Why I'm Trading Vista for XP


For the last 2 (or 3?) months now, Fr0stbyte has been running Vista. At first, I thought Vista was one of the best upgrades ever: you gotta love the redesigned interface, Flip 3D, Areo and all, the new task bar with disk caching that makes searching incredibly fast. Also, DirectX 10 compatibility with all the newer games is a big big feature, specially for somebody like me who used to thing that he was going to play all the newest games maxed out. I pertinently knew that Vista would handicap performance, but I was ready to accept that (my box has plenty anyways, right?) but after several frustrating experiences, I decided that enough was enough: XP x64 is going back on my main system, and Vista is going to hell.

First issue: compatibility. As if the new x64 architecture and WOW64 32 bit emulator issues weren’t enough, Vista provides even more complications with software compatibility. Since Vista is based on a whole new kernel which has strictly nothing to do with NT 5, which was the engine for Windows 2000 and XP, unexplained crashes are pretty common. In this two month period, I would swear that I’ve had more software fatal exceptions than in the past two years of my life, and it’s not like I’ve been running pre-beta software all the time. Not a program was spared: Xfire, Crysis, WoW, Quake Wars, Google Sketchup, iTunes, Last.fm, Folding @ Home, all of them borked a bit at some point or another, and most of them are official announced as compatible with Vista. Some programs, either older or unsupported for a while, IE 3dMark01 SE and Aquamark, refused to work at all, to my great despair. Also, some games that used to work earlier just stopped working altogether after a couple of weeks of normal use. WTF? I bought those, and I need to be able to play them whenever the heck I want to. Vista 0, XP 1.

Secondly, I realized that the performance issues it gave me weren’t exactly worth it. Let’s get it straight, most of the games that I play aren’t DX10, so just there, appeal isn’t as strong. When you add to that the fact that the difference between DX9c and DX10 isn’t actually mind blowing, (proof?) so the difference in my situation between XP and Vista is running Crysis at medium settings under DX10, or running at high or with more anti aliasing with the same frame rates under DX9. Delta(Medium, High) > Delta(DX10,DX9). Plus, I really want to pop the 14k 3dMarks like all the home-dawgs at OCN with the same card. According to me, the nVidia 8 series just wasn’t ready for something like DX10, it just isn’t ripe yet. Let’s see if the 9 series and the newer G100 scheduled for this quarter will change something with DX10.1.

Lastly, I hate how inflexible, oversimplified and idiot-proof Vista is: it seems that you can’t change a single system setting the OS asking you to undo it. At first , decided to keep the annoying UAC messages, mostly because I was too much of a lazy ass to mess around with it. When I finally took a stand and decided to turn it off, I got a message at every boot telling me to turn it back on, and “Don’t remind me again” wasn’t an option. The same security system spoiled my NFS:Carbon saved games and most of my installs of EA produced games after applying updates also won’t let me access certain My Document files with certain programs, even if the said program is run as administrator. Bottom line, I’m just tired of all the messing around.

So for all these reasons, I’m flushing Vista. It was great while it happened, but I just don’t think that I’m ready for such a change.