No Virginia, Vista Won’t Run on Your 8 Year-Old Laptop

I’ve been trying to keep up with the stories about people who are still having problems with Windows Vista.  Some of the problems appear to be people with Vista on their new computers, which is understandable since it’s Microsoft’s first OS upgrade in a long time – understandable but still a pain in the ass, because Microsoft should not have overpromised and underdelivered on Vista.

(as I’ve said before, Vista has been a pretty solid OS for me.  I haven’t baby’d my laptop either – it’s my main computer and I’m usually running a handful of video, audio or web editing software on it and it trucks along.  Not as fast as XP, but Vista is Mike Alstott to XP’s Warrick Dunn.)

Some of the people bitching about Vista haven’t tried Vista yet, but read some of the negative comments about it and added gas to the fire.  Or saw Apple’s innovative ads poking fun at Vista (Steve Jobs’s gratitude for Bill Gates bailing him out and saving Apple a few years back, but I digress) 😉

And some of the complaining seems to come from people who have tried to install Vista on that cutting-edge 1996 computer they just can’t seem to get rid of, for some pack-rat sentimental reason.  Microsoft, instead of subtly nudging people into upgrading their computers so they can run on Vista, decided to shoehorn Windows users into getting Vista – and worse, getting them on computers that won’t run Vista properly.

This has caused quite the PR kerfluffle within the computer world.  This isn’t “the good ole days” when Microsoft released XP.  Nowadays detractors have media outlets to complain to (or with) that were not available with the great XP unveiling – blogs and other social media. (Ha!  I knew I could tie blogging into this somehow!) MS should have been a little more savvy to the segment of their consumer base that isn’t ready to,  or capable of, adopting.  Now Microsoft has opened itself up to some deserved criticism as the end of life date for XP looms closer – Microsoft is really not going to cut off service to millions, if not tens or hundreds of millions, of XP users are they?

Some savvy computer makers (Ok, right now it’s just Dell, but expect other’s to follow quickly) have stated they will continue to install XP Pro on computers after the cut-off deadline, thanks to a loophole that allows them to offer XP Pro to those who purchase a computer with Vista Business or Ultimate. Microsoft should offer the same kind of deal.

Listen up Ballmer, I’m going to tell you how to turn this into a PR, and actual customer, win.

Since there is already an outcry for Microsoft to save XP, the corporate team in Redmond should jump at this show of evangelism towards one of their products.  Instead of cutting XP off in a couple of months they should have a “change of heart.”  Tell your customer base that you are going to keep working on XP until Windows 7 – for the people who either don’t want to, or don’t have the compu-power to switch over to Vista.  In fact, offer one more Service Pack for XP, to incorporate one or two Vista features into XP to give the computing public a taste of what Vista can offer them.

In exchange for keeping XP around a while longer, Microsoft then needs to take a lot of the legacy crap out of Vista.  Stream down Vista’s code as much as you can so it’ll run on computers made in the last couple of years or so, and tell those people who have older computers that might not run Vista that they have an option.  Vista wasn’t made for your 2002 Inspiron 2000 or your millenial cutting-edge Toshiba.  And that’s fine. XP is a solid OS for those computers.  Eventually those computers will go to the great E-Cycling bin in the sky.  Then the next computers they buy will have Vista, or Windows 7, on them.  Either way, people will be using Microsoft products, just down parallel tracks for a while.

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