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Hasta la vista, Vista!

Sun Advocate/Progress

Opinion: Like many Microsoft customers, my "Windows Vista experience" hasn't been all that rosy, and quite frankly, I'm tired of it!*

Windows Vista has officially worn out its welcome on my notebook computer. It's time for Microsoft's latest operating system to take a hike!

It just happened all of a sudden. I turned my notebook computer on, and before long, I was staring at a blue error screen. Known by tech experts abroad, this error screen was the dreaded "blue screen of death" - so named because it appears when Windows encounters an unrecoverable error. "BSODs", as many techies call them, is like the Windows version of a heart attack or stroke.

I have no clue how this came to be. I hadn't fiddled with any critical settings or system files. The crash just seemed to have happened out of the blue.

A reboot didn't fix the problem. I tried starting Windows using "safe mode" but got the same results. Fed up, I decided it was time to re-install Windows.

But this wasn't the first time I had encountered problems with Vista. Every time I would plug my Bluetooth adapter into a free USB slot, the entire computer would freeze.

Application compatibility was also a problem area for me. Many of the programs I had used on XP simply wouldn't run on Vista, or wouldn't run right.

There was also the general annoyances with the interface (like the awkwardly located shutdown/logoff menu and the ill-conceived "power" button on the start menu that ironically puts the computer to sleep).

And to top it all off, Vista's performance was far from stellar on my notebook, even though the computer is full of high performance hardware. Vista is painfully and dreadfully slow.

I would have to imagine that Vista's controversial Digital Rights Management system (more accurately called "Digital Restrictions Management," if you ask me) is to blame for a majority of the sluggishness.

After all, it seems to go the extra mile to ensure all the audio and video content the consumer is trying to enjoy is kept under close watch (and blocked or degraded as Microsoft sees fit). It provides a great deal of overhead that consumers certainly don't need.

At that point, I gleefully popped my Windows XP disc back into the disc drive and rebooted the computer. After the 30 minute installation was complete, I had erased my Windows Vista installation and replaced it with the older but more mature, and certainly more familiar Windows XP.

Now I know that there are many who have not had major problems with Vista. Good for them. But there are many like me who have had more than their share of problems with it.

Lucky for me, my notebook originally came preloaded with XP. I had received the free "upgrade" to Vista from my computer manufacturer a few months after the purchase. That made the "downgrade" to XP a lot easier.

Sadly, many computer manufacturers that ship PCs preloaded with Windows Vista don't provide support for Windows XP. This means that a "downgrade" to XP on these computers is difficult, if not impossible in many cases, unless the consumer is somewhat of a tech expert.

Microsoft is preparing Vista's first service pack (SP1), which should be released to consumers some time next year. This service pack is supposed to fix a handful of Vista problems and annoyances. But I don't think it is going to be enough for many consumers - especially the multitudes of businesses who are blatantly refusing to upgrade.

In fact, there has been such an uproar about Vista from many consumers (businesses and home users alike) that many have already switched to Apple (Macintosh) or GNU/Linux.

Many consumers truly are enjoying the "Vista experience" - for a significantly higher cost than that of Windows XP. That's fine, but I'm personally through with Vista.

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* The opinions of the author do not necessarily reflect those of the Sun Advocate or Emery County Progress.

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