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Microsoft gives Windows XP six more months

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October 12, 2008 1:35:29 PM

Quote:
In April, Microsoft extended the life of Windows XP Home by two years for budget laptops. In June, the software giant did the same for ULCPCs as its partners continued to report strong demand. Now Microsoft is making another extension, this one affecting a much less specific market; the software giant has decided to halt XP Professional media shipments to major computer makers (system builders are not included) not on January 31, 2009, but instead on July 31....

Copyright © 1998-2008 Ars Technica, LLC
October 12, 2008 4:03:04 PM

Because they know a lot of people still don't like vista. Microsoft probably doesn't want to lose any more people to mac or linux.
October 12, 2008 9:51:16 PM

A lot of people are misinformed or still relying on information they read at Vista's release. It's no surprise that XP will be staying around for these low-cost, low-performance PCs. Hell, they can barely run XP adequately let alone Vista. Microsoft has nothing to fear from Mac... nor are they likely to ever fear Mac. Linux is definately more a more interesting alternative to Mac, as you don't get locked in on hardware AND software. Apple shot itself in the foot long ago and will likely never see more than 10 percent market share as a result.

It's no huge surprise that XP Pro will continue to be deployed, as corporations are notoriously slow in adopting new OSes. When you have banks still using Windows 95 and 2000... you can hardly expect them to jump to Vista... they're much more likely to go to XP first.
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October 13, 2008 2:24:43 AM

Business don't upgrade beause the licenses cost too much. Thats why the business i work for still has a few PC's on 98.

We also have a lot of custom-written software that doesn't work on newer OS's. For example, one of our programs requires a security dongle (remember those?) has to be inserted into the printer port. However, NT based OS's (XP and above) don't allow direct access to hardware without drivers (the program was written in 87, so no drivers exist). For that reason, everyone that needs to program needs to have a windows 98 or lower machine for it to work.

Same goes for companies that use 16-bit apps. They won't work on Vista. Another major reason why a lot of companies, espiecially software companies (they write a lot of their own programs) won't upgrade OS's, as a lot of their old programs won't work.

...That, and a 1.4 GHz Pentium III with 512MB RAM won't run Vista well either. :D 
October 13, 2008 8:58:10 PM

Exactly.

Surprises me that companies still use 16-bit code when 32-bit has been mainstream for a long time and 64-bit is starting to hit it's stride. Hopefully, we can finally flush all 16-bit code by the time the next version of Windows is ready... but I won't hold my breath. Win ME was such a disaster in part because of 16-bit code.
October 20, 2008 9:14:46 AM

gamerk316 said:
Same goes for companies that use 16-bit apps. They won't work on Vista.
16-bit apps won't work on Vista 64-bit (nor XP/2003 64-bit), but work fine on Vista 32-bit (for the most part). Heck, Microsoft is even doing hotfixes for problems running 16-bit applications on Vista 32-bit.

October 21, 2008 2:43:12 AM

The situation is much more pronounced on lower-performing or older hardware. Notebooks are especially problematic because the average notebook has significantly less capable hardware than average desktops due to the need for much greater power efficiency, thermal control, footprint, and weight. I have worked on at least two dozen notebooks that shipped with Vista Premium SKU and many were intolerably slow. I installed Windows XP on several of them at the owner's request and the difference was just huge. Several of these laptops had decent hardware specs; dual core processors, 1GB ~ 2GB RAM, newer IGP products from ATI, NVIDIA, or Intel (not VIA or SIS). The worst have been budget AMD Sempron or Turion notebooks.

Its one thing to say "you need more capable hardware" as the answer to complaints about performance on desktop computers, but notebooks represent a far more difficult set of trade-offs. Capability is far cheaper on the desktop, power efficiency and thermal control is not nearly as much of a consideration. Microsoft should extend Windows XP sales for another year to address the very real performance issues that Vista poses for affordable mainstream notebooks. Not everyone can afford, nor do they want, a DTR notebook with discrete graphics, more than 2GB RAM, and higher-end DTR mobile processors. A lot of people actually want a light efficient notebook that doesn't require an upgraded 12-cell battery to achieve run-time longer than three hours or the cooling fan(s) to run full-blast 80% of the time.
October 23, 2008 5:25:11 AM

The problem with OEM computers and their pre-loaded OSes is that the OEMs like to load them up with junk: trial versions of Norton Internet Security and loads of other crapware that do nothing but slow down the OS. When you load XP on these laptops, you also get rid of all the crapware on them... which helps them run faster of course. I suggest that you load a clean copy of Vista on one of these laptops and make note of the difference in performance.

People were quick to point out how slow XP was on latops at one time... again, this is because of all the crapware... not because the OS is especially slow.
October 23, 2008 1:00:06 PM

This is not really a valid argument unless the preloaded OEM image contains serious registry problems or system file inconsistencies causing performance issue. Trial versions are typically no more 'crappy' or 'bloated' than fully functional versions. Indeed, trial versions are likely to be less bloated. So you get rid of a trial version and install a fully functional version. Unless you mean that one must forego installing replacements for the trial versions, the net difference here is none. But people gotta run security software and other applications. I don't know of anyone who just uses what the OS brings, not even Apple users.

And yes, I have uninstalled applications and utilities the owner did not want, which helps somewhat. The greatest contributor was Vista itself. I observed this even with clean install on the following setup:

- ECS 755-A2 Socket 754 (SIS 755/964L)
- Athlon 64 3200+ 512K (single core)
- 1.0GB PC2700 DDR
- ATI Radeon 9600 256MB DDR AGP
- Seagate 200GB SATA 150 HDD
- 8x DVD-RW ATAPI
- Onboard Audio and LAN
- Vista Home Premium SP1 + all updates

I built this from spare parts just to play around with Vista Home Premium 32 and 64, since I had not yet used Vista on my own computer. After playing around with it for a few days, I honestly didn't think performance was half-bad, considering the hardware is four years old. That is, until the 30-day grace period expired, so I wiped Vista and installed Windows XP on the same setup.

HOLY CRAP! It wasn't so much that Vista was intolerably or unacceptably slow, its that Windows XP was soooo much more responsive in everything by comparison. It can be that pronounced on lower-performing hardware (e.g. like notebooks).
October 24, 2008 4:50:49 AM

My laptop is nothing special... 2GB of RAM and a dual-core Intel processor. It also has integrated graphics. Vista Home Premium runs just fine on it... my wife uses it for photo editing. One of the first things I did was strip out all the crap Toshiba loads on the laptop with the factory image. There's a lot of unnecessary tools running that do nothing but slow it down.

There's an article that I'll have to search for which discusses the exact thing I'm referring to with a Sony Vaio laptop. The person that bought it originally thought it was junk with Vista, but once a clean install was done without all the crapware (I don't care if it's a trial version or not, if it's installed and consumes resources it WILL slow down your computer) the computer ran much better... good enough for that person to actually like Vista.

I agree that with old or weak hardware, Vista won't perform at it's best... it was the same with XP and it will be the same with Windows 7. People expect more and more out of cheap, substandard hardware. If you buy a really cheap computer, you should expect a really cheap experience.
October 24, 2008 12:59:08 PM

Quote:
My laptop is nothing special... 2GB of RAM and a dual-core Intel processor. It also has integrated graphics. Vista Home Premium runs just fine on it... my wife uses it for photo editing.
Yeah, see my post above. After running Vista on that system, I also thought Vista ran 'just fine'. I even commented on another forum about my experience and how acceptable I felt performance was. Now that you have established a reference point for 'just fine' with Vista, I would invite you to do what I did, try running XP on the same system for a few days.
Quote:
There's an article that I'll have to search for which discusses the exact thing I'm referring to with a Sony Vaio laptop. The person that bought it originally thought it was junk with Vista, but once a clean install was done without all the crapware (I don't care if it's a trial version or not, if it's installed and consumes resources it WILL slow down your computer) the computer ran much better...good enough for that person to actually like Vista.
I'm familiar with the incident, and it was not a simple matter of too much trial software. Trial software doesn't cause OS crashes, driver crashes, application crashes, application uninstall failures, wireless connectivity problems, resume/suspend problems, and other dysfunction. Buggy inadequately tested software causes these things, trial or not, as well as unstable out-dated drivers. The Sony laptop in question also was $2500 with C2D T7200, discrete graphics with dedicated RAM, and running Vista Business edition. Not much analogous there, those are DTR class hardware specs.

The biggest problem is not trial software but flawed or sloppy OEM software integration. There is no excuse for a PC to ship with device drivers one year out-dated, three months behind on OS updates, third-party applications that are one year behind on patches/updates, so on and so forth. If you boot a brand new PC and the trial version of Norton 360 crashes while launching, its not because its a trial version. Its because the OEM didn't bother to adequately test it after integrating Norton 360 into the software image. And for that matter, its not necessarily the fault of Symantec or any bug in Norton 360. It can be caused by the OEM using integration methods or practices that break the application or leave it in an unknown state that is not consistent with OEM integration guidance from the application developer or Microsoft.

Even if the third-party application is to blame, the patch for it often gets released months before the OEM incorporates it into the software image. I can't recount all the times I've had to install an out-standing patch released by the computer maker or application developer, where the computer shipped months after the patch was released. e.g. antivirus definitions on a new computer frequently run 90 ~ 180 days old

None of these notebooks suffered from any dysfunction as in the Sony case. They functioned fine and Event Manager reported nothing of interest, they were just sloowww. On a few, I installed the latest drivers, application updates, Windows updates, removed unwanted software, cleaned-up clutter and restore points, and though there was some improvement, it wasn't as substantial as installing Windows XP.

I'm a long-time advocate and practitioner of wiping the OEM software image and clean installing OS, apps, drivers, etc. Excepting some real dysfunction introduced by broken OEM integration practices, it doesn't pay benefits with Vista on lower-performing hardware to the extent it reliably would with XP, 2000, ME, 98, and 95. The increase in hardware requirements were truly incremental moving from 95 > 98 > ME > 2000 > XP, since Microsoft was leveraging fully 60% ~ 70% of the same code between each "new" OS. Windows 95 was to Windows 98 what Windows XP RTM is to Windows XP SP2. It was the same damned OS, just being refined with a few features added between them. Vista does not represent the same increase in hardware requirements over its predecessor. Even Microsoft has acknowledged that Vista's increased hardware requirements represent a substantial departure from what any Windows OS required over its predecessor since the move from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.
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