What Flavor of Windows for My Next PC?
August 24, 2007 5:26 PM   Subscribe

Should I install Vista on my next computer or stick with XP?

I'm planning on building a new computer before year's end. It will probably include a Core 2 Duo and healthy amounts of RAM (2GB) and disk space (400-500 GB). I can't decide if I should put Vista on this new rig or stick with XP. I'm completely satisfied with XP's stability and I can't think of a compelling reason to switch to Vista. And frankly, I'm concerned about running into performance/incompatibility issues with Vista.

What say you, fellow geeks? Should I stick with the tried and true or succumb to the new new thing? If I stick with XP, should I use my old copy of XP Home Edition or pick up a copy of Professional Edition?

And no, Linux isn't an option. I likes me some occasional gaming and I also use some critical software that is Windows-only.
posted by wintermute2_0 to Computers & Internet (33 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Vista is clunky for sure. Maybe once the service pack comes out this fall, it won't be so bad, but I would be bummed if Vista was the OS on my primary computer.

Install your old Home edition and if it strikes you in the future, install Vista.
posted by k8t at 5:32 PM on August 24, 2007

My $0.02 says stick with XP.

You don't say if you're doing things with your pc that will eventually require Vista's "trusted computing" (appalling newspeak that that is), but so far I've found Vista to be a dog, significantly slower than XP, and a pita with all its "allow or deny" crap. If you don't have a real good reason to go to Vista, don't.
posted by anadem at 5:35 PM on August 24, 2007

Ditto. Stick with XP.
posted by futility closet at 5:58 PM on August 24, 2007

I have never heard of, read of, or seen anyone enjoying Vista.
posted by blacklite at 5:58 PM on August 24, 2007

XP, no contest.
posted by Meagan at 6:09 PM on August 24, 2007

I installed Vista about two months ago, and I hate it. Its performance for extremely basic OS tasks, like dragging some files from one folder to another, is abysmal, and as you note, it doesn't get you anything good in return. The only real improvement I've noticed has been the start menu upgrade, but even that isn't that cool, especially for the money you'll have to shell out. I've got a pretty beefy box (dual-core, lots of RAM, good video card) and Vista is incredibly pokey on it.

Supposedly SP1 is coming out soon, but I predict that the OS won't be worth the money until at least SP2, if that. Personally I'm planning on downgrading to XP as soon as I get the time (I'll probably wind up dual-booting XP and Vista).
posted by whir at 6:10 PM on August 24, 2007

I would like to counter that Vista is a superior OS in every aspect except for gaming (due to poorly optimized drivers.) I've had my copy of Vista Business since release without any problems that were the fault of Vista itself.
posted by Phyltre at 6:10 PM on August 24, 2007

Stick with XP. I tried Vista when it came with my laptop, you will be annoyed when trying to do just about anything to the system with prompts. Think of the apple/pc mac ads "confirm or deny?".

The system also feels slowers, booting time was much slower than winXP, well over a minute, if not more like 2.

I haven't heard of any features that make it worth using over xp, except for the volume control that allows you to control the volume of each application individually.
posted by Sonic_Molson at 6:35 PM on August 24, 2007

XP Pro. Lots of places sell OEM copies for less if you buy a motherboard or hard drive or whatever.
posted by rhizome at 6:36 PM on August 24, 2007

I heart Vista. It's interesting to me how many people don't like it.
posted by Kimberly at 6:43 PM on August 24, 2007

My advice is the same as always. Don't even think about using a new Microsoft OS release until they've pushed out at least one service pack. Ever.
posted by flabdablet at 6:49 PM on August 24, 2007

If you already own a retail XP Home licence, and you're not doing much networking, there's no particular reason to prefer Pro.

Note that an existing XP OEM licence (be it Home or Pro) does not entitle you to operate Windows on any computer other than the one it was supplied with.
posted by flabdablet at 6:55 PM on August 24, 2007

I like Vista. Its pretty damn snazzy, but I woudlnt fully commit to it until SP1. By then MS will have fixed some bugs and performance issues and the software industry will be fully in "develop for vista" mode. MS might drop the ball and it wont be until SP2 or so before its ready to replace XP. I remember the same bellyaching when XP took over 2000. "ZOMG I'm not buying that, its 2000 with fisher price colors!!!!!" Now XP is somehow the darling of the computer world. I dont understand the XP loyalty. 2000 was at least a huge jump from the win98 code to NT-based code and targeted to the home consumer (until NT4). XP, like Vista, is just a small improvement over 2000.

This question is very difficult to answer because we dont know what your needs are or what software you run. You might be running something that isnt vista compatible. You might have some oddball piece of hardware. Who knows.

Right now there's nothing wrong with staying with XP.

If I stick with XP, should I use my old copy of XP Home Edition or pick up a copy of Professional Edition?

Well, with the pro edition you can accept incoming remote desktop connections, which is nice if you have a need for such a thing. It can also join a domain. If you dont need these things don't bother.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:57 PM on August 24, 2007

Err, I meant unlike NT4, not until NT4.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:02 PM on August 24, 2007

XP, all the way. It is at the most stable and compatible an OS will ever be, sadly that's usually near the end of its life cycle.
posted by zackola at 7:34 PM on August 24, 2007

clarification, *most stable and compatible XP will ever be.
posted by zackola at 7:35 PM on August 24, 2007

XP, and here is some good information on how.
posted by 4ster at 7:43 PM on August 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

I run a variety of operating systems; I have looked at Vista, and quite apart from some of the more frightening parts of the EULA, I do not think it is a product that is truely ready for use. Some of the bugs (which have been fixed) were totally horrendous, and I can't help but think (given MS's history) that there are more bugs that will pop up over the next 6-12 months.

Generally speaking, I do not adopt a new OS from a known unstable source for at least 12 months after the first release, and after a good-faith effort on the parts of developers and the company to resolve bugs and security issues in a timely manner. This goes for Linux, OSX and Windows releases, all OSes which I use on a daily basis.

Unless Vista offers something you need RIGHT NOW, then I would avoid it. Driver support is lacking; compatibility fixes for older programs is lacking; security is as yet largely untested, and is therefore lacking; and frankly, the windowbling on Linux is better.

I currently run OSX Tiger, Ubuntu Fiesty Fawn, and Windows XP 64-bit professional.
posted by ysabet at 7:51 PM on August 24, 2007

Do as I do and dual boot XP Pro and some distro. of Linux (if you want to use it, that is). I use linux for work and recreation, and Windows for the occasional game or specific app.

I could easily run Vista on this computer, but no good reason yet. :(
posted by mezamashii at 8:01 PM on August 24, 2007

I say stick with XP. I tried Vista and pretty as it was, I got rid of it quick smart and went back to XP without too much of a second thought.

However, if like me you wouldn't mind if XP looked like Vista, you can try out this, the Vista Transformation Pack. It looks pretty sweet. There's some download links on that page I linked to, but incase that dosen't work, here's a link to the Softpedia download page for the pack.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:07 PM on August 24, 2007 [2 favorites]

I've long been a Mac boy, but the old lady insists on MS. She's going back to school and wanted a new laptop so I found her a cheap and good one but it came with Vista.

I was skeptical at first but I think its suckiness might be relative to what you need to do with it. If your demands are relatively pedestrian, there's nothing wrong with it. But if you need to drive, find another vehicle.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:32 PM on August 24, 2007

I like both. Vista is very young.

Optimize your hardware, put XP Pro on it, then move to Vista in a year or two.
posted by disclaimer at 9:05 PM on August 24, 2007

Playing music on Vista slows network performance....one of a host of reasons not to install Vista...yet.
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:06 PM on August 24, 2007

Just bought a Dell laptop with Vista installed. Couldn't get XP.
Vista sucks. (dialogue box "are you sure?") Yeah. I'm sure.

I would rather run Mac OSX, but since that doesn't seem to be an option for you, then I would stick with XP for at least a year. Maybe longer.
posted by fox_terrier_guy at 6:55 AM on August 25, 2007

Nth-ing the no to Vista, I just got a new laptop and came with it preinstalled, and I can't get XP to install on it, so I'm switching completely to Linux just as soon as I can get my wireless card working over there. It's slow and incredibly annoying, and it renders the 'Windows Classic' theme (the only theme for Windows I care to use) really poorly.
posted by version control at 8:01 AM on August 25, 2007

I use XP Pro and went i built my new computer a month ago it in installed ok (many drivers weren't included because it is an original xp disc no service pack or anything). It ended up being a pain so i bought vista ultimate retail off ebay for about half price and have been extremely happy with it. My $0.02.
posted by DJWeezy at 8:38 AM on August 25, 2007

vc, which wireless card have you got? Reply by email if you'd rather not derail.
posted by flabdablet at 8:56 AM on August 25, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the comments. I think I'll pick up a copy of XP Pro and give my copy of XP Home Edition to whoever takes my old computer.

On a related note, any suggestions on which video card I should include in my new system? Since I won't be getting Vista, I don't really need DX 10 capabilities. I was thinking about an Nvidia 7600 GS. Or will something better be out by the time I upgrade?
posted by wintermute2_0 at 10:45 AM on August 25, 2007


Oh!! and 2 out of the 3 HD that were formatted back to XP (..no drivers !?!!) died within a week. As in dropped dead and off the face of the Earth. They just stopped spinning one day and never spun again... Fuck Vista!! What a fucking shamble of a joke!!
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 3:01 PM on August 25, 2007

I just set up my Mom's new Dell and it came with Vista. I'm using XP pro. I never ever move the first year, or even two to a new OS--let everyone else work out the bugs. This has served me well over many years of migrating large numbers of users in various orgs when management wanted "the latest and greatest." I um, put it on their machines hot off the presses. they crashed and burned and proved my point.

Vista looked cute, it is slow and clunky and the allow or deny stuff is greatly annoying.
posted by pywacket at 6:16 PM on August 26, 2007

IronLizard calls UAC "User Annoyed Constantly", which I think is very apt. But it's not really Vista's fault, as such - UAC is about the best security Microsoft could manage, given the brokenness of Windows culture. People have been trying to fix it for years but it's an uphill slog.
posted by flabdablet at 5:54 AM on August 27, 2007

Vista came with 2 Toshibas I just purchased. Garbage. Strange characters showing up in Office 2003, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is sllllllloooooooooooow, it's a nag, the explorer window redesign is mind-numbing, it boots forever and then won't shutdown. Reformatted with XP which yields a pretty zippy OS since it's running on "Vista-ready" hardware....
posted by rumbles at 8:04 PM on August 27, 2007

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