Back to XP

August 28, 2007 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

After 9 months experimenting with Windows Vista, I just rebuilt my machine with XP. I have a Dell Precision M65 that I bought July 2006. I installed Vista Betas and finally started using the released version in November. Here are the problems:

  • Visual Studio was slow going: initially VS.NET 2005 didn't have a proper service pack, VS.NET 2003 was slow going, VS.NET 2002 had no chance.
  • Winrot still seemed to set in after 6 months or so. My system was just incredibly slow to boot up and get going
  • For some reason, I never got very speedy disk access. It would take My Computer about 20-30 seconds to find my HD's to partitions and my DVD drive. Also, search was slow.
  • While Windows Mobile Device Center is nice, my company uses GroupWise and that wouldn't sync well with Windows Mobile. That's somewhat Novell's fault, but it works perfecly in XP.
  • VMWare Player seemed to be much, much slower. Again, that might be VMWare's fault, but I'm glad it's working again in XP.
  • I use an air card for always on internet. Windows Vista crashes when you try to sleep with a "dialup" connection still active. There is a hotfix that you can install manually to fix it, but its not a regular fix. I installed the hotfix and it worked for a while, but then started happening again later.

What I miss

  • I love many of the nice interface tweaks, especially in the Explorer. I liked that the system tray separated system icons from program icons, the calendar allows you to see future months, etc. Overall I really liked Aero and features like the live window preview that XP can't do.
  • Windows Photo Gallery is really nice, so I'm excited that Windows Live Photo Gallery will be released for XP
  • Although I like the cascading start menu of XP, I prefer the integrated search. But even in Vista I used Launchy instead.

When I get a new PC next year, I'll definitely get Vista since the machine wil be made for it.

4 responses to “Back to XP”

  1. (from a Developer-Vista-user never going back to XP) A few responses. :)

    JD) Visual Studio was slow going: initially VS.NET 2005 didn’t have a proper service pack, VS.NET 2003 was slow going, VS.NET 2002 had no chance.

    ED) You need to check out ReadyBoost which comes built into Vista. Where you use an USB/Memory card (needs to be fast enough) to offload the paging file to the memory card. The preferred ratio is 2.5:1. So if you have 2 GB of ram (like I do), you run a 5 GB ReadyBoost pagefile on an 8 GB card (mine’s rated at 266x speed, over an USB 2.0 connection). The card was only $35 on NewEgg.com.

    ReadyBoost saved my ass as I was about to go back to XP myself. Vista loves to eat ram (800mb on a typical install, BEFORE software is loaded!). ReadyBoost gives you a paging file 100 to 200 times faster then your HDD, and in combination with SuperFetch (built in and automatically turned on), SuperFetch will move the lesser used stuff to the paging file – allowing you to use the physical ram more for your actual applications.

    JD) Winrot still seemed to set in after 6 months or so. My system was just incredibly slow to boot up and get going

    ED) I experienced this too before my last format, and what I found out was the upgrade process just wasn’t clean. A clean install resolved WinRotting. As well as properly managing those StartUp crap items that get loaded by things like QuickTime and Real that DOES NOT NEED TO BE RUNNING! Argh. Add up the other 12 things that want to run, and bootup = too long.

    (install Vista, install all apps, install all players)
    Start -> Run -> MSCONFIG -> Start and disable almost freakin everything.

    Grealy speeds up bootup (and shutdown)!

    JD) For some reason, I never got very speedy disk access. It would take My Computer about 20-30 seconds to find my HD’s to partitions and my DVD drive. Also, search was slow.

    ED) I saw this a lot too. Basically it was my DVD drive I had with a disk in it causing the slow "discovery". Removing the DVD/CD usually fixed it, but I still saw it at times. Placing the drive with a dual-layer dvd burner completely resolved it. Most have been a compatibility thing.

    Search on the other hand, I was not fond of either at first. Actually, it IS fast – if all of your files are indexed. If they are not indexed, then it would index in real-time which is just horrible in speed, and slowly give you the results. Think Lucene.NET and how it has to index items first, and THEN you can search.

    Now some bozos (including myself) disabled File Indexing cause that was normal to do on XP and earlier systems. It was slow and unneeded. Well, the new searching index in Vista actually requires it. And if you disable it (like I did), then it must index in real time – killing your performance.

    What I’ve found out is the indexing doesn’t run unless your screensaver or computer is 5% idle or lower. I was wondering why my HDD was going insane during the screensavers.

    Well, that and if the indexing is caught up – Vista auto-defrags your HDD in the background. Now THAT was cool.

    Bottomline, File Indexing is needed now. And the all new search engine is actually quite extensive in indexing many more fields and things not previously indexed. So let it index… Let your machine stay idle for 1 night and let it index. The searches will be blazing fast then.

    JD) While Windows Mobile Device Center is nice, my company uses GroupWise and that wouldn’t sync well with Windows Mobile. That’s somewhat Novell’s fault, but it works perfecly in XP.

    ED) Can’t comment here. Yeah, I questioned WMDC myself as I was unsure of it. BUt seems to be aiight. What you mentioned is why I only sync with my laptop and not desktops in the past at companies I was at. The laptop was mobile, the desktop was not. Ok, that means that the laptop wasn’t part of the network and neither were my PDAs.

    JD) VMWare Player seemed to be much, much slower. Again, that might be VMWare’s fault, but I’m glad it’s working again in XP.

    ED) Refer to my first comment above. If running VMWare, you may want to run the x64 bit version of Vista and stick in like 4 or 6 GB of ram. VMWare = NEEDS RAM, period.

    JD) I use an air card for always on internet. Windows Vista crashes when you try to sleep with a "dialup" connection still active. There is a hotfix that you can install manually to fix it, but its not a regular fix. I installed the hotfix and it worked for a while, but then started happening again later.

    ED) Yeah, this happens with a lot of devices when Vista goes into sleep. You know that old Doctor saying, "It hurts when I touch this here… (then don’t touch it)" :)

    THere are two stability and performance updates to Vista to address a large number of these. They are pre-Vista SP1 releases actually.

    All in all, I am staying with Vista. Too many pluses over minuses. Just get ReadyBoost going on your system and that’s it. PErsonally, I can’t wait to go all x64 bit so I can stick in 8 GB of ram. FYI, Vista is the last 32bit OS by Microsoft. The next one for 2008 is all 64bit, even for home users.

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Hi, I'm John Dyer. In my day job, I build websites and create online seminary software for a seminary in Dallas. I also like to release open source tools including a pretty popular HTML5 video player and build tools that help people find best bible commentaries and do bible study. And just for fun, I also wrote a book on the theology of technology and media.

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