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Going Mobile

July 30th, 2009 (01:22 am)
sleepy

current mood: sleepy

I bought a laptop computer today. It's a Sony VAIO VGN-Z750D, it weighs in at less than 4 lbs, and I paid way below list price. Woo hoo! We're still configuring it, so I haven't actually used it yet. My new baby does have fingerprint recognition, for security. Very cool. I feel like Agent 99. I just taught it to recognize my fingerprints. Now, if anyone tries to use it without my fingers, my Sony laptop will cut off their hands.
 
A question for the collective LJ mind:

Ever since Windows Vista came out, I've been told that it is the Devil, and I believe this. Of course, my new laptop came with Vista. But Sony knows that everyone hates Vista, so it included a disk that will "downgrade" it to XP. The salesperson at Microcenter touted this as a great thing, and I thought so too, at first. Then I got home and pulled out the disk, and saw a big red warning sign explaining that some of the software that came with the machine might or might not actually work with XP. Hisssss.... I'm going to have to go to the website and scout this out. But I was wondering if anyone out there has been in this position. Does the "downgrade" to XP work? Will my computer roll over and die if I use anything but Vista on it? Should I just suck it up and make the pact with the Devil, at least until Windows 7 comes out in October? (I get a free upgrade.)

Comments

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 4th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
Vista to XP

Hi Cathy,

I'm not really anonymous, I'm just doing due-diligence on you for the Friends of Duncan Library author talks committee. I can tell you that I successfully downgraded my wife's new laptop from Vista to XP 4 months ago (and I had to do it by hand, no easy little Sony disk to do it for me) and that whenever I have to work on stuff like setting up a wireless network on my daughter's Vista-enabled (-disabled?) laptop I end up using naughty words normally outside my vocabulary.

No, Vista's not the Devil, but to me it is clumsy to work with for two main reasons: first, for asking your permission again and again to use the same da*n programs (see, I'm starting already) that you've already told it are okay; and second, for its klutzy user interface. Vista seems to have decided to make everything as graphic and flashy as possible, so it uses enormous amounts of memory and other resources to put a fancy-looking interface (Aero glass) onscreen that does nothing for performance except hinder it; also, menus that could be condensed to a single line at the top of the screen in XP now perforce occupy three or more lines at the top, or a big fat column at the left, of far too many screens in Vista. The new Microsoft Office programs are similarly designed but even worse. I look to look at my work, not admire MS's flashy new menus, when I'm at the computer.

I'm not a Luddite who protests at every new thing MS puts out; XP was a great improvement over Win98, and I'm sure Vista does some things better than XP--it seems to boot up and find files faster, e.g. But XP does nearly everything I ask of it quite well, and its interface doesn't get on my nerves. OTOH, as you say it's only a short while till Win7 comes out (MS sped up its introduction because everyone hated Vista). Will Win7 be an improvement over Vista? Possibly, though I'm doubtful as to how much.

OK, enough background, how about some concrete recommendations:

1) Don't be scared of those software warnings--the problem is really the opposite, not enough standard programs working well with Vista. MS may have thrown in a few utilities to show off Vista that will look plain-Jane in XP, but unless you use bleeding-edge graphics programs (in which case why aren't you using a Mac?) you won't miss much if anything by reverting to XP. I'd check on that biometric program's XP-compatibility, though, if it's really important to you. Does Agent 86 keep borrowing your laptop for his own nefarious purposes?

2) If Vista makes you nuts, switch to XP. You and your VAIO will live through the changeover ordeal, I (almost) guarantee.

3) If you like Vista, stick with it. Note how I avoided cheap shots like "call your psychiatrist."

4) If you can just tolerate Vista I'd say stick with it till Win7 appears. Try out Win7 on someone else's machine, or at Best Buy etc. If it's really an improvement, upgrade to Win7. If it's not much better and you're still really annoyed with Vista, switch to XP *before* you upgrade to Win7. It will always be tougher to downgrade two versions than one.

Sorry this comes a month late, and I have no idea what you might have decided in the interim, but I hope this may help.

Regards, Lenny Goldstein

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