I still like the Windows 95 sound the best. Not surprising, the sound from Vista is my least favorite. I found this at Digg.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get much worse for Windows Vista, Microsoft is now offering OEMs a “downgrade” option to buyers that want new machines but would rather use XP than Vista.
What this means is that some companies like HP and Fujitsu are selling computers with Vista installed but include XP disks if the customer would like to rollback. I call it the “rollback upgrade”. Microsoft is only allowing such deals on machines with Vista Business or Ultimate which makes sense since those are the highest priced versions.
Makes me wonder if Microsoft has ever had to do anything like this before. It’s hard to imagine a previous Windows upgrade (besides Windows ME) has been met with so much indifference.
I can understand why businesses would want to hold off upgrading due to the hefty hardware requirements and incompatibilities with crucial programs. But I doubt Microsoft was anticipating the challenge in getting home users and especially enthusiasts to upgrade to Vista. Very few of my friends who don’t work at Microsoft in some capacity have stayed with XP. Most are in a “wait and see” mode until SP1 ships while others like me have been burned too many times to ever consider Vista.
Maybe the days of Windows upgrades every 3 to 5 years is over. I’m sure Apple couldn’t be happier. It’s very possible that OS X was the real upgrade for many XP users.
So you like the look of Vista but for whatever reason you’ve decided to stick with XP? Well, there are a few small programs that will give you some of the look and feel of Vista but still maintain that XP stability you’re after.
- Vista Cursors – Lifehacker has a link to the
files you’ll need. A simple but classy update for XP. The Vista cursors are nice looking and now you can use them on XP.
- Vista Thumbnail Preview – This is one of the features I really liked in Vista and missed when I went back to XP. The How-To Geek has a link to the program and setup tutorial. Very simple to install and works quite well.
- Vista Start Menu for XP – This is my favorite of the bunch and the one feature I missed the most when ditching Vista. ViStart gives you the same start menu functionality found in Vista including the quick search function! I use the quick search all the time to launch programs. I like that it’s much more compact in size than regular XP start menu.
I’m running all three on my XP machine. I’ve also applied the Zune theme which looks great. Check out InterfaceLIFT if you’re looking for some cool wallpaper. You can also download a bunch of Vista wallpaper but it’s not all that impressive.
Thanks to Lifehacker for the links and excellent tutorials.
As I waited in line last night at Fry’s I noticed something peculiar: Customers (I counted 8) in line carrying boxes of Norton Anti-Virus. I also noticed three people waiting to buy a spyware program. I think it’s called Spyware Blaster.
I don’t ever recall buying an anti-virus program because there are a number of decent free one’s available. Personally, I’ve used eTrust for years, but I don’t know if it’s ever done me any good. I don’t open email from people I don’t know let along download or click attachments from them.
But it made me wonder if things have changed much for the average PC user over the past 10 years or so. When Windows 3.11 was around, there were many utilities one could buy to help keep it running properly. Remember PC Tools and System Mechanic? This was well before the spyware and adware days. The utilities I used most back then were a disk defragger and a duplicate file finder.
I notice the latest version of System Mechanic is advertised as fixing the following Windows (Vista compatible) issues:
Optimize PC for peak performance
Repair problems and errors
Clean up clutter
Remove spyware and fix security vulnerabilities
Maintain reliability and speed
I can’t imagine paying for Windows XP or Vista and then spending another fifty bucks to fix it. There’s an entire cottage industry around helping people fix or work around the Windows problems. Are PC users so lazy and so stupid that they mess up their computers to the point that 3rd party software is required to keep them operational?
Or is Windows so slow, so bug-ridden and vulnerable that such software is required?
Is this guy smiling because he switched to Linux?
Wasn’t Windows XP supposed to fix this? How about Vista? How would you feel spending up to $400 on a new version of Windows only to find out that you’ll need to cough up more money for utilities to keep it running? Given my experience with Vista, I don’t believe there’s a utility in the world that can make it run as it should. It’s just downright annoying to deal with.
Ten years from now are Windows users going to be in the same predicament?
So you’ve decided to stick with Windows XP, but you’ve a little envious of the sidebar you’re friend is running on his copy of Vista? Well, you can get a sidebar of your own on XP that takes up far less memory than the one on Vista.
Up until last year I ran Desktop Sidebar. It’s a good product with a huge number of skins and plugins available. It also has a number of pre-installed plugins giving you a lot of functionality out of the box. If you want access to the largest number of plugins, this is the sidebar for you.
But my preferred sidebar application is called Google Sidebar. It also has a good number of plugins (Google calls them widgets) for nearly anything you’re after. It uses very little memory and is quite stable. I also like it’s simple design and stability.
My favorite plugins are the analog clock, desktop photos, Outlook calendar, desktop stocks, desktop to do, desktop system monitor, and desktop weather.