July 1, 2008

Microsoft is Phasing Out XP; Say Welcome to Vista

By Jim Stafford, The Oklahoman

Jul. 1--The obituary for Windows XP was written more than a year ago, but Microsoft Corp. showed some mercy on millions of users and computer sellers by delaying the euthanizing of the computer operating system until Monday.

What Microsoft's action means is that computer sellers will no longer be able to include copies of XP on the new computers they sell. Instead, users will receive Windows Vista, the much-maligned new operating system that earned almost universally poor reviews when it debuted in 2007.

However, millions of computer users with XP running their systems won't have to boot the old operating system from their computers in favor of the new, said Jeremy Kaplan, executive editor of PC Magazine.

Vista's vices, strengths

"One thing I think we should keep in perspective here," Kaplan said. "People are freaking out that they are going to have to go out and buy Vista.

"The vast majority of people using computers are completely unaffected by this. The real change is when you or I or anybody goes out to buy a new computer we lose that option to buy XP."

Not that there's really anything wrong with Vista, except for the reputation it earned as a slow memory hog without much peripheral support after its January 2007 launch, Kaplan said.

"Vista is a great operating system," he said. "I feel like I'm kind of alone in saying that. It does have a lot to offer."

Vista added a lot of features that make computing a more pleasurable experience, Kaplan said. It handles photographs and multimedia content a lot better than XP, for instance.

For business users, the challenge is separating the myth from reality about Windows Vista, said Brad Thomas, vice president for technology at Oklahoma City-based Perimeter Technology Center.

PTC, as it is known, operates two large commercial data centers that house computer servers for hundreds of clients.

"Some of the issues are real and some are more myth," Thomas said.

"The biggest problem that you have is the hardware compatibility and hardware requirements. Vista is a memory hog and requires a lot more memory and resources than XP did."

Security is Vista's big selling point

When Vista debuted, some makers of peripherals, such as printers and cameras, weren't ready with Vista-friendly drivers. That situation has improved he said.

Vista has become the primary operating system at Perimeter, although Thomas allows employees the freedom to continue running XP if they choose.

"I can't think of anything I hated about XP," he said.

With all that's been written and said about Windows Vista, it was still the fastest selling operating system released by Microsoft, with 140 million copies already sold.

"One of the big problems of XP was the security aspect," PC Magazine's Kaplan said. "(Hackers) all attacked XP, and XP wasn't capable of defending itself, something that was arguably fixed in Vista. It is hands-down more secure than XP."


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