Microsoft to Downgrade Vista?

By Mike on 9:55 pm

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Earlier in the year, talk radio personality Anthony Cumia of "Opie and Anthony" fame showed us what he thought of Windows Vista. He took the DVD and "installed" it in his paper shredder. He just could not get the OS to run stable on his state of the art computer which was supposedly "Vista Ready". Over the weekend, frustrated with a Windows conflict with his webcam, he shot his PC with a rifle. I'll post that video as soon as it comes available.

Well, not all of us are willing to take our PC into the basement and literally shoot it for the amusement of talk radio fans, we've all considered it. Windows itself can be rather frustrating at times. Random BSODs, driver conflicts, problems that take forever to diagnose and fix even for seasoned power users, the list goes on. The contrast of Windows against the game console like ease of Macintosh is like a blade. I used to have a lot of problems with XP once I first got it but as I learned more over the years, I managed to get it running stable, most of the time. I've tried all three major operating systems and although Windows is not the most difficult to use, it seems to suffer more problems than the other two.

Then there's Vista. You've heard me complain about it. I won't upgrade to it. I don't really give a crap about DirectX 10 or pretty colours. Microsoft has been flooded with complaints about Vista, most notably from businesses. Such so that Microsoft is now offering a special "downgrade" kit to OEMs, which can be made available to customers. Essentially, it downgrades Vista installs to Windows XP. The kit will only be made available for Vistas Business and Ultimate. It is said that the XP Pro restore disc will be offered at little to no charge. Certain OEMs such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo continue to offer XP to customers rather than just Vista. Dell offers Ubuntu Linux on select systems.

So why this, why now? XP had problems when it first came out, big problems. Aside from the bloat between XP and Windows 2000, for most users, XP was different. It was a new NT based OS, while Windows 9x had been DOS based. Problems when moving to a new kernel architecture are expected. Vista itself is simply a kernel upgrade to XP. The two are not fundamentally different when you strip them down to their bare bones. I also feel that user's perceptions of how computers and technology in general "should be" are changing. People want the game console style computer than just plugs in and works, with a minimum of setup. That's one of the primary reasons Macintosh has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Upgrades should integrate seamlessly. Your average user today can't afford the downtime of their PC being in the shop, nor to they have the expertise to wade through driver conflicts and other miscellaneous problems and glitches. XP remains popular simply because it is familiar, widely supported, and relatively stable. It also requires less system resources and runs the same programs faster. Vista features can be added to XP such as widgets in the form of Yahoo Widgets, and a Mac OS like dock program from Object Dock, both I use.
Aside from that, there's also the cost of Vista, which is more than XP installs right now and also the general hassle of upgrading any computer OS.

Assuming my assumptions about XP's popularity and Vista's lack of are correct, I think Microsoft will really need to change while developing Windows 7, which may be released by the end of the decade. Rather than gloating over Vista's supposed success, the need to get to work on how they can streamline their OS, and not how they can make it prettier. Windows is the hooker of the OS world right now. All flash and no substance. If they can't bring in that game console 'plug and go' ease, having to downgrade Vista will be the least of their problems.

5 comments for this post


i've been looking all over to find that video! do you know where i can find it?

Posted on 6 October 2007 at 20:59  

It's not up yet. The incident was only discussed on the show but he said he was working on a video. Ant mentioned something about it being illegal to fire a gun in your basement. Incriminating evidence and such. Oh well. Hopefully it will show up eventually.

Posted on 7 October 2007 at 22:48  

I thought Ant said he shot it, but it didn't take so he had to do a re-shoot.

Posted on 10 October 2007 at 14:49  

Don't know. I only caught the first bit on the XM replay.

Posted on 10 October 2007 at 19:53  

I think in one of the intros, can't remember if it's for KROCK or XM, but one of them has a clip of him talking about it.

Posted on 13 October 2007 at 01:30