Date: June 19th 2008

My opinion of Windows Vista has not improved from when I first sent out a message about how awful Vista was in March 2007. I used Vista for several months after that to learn how to support it, but I finally couldn't stand it any more and switched back to XP Pro.

In the mean time, most of the rest of the world has come to the same conclusion as myself about Vista: it's pretty horrible when compared to XP. The enterprise/corporate world has not adopted Vista and is not going to. The corporate world is going to stick with XP until Microsoft releases a product that is superior to XP and provides a compelling reason to upgrade.

Therefore, my advice regarding XP vs. Vista stands: avoid Vista like the plague.

In the mean time, you may have heard that XP will no longer be available after June 30th. Like most misinformation about Vista being disseminated from Microsoft and their cohorts, this isn't true. Because the corporate world won't buy Vista, Microsoft had to come up with some kind of plan to save face, yet keep world commerce from grinding to a halt. Though Microsoft will now be forcing everyone to buy Vista, the Vista Business version includes the right to "downgrade" to XP Pro. As a consequence, vendors can still preload XP Pro on new computers, though both the vendor and Microsoft record a sale for Vista Business.

I checked on the Dell "Small & Medium Business" online product sales channel, and sure enough, Dell optionally offers XP Pro preloaded on all of their business class machines, except the XPS series, which is a consumer model anyway. This means XP Pro can still be purchased from Dell on all Vostro, Optiplex, and Precision desktops, and all Vostro, Latitude, and Precision laptops.

Showing its usual total disdain for its consumer customers, Dell offers only Vista on it computers in its "Home and Home Office" sales channel.

Likewise, HP optionally offers XP Pro preloaded on all of their business computers ("Small & Medium Business" channel) and none of their consumer computers ("Home & Home Office" channel).

My advice has always been to shop for computers on the "Small & Medium Business" channels anyway. The business computers don't cost any more than the "consumer" models, they don't come preloaded with a crippling amount of garbageware, they are more durable, and have better vendor support. Actually, I recommend that people purchase refurbished Dell computers via the Dell Outlet for the "Small & Medium Business" channel. Dell refurbished computers are all but "new", have the exact same warranty as their "new" counterparts, are substantially less expensive than their "new" equivalents, and ship much faster as they are already built.

One final note: starting July 7th, Dell will be charging an extra $99.00 to preload XP Pro, even though XP Pro is included for free with the Vista Business version! This is an amazingly greedy move on Dell's part, since the buyer is already being forced to buy Vista Business, which Microsoft charges more for than they use to charge for XP Pro.

Basil Irwin

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