I’ve lost count of how many times I have installed Windows Vista for a day or less. I don’t know why I keep running back to XP. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate Microsoft. I am taking part in quite a few beta projects via Microsoft Connect I was even in the Windows Live Mail beta. Let me break this down into categories so it’s easier to follow.
Speed and Performance: I just don’t find it as responsive as XP. Vista eats 50% of my 2gb RAM – it’s supposed to be a new caching routine that does that. I don’t see much advantage to that. Ready Boost is another one of the new supposed speed boosters in Vista. It uses USB flash drives and card readers for another level of caching. The only catch is you need a new modern expensive flash drive/card reader for it to even work. Idle, it would be using almost 1gb of RAM. On XP, it idles a lot lower than 50% memory.
Eye Candy: Sure, the new Aero Glass makes things look WOW… but it does slow things down most older software turns off Glass, so what’s the point of it? Do we have to buy all new software just so Glass stays activated? All that eye candy is available on XP via a program called Stardock WindowBlinds and one of many Aero Glass like skins.
Drivers and Hardware: Drivers are still a major issue and probably will be for another year or so. My driver problem devices are: DLink DSB-C110 USB Webcam, Gadmei USB TV BOx UTV-310 PVR and a Umax Astra 3400 USB scanner. There was a built-in driver in XP; why not in Vista? Sure, I found a way to force it to use the official XP driver, but I shouldn’t have had to. Oddly enough, my discontinued Samsung ML-4500 laser printer has a Vista driver. I was able to force the install of the nforce2 XP sound driver to make my onboard sound work… the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 value has hollow sound compared to XP.
Games: Even though I am not a hardcore gamer, I found Vista to be a real pain. For me, I get a major framerate drop in Half-Life 2 and other Source based games via Steam. The old goldsource games work like a charm. I monitor my game hours with and Xfire for in-game chat but that doesn’t work on Vista unless I turn off User account Control, and that defeats the benefits of UAC.
Legacy Software: I use many older programs that you can’t even buy anymore. Many of them would not even launch until I turned off UAC. I understand that it’s the older software that’s at fault. My issue is that many people are buying new PCs to replace old ones and still have many older registered programs they will want to use but will be surprised when they try to use them on their new Vista PC. It’s hard to find a store that still sells retail XP/ XP preinstalled PCs… even in the small center near where I live.
Give Windows Vista a year or so before considering upgrading to it… or at least until Vista SP1.