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The Tupper
28-08-2012, 01:54 PM
Hi all.

I've been happily using Windows XP since I purchased my PC in the months before Vista was launched. Because of the horror stories I'd heard from the pre-release reviews of Vista I deliberately bought an XP system before Vista would become the only option, and I was subsequently entitled to a free Vista upgrade disc, which has been sitting gathering dust since then.

Now, of course, XP is nearly dead and I figure I'll need to upgrade. The trouble is that I am COMPLETELY broke and can't consider buying a new OS. My question is: was Vista eventually knocked into shape with service packs to make it a preferable option to continuing with the soon-to-be-unsupported XP? I have the potential to finally use this upgrade disc.

As I say, I'm utterly penniless, so Windows 7 or waiting for Win 8 isn't an option and I use my PC primarily for games, so Linux isn't an option either. Should I bite the bullet and install Vista as the least-bad solution to a bad situation?

Jams O'Donnell
28-08-2012, 02:01 PM
Short answer: Vista's fine, especially if it's free.

If you had the pennies needed for Win 7 I'd say go with that, but I really never understood why Vista came in for such hate. It's a step up from XP.

mrwout
28-08-2012, 02:16 PM
Short answer: Vista's fine, especially if it's free.

If you had the pennies needed for Win 7 I'd say go with that, but I really never understood why Vista came in for such hate. It's a step up from XP.

I'd so NOOO to Vista. But then it might be al patched up now with service packs etc. My laptop came with vista preinstalled and it was a slow, buggy mess with a bucketload of problems and BSODs. But since I've got Windows 7 on it (for about 3 years I think) I haven't had one single problem (except for the ones I created myself obviously). Just my personal experience, I've heard of others who have had great experiences with Vista (as Jams O'Donnell illustrates)

Jams O'Donnell
28-08-2012, 02:23 PM
I'd so NOOO to Vista. But then it might be al patched up now with service packs etc. My laptop came with vista preinstalled and it was a slow, buggy mess with a bucketload of problems and BSODs. But since I've got Windows 7 on it (for about 3 years I think) I haven't had one single problem (except for the ones I created myself obviously). Just my personal experience, I've heard of others who have had great experiences with Vista (as Jams O'Donnell illustrates)
I knew there was a reason I wanted to get in before the inevitable VISTA SUCXS posts ;)

I used Vista for years without issue. The only reason I upgraded to Win 7 is that I upgraded to a 64-bit processor and needed a new OS to take advantage of it.

soldant
28-08-2012, 02:29 PM
Windows 7 was just an improvement on Vista - the issues with Vista's release came from it being a new kernel and device manufacturers apparently doing nothing during Vista's (extensive) development period. All the drivers were terrible on release, plus the base system requirements for Vista were higher (and this happens with pretty much every new OS release), making Vista fairly slow. Since then though Vista's fine, though I'd question why you'd bother to use it with Win7 out (though I can see why it might work in this case). A lot of the anger for Vista and love for Win7 is a bit ridiculous; by the time Win7 hit, Vista was already improving thanks to proper driver support, and Win7 (being largely the same underlying kernel) just swept in with a few improvements and benefited from the improved drivers. And everyone acted like it was some radically new OS worlds apart from Vista, when really it was like moving from Win95 to Win98!

XP is an ancient platform by tech standards; it was released back in 2001, and all the service packs in the world won't change its heritage. I'd say go with Vista if you're really not going to spend any money on it. Otherwise I'd push for Win7.

corbain
28-08-2012, 02:30 PM
Microsoft ran a test to show that most problems with Vista were really just imaginary. Vista was in such a bad state on release but it was indeed patched up pretty well. However, it had left such a bad taste in the mouth some people would never swallow it

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mojave_Experiment

(disclaimer: i have never used a PC with Vista)

The Tupper
28-08-2012, 03:07 PM
Thankyou all for the replies so far. I've jumped off the pier and am installing the upgrade as I type. Wish me luck.

BTW - I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to the Windows Shell - I always revert to 'classic' mode. Does anyone know if that's still an option in Vista or, if not, can anyone suggest a community-made patch to make it olde-worlde-starte-buttone?

Sakkura
28-08-2012, 04:35 PM
I'm running Vista right now, and it's fine. Absolutely fine. Windows 7 is unquestionably better, but Vista is by no means a mess today.

It still uses more resources than XP though, so only do the upgrade if your computer isn't uber-weak.

As for the shell... what specific features do you want preserved? The start button's still there even if it works slightly differently. Can't properly remember how the one in XP worked, except it was worse.

Cooper
28-08-2012, 04:55 PM
Vista is fine, now, years later.

I use my old copy of Vista on my HTPC. Despite it being full of some odd bits of hardware, the drivers are fine (even given it's an x64 version).

When I first used this copy of Vista, soon after release, on my main desktop. It was a nightmare.


The nightmare, however, was the fault of hardware companies not producing decent, stable drivers, especially for a 64 bit envuironment (or even any at all). This is now laregyl resolved bar some obscure bits of tech, for which third party solutions of exist.

The Tupper
28-08-2012, 07:56 PM
Bah. It looks like my experiment is gonna be moot after all: the upgrade disc resolutely fails to progress past the first 'collecting information' stage. I've tried everything I can scour from the net - including a clean boot - and nothing. I suspect one of the updates to XP since this disc was produced has made this upgrade path non functional. Buggeration.

Thanks anyway people.

Kamikaze-X
28-08-2012, 09:28 PM
you need to do a clean install if you have upgrade media with windows XP- you can't just upgrade XP, its too old.

Kodeen
28-08-2012, 09:34 PM
you need to do a clean install if you have upgrade media with windows XP- you can't just upgrade XP, its too old.

Seconding this. XP and Vista are so different that upgrading is essentially a full install anyway, and you don't want any XP bits remaining and possibly destabilizing the system. Make a backup and wipe your drive.

The Tupper
28-08-2012, 09:44 PM
Seconding this. XP and Vista are so different that upgrading is essentially a full install anyway, and you don't want any XP bits remaining and possibly destabilizing the system. Make a backup and wipe your drive.


The disc is supposed to be specifically an upgrade from XP to Vista - am I correct in thinking that XP has been patched and changed so many times since the disc was made that it won't work anymore?

Kodeen
29-08-2012, 12:10 AM
The disc is supposed to be specifically an upgrade from XP to Vista - am I correct in thinking that XP has been patched and changed so many times since the disc was made that it won't work anymore?

That shouldn't matter, the Vista disc should have everything it needs even though it's an upgrade disc, meaning Vista doesn't need to use the XP installation as a base. Check this article and see if it might have some clues.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Upgrading-from-Windows-XP-to-Windows-Vista

soldant
29-08-2012, 12:50 AM
It still uses more resources than XP though, so only do the upgrade if your computer isn't uber-weak.
So does Win7... or really anything after WinXP. The OS making better use of available resources isn't a bad thing...


OP: I'd do a clean install. Boot the CD from BIOS and it should find the WinXP install right before you select a partition to install it to. From there it should allow you to do a clean install. If not, and if you've got the space, you can do a 'clean' install by choosing Custom, selecting the partition that XP is installed on, and then installing it there (without formatting it). That should cause it to move everything in the Windows, Program Files, and Documents and Settings folders to a new folder called Windows.Old and install a clean Vista install.

The Tupper
29-08-2012, 01:00 AM
That shouldn't matter, the Vista disc should have everything it needs even though it's an upgrade disc, meaning Vista doesn't need to use the XP installation as a base. Check this article and see if it might have some clues.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Upgrading-from-Windows-XP-to-Windows-Vista

Thanks very much for that link. Looks like I'm transferring files to a spare drive and re-installing from scratch. Thanks again.

The Tupper
29-08-2012, 01:03 AM
So does Win7... or really anything after WinXP. The OS making better use of available resources isn't a bad thing...


From there it should allow you to do a clean install. If not, and if you've got the space, you can do a 'clean' install by choosing Custom, selecting the partition that XP is installed on, and then installing it there (without formatting it). That should cause it to move everything in the Windows, Program Files, and Documents and Settings folders to a new folder called Windows.Old and install a clean Vista install.

Ah - I might not have to do too much file transferring then if the windows.old folder will do it for me. Brilliant. Thanks again.

Sakkura
29-08-2012, 01:41 AM
So does Win7... or really anything after WinXP. The OS making better use of available resources isn't a bad thing...
It's not the caching I'm talking about, since that is indeed boosting performance vs. XP. It's the OS itself that does have a bigger footprint, but you only notice that on the lowest low-end systems (there was a lot of whining over this when Vista launched, because people got Vista for systems that really should have stayed with XP). And indeed it goes for any post-XP Windows and is probably inevitable. Some of it can even be caused by the basic difference between 32-bit and 64-bit, where memory use does tend to increase. This goes for Linux too, they just didn't have that defining moment of diving into 64-bit like Vista more or less did. Heck, ubuntu.com still recommends downloading the 32-bit version to this day.

Cooper
29-08-2012, 04:16 PM
I'll second the clean install for Vista.

I have a 'student upgrade only' version of Vista. It is supposed to only be used as an upgrade for XP. But both on my desktop which had XP and my HTPC which was totally bare, a clean install on a blank HDD was the best way to go about using it.

Moraven
30-08-2012, 01:08 AM
I knew there was a reason I wanted to get in before the inevitable VISTA SUCXS posts ;)

I used Vista for years without issue. The only reason I upgraded to Win 7 is that I upgraded to a 64-bit processor and needed a new OS to take advantage of it.

That's what Win XP 64-bit was for! Good times.

Shooop
30-08-2012, 03:07 AM
Vista was tolerable after the final service pack came out. But it's still a part of MS's history even they want to forget ever happened so you should really save up for a move to Windows 7.

FriendlyFire
30-08-2012, 05:22 AM
Keep in mind that installing a new OS, especially with such a large jump, won't really be drop in. Despite the fact Vista should keep old files around when installing itself, do make a backup of important data prior to that. Dig deep and make sure you're not forgetting anything, just in case. Save games, documents, bookmarks, whatever.

Also, once Vista is up and running, your old applications probably won't work properly. You'll have to reinstall them. Running them from the .Old folders is a bad idea, because they weren't actually installed so they have no registry information, they don't show up in add/remove programs, etc.

I say it's also a good opportunity to decide whether all the programs you used to have are really necessary.

The Tupper
30-08-2012, 11:02 AM
Update: Thanks again for the great advice although thanks even more to my amazing cousin it's all now unneeded. He's gonna donate a beast of a new-ish PC to my cause, a system way more powerful than I have now, gratis. He's a peach. It also has Windows 7!

VISTA SUCXS!

Sakkura
30-08-2012, 01:20 PM
Not only did you dodge Vista, you also won't have to upgrade soon and be forced into Windows 8.