Why the rush to upgrade from Windows XP to Vista?

April 28, 2008

by Mark Ollig

Sure, I finally find a stable Windows operating system that has served me faithfully for many years and look what happens.

News Flash: Microsoft just announced its plans to end retail sales of Windows XP on June 30.

Why then, when my software programs and external hardware devices purr right along using Windows XP does Microsoft – more or less – insist I update my operating system (OS) from Windows XP to Vista?

No, I don’t expect a smiling Mr. Bill Gates to come knocking at my door anytime soon with a copy of Vista tucked under his arm asking me if he can use my computer.

Vista Schmista.

I’m happy just knowing those Microsoft XP updates are being automatically uploaded to my computer.

Granted, Vista is new . . . but it doesn’t have anything overly exciting on it that makes me want to abandon my existing XP.

I might be old-fashioned, but as long as I am able to run my software and hardware with the existing operating system on my computer . . . that is what I will do.

Just because something’s old, it doesn’t mean you throw it away.

How many of you out there can go through the long list of computer operating systems we needed to learn through the years?

Here are some of the Windows operating system’s I remember using: Windows 1.01, 2.03, Windows for Workgroups 3.1, Windows 95, 98, Windows 2000 and of course, Windows XP.

Something called Windows Me was also released in 2000, however I do not recall it being very popular.

Before Microsoft became a part of the “point and click generation,” I used the disk operating system (DOS) or MS-DOS.

There were other DOS versions out there, but I used MS-DOS.

It was a text based command line interface with commands like FORMAT, MD, CD, COPY, CHKDSK, and DIR.

Just booting up the PC and typing out a batch file every once and a while was satisfying.

I bought all the books I could find about home computers and DOS, even those original “Video Professor” VCR tapes. I regularly used DOS programs such as DisplayWriter, MultiMate and the VisiCalc spreadsheet program.

Microsoft had gone through eight versions of MS-DOS from 1981 until it stopped production of it as a stand-alone operating system in 2000.

Around 1984 I was very close to buying the new Apple Macintosh computer. I just didn’t feel comfortable with the new point and click graphical user interface. I would also need to buy only Apple software, and so I stayed with the bulky desktop IBM compatibles and used the disk operating system.

Anyone remember “dosshell” that was available in DOS 5.0? This was the “pre-windows” environment Microsoft was playing with before it came out with its Windows user interface.

This early Microsoft graphical interface had some nice file management features such as copying, moving and renaming files. It also permitted the user to “launch” applications with a double-click on the program name using a mouse.

The Windows XP operating system came out in 2001 and was preloaded on the desktop computer I purchased that same year.

The HP Pavilion laptop I use today came with Windows XP pre-installed, although it had one of those “Vista Compatible” stickers on it.

At the time, I believed all the programs I had installed on XP would be easily “upgradeable” to work with Vista.

Vista was to be a smooth upgrade from XP. The folks at Microsoft even created 30,000 “Vista compatible” software program “drivers” to aid in the transition.

These drivers are software programs which correctly interface your external hardware devices . . . like printers, video cards and monitors with the operating system of your computer.

No worries, right?

Not really. Microsoft has been cranking out an average of 1,500 new Vista driver updates each month in order to support the devices which previously worked using the XP operating system.

Vista reminds me of the problems incurred during the upgrading from Windows 98 to Windows 2000.

I talk to people who upgraded to Vista on their computers . . . many reported problems with it working correctly on their hardware and software programs. Some folks – fed up with the frustrations – removed Vista and “downgraded” back to Windows XP.

It seems the only people not having issues with Vista are those who bought totally new computers pre-installed with Vista. Those software programs and devices installed on the new computers appear to work fine.

After Vista, Microsoft’s next OS is called “Windows 7.” This is scheduled to be released in 2010 . . . although I read recently in an interview with Bill Gates where he says it may be available in 2009.

The good news is Microsoft says extended support for Windows XP won’t end until April of 2014, as long as you’re using the latest XP Service Pack, which will be XP SP3.

The Microsoft “Vista Solution Center” web site can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/ph/11732#tab0.

The Microsoft Windows Life-Cycle Policy can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default.mspx.

In keeping with the popularity of saving everything on the planet, you can sign a petition to save Windows XP at http://www.savexp.com.