

        that's because marketing keeps changing history to suit their needs.

        It is one thing about linux I like. you can see the progression of change in the software. everyone else tries to hide what horrible things and stupid ideas they tried in the past. In 6 years time people are going to go there was Vista?

      • by fiannaFailMan (702447) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:24PM (#24651477) Journal

        Not even a first. Anybody remember Windows ME? Redmond is forgetting their history apparently....

        Nonsense. Redmond was always at war with East Asia.

    • by smashin234 (555465) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:13PM (#24651351) Journal

      A larger OS will of course use more resources. This does not surprise me in the least anyway since I am sure close to 1/3 of the people who buy new PC's get 1GB of ram or even less nowadays....and with less then 1gb and even 2gb of ram vista will bog down the system when running anything but word processing/email.

      I think MS screwed up by launching vista so soon before the hardware was really ready for it. Many people may say it does nothing to improve computing, but I just think its a little before its time... (probably a first for MS anyway.)

      • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:26PM (#24651493) Homepage Journal
        They should have just slapped the Aero GUI on XP and called it Vista. It'd Just Work(tm) and it would still consume much less resources than Vista does now. Vista didn't even deliver most of the stuff like WinFS that was supposed to make the upgrade headache worthwhile. It did, however, include the latest and most virulent DRM as well as other non-critical crap.

        Again, Microsoft, just put Aero on Windows XP as service pack 4, and then you can pretend that your customers really, really do prefer Vista over XP.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Allador (537449)

          You really should consider reading up a little bit on Aero and the compositing window manager in Vista.

          Just 'slapping' it on XP is not as simple as you seem to be suggesting.

          If nothing else, it would force a bunch of changes to the core, to pull out the video drivers to userspace (like it is in Vista).

          And then you're halfway to re-inventing Vista anyway.

          • by Belial6 (794905) on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:56PM (#24652555)
            Really? Half of the difference between XP and Vista is the Video Driver changes and desktop graphics? That isn't saying much for Vista.
            • by compro01 (777531) on Monday August 18, 2008 @08:20PM (#24652813)

              Not driver changes. They redid the entire rendering system from the old 2D (GDI) that has been in use and mostly unchanged since 95 and created something almost entirely new that leverages 3D (WGF), tossing the old 3D system (which was relatively unstable). This was a Major Change, and is likely the cause of 60% of vista problems, with likely another 30% being driver problems related to it (It's taken the driver devs awhile to get up to speed on the completely different way of doing things), and another 10% for other stuff.

              • by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Monday August 18, 2008 @11:05PM (#24654247) Homepage

                So...why has compositing always been fairly straight forward with Linux then?

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Carnildo (712617)

                  So...why has compositing always been fairly straight forward with Linux then?

                  Mostly because the much-maligned network transparency of X forced a clean separation between GUI applications and the X server, while the fact that XFree86 and the Linux kernel were developed by different groups kept the two from getting tangled up in each other.

                  The typical GNU/Linux distribution is about a million times more modular than Microsoft Windows, so major changes to any one part have few undesired effects on other parts.

            • by Allador (537449) on Tuesday August 19, 2008 @02:52AM (#24655371)

              *sigh*

              Let me be more specific, so that you dont get too caught up on my 'halfway to vista' comment, and use that (rather than the obvious point) to comment on:

              Completely re-writing the desktop imaging/management system on XP to support a compositing system like Vista uses, including pulling the bulk of the video drivers out, is major, major surgery on XP. If you actually did that to XP, it would result in a system that would need all new types of drivers for video cards.

              Not to mention changes to the kernel to support some sort of mini-driver (to do all the kernel level calls that the video driver themselves used to do, and are no longer able to do since they run in user-space.)

              If you do that, you've got something that is fundamentally not XP, is not driver or image or kernel compatible.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by caitsith01 (606117)

          They should have just slapped the Aero GUI on XP and called it Vista. It'd Just Work(tm) and it would still consume much less resources than Vista does now. Vista didn't even deliver most of the stuff like WinFS that was supposed to make the upgrade headache worthwhile. It did, however, include the latest and most virulent DRM as well as other non-critical crap.

          Again, Microsoft, just put Aero on Windows XP as service pack 4, and then you can pretend that your customers really, really do prefer Vista over XP.

          They don't even need Aero - the content already exists for XP. I just installed the phenomenal Area o4.2 [customize.org] Visual Style on an installation of XP SP2, and it looks and runs wonderfully. This [belchfire.net] is a reasonably helpful explanation of how to install non-MS visual styles in XP.* There are also various packages around to add widgets and other bits and pieces to give XP a convincingly Vista/Aero feel in terms of the desktop (Rainmeter or Samurize, for example).

          Microsoft should absolutely get a few visual styles alo

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:37PM (#24651601) Homepage Journal

        I think MS screwed up by launching vista so soon before the hardware was really ready for it.

        It's a canard to say that the problem with Vista is that "the hardware is not ready for it".

        If Saab made a car that could only run on some super high-test gasoline that is not sold in gas stations, would you say that "the gasoline was not ready for it" or that "it was a stupid design and poor business decision to release it"?

        • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:48PM (#24651733) Homepage Journal

          It's a canard to say that the problem with Vista is that "the hardware is not ready for it"

          Isn't that kind of a lot for a duck to say?

        • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@gmai l . c om> on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:58PM (#24651875)

          It's a canard to say that the problem with Vista is that "the hardware is not ready for it".

          If Saab made a car that could only run on some super high-test gasoline that is not sold in gas stations, would you say that "the gasoline was not ready for it" or that "it was a stupid design and poor business decision to release it"?

          If, for instance, Saab released a new hybrid car which ran on hydrogen, and there was no infrastructure in place to supply that. I would not call the car stupid design because there was no infrastructure in place. I could, if I believed (or in foresight knew) that someday there would be, call it "Ahead of it's time" or "We just weren't ready for it".

          However, that has nothing to do with Vista, because it was stupid design. And while the hardware still isn't ready for it, even if it were, it'd be a stupid design.

          I don't know if the people making decisions on Vista just weren't all on the same page or what, but Vista is a pile of poorly planned half implemented aborted attempts at doing what the marketers over sold it as being capable of doing.

          That has nothing to do with hardware other than the fact that having a beefier machine might, might, mitigate the issues the same way an elephant gun might do as a fly swatter.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Jafafa Hots (580169)
            Well, in your analogy the new thing is more efficient and worth waiting for and upgrading to.

            Are you saying that Vista requires more memory and a faster processor because it's more efficient than XP? Because it's so muhc more useful and advanced? Here - let me fix the analogy for you.

            It's as if Saab released a new car that used standard gasoline, but needed so MUCH of that gasoline to run that your local gas station had trouble supplying your needs. But the new Saab is WORTH that much expense on gas, becaus

        • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:21PM (#24652179) Homepage Journal
          More to the point, how much hardware would remain on the shelf without a little Redmond Driver Judo to throw the hardware into the shopping cart?
        • by Allador (537449) on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:31PM (#24652289)

          If Saab made a car that could only run on some super high-test gasoline that is not sold in gas stations, would you say that "the gasoline was not ready for it" or that "it was a stupid design and poor business decision to release it"?

          How could you possibly suggest that what you've written is a valid parallel.

          You're suggesting that hardware didnt exist that would run Vista decently. This is obviously and trivially not the case.

          A better analogy was to say that Saab release a vehicle that claimed it ran fine on 87 octane gas, but in actually, it ran like crap all the time, unless you used 92 octane gas. (ie, a parallel on the Vista Ready campaign).

      • by slig (1233832) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:38PM (#24651625)
        Throwing more hardware at a problem is far from an elegant solution. For all the bloat, what exactly does it accomplish which warrants such a massive hardware investment?
      • by atari2600 (545988) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:54PM (#24651797)

        I have quite a few friends who work at MS and most of them recommend running XP over vista when asked the obvious question. It isn't a question of hardware being ready for it as much as the OS isn't optimized enough. To add to vista woes, MS brought out tons of SKUS to further confuse customers.

        A friendly conversation I had with an MS employee led to his asking me as to why people wouldn't want to upgrade to the latest supported OS and my response was a local school scenario where the budget for the school doesn't exactly accommodate upgrading 30 PCs to be vista capable. An underpaid overworked school employee in charge of the computing lab would probably find it easier to use XP till the OS is supported and switch to a distribution like Ubuntu OR do a smart thing and make the switch to a Linux distribution now and not worry about the change later.

        Also in the above scenario it's easier to get the kids used to a new distribution and even keeps them from the mischief they can do in the windows world. My friend had no answer to this except that if the school made a strong case and appealed for aid, MS might donate hardware and I believed my buddy that MS might actually do it.

        This is not a case of MS being ahead in the timeline (BeOS was ahead of its time, not Vista) - this is a case of getting a halfbaked product out (look up "code optimization"). I give you just one example as to why not using Vista is beneficial but I am sure there are tons others.

        I am a gamer (and yet I do not care about DX10 for now) and I have stayed away from Vista. I do not want a larger OS - I want an OS optimized for gaming. I have a dual core processor with 3 GB of ram and I do not want an OS that can use it all just for the sake of using resources. I am surprised you have been modded interesting...

      • by RonTheHurler (933160) on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:24PM (#24652225)

        I downgraded my Vista machine to XP. A critical pice of software I use was dog slow on vista. Dead-dog slow. By accident, i found out how to speed it up considerably - I unplugged the network cable.

        No, this was not a network app. It's a CAD program. It does absolutely nothing over the network. Whassup with that? Unfortunately, I need the network, and after much fiddling and tweaking the network settings (I am qualified...) There was no change.

        But, every time I disabled the network, my CAD program sped up. Until I wiped out the HD and installed XP. Now it's always fast as ever on my vista-class hardware.

        VIsta gave me absolutely no benefit over XP. What's the reason for this OS?

        --

        http://www.rlt.com/14100 [rlt.com] See our newest perpetual motion machine (as designed by Leonardo DaVinci)

      • Think again (Score:3, Interesting)

        by westlake (615356)
        This does not surprise me in the least anyway since I am sure close to 1/3 of the people who buy new PC's get 1GB of ram or even less nowadays..
        .

        Walmart.com currently stocks 16 Vista laptops with 4 GB RAM. starting at $1000. You can get 64 Bit Vista Premium at this price point.

        The 64 bit Vista Premium desktop at Walmart.com with 4 GB RAM also starts at $1000:

        Quad Core CPU, 750 GB HDD, NVIDIA 9500 GS Graphics, HDTV Tuner and Combo Blu-Ray Player and DVD Burner.
        HP Pavilion s3530f Slimline Desktop [walmart.com]

        Absol

  • Me too! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Verteiron (224042)

    Every machine I've ordered from CDW has been preloaded with Windows XP, for which I thank them with my continued business. Vista has no place here.

    • Re:Me too! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hyppy (74366) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:15PM (#24651375)

      Every machine I've ordered from CDW has been preloaded with Windows XP, for which I thank them with my continued business. Vista has no place here.

      Agreed. Our office has ordered around 120 PCs in the past few months, all with XP preloaded. We wipe and reimage them before the end users see them, but the gesture is appreciated.

  • Downgraded? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Naughty Bob (1004174) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:09PM (#24651295)
    That depends on your opinion/needs.
  • The Barn? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shade of Pyrrhus (992978) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:09PM (#24651297)

    Everything I've seen clearly shows me that Vista is an OS that should never have left the barn

    Or better yet - BURN THE BARN!

    On a serious note, it is sort of sad that Vista has performed so poorly. I mean, I really enjoy Linux, but on my gaming desktop I'd like to have the best OS for the job (with DX10 if it's used). As a gamer, the whole thing put a sour taste in my mouth. I guess I can say I'm happy with Linux, but a bit sad that nothing useful came out of Microsoft's work, except for being able to lord it over them.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      On a serious note, it is sort of sad that Vista has performed so poorly. I mean, I really enjoy Linux, but on my gaming desktop I'd like to have the best OS for the job (with DX10 if it's used). As a gamer, the whole thing put a sour taste in my mouth. I guess I can say I'm happy with Linux, but a bit sad that nothing useful came out of Microsoft's work, except for being able to lord it over them.

      Yeah, it's really kinda sad. I mean, I don't use Windows at all, I don't play games that won't run in Linux (wi

  • by KiloByte (825081) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:10PM (#24651305)

    90% of users are Joe Sixpacks, and still 35% of them jump through the hurdles to drop Vista. It's hard to imagine what Microsoft would need to do to fare worse than this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      90% of users are Joe Sixpacks, and still 35% of them jump through the hurdles to drop Vista. It's hard to imagine what Microsoft would need to do to fare worse than this.

      Think again. For microsoft, it's a positive. They get someone to use for XP and pay for Vista, which is more expensive. It's a win for them.

  • by corsec67 (627446) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:10PM (#24651313) Homepage Journal

    Subject says it all.

  • 2001 Called (Score:4, Informative)

    by nauseum_dot (1291664) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:14PM (#24651367)

    and said that its OS is not going out without a fight!

    Seriously, some variation of NT 5 is going to live for a long time, ReactOS [reactos.org] is proof positive of this.

  • laptops (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cyrena (897852) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:15PM (#24651371)

    It boggles the mind why anyone would want a low to mid range laptop to come with Vista preinstalled. And yet that's the only way to get them (reasonably).

    And apparently Toshiba's only honouring the warranty now if none of the original bundled software has been removed. So a friend of mine ended up buying a cheap Toshiba, with the understanding that it functionally has no warranty, since he's immediately nuking Vista off of it.

    • Re:laptops (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hyppy (74366) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:19PM (#24651429)

      And apparently Toshiba's only honouring the warranty now if none of the original bundled software has been removed.

      Dear [deity], what?!? So, even if you remove the crapware trial software, upgrade to an open driver, remove crap Windows services, etc, you're screwed?

      If this is true, I think this point alone should be front page news.

    • Somehow I suspect this might not be legal, since the warranty is ostensibly to cover the hardware. Wasn't there a /. article some months back about exactly this kind of issue, and how voiding the warranty on computer hardware for changing the software wasn't legal?

      Cheers,

    • by merreborn (853723)

      It boggles the mind why anyone would want a low to mid range laptop to come with Vista preinstalled. And yet that's the only way to get them (reasonably).

      That's why I bought a macbook instead.

      That, and having two HP laptops die within 12 months of their original purchase dates.

    • Re:laptops (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Zymergy (803632) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:54PM (#24651789)
      That is not enforceable...

      1) Buy laptop with smallest and cheapest HDD possible.
      2) Remove said HDD and image it.
      3) Put in static bag in Original Laptop box and store it.
      4) Purchase superior drive: Quiet and Large 5400RPM drive, or Superior and Fast 7200RPM drive, or Uber Everything SSD.
      5) Apply your original image and install the drive.
      6) Modify to your heart's content (PC Decrapifier , etc... or better yet... cleanly install XP (or OS of choice) with no Toshiba crapware or 'utility partition', etc..)

      7) When something "breaks" Install original drive... Volia!

      NOTE: Some users just use the same drive and keep an image of the original partition.... but imaging the wanted partition first and then reimaging the drive to the original one is too much of a pain.... (especially when the lap is dead and it better protects your data, pics, MP3s, etc..)
      Just get a faster/better/more expensive superior HDD for your laptop and use that one.
  • by Renraku (518261) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:15PM (#24651385) Homepage

    I bought my laptop with the intention of downgrading to Windows XP for increased stability and performance.

    I was shocked, on the other hand, to find that there were no Windows XP drivers and that inserting the Windows XP CD and booting from it caused a BSOD before the installing starts. I have an HP Pavilion DV5-1002NR.

    Do not purchase this laptop if you want to use Windows XP on it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:16PM (#24651391)

    How come no one is talking about the new version of Windows called Mojave? It looks great, and has little utilities called gadgets ... I love Windows Mojave. I give it a "10"!

    ... er, what's that you say?

  • Downgrade? How? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rolfwind (528248) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:19PM (#24651421)

    How is XP a downgrade?

    I'm not a Vista hater. I actually like it better - it's UI for explorer (folders) is much better and I like that, unlike XP Home, UAC is in every release of Vista. I think the security is also better but not great yet -- services shouldn't run in administrator level but just be sandboxed to their own account.

    But it is dog slow out of the box for many computers with integrated video chipsets (why some manufacturers don't set the Aero level appropriately for their models is beyond me). It takes up too many resources of low-end computers. And Microsoft has gotten way too version happy - 12 versions IIRC (counting 32 and 64 bit seperately). Microsoft is also squeezing wallets for truly inane things - I can't even get 64bit business upgrade easily when I have 32 bit business even though such an upgrade should be minimal costs (somehow my disc doesn't count for alternative media...).

    Why is this? I don't know if it's peculiar to Vista, but it really pisses me off when the computer decides that it will restart in T - 10 minutes just for a security upgrade and there is nothing I can do about it -- which pretty much summarizes how Microsoft is treating the customer base in a lot of decisions.

    No wonder Macs are starting to get popular on the high end and Linux is starting to get popular on the low end mini notebooks. XP sucks in a lot of regards security-wise, but at least it's small and fast and there were only 2 versions of it for a desktop and all the Apps work on it (Endicia Dazzle still isn't 100% Vista ready...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by x2A (858210)

      "really pisses me off when the computer decides that it will restart in T - 10 minutes just for a security upgrade and there is nothing I can do about it"

      Try shutdown /a (run shutdown /? to see all options available) from command prompt. Not tried on vista, but at least on 2003, that's the command to abort a system shutdown.

      • Catching up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday August 18, 2008 @08:00PM (#24652605)

        Try shutdown /a (run shutdown /? to see all options available) from command prompt. Not tried on vista, but at least on 2003, that's the command to abort a system shutdown.

        On Linux, you need to know advanced terminal commands to do things like force the system to shut down.

        On Windows, you need to know advanced terminal commands to stop the system from doing things to you...

        Sounds like Linux is finally catching up by having Windows drop down to its level and heading the wrong way past!

  • But! But! Microsoft did that thing, and people said Vista is great if we don't tell them it's Vista. Clearly the solution is to rebrand Vista as XP and in two months, like a magician, whip the cloth off and go "Aha! You've been using Vista all along!" There is no way a plan like that could fail!
  • by unfunk (804468) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:22PM (#24651457) Journal
    God, this feels horrible, but I have to defend Microsoft/Windows here a bit
    Windows 98 was slower than Windows 95, running on the same hardware
    Windows XP was slower than Windows 98, running on the same hardware
    Windows Vista is slower than Windows XP, running on the same hardware.

    Does anybody see a pattern here? Most people thought XP was rubbish for the first couple of years that it was out for, and now those same people are proclaiming it to be Microsoft's best OS to date.
    Vista does a lot of things right, and improves on XP in many, many areas, it's just dogged by this idea that it's crap because you can't run it on your P3-800 and it won't work with your dot-matrix printer from 1977.

    Ugh, that felt terrible, I need to go play with Ubuntu for a few hours now....
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hyppy (74366)

      Does anybody see a pattern here? Most people thought XP was rubbish for the first couple of years that it was out for, and now those same people are proclaiming it to be Microsoft's best OS to date.

      I think you can attribute that asstistic to the fact that Service Pack 2 was released.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:55PM (#24651811) Homepage Journal

        those same people are proclaiming it to be Microsoft's best OS to date.

        Do any of those people not work for one of the major computer magazines?

        My latest computer came with Vista Ultimate pre-installed. It's got 4 gig RAM and a quad-core processor. I back-graded to XP Pro so I could get work done, but recently, I threw away a weekend giving Vista a second chance. Now I'm back on XP Pro and I've lost about 18 hours that I'll never get back again.

        Before I give Vista another chance, Microsoft is going to have to arrange to have my dick sucked, preferably by one of their division heads.

        But, since I still craved a great new OS after my failure with Vista, I am now very impressed with the latest Ubuntu Studio, and for the first time can actually do professional work on a Linux machine. I guess I owe Microsoft thanks for forcing me to give Linux another chance.

        So now I can record and edit digital audio using Reaper on my XP machine and offload some of the rendering work to my Ubuntu machine using Reamote and ReaRoute over fast ethernet. Cool cool cool.

    • by night_flyer (453866) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:29PM (#24651531) Homepage

      there is a trend, except XP and 98 were both improvements over their predecessors (real and perceived).

    • I know the feeling. I installed Vista on my desktop 3 or 4 months ago. And after going through and turning off a lot of the annoying crap (UAC especially) and getting used to how they rearranged things, I'm actually quite pleased with it. There are a number of things here that they did get right. And as far as any performance issues go, they're so minimal that I haven't noticed them in daily use (Athlon X2 3800+). And yes, it does feel dirty saying that.
    • BULLshit (Score:3, Insightful)

      by unity100 (970058)
      ALL of those oses prior to Vista have brought something to the table that wasnt there before themselves.

      vista, brings NOTHING, except drm. therefore people are not tolerating the slowness.
    • by duckInferno (1275100) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:36PM (#24651589) Journal
      Win 95 -> Win 98: Slightly slower, but also slightly less painful experience for the end user

      Win 98 -> Win XP: A fair bit slower, but holy crap it doesn't crash any more!

      Win XP -> Vista: Extreme slowdown and you don't get a lot out of it beyond viral DRM and all your shoddily-written software causing that annoying permissions box to pop up.

      Every iteration of windows has been slightly slower but also better than the previous version... until Vista.
    • by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:53PM (#24651787) Homepage Journal

      "Windows 98 was slower than Windows 95, running on the same hardware
      Windows XP was slower than Windows 98, running on the same hardware
      Windows Vista is slower than Windows XP, running on the same hardware.
      "

      On a 486 with decent memory, it was hard to tell the difference in performance between 95 and 98. There's no mistaking the difference between XP and Vista on the same hardware, though. 1 gig of memory is fast for XP. On the same amount, Vista runs like a dog. Well, actually, Vista runs like a dog with any amount of memory.

      As far as 98 to XP, Microsoft has an out there... 98 ran on the old DOS-based core, while XP has the much-more-capable but resource intensive NT core. So you're really comparing apples and oranges there. Vista has an NT based kernel, just like XP, so no excuse there.

    • by Zymergy (803632) * on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:03PM (#24651947)
      I see you left out Windows 2000..... Hummmm?
    • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:04PM (#24651961) Journal

      XP was an upgrade from Win2k, not 98

      And in that regard, XP is faster than 2000 is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by toddestan (632714)

        XP Professional was an upgrade from Windows 2000.
        XP Home was an upgrade from Windows 98/ME.

        Very few people ran Windows 2000 at home. For most people, XP Home is their first OS from the NT line, and they came from 95/98/ME.

    • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:10PM (#24652035) Homepage Journal

      Funny. I only ran Windows 95 for about 6 months before I switched to NT 3.51.

      NT 3.51 to NT 4.0 was not a huge hit in performance, and NT 4.0 was totally solid, even at beta 1 (a couple service packs later on changed that). It had some nice UI changes, but didn't require any huge changes to the way I did things.

      NT 4.0 to Windows 2000 was not a huge hit in performance. Windows 2000 was very solid. It had some nice UI changes, but didn't require any huge changes to the way I did things.

      Windows 2000 to XP was a performance hit but it wasn't too bad. XP was very solid. It had some really horrible UI changes, but you could turn them off. It didn't require any huge changes to the way I did things.

      Windows XP to Vista was a huge performance hit. Vista came bundled with the laptop I bought, and yet it still managed to blue screen pretty regularly. It had UI changes which were mildly neat for about 30 seconds, but got tedious really fast, and I eventually found them ugly and turned them off. Almost nothing I did worked in Vista. I had to tinker around with permissions. I had to dodge security dialogs like the 9th level of Tempest just to rename an icon on the desktop. A bunch of my apps wouldn't run. Network file transfer performance, which I use A LOT, was totally crippled. I finally got sick of adjusting myself to Vista, with absolutely no return in terms of anything being superior to XP. There was literally nothing I found to be improved over XP, but the disadvantages were numerous and significant.

      Finally, I switched my laptop to Ubuntu (like all my desktops already were). I got a huge performance boost. It's very solid. It has more UI flexibility that I could possibly want, and I've tweaked it out to look just perfect. And the funniest thing is that it _would_ run on a P3-800 with a dot matrix printer from 1977.

      So your point fails. Having experienced the Microsoft OS change from DOS 1.1 to DOS 6 through Windows 2 up to Windows 95 briefly and then on the NT side from 3.51 through Vista, I found pluses and minuses each time, but going to Vista had the most minuses and no pluses.

      That's just my experience and my opinion. I was willing to drop a Benjamin to get XP before I finally went to Linux and gave the XP license on a spare machine to my kids for their games.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Temujin_12 (832986)

      God, this feels horrible, but I have to defend Microsoft/Windows here a bit
      Windows 98 was slower than Windows 95, running on the same hardware
      Windows XP was slower than Windows 98, running on the same hardware
      Windows Vista is slower than Windows XP, running on the same hardware.

      While part of me understands that as time goes on hardware requirements will increase, the fact that many *nix GUIs (ie: KDE, XFCE, Gnome) as well as the *nix core itself are able to IMPROVE the performance of their software between

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rrohbeck (944847)

      Windows 98 was slower than Windows 95, running on the same hardware

      Windows XP was slower than Windows 98, running on the same hardware

      Windows Vista is slower than Windows XP, running on the same hardware.

      You should see DOS 3.3 on a 2.6 GHz Xeon.
      I think I need to try 2.15 too. Now if I could only find that floppy...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:29PM (#24651525)
    I'll lay this out for everyone simply and clearly:

    Windows XP Service Pack 2 had massive failure rates after its release. This was something which was supposed to be caught during the beta program (silly things like activation being permanently fried and boot bluescreens). There were numerous installation errors which were unrelated to antivirus programs as the team had specified (in fact, a heavy number of these install failures came from machines with no AV or with the AV disabled).

    Fast forward to the Vista beta during 2005 and 2006. The same manager (Paul Donnelly. pauldon@microsoft.com) led this beta program through a trip of elitism and hell. Some testers would be massively rewarded for sucking up while others would have nasty bugs closed as being "by design" (including a number of major DWM CPU usage bugs).

    The same coordinators managed the same two beta programs, leading to the same results. Paul and his team need to be canned, because they're not doing anything right.
  • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Monday August 18, 2008 @06:52PM (#24651777) Journal
    The simple, long term test is whether software companies optimise their work for XP or Vista, given the choice. In the absence of a more popular OS the developers will concentrate on the most used variant of any give group. That's the best measure at the end of the day.
  • XP is a great OS!! (Score:4, Informative)

    by suck_burners_rice (1258684) on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:11PM (#24652043)

    The question in the title of this story is: "One Third of New PCs Downgraded To XP?" The answer is: This is a trick question. PCs are not being downgraded to Windows XP; they are being upgraded to Windows XP.

    Let me explain. No, that'll take too long. Let me sum up. Windows XP is actually a very decent operating system, if you know how to install it. For that, there is a program called nLite. This is a program that allows you to insert your factory original Windows XP installation disc, choose basically all the various options that you would, on a normal installation, go through all the Control Panel windows, the registry, and maybe even some INI files, and then it makes you a new Windows XP installation disc that installs Windows with all those options set. So you can go ahead and switch all of Microsoft's defaults to their opposite. You tell it to optimize for best performance; get rid of those cartoonish looking blue and red windows in favor of the Windows 95 style; tell it to display extensions and hidden files; tell it to basically do everything backwards from the way Microsoft installs it normally. And once you do all those things, Windows installs in 30 minutes and runs like a meteor through cyberspace. A few additional utilities like CCleaner (set it to run on startup and check all the boxes) and a better editor than notepad (like UltraEdit-32, commercial software you have to pay for and it's worth every penny ten times over) and whatever other utilities you want... like FileZilla client and server for transferring files around your network (Windows SMB networking sucks -- that is unless you do it through Samba, in which case it works great), Wireshark for figuring out why Computer A can't "see" Computer B when you just transferred a file from Computer B to Computer A and that worked like a charm, those sorts of things. If you set it up using nLite to be a more businesslike OS and a less "let's make everything really easy so even the experts won't be able to move a file from one folder to another" then Windows XP is a wonderful operating system.

    Windows Vista? I'll use it when it goes Open Source. (Hmmm, maybe I'd better be careful. Sarge was released; Apple did go Intel; and who knows, maybe Duke Nukem Forever will come out one of these days... You never know.)

  • by east coast (590680) on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:13PM (#24652073)
    Where I work XP is simply the current standard and even if Vista existed beyond the 2010 release date slated for Vienna we may never consider it. We get in a few hundred PCs annually at my site and it's a small site amongst several and that's not counting our retail outlet stores which number a few thousand.

    It's not that we're thumbing our noses at Vista but rather that XP is what works for us and is stable.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday August 18, 2008 @07:36PM (#24652341) Homepage

    I find Vista lacking in just too many ways. Until recently, I have never actually used it however. The facts before it is used speak well enough on their own. So throwing out any discussion about the user interface, enhanced effects, backward compatibility, increased stability or anything else that often results in subjective discussion, there still remains the two most important facts about Vista:

    1. It requires more memory and processor resources to do the same job that XP does
    2. It doesn't do more than XP does

    Those are the reasons I have avoided Vista like the plague. Now the fact that in the office, the version of AutoCAD we use is known not to work particularly well with Vista is simply leverage over the fact that I see no business reason to change. Pursuant to my reluctance to change, I bought volume licenses for Vista... so that I maintained my right to downgrade to Windows XP. So now that machines are ONLY shipping with Vista, I am careful to be sure that XP drivers for devices are still available in any hardware selections I make and simply reload machines with XP.

    My plan has started to pay off as I needed to buy a Lenovo laptop for one of my users. It came with Vista. I decided to test what should have been a PERFECTLY tweaked and tuned Vista installation. After all, it came with the hardware right? Pre-installed? One would think that it was done right. Perhaps I am over-estimating Lenovo, but I have never had a problem with the stock software load from Lenovo when it is running XP. In fact, those Lenovos [IBM Thinkpads] running XP have lasted years and have never been reloaded and are still running efficiently today. (That's saying a lot considering the typical pattern of "Windows Rot" I'm sure we're all familiar with.) So my expectations of quality and stability are based on my previous experience with Thinkpads and XP.

    I powered up the Vista laptop and went about trying things out just in case my own prejudiced had really colored my view too badly. I'm really quick to admit when I'm wrong. That's why I use the name "erroneus" to begin with.

    The machine suffered a very bad error that I can only describe. It wasn't a blue screen and it wasn't a lock-up exactly. It was something else... something weird. It was going through some sort of self-configuration stage after I agreed to not hold Lenovo or Microsoft liable for their products. I decided to move one of the Aero styled windows while the circle was circling so that I could entertain myself with the semi-transparent windows. The process was taking an odd amount of time in my opinion. Anyway, the window stopped moving and the circular cursor stopped rotating. The mouse cursor did move away from the window and in a particular rectangular region of the screen, the "busy" circle cursor would resume its rotation but there was no window there. In all other areas of the screen, it was the normal arrow. The hard drive was still chunking away so I let it go thinking it might catch up. It never did even after 45 minutes of doing "something." I tried to three-finger it, but no reaction could be observed. I waited longer... another 20 minutes or so. (I do other things too, so letting things ride for long periods of time is no big deal!) No changes could be observed. I forced the power off and powered back on. It resumed its setup process and continued on as if almost nothing were wrong. (It did acknowledge that something bad must have happened but at least it didn't try to blame me the way Windows9X used to do.)

    Things seemed to go better this second go around but the hard drive NEVER stopped chunking and churning. I let it idle for hours and eventually over-night. It did eventually fall asleep only to wake up with a beep and go back to sleep again.

    This machine has 1GB of RAM. It *should* be enough for Vista. It's not. And I haven't even loaded a single application on it. It's JUST the OS. What the hell? The damned swap file was growing and growing with no indication that it wo

  • by Average (648) on Monday August 18, 2008 @08:05PM (#24652667)

    High on the list of Microsoft's greatest fears is virtualization.

    I'm seeing *lots* of Intel Macs with one of Parallels/VirtualBox/VMWare. More than half, I'd estimate. Almost all with XP.

    Virtualization, while it means an upgrade path for Microsoft, also means that people can upgrade to another OS. And, when they specify their next round of software, it's going to be software that runs natively on Mac or Linux.

    Also, people are finding hardware without XP drivers (elsewhere in this thread). Virtualization can get around that. If Linux runs on it, xVM will.

    Vista is bloated for many reasons, but the fact that its bulk and overhead make it a poor choice for virtual machines is surely considered a real positive around Redmond. That is, if they can make enough software *not* work in XP, people will stay in Windows, rather than Windows becoming a little legacy corner of their screen (Right now, I'm watching Olympic coverage in Silverlight in a corner of my Linux desktop).

  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Monday August 18, 2008 @08:24PM (#24652855)
    then 66% of Vista PCs would be downgraded.

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