As I tweeted about a week ago, I’m upgrading from Vista to XP. Vista has become very unstable over the last year that I’ve been using it, and all the beta drivers and programs that I had to install to support 64 bit probably did their share of damage. Not to mention the WOW64 addition to the registry - what a pain in the behind that is. Service Pack 1 was a case of “too little, too late”: hardly any perceivable improvements. I don’t care if a lot of the improvements were “under the hood”: if I don’t benefit from it, directly or indirectly, it’s next to useless to me.

We (the company I work for, and probably everybody else that looked at Vista) installed Vista on the machines we got around this time last year, under the impression that XP was quickly going to be replaced by Vista. Dismissing the reports that Vista wasn’t all it was supposed to be, we installed it on 6 machines in our IT department. I actually was so bold as to install the 64-bit version, assuming that within a year, 64-bit would be the norm instead of the exception. Yeah right.

Not in Windows land. Apparently things move slower there than anywhere else on this planet. And that’s coming from someone born and raised in the Netherlands, that used to have the title that everything happened 25 years later there than in the rest of the world. I’ll ask the city of Redmond to come by and pick up that trophy. After a year, most programs I used to use are available in 32-bit versions (oh, Symantec: having a 32-bit application doesn’t do any good if the installer is frakking 16-bit!). Most programs. And the ones that are in 32-bit, don’t all support 64-bit Windows (as I found out when we were rolling out our ShoreTel phone system with accompanying clients).

One of the “improvements” of Vista would be its increased security. Much to my surprise I read an article a week or two ago, in which a product unit manager at Microsoft, David Cross, is quoted as saying that one of the security features in Vista was deliberately designed to “annoy users”, to put pressure on third-party software makers to make their applications more secure. I’m still wondering if among those applications were such gems as Microsoft Office, and not to forget Vista itself.

Then of course in the beginning of April was the commotion about a Windows 7 product announcement for 2009. Regardless of whether or not this announcement is viable or not (as is David Cross’ comment), if I run a company with 500 PC’s, and am faced with either upgrading to Vista now, or waiting another year or so and skip the Vista upgrade, I know what I’d choose.

On top of that, two analysts from Gartner describe Windows as “collapsing”, and claim that Microsoft must make radical changes to the OS or risk becoming irrelevant. Is this foreshadowing that Windows 7 will be better, or that Windows will be replaced by one of the competing operating systems (Apple OSX, Linux, etc)?

I’m with Dvorak on this one…