Vista vs. XP

Jul 24, 2008
Updated • Mar 2, 2011
Windows, Windows Vista, Windows XP

300 Words into replying to some comments made by Rarst on my post yesterday about Microsoft I decided I may as well publish it like so as a new post… that’s what happens when you have the power of authorship =P

No I don’t want to make this too serious and I hope I don’t seem like I’m ranting, I just felt that since Rarst’s views are probably shared by a few of you we could open up the discussion even more.

“In my opinion Vista has bad reputation for a number of reasons… And they better fix those reasons, not reputation”

I think that Microsoft has fairly clearly been doing this, by first spending 2 years working on Vista fixes, compatibility issues with partners and finally releasing SP1 this year. Now it’s time to work on reputation, which brings us back to the new Microsoft campaign.

“[Vista] IS slower. It can’t be faster by design. All people saying it is faster are either comparing it to really crappy XP install or are using self-hypnosis.”

I really think this is purely a perceptional thing now. There are plenty of third party tests which have grudgingly shown Vista to be equal or superior to XP on identical hardware. This can only improve with time as well. Here is Ed Bott’s view:

“If you bought a bottom-of-the-line, loss leader system in 2004, you may find it unacceptably slow. But any mainstream system purchased after early 2004 should be just fine with Windows Vista.”


“Tons of internal DRM crap that slows some critical tasks like file copying to a crawl.
Crappy performance on notebooks (on normal notebooks, not upper-class that pack more hardware than average desktop). High system requirements (if it could work on XP-level hardware adoption process could be way more smooth)…”

I’m pretty sure these are some of those Vista myths that where circulating around a year or so ago. You know that DRM is completely optional right? And I have personally encountered it only twice in 7 months. While Vista did require higher system requirements when it came out, so did Windows 95 AND Windows XP. A few years later and the hardware has caught up, everyone’s forgotten about it and we’re ready to complain over the next resource-hogging eye candy OS.

Btw on the DRM thing again, again, Ed says:

“Much of the DRM code in Windows Vista is a a straightforward upgrade of the infrastructure introduced in Windows XP and Windows Media Player 10.”


Vista does put programs into non-responsive mode far more rapidly then XP, but it also recovers from this significantly better. I rarely ever have whole system crashes like I did with XP.

“I am not Vista hater for the sake of it. But I am greatly disappointed with it. It is boring upgrade stuffed with crappy features, slower and with higher system requirements. Not something I want to replace my XP with”

I understand upgrading to Vista may not seem worth it, but if you are purchasing a new computer what possible reason could you have for not simply getting the vastly superior OS? I also think this shows a little lack of foresight as Vista provided the necessary architectural changes to create far greater Windows versions in the future. Increasingly we are seeing Longhorn concepts being incorporated back into Windows.

Rarst also requested some specific examples of Vista’s improvements over XP, here is what I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Streamlined and improved start menu including Windows Search
  • Integrated search in Windows Explorer
  • Windows Media Player 11 and Windows Media Center
  • New and improved applications including:
    • Windows Mail
    • Windows Photo Gallery
    • Snipping Tool
    • Media Encoder
    • Windows Calendar
    • Movie Maker
    • DVD Maker
    • Internet Explorer 7
    • Windows Contacts
    • Windows Meeting Space
    • Windows Defender
  • Windows Aero of course, and some improved customizations options
  • Security improvements:
    • Windows Defender
      • Start-up blocker
    • Windows Firewall
    • UAC (perhaps a little over the top, but still a good thing!)
  • Improved Control Panel navigation
  • New Parental controls including
    • Account permissions (blocking specific programs)
    • Time tracking, limits and reports
    • Games rating controls
  • Administration and troubleshooting Tools
    • Error tracking and reporting
    • Event log
    • Reliability and Performance monitor
    • System health report
  • System maintenance tools
    • Regular Background defragmenting
    • File backup and restore
    • Improved Hard Drive partitioning
  • Improved audio, now individual programs can be adjusted, for example low volume system sounds and high volume media player
  • ReadyBoost
  • Improved sharing capabilities
  • Improved wireless connection (I’ve been seeing XP users have far more trouble connecting to Wireless then I ever have)
  • Better performance management for laptops

And that’s about enough for now.

Vista is certainly not perfect, there are still plenty of annoying things, but it definitely is an improvement over XP. Some things I cannot forgive with Vista however include painfully slow right click context menus, the locking of files so they cannot be deleted and the removal of the progress bar in the defragmenter. Thanks to Rarst himself I discovered Unlocker which can fix the deletion problem, so thanks! =P



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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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