Should I bother with XP, much less vista?
April 23, 2008 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Should I bother with XP, much less vista?

I'm hoping this will be distinctive enough from the other questions I searched through. I bought a Dell Inspiron 531 a few months ago to replace an old homemade machine starting to have hardware problems. The Dell came with Vista. It only has 1 GB of RAM but the speed isn't the issue. I've so far had at least 2 instances where it will fail to boot and need to run the automatic repair stuff. My laptop running XP has had similar issues in the past. Windows 2000 never did this to me. So main question is, why not just use 2000? I'm having a very difficult time thinking of any features that XP or Vista added. I'd eventually like to move to Ubuntu buy my wife uses this machine a lot so when I make that move it needs to be seemless.

I don't have any version of Office installed and it has integrated graphics so it's not like I'm gaming and in need of compatibility with the newest version of DirectX. So, anything I'm forgetting here?
posted by ericales to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
security updates, 2000 has reached the end of its life.
posted by phil at 10:09 AM on April 23, 2008

Windows 2000 machines can't be accessed via remote desktop, and 2k doesn't have System Restore or a built-firewall. If you want to use software or hardware that was released recently or will be released in the future there is a good chance it won't support Windows 2000.
posted by phoenixy at 10:11 AM on April 23, 2008

Aside from the fact that Windows 2000 is slow to boot and an assault on the eyes, not really.

However, if you are having trouble with your computer failing to boot, the problem is probably with the computer and almost certainly won't go away just because you change operating systems. Windows 2000's underpinnings are much like XP's or Vista's, so whatever hardware problem you're having would likely haunt you with Windows 2000 as well. I suggest getting the hardware sorted before switching operating systems.
posted by kindall at 10:11 AM on April 23, 2008

Hmm. Do you like the XP visuals? The glassy windows and whatnot? That's about all I can think of.

Well, and someday, Microsoft will stop 'supporting'--releasing security patches and whatnot--Win2k (but they'll probably do the same thing for XP a year or two later anyway). This appears to be scheduled for 2010.

There's probably some geeky under-the-hood stuff, too, but that's not my strong suit. I can tell you, though, that I'm still using Win2k, and that I haven't had any problems with it.
posted by box at 10:13 AM on April 23, 2008

Windows 2000 is a perfectly great operating system, but you'll probably find that more and more software that you download will require at least XP for some reason or another. However, things like Firefox run just fine on it. My parents' machine runs 2000 and I think the only XP feature that I miss on it is the built-in firewall, but the free version of ZoneAlarm works fine for those purposes.

That being said, XP is extremely stable these days. If you're having problems with it I'd suspect hardware issues (basically, what kindall says).
posted by zsazsa at 10:13 AM on April 23, 2008

I would fix the XP. XP is incredibly stable on my machine, which has less memory and is a lot older than yours. Maybe a fresh XP install, without all the crapware that Dell and others include?
posted by Pastabagel at 10:15 AM on April 23, 2008

Response by poster: So far as security goes, I've rarely had problems that weren't self inflicted. I have a hardware firewall though I keep the software ones on in XP and Vista. I've never used remote desktop at home and never needed System Restore until Vista screwed itself up (even then it didn't appear to work). I honestly like the way 2000 looks, I assume just from the amount of time I used it. I'm thinking the arbitrary hardware and software requirements would be the largest obstacles. I suppose I'm also leaning towards 2000 as I have a spare copy of it. XP not so much.
posted by ericales at 10:19 AM on April 23, 2008

I've been using ubuntu for about a year now and I am smitten. If not for the need of AutoCAD I would be 100% linux. As such, I have a dual boot system, which could make the transition easier for you. Or you can just run it off the boot disk until you are comfortable with it. Depending on what you do with your computer you will probably find that you can do all of it in ubuntu with little pain of making the transition.

At any rate, if you're sticking with windows, can Vista and use XP. With all of the updates and if you keep a clean machine it is pretty stable.
posted by mockdeep at 10:23 AM on April 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

I ran Windows 2000 exclusively for the past eight years, and finally jumped to XP on one of my machines. I'm really impressed by the seamlessness and hardware support on XP, but I am really upset by the slew of heavy-handed copy protection and "genuine advantage" crap. The other day I was unable to install the latest DirectX because the system suddenly decided it couldn't determine if I was genuine. For chrissake I bought this damned XP Professional pack at Office Depot just a couple of months ago. I had to go to one of my old downloads folders to get the DirectX I needed. I no longer trust Windows to keep my OS intact, and fully expect that there will come a day where I'm locked out of my OS because some validation server in Redmond is down.

I definitely do not intend on installing any further instances of XP or Vista on my machines, and intend to start down the Ubuntu path once it starts getting its act together as far as easy system installs (took 2 hours to get a friggin plain vanilla Linksys wireless network adapter with WPA running... WTF?).

I plan to continue W2K on all my other machines and then migrate them to Linux when that time comes. I'm no Linux fanboy, but as I said, I can't risk getting locked out of my OS, especially when I have no Internet handy.
posted by mr. creosote at 10:27 AM on April 23, 2008

>security updates, 2000 has reached the end of its life.

This is incorrect. Microsoft still releases security updates for Windows 2000, assuming you have Service Pack 4 installed. Here is a Microsoft Security Bulletin from April 2008 that applies to both ancient Windows 2000 and brand-spankin-new Windows Server 2008:

Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-021

However, as box has stated, support for Windows 2000 will surely end before support for XP will (especially since XP just got a new SP3).

I would go with XP - It's just a little more future proof. Since you're running with new hardware, XP should work without any issues. Vista, on the other hand, will probably only work well with high-end computers today or normal computers in 2009.
posted by meowzilla at 10:27 AM on April 23, 2008

Vista, on the other hand, will probably only work well with high-end computers today or normal computers in 2009

For desktops, this is wrong. I run an e2140 (a poor-man's core 2 duo) and a 7600gt without any hitches.
As always, YMMV, and Vista has yet to crash on me in 6 months of daily use. XP can be just as YMMV in terms of reliability. Two times necessitating a repair makes me wonder if there's a harddrive issue.
posted by jmd82 at 11:01 AM on April 23, 2008

I only started moving away from 2K this year, so I'm hardly a "must have the latest and greatest" type. In the end, I started hitting minor things that won't run on 2000 (I think the 360 controller was one). Having done it, I found you can turn off almost all the chrome, and the feature that made it worth upgrading was the ability to have multiple user accounts logged in at the same time. Doesn't work perfectly (I had to uninstall the client due to programmer idiocy), but that's down to the applications, not the OS.

On top of that, a little hacking allows you to use remote desktop while someone else is logged in at the console - that's pretty nice, too.
posted by Leon at 11:06 AM on April 23, 2008

W2K looks fuzzy to me. It doesn't support ClearType as XP does, and on an LCD screen that alone is enough to make me want XP. One of our lab systems uses analytical hardware that refuses to work on XP (why? ask the company, they refuse to release a version that works, for no god reason). Every time I use the machine I feel like Im getting eyestrain squinting at that damn blurry screen. It isn't the monitor, it's the lack of subpixel rendering... I've tested the monitor on other systems.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:20 AM on April 23, 2008

I love Win2k. Its SO MUCH faster than XP and especially vista. I say wipe your box and reinstall Win2k. You can get remote desktop to work on your 2k box and you can get other (not bad, like the XP) software firewalls. I see no compromise...

Although, I would recommend Ubuntu. Its super fast, easy and comes built with everhthing you need.
posted by subaruwrx at 12:07 PM on April 23, 2008

Do you need XP or Vista for some reason?

There are certainly reasons to run it, but none of them necessarily apply to you. If the only reason you bought a new machine was because the old hardware was failing, there's no reason to upgrade the OS just for the heck of it. If you were happy and functional with 2000, run 2000.

Be aware though that you might need to upgrade, if you decide to run some new piece of software, or when MS decides to stop offering security updates. (Although I don't think that's a complete death knell, if it's a desktop and you're only ever using it for very specific purposes and it's kept behind a good firewall and you generally practice good computing hygiene.)

I think W2k is decent OS, for something out of Redmond; if I were in your position I'd probably run it in a virtual machine though, and store your documents on a fileserver. That way you can just live dangerously and blow the VM back to a known-good state every day.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:27 PM on April 23, 2008

This really sounds like a hardware thing, but try zapping the Dell and doing a fresh XP install. Vista isn't that great, even with SP1.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:30 PM on April 23, 2008

I went to the XP rollout in New York (that was a few years ago). Quizzing a microsoftie one-on-one afterwards got him to admit there was no pressing reason to go from 2000 to XP--they just do not differ very much.

Now there are many applications that require XP. Fortunately, Office 97 isn't one of them. And neither is Visual Studio 2005. So I am still cool.

There have been intimations that 2010 will see a wonderful new Windows that will drive us troglodyte programmers from the venerable Visual C 6 (now celebrating its 11th birthday) into a bunny- and pony-filled paradise.

I hope so. Eclipse frightens and confuses my simple cave-man-programmer mind, and command-line gdb is so 1980 (when we called it adb and had to climb six miles, uphill both ways in the snow, Homer)

A confession--my browse/mail/text PC is running Windows 98 SE (firewalled and defended). And the new Firefox (maybe a month old) crapped out on it. So I moved to Opera. Opera is great if you avoid their clever ideas.
posted by hexatron at 3:32 PM on April 23, 2008

I've been using ubuntu for about a year now and I am smitten. If not for the need of AutoCAD I would be 100% linux. As such, I have a dual boot system, which could make the transition easier for you. Or you can just run it off the boot disk until you are comfortable with it. Depending on what you do with your computer you will probably find that you can do all of it in ubuntu with little pain of making the transition.

I am currently running Ubuntu 8.04 with a Wubi install. You run Wubi in Windows and it creates a virtual partition, (I'm using 10g but it needs as few as 5), and a boot menu. I've spent most of my time recently in Ubuntu. With the exception of a few small problems I am loving it.

Wubi sort of allows you to take a free look at it. If you don't like it, boot back in to Windows and run the Wubi installer again and it will uninstall it. Piece of cake.
posted by geekyguy at 8:13 PM on April 23, 2008

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