Dale Vile: Why I downgraded from Vista to XP

by Volker Weber

The machine came with Windows Vista Business Edition pre-installed and when I was playing with it in the shop, it was pretty responsive ... Over the course of the next four months, however, the performance gradually degraded and the user experience became awful. It eventually got to the stage where it was talking 12 minutes to boot and about 6-7 minutes to shut down, with very sluggish performance in between and frequent hangs requiring a forced shutdown (which in itself was probably making matters worse).

OK, this is only one person. But I have heard it many times over that people have been removing Vista and installing XP, sometimes Ubuntu- Microsoft is not in a good shape when people downgrade their software.

My own experience is very limited. Just last week I helped my neighbor set up her brand new Aldi notebook with Windows Vista Home. It did work, but it was a nightmare of "register me", "start your trial", "go to our website". Very much like London Heathrow pretending to be an Airport when it is more of a department store with bad service. You can eventually fly, but it's kind of hard to get there.

More >

[Thanks, Ben]


Sadly most Vista machines are loaded with useless stuff.

My brand new HP machine from power up to first usuable state 2½ hours.

Reinstall + Drivers needed = 1 hour and machine that is more responsive.

Same goes for my lenovo laptop default factory delivered install = useless.

Flemming Riis, 2008-03-12

Vista is neither really better than XP nor really worse. It has some eye candy and some interesting (e.g. search in Start Menu) sometimes annoying but useful new features (UAC). For a existing system with a working XP there is currently no need to upgrade but from my point of view the same is true for a pre-installed Vista and a downgrade.

I'm working over one year with Vista on my notebook and one of my Desktops. And they are both still as fast as on the first day, even on the desktop with a lot of installation and removal of apps I tried. Starting is still at least as fast as with XP, the same at the shutdown and both are not high end systems. For me both Vista systems are just doing the job with all the apps I need, basically not better than with XP but with a nicer look and some small but nice enhancements.

The issue you describe is not OS related it's the problem of the manufacturer which installed all this usually senseless trial versions.

Sven Semel, 2008-03-12

Didn't we have the very same discussions when XP was new and Win98 was still good enough for most? Yet most of us ended up being quite happy with XP, didn't we?

Myself, I'm sticking with an XP partition for games and moved to Ubuntu Linux for productivity back in 2005 and still see no compelling reason to get Vista.

At the office, there is no company policy, employees are free to choose their desktop OS. We have one desktop computer running Vista, a quarter stick with XP, another quarter chose Linux and half are using Mac OS X. Go figure.

Hanno Zulla, 2008-03-12

I am running Vista at work which is a nightmare...

1. network support is not even fully functional and definitely not responsive
2. my user account was gone two times till now
3. this is a Core 2 Duo and it is not fast

I am running Vista at home which was not a nightmare till yesterday...

...while working my PC stopped and did a restart ending at a blue screen. A new start told me that i could run a recovery but this could destroy my personal data - i cancelled. The system then told me to burn 3 "Recovery DVDs" which took 45 minutes and then switched itself off. Great...

When i started the PC again it worked as there had never been a problem at all.

I can not remember having issues like this on XP ever. It is just to much work to downgrade but i have thought about this a couple times. I still have my XP system running besides Vista. If this would be my only system i would definitely downgrade.

Hubertus Amann, 2008-03-12

Benefits for me:

Windows 3.11 -> Windows 95 - 32bit performance improvements, multi-tasking etc. No more 'out of memory' when printing. Fat32

Windows 95 -> 98 - Proper integrated USB support

98 -> ME - Hmmm, tough one. Individual user profiles were nice but most applications didn't support them.

98 -> 2000 - Solid Windows NT based OS.

ME/2000 -> XP - Improved hardware support, UPNP etc

XP -> Vista - Hmmm, tough one.

Summary: Vista is ME. It's a nice to have, but nobody needs it at all. It offers almost negligible productivity improvements and makes some things harder until software developers catch up.

This is all coming from the guy that thinks that, office wise, nobody needed more than Word 6 and Excel 5.

Ben Rose, 2008-03-12

@Ben - AMEN!

Colin Williams, 2008-03-13

I am running Vista on a Core 2 Quadro, and it could be running really much faster, takes long times to reboot, shutdown. then it has problems with the mouse , mouse hangs .. I will wait for the SP1 and see after that if I have to downgrade or not.

thorsten ebers, 2008-03-13

Don't know about startup/shutdown. I only do that to my Vista if some updates need a restart, otherwise it's standby or hibernate. I feel that at least in that respect Vista is tougher than XP.

That said, it is clear that Vista has an issue in that background tasks may take precedence over responsiveness and that is just a bad thing to do.

Frank L. Quednau, 2008-03-13

I have made the same experiences on four machines which I installed/configured Vista on. I felt like in the Apple Spot "fat", where the "PC" comes fully bloated with demos and trials.

This is not just a nice gesture of the vendor, this is one of the reasons, why PC notebooks can be that cheap. Just give them away for the price they are built for, and earn your money with the apps you install as trialware...

My personal opinion is that nowadays, Vista with Aero needs a PC that needs such a good and fast hardware, that you come to dimensions, where you get a mac for the same price. And it runs XP, Ubuntu, and of course OS X as well...



Christian Mais, 2008-03-13

I still run XP on my Dell. I've had it more than 2 years. I haven't had to re-install windows or my software. It boots as quickly (perhaps more quickly) as they day it was new. If I do a full reboot, it is for one of two reasons: Either I've forgotten to shut off the wireless modem software when I went to hibernate (it doesn't recover from that) or an update has requested the system restart. Other than that, weeks go by without a reboot.

Oh - and before you Mac fan boys pop up with how Apple doesn't play that game.... Apple sure does. Try getting rid of Quicktime's "Buy the Pro version now" screen. Hell, I've tried for MONTHS to get Apple to quit sending me "New Music Tuesdays" and other crapvertisements. I don't think I've bought more than a few dollars worth of music on iTunes ever, and doubt I will any time soon.

Like anything, it just takes some regular maintenance and good practices. Remove the junk you try and don't like. Don't let junk pile up.

As far as the junk pc's come with -- that's not a function of XP or VISTA, its a function of software vendors paying for the pre-install as a form of advertising. It works too -- think of how many registrations for Norton or Macafee anti-virus have been sold because it came preloaded and users saw it as an endorsement from the manufacturer.

Sadly, the first few days with a new PC are spent cleaning out the crap and recovering from its generic "image" installation which is at best a "best compromise" but surely not a "best configuration".

Andrew Pollack, 2008-03-14

It's the natural evolution process which everyone has to go through:
Windows XP -> Windows Vista -> Windows XP -> Fedora 8 -> openSUSE -> PCLinuxOS -> Ubuntu.
You might want to skip some steps, but then you will always doubt yourself if you did the right choice, so it's better to experience it yourself.

Mika Heinonen, 2008-03-17

If there is no way you can downgrade to XP (company policies etc.) your only salvation is to install Vista Os X

Ertjies Nelson, 2008-04-11

Old vowe.net archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe