XP vs. Vista: Readers respond

I've been called plenty of names in my time, but never so many and from so many different people, as I have in response to my post titled "Save XP? Why bother?" Apparently a lot of folks needed a target for their pent-up Vista-induced anger, so I hope they feel a bit better.

I've been called plenty of names in my time, but never so many and from so many different people, as I have in response to my post titled "Save XP? Why bother?" Apparently a lot of folks needed a target for their pent-up Vista-induced anger, so I hope they feel a bit better.

One sentiment rang uniformly throughout the majority of readers' comments (amid the anger, and name calling ... and mild profanity): Many of you are content with what XP offers and pleased with its current functionality for your organization. You're not impressed with the features that Vista brings to the table, nor are you pleased with the tremendous expense for Vista, for new hardware, and for more training.

In fact, there were several comments that really showed insight into the problem, and I know for a fact that persons from Microsoft read through these. Allow me to share some of the sentiments of your fellow readers:

Keith Dunlap said, "Personally, I would be looking at $2,000-3000 in software and peripheral hardware upgrades simply to support Vista. For now (and perhaps the next 3-4 years) I'll stick with XP. XP and my current applications do everything I need them to do."

Stephen Smith said, "Everything is moved around for no good reason and hard to find. Security is useless since you have to turn off UAC to do anything or be driven crazy."

JCWarren showed a great deal of insight into the situation. I won't reprint all that he said but this point caught my attention: "Vista has been out in the wild for over a year and IT administrators still do not have the tools to manage their Active Directory domains with Vista. References to how long it took XP to get up to a certain level of supportability (legitimately SP2) are irrelevant in that Microsoft should have learned from that experience and not expect IT pros to wait years for Vista to be enterprise ready. (At the WinConnections conference in Fall 2006 I informed the MS reps that I felt this lack of tools to be unacceptable and received applause from my IT peers in attendance)."

SThompson said, in a humorous and sarcastic tone: "Your idea to just go out and buy new equipment is great. I'll lay off 6 or 7 people from the workforce and wait a year, then I will use the savings from their wages to pay for all the new equipment. Isn't that the American way?"

On the positive side, I had a few respondents that were eager to move to Vista, or who have already made the move and found the experience to be without incident:

PCWizard said: "I run an IT department at a small government agency and I would like to say that I agree with the author, for the most part. I won't go into arguing with all of the negative commenter's, but we have been implementing Vista and Office 2007 since they became available and, while we have experienced a few problems, on the whole we have not experienced *any* of the nightmare scenarios that most are describing."

"Because we are the government, we do not have large budgets for hardware, so we make up for it by planning ahead - we began to buy machines that would be Vista capable as much as three years ago, adding memory or DVD drives to them when they became cost-effective and just recently adding graphics cards to the last bunch. Vista runs great on all of them - would XP run faster? Perhaps, but most of the small problems were obliterated with Vista SP1."

"And we like all of the security features *a lot* and we use almost all of them to keep confidential information private and to keep our systems from being hacked. Sure, Vista has its glitches, but we just checked our logs and none of our IT support people have had a crash with Vista in more than 6 months..... I don't have time to say more, but the author deserves a break -- most of his comments are dead on...."

Al Smith wrote: "Virtually every OS issue we see are caused by bad drivers. I don't care whether it's Linux or Windows (Apple controls the hardware and the OS but even with that ideal environment, they have their share of Leopard issues). To Microsoft's benefit (and perhaps to their detriment), people have become attached to well-working WinXP systems running the software they enjoy using, with quite modest hardware. Still not convinced? I guess another way of looking at it is, once XP is no longer supported and your company is forced to migrate to Vista, you'll finally have a PC on your corporate desktop that is reasonably modern and contains hardware that, for many serious users, is what they should be running today, anyhow."

As for me, I don't plan to weigh in on the Save XP campaign a second time. I may continue to extol the many virtues of Vista from time to time, perhaps compare Vista vs. Macs or Linux (that should elicit some interesting responses) but the primary purpose of this particular blog is to focus on Enterprise Windows. Look forward to future posts that relate to Windows Server 2008, Exchange Server, PerformancePoint 2007 and Groove Server 2007 for starters.

In addition, I will post items that may assist with some of the many issues you've raised regarding your frustration with Vista. UAC tips, using the Software Deployment Kit (SDK) and Application Compatibility Toolkit and especially the Standard User Analyzer (tools that have received little or no press, but are excellent for enterprise deployments of Vista), and the utilization of Group Policy to help admins with both Vista and XP machines in their environment.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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