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Vista Following the Footsteps of Windows ME

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 39 comments

Do you remember Windows ME? If not, maybe it is because you skipped it all together or that the experience was bad enough that you choose not to remember.

It appears that Windows Vista is following in the footsteps of Windows ME closely. Not many people like it, including Microsoft.

Some key indicators are out there. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has mentioned in more than one public speech that sometime in the next year or so, they plan on releasing a new version of Windows. It now appears that the development of Windows 7 has been moved into the fast lane and that Windows 7 alpha will also be presented to developers this October.

Microsoft is extending the sales of Windows XP again, until July 31, 2009. Windows XP will not be available directly to the end-user, but it will be available to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and other system builders. One of the biggest key indicators that follows suit with this is that it is becoming more common to see computers packaged with Vista coming with “downgrade rights.” Dell for example, shortly after the launch of Vista, consumers no longer had the option of purchasing home system models with XP. The option to have XP over Vista was removed entirely. Dell however kept the option available for its business customers, but slowly tapered it off. Now, slowly the downgrade option is showing up everywhere.

According to a few ex employees of Dell On Call (Technical support offered by Dell for consumers for a fee), before the mass layoffs that took place in Canada – they noted that internal statistical data showed that technical support call volume was bigger than it ever has been with Vista over any other operating system. Dell On Call’s majority call driver was Spyware and Antivirus, but Vista support calls soon became king of the hill. These sources also had mentioned that not only was Vista crammed down the throats of consumers, but it was also crammed down the throats of technical support agents. “Nobody knew what was going on, nobody had proper training, resolve rates for technical support calls were in the toilet and the customers were increasingly becoming unhappy, requesting that they downgrade back to Windows XP

A lot of people swear by Windows XP Service Pack 3, claiming that it is the most stable operating system ever. Business customers have yet to make the move from XP Pro to Vista Business – although this has a lot to do with volume license refreshing – businesses are not ready to shove a new operating system down employee throats, provide the training, and provide upgraded hardware to go with it.

Quoting another source that provides internal technical support for Canada’s largest telecommunications provider, Telus – “It just wasn’t the right time to release a new operating system, nobody required it, nobody needed it. What we have right now (XP) is more than enough. People know how to use it, people know how to support it. The expense of migrating from something tried and true to the unknown with a large price tag is essentially a bad business move.

The indications are wide-spread, looking a bit like the Windows ME scenario all over again. Very few people have moved to the Vista platform, as most people are sticking with Windows XP for now and riding it out. On an another note – ever since the launch of Vista, OS X users have increased a notable amount – which is a whole other story.

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  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2008 6:28 PM
    Tied of reading this kind of stupid artical over and over again. The quote of Telus is stupid too. People in the industry that knows Telus knows it cannot really support anyone. How many times it needed to call the actual vendor in just to resolve some basic installtion problem?
  • 7 Hide
    GoodBytes , October 7, 2008 6:38 PM
    I have to disagree here.
    The idea of Vista was a new core, not features. Because it has a new core, some bugs that were fixed in XP appeared again. But that is just minor. The problem is the same as when Windows 2000 came around. It was quickly replace with XP, because Windows 2000, no only was supposed to be the OS for both Home and Business (and not Win9x for Home, and NT for business), due to a lack of drivers, and high requirements of hardware power, only time could have made that OS work. So Windows 2000 was repackage with XP with a skin and a few tweaks.

    I expect the same with Windows 7. As it was said to be released by default for 64-bit CPU's, already it using the good version of Vista to start with (if you know what I mean), and will certainly contain UI improvements, consistency between applications, usual bug/security fix. But pretty much all will be same. But 3 year later after... this makes 3 year old computer become 6 year old computer for a business, meaning it is worth changing all of them. So they will all be already 64-bit, all have at least 2GB of RAM and have a GPU that can render something. So Windows 7 would work. What I am saying is if Vista was released in 2009, it would have received with open arms. For a company, most employees don't need dual cores CPU's of even 1GB of RAM, as they just use Word, and Vista lack of new features doens't impress companies to justify the replacement of just 3 year old machines. So nothing is done, everyone stays with XP.

    As for the complains on Dell. There is no definition of the complains. it could be a simple "I can't uninstall this program because I can't find Add/remove program item in the control panel" type of problems, which should be ignored. And you have real problems. Also, lack of drivers for Vista by wonderful hardware manufacture that crapped on their users. Right nVidia, ATI, Creative, HP, and more? Right. Which made Vista have a very bad reputation (unless you decided to buy the mentioned companies latest and greatest hardware with your Vista, or smart enough to know it is nor Microsoft fault.)
  • 0 Hide
    dechy , October 7, 2008 7:00 PM
    You might be tired of seeing these types of articles, but we still have to clobber M$ for releasing such bloatware until they understand... and they sorta have with Windows 7 fast tracked a bit sooner than expected.

    I work for a federal department of 28000 users with over 40000 desktops/laptops. We've watched people anylyze Vista in other departments/big corps, and they all come to the same conclusions; zero value for upgrade. Then we did our own internal analysis, and it didn't matter what angle we looked at it, Vista is completely useless compared to XP. SP1 brought Vista to a very solid level, but still no reason to upgrade to it... even if it was just the new file system, or some new virtualization support, or whatever... but nothing. Just an OS that does the SAME thing as XP, but munching on about 2-3x more resources.

    Unacceptable. If it needed that much horsepower but brought in a slew of new & good/interesting features, then it's something...

    Vista SP1 a good OS with good hardware? Yes. Vista good OS with lost of good & more advanced features over it's predecessor? No.

    Sending people on training & upgrading a huge amount of PCs for what? Yeah, that's what 90% of big corps went through and ended up with. Not gonna happen.

    Been using Vista 64 SP1 with 8GB RAM & OC'ed C2D @ home since SP1 was released, and it's been running better than my XP64 SP2... so no complaints. ME? I destroyed the day after giving it a chance... Vista is no ME, but it's going to be remembered as such by the masses.

    WTB new file system, new virtualization support, less bloat & improved security (not that #$^#$%#@ UAC) in W7. But new file system is already not supposed to be in W7... so my guess is, M$ is going to shoot itself in the foot, again.
  • 5 Hide
    frozenlead , October 7, 2008 7:08 PM
    As I think goodbytes was hinting at, many of the complaints against windows vista are unfounded. Was the transition form 98/2000 to XP so different? I don't think so. I remember gaping at the TV when I heard Microsoft was recommending 512MB of ram for XP. I thought that was outrageous. When Vista came around, I was a fair bit wiser.

    Lots of people say "I just don't want it" or "I can't find what I need" as justifications of not moving to Vista. This just represents laziness. They're sure to seek out the new layout of Photoshop CS3, but not that of Vista.

    Just yesterday my buddy was going to give me some files from his external hard disk. XP didn't have the drivers for it - Vista did.

    I've been using Vista on my personal laptop as well as University desktops for internet/papers/gaming/matlab/photo editing/CAD, and I'm very happy with it.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2008 7:23 PM
    Not only that,but a system running Vista on average uses about 10-15% more electricity than the same system optimized and running XP.
    Yes,there are more settings to optimize the power under vista than under XP, but no amount of tuning in Vista is going to take away all the background activity (both disk and RAM/CPU background), the heavier demand on graphics processors, and gain in on the loss of time you get by using an un-productive OS (things happen just way slower than on XP).

    Vista at best,most optimized, works almost like XP at worst setting.

    MS should have known, when consumers where complaining over the issue XP being slower than Win98 on older machines.
    Instead of creating and focussing on just a fast, secure,and responsive OS,they chose for a graphically pleasing, damn slow OS.

    And I agree with post above, I'll not stop bashing Vista. I bought 1 version, and I still today think it's been a waste of my money & time.
    & the more bashing, hopefully the more MS will know how much Vista sucks, and how many customers are totally displeased with Vista.

    I hope they learn their lesson with windows 7,and unlike Win me/2000 will choose the path of the pleasant to operate,fast responsive, productive, safe and simple,and good looking OS.

    So far I heard MS was able to shave off boot and shutdown times on the Windows 7 OS.
    I hope they'll disable read some ahead and prefetching, since most of my programs boot about as fast as in the Win 3.11 days without prefetching.

    The more we speak out,hopefully the better Win7 will be.
    And I don't hope they'll release Windows 7 anytime soon.
    I hope that I'll be able to use XP at least untill 2010 (XP, meaning 10P,so 2010 is a good time for Windows 7).

    I also hope Windows 7 will just run fine on Atom processor based systems.
  • 3 Hide
    MichaelK , October 7, 2008 7:34 PM
    I totally agree GoodBytes and I agree with this article. Almost nobody I support (over 500+ users) want Vista. We even have people wanting to go to OS X before jumping to this MonoSloth. The majority of the "changes" they made to the interface were the menus, etc. were totally unneeded. A lot of it was change for change sake which is part of what makes it such a horrible redeploy. This mistake (and their pathetic commercials rebutting the "Hi, I'm a Mac..." commercials) shows how out of touch this company is with their end user base. They've become stale and the population is taking note. So to generate more income before they start slipping they force OEM vendors to swallow this PoS and then cut off the option without buying the higher priced options and an additional charge for a "downgrade". Microsoft stopped being viable about 10 years ago and has become less significant in computing every year.
  • 2 Hide
    blippo311 , October 7, 2008 7:39 PM
    From a business stand point: word and outlook. It doesn't take a "new os" to run them. And it doesn't take a 3gig quadcore with 8gigs of ram to type a couple of words on a page!

    Sure, I'm all for the move to 64 bit. I do some gaming and lots of media, but don't tell me that this is my only option.

    At lest this version of ME comes with 64 bit.
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2008 8:02 PM
    I used to use Windows, starting w/ v3.1 and I used every version up to XP (I've never used Vista). To make a long story short, I switched to OSX and solved all of my problem concerning stability. It was well worth my hard earned green, in my humble opinion.
  • 2 Hide
    dcoaster , October 7, 2008 8:33 PM
    More FUD from the media. What else is new....
  • 3 Hide
    red_star_77 , October 7, 2008 8:33 PM
    Windows Vista is great OS. I run x64 Edition with SP1 and i can tell that Windows XP can't even touch it, not even close to it as far as stability, security and overall performance.
  • 3 Hide
    cliffro , October 7, 2008 8:44 PM
    I've used every version of windows too, from 3.1 (or whatever version)All the way to Vista (excluding 2000)I liked XP really I did, but Vista has a few little things that make things simpler/convenient, like Independent volume control for each running app that i dont think i could do without anymore...

    I tried XP 64bit for all of a week, but it was missing so many drivers I couldn't get drivers for my wireless NIC so i didn't do much with it and eventually formatted the drive it was on and edited my boot.ini to be rid of it.

    I needed/wanted 64bit when I upgraded my computer so I could use all 4gigs of ram, was going to dual boot at first and keep XP but couldn't find my COA Sticker with my key at the time and just installed Vista, and have not looked back.
    In short Im not in a hurry to switch to Windows 7 because I have no complaints about Vista that warrant the change.(unless it runs like XP compared to vista but that's doubtful)
  • 3 Hide
    cliffro , October 7, 2008 8:48 PM
    At lest this version of ME comes with 64 bit.

    Hey at least this version ME doesn't BSOD constantly, ME did it enough to where I stopped reading them after a while...
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2008 8:49 PM
    I totally agree with Blippo. MS was in the business creating an OS so that first businesses, and then consumers all over the world could have a system that runs fine, and helps them be productive in their work.

    Although it may be so that in the past an OS had to be tailored to fit within the 640K upper memory of the DOS os, the later versions (starting from Win XP) nearly demand you to tailor your hardware to the OS.
    On top of that the OS is counterproductive compared to the previous OSes, and just needs massive amounts of hardware that in the past you could send mails, and write documents perfectly fine on a 800Mhz, 128MB Ram computer; heck even a Pentium 90Mhz with Win98Se and latest updates and 64Mb RAM could do the trick for many!

    I don't want to go back to then, since I'm glad faster systems gave opportunity for lower waiting times.
    however, MS doesn't create the OS with this thought in mind. It tries to create an os with 'the hardware of the future' in mind...
    And pitty to say but the hardware of the future is not an 8-core machine with 64GB of ram.
    The hardware of the future is more aimed towards being green than being powerfull.

    The hardware we're talking about now is a 1,6GHzprocessor with between 512 and 2GB of RAM, booting a system well within 1 minute and some even within 30 seconds.

    The hardware of the future is a computer that just like a commodore uses a 20-40Watts power supply, boots a system in 30 seconds, and shutsdown almost immediately.
    Doesn't use much of background logging at all, and takes about the size of a DVD (no more then 10.000 files).
    Is optimized for ease of use, and responds almost immediately,and doesn't have loads of that automated crap like autoplay CD-rom etc...

    Upto Win98se I can say that was true.
    WinXP is a little slower in response, but then again, it does support multi threading of applications (which could prevent a system freeze when an application crashes).

    Ofcourse we can all stick our heads in our asses, and say that there's nothing wrong with the Windows Vista OS. And if we do, Windows 7 might be even worse...
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2008 8:52 PM
    I used to admin 80 or so Windows 2k3 servers and 10,000 windows client desktops/laptops. I now admin 30 OS X and Unix servers and 6,000+ Mac clients. Switching to Mac does not fix all your problems, it just gives you new ones that are particular to the Mac platform. Open Directory is nice when it works and Work Group Manager might as well be called Work Group Mangler. While I do really like OS X and find it leagues better than Vista, it is not fair or unbiased to say it does. Open Directory and OS X 10.5 server have their fair share of issues.

    I guess the good that is coming out of the problems I am seeing is that I am slowly mastering Open Directory now.
  • 0 Hide
    geckoar , October 7, 2008 8:56 PM
    I like vista. I have the 64-bit with 4gb ram and a 4870 and a phenom 9950. Vista is rock stable. It runs alot fatser than xp did. now note that i have xp running on a p4 3.0 with 1gb of ddr400 ram and a X1600pro GPU. But... All of that cost me about $1500 4 years ago. Now my vista build... only about $1300. I will never go back to Xp. I like how vista will read what apps you use use the most and preload them to the ram for faster load times. And all the new games...The most ram the better. I was not going to use xp 64... Vista 64 AT FIRST had lack of drivers but after about 3 months Very little driver problems. I cant wait for windows 7 but I will Be happy with my vista.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2008 9:12 PM
    I have to admit that Vista stability wise isn't too bad provided you have the right hardware. Where it fails is it's an absolute resource hog taking up 2x more resources than XP ever seemed to. This makes it 2x slower or worse on systems that don't have say at least 2GB ram. A lot of the hardware I deal with in my own company is old (3 year mark) and it runs XP flawlessly. Vista would probably be a bad idea.

    Vista seems to be more of a "visual" update than anything else signifigant. Sadly that's not a good enough reason to upgrade. We want some real features Microsoft! or at the very least make it run more effeciently!!
  • 1 Hide
    jaragon13 , October 7, 2008 9:16 PM
    GoodBytesFor a company, most employees don't need dual cores CPU's of even 1GB of RAM, as they just use Word, and Vista lack of new features doens't impress companies to justify the replacement of just 3 year old machines. So nothing is done, everyone stays with XP.As for the complains on Dell. There is no definition of the complains. it could be a simple "I can't uninstall this program because I can't find Add/remove program item in the control panel" type of problems, which should be ignored. And you have real problems. Also, lack of drivers for Vista by wonderful hardware manufacture that crapped on their users. Right nVidia, ATI, Creative, HP, and more? Right. Which made Vista have a very bad reputation (unless you decided to buy the mentioned companies latest and greatest hardware with your Vista, or smart enough to know it is nor Microsoft fault.)

    I agree with all of that.Nvidia was probably worse compared to ATi,but I can't really say they were brilliant.
    I wouldn't mind installing Vista right now,but then again,I have XP 32 and 64 bit to back me up.

    @ The hopeful people : I thought Windows 7 will be Vista all over again,no support for previous programs that seemingly ran(worse than vista,trust me) It's like trying to run Crysis on Linux.It's just not gonna happen,and if it does,you're gonna end up smashing your keyboard.
  • 2 Hide
    bourgeoisdude , October 7, 2008 9:26 PM
    On the article: Quite frankly this is a horribly opinionated article that really tells us nothing new. Factually it presents us with NOTHING at all, and it doesn't even mention that the call volume at Dell percentage wise rose higher during the 2000 to XP transition than the XP to Vista transition (oh--and I am an ex-Dell employee :p ).

    On Vista: it's fine. Mine actually boots faster than XP did on my box. The problem in most cases is configuration--software and hardware. Once you set it up the way you want it, it runs efficiently and is much more solid than XP was.

    It is also worth noting that this is the longest period of time Microsoft has gone without a major upgrade to their OS (although one could argue SP2 for XP was a major upgrade--and it took over a year for the naysayers to get over the "problems" with SP2), so it is understandable that people are upset that it requires so much more memory. Frankly, I still think that Windows 2000 is the best OS as far as resource utilization goes, but why do we even talk about this? It is eight and a half years old and XP is seven years old. It's time to move on.
  • 0 Hide
    kamkal , October 7, 2008 10:35 PM

    installed Vista 64bit on my htpc machine about 3 months ago

    everything seemed to work, but my tv out on my radeon x1950 pro wouldnt work

    had to format-reinstall XP


  • -1 Hide
    nukemaster , October 7, 2008 10:44 PM
    Does anyone remember what a resource hog XP was upon release? Its is no different.

    Was windows 95 a ME because 98 came out? Microsoft became lazy with XP for not releasing anything new for so long. This was a good and bad thing. Good because hardware caught up and passed XP's needs and bad because users now want nothing but XP(you become familiar with it and do not want to change).

    Vista is way more easy for a new computer user with its easy search feature. The hardware accelerated desktop actually REDUCES cpu load and actually SAVES POWER since that is a low load for a video card anyway. The hardware accelerated desktop also gives a FAR smoother experience then XP.

    If you do not like the hard drive fetching then turn it off. For me prefetching about 6-7 gigs is just fine. APPs load FASTER because of this.

    The new audio system works very well for allowing you to control each apps volume. This is a feature I like with the exception to the black refreshy glitch that must be low priority for fixing.

    The only thing that did not work on Vista was a few old 16 bit installers(because I use 64 bit) and my 8800GTX drivers where forever crashing. One 4870 later and I have yet to see any problems

    I use both XP and Vista 64 and do not see any slowdown running vista. When I did my final install of vista(I did a test first to make sure it did not suck) I left space to install XP if needed in the future, so far, it is just space doing nothing.

    The point is, I do not think Vista is the next ME by a long shot.
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