should I buy a pc with Windows vista? 

Windows Vista continues to fizzle.   Feb 9, 2009: Forrester Research indicates fewer than 10% of the business enterprise has adopted Vista in the last two years.  Now that Vista has reached the "ripe" age of 3 years many are questioning why to adopt it at all.

The brighter side of the Vista World  A balanced view on Windows Vista on a Gateway laptop.

Is Vista Faster than XP?Watch this Youtube video with two identical Dell Laptops.

PC World mentions one of the most vexing problems with Windows Vista - something PCNS has known for quite some time - Why System Restore frequently does not restore the System.   (June 2008).

PC World May 2008: Does SP1 Fix Vista?  "It's just not the fix many mainstream users are looking for."

Apple mocks Vista Ad Campaign. 30 second Apple Commercial on

Microsoft: Windows 7 ready for Christmas 2009

Will the Next Version of Windows Arrive Early?

April 2008 ComputerWorld:  "Microsoft recently dropped two strong hints that the next version of its Windows operating system will arrive in 2009, up to a year sooner than anticipated.  The hints might signal Microsoft's intention to cuts its losses with Windows Vista, which customer, especially large companies, have grudgingly accepted or shunned."  ComputerWorld article

An Example of Why UAC Prompts in Vista Can't Always Be Trusted

In a January 7, 2004 e-mail, the chief of the Microsoft Windows team, Jim Allchin wrote to Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer:

"I am not sure how the company lost sight of what matters to our customers (both business and home) the most, but in my view we lost our way.  I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems [our] customers face are.  I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that doesn't translate into great products.  I would buy a Mac today if I was not working at Microsoft...  Apple did not lose their way.  They think scenario.  They think simple.   They think fast."

On September 23, 2005, the Wall Street Journal reported:

Jim Allchin, a senior Microsoft Corp. executive, walked into Bill Gates's office here one day in July last year to deliver a bombshell about the next generation of Microsoft Windows.

"Itís not going to work," Mr. Allchin says he told the Microsoft chairman.  The new version, code-named Longhorn, was so complex its writers would never be able to make it run properly.

Nov 2007 The (Post-SP1) Vista Verdict: Wait for Windows 7.  When the choice is between a buggy, bloated, immature OS with no tangible value add vs. a lean, clean and reliable (if somewhat dated) OS that has the broadest support base in the history of personal computing - plus performance to burn - there really is no contest."

Feb 2008  "In the end, we lowered the requirement to help Intel make their quarterly earnings so they could continue to sell motherboards with the 915 graphics embedded." --John Kalkman, Microsoft.  How Microsoft was pressured by Intel by qualifying "Vista Ready PC's" which were incapable of running the Aero Graphics."

Jan 2007  "Windows Vista clearly is not a great new performer when it comes to executing single applications at maximum speed.  Although we only looked at the 32-bit version of Windows Vista Enterprise, we do not expect the 64-bit edition to be faster (at least not with 32-bit applications)."  From

Dec 2007 A summary of Windows Vista's new Safety and Security Features.

Oct 2007 Russinovich Blog: Vista's internal Zip engine needlessly inefficient, a fix forthcoming in Service Pack 1.  The problem was compounded by Computer Associates ETrust Antivirus.
Aug 2007 Russinovich Blog: Network performance slow?  Running Windows Media Player?  Shut it off!  A new mechanism in Vista prioritizes WMP traffic such that Vista will throttle back all other network traffic such as Internet and EMail - substantially.

April 23, 2007 Russinovich: Malware will thrive, even with Vista’s User Account Controls. Despite all the anti-malware roadblocks built into Windows Vista, a senior Microsoft official is lowering the security expectations, warning that viruses, password-stealing Trojans, and rootkits will continue to thrive as malware authors adapt to the new operating system.

April 24, 2007
"At least two exploits were targeted at Vista, trying to circumvent a new security feature designed to thwart malicious software attacks, said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for F-Secure Corp. at the InfoSecurity Europe in London on Tuesday."

"Both of the exploits attempted to circumvent the feature and insert themselves into memory.  Neither worked and merely caused the computer to crash, Hypponen said."

Windows vista first impressions

Windows Vista Graphic From a business perspective, PCNS sees no compelling reason to upgrade to Windows Vista.  By now you've probably heard numerous mainstream products do not run on Vista, including Outlook 2000 (part of Office 2000 Suite of products), Quickbooks 2006 or older, Act 2006 or older, and many hardware devices such as older HP OfficeJets have released no drivers.  The built-in drivers in Windows Vista driver for certain HP OfficeJet's have limited functionality.  Dell recently announced the re-introduction of consumer PC's offered with Windows XP.  Toshiba Tecra and Fujitsu Lifebook notebooks can be purchased with Windows XP Professional.  Nobody knows how long Microsoft will allow PC manufacturer's to sell Windows XP.  While you can still buy Windows XP on clearance websites, such as, (this site still sells Windows 2000 and 98), it costs money to buy a Windows XP license to replace Vista, so you're better off getting XP from the start.  A customer who recently purchased an HP Pavilion laptop with Vista, who later decided to downgrade due to some software incompatibility, discovered there are no drivers for Windows XP on HP's support site for the model he purchased.

PCNS recommends, if you have no pressing needs for a new PC, wait until 2009 before upgrading, as this will allow Intel and AMD to bring out faster, more inexpensive processors into the mainstream.  PCNS as of May 1, 2006 has performed seven new PC data migrations to Vista, from WinXp.  PCNS has followed up with these customers.  Nearly every customer surveyed who purchased new mainstream computer hardware (both laptops and desktops) noted no performance differences between Vista and Windows XP, despite having twice the memory and a faster Core 2 Duo processor.  Three of those customers thought their newer computer was slower than the one it replaced.

If you're going to make the jump, buy as powerful a machine you can afford.  One customer purchased an HP Pavillion AMD Athlon 64 3800 x2 processor with 1024 megs ram, Windows Vista Home Edition Premium, with 19" Flat Screen for $679 after rebates from Office Depot, and right out of the box performance was so-so, and she returned it.  If you're expectations are faster performance and the new operating system, the Intel Core 2 Duo processor is faster than AMD.  And, as a minimum PCNS recommends 2 gigs ram, and a high performance Video card.  Disabling the fancy Mac-like "aero graphics" will improve things on a marginal or low end PC, but the aero graphics is one of the main attractions for Vista.  A basic entry level PC (with Vista Basic - which lacks the aero graphics) with an AMD Processor should be (minimum) the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600 Series.  A better, albiet more costly alternative, is start off with the Intel Core2 Duo 6420 Series.  A Dell Dimension C521 PC with the AMD 4600+ Series processor trailed in 2nd to last place in a recent PC World Vista hardware review.

"The $979 Dell C521 yielded the slowest performance we saw in this group. This system lagged behind the other machines in all of our tests except the Far Cry game.  It took a rather lengthy 597 seconds to run the Photoshop test, or about twice as long as the Gateway model.  The C521 was also very slow in multitasking, taking 359 seconds to complete a test that the XPS 710 finished in 258 seconds--28 percent slower."

For potential upgraders, visit Windows Upgrade advisor.  Remember it's the sum of your PC Hardware, not just the PC itself.  Printers, Scanners, All In Ones, Web Cameras all need drivers, the upgrade advisor will help.

a list of incompatible applications

All Act versions, except version 2007 are incompatible with Windows Vista.  Outlook 2000, a part of the Office 2000 Office suite, may not send email under Windows Vista.  Microsoft says this is an "incompatible application."  Photoshop Elements 3.0 errors out during its installation, as it tries to install an old version of Windows Media Player.  The Iomega USB Hard Drive Backup program Automatic Backup is not supported.  You should always contact your application vendor if you have a program specific to your business or occupation. Be sure to check "Heavy Problems, currently Incompatible" on Wikipedia here.  

vista attractions

While the Aero Graphics has a decided cool factor, disabling Aero Graphics or using Windows Vista Basic on a less powerful PC will make a significant performance improvement.  Vista Basic is only an option if you do not connect to a corporate Windows Domain.

vista detractions

Windows Mail replaces Outlook Express.  Identities is gone.  Microsoft's Windows Mail Help explains:

"The ability to create e-mail identities in Outlook Express, which allowed multiple people sharing the same computer to keep their e-mail separate, has been removed in Windows Mail.  Instead, Windows Mail enables you to create separate Windows user accounts for each person who wants to use e-mail on a single computer.   If you're upgrading to Windows Mail from an Outlook Express account that contains multiple e-mail identities, Windows Mail will automatically launch a wizard to guide you through the process of importing your previous e-mail identities into your current user account."