Much of my weekend has been spent rebuilding my laptop – I’ve finally given up on Windows Vista and gone back to Windows XP SP2. The real crunch point in the decision was going along to a games night last week and discovering that nobody was still running Windows Vista. Howard has said that he periodically tries the new OS when he’s setting up a machine, but more often than not is back on XP within a few days. Alongside this I’ve had regular chances to compare the two as my work computer has never been upgraded.
Most of yesterday was spent on the traditional search for the right drivers – especially problematic on a laptop. First off I had a bit of a hassle with the graphics drivers, caused in part by ATi using .NET for the configuration control panels. The basic workaround there was to only put the latest install of the Radeon drivers once all the .NET Framework installs were on and up to date. Having said that, even once all of that was finished, Windows XP was steadfastly refusing to identify the drivers for the sound card and bluetooth functionality, and had basic drivers for some of the rest of the components
Eventually by working out what MSI machine Evesham had used as a basis for the Roma that I have, I managed to get hold of the right drivers from the MSI site – that I managed to do by finding the AMDboard.com page of Turion notebooks, which lists the Evesham Quest Roma as being a re-branded MSI Megabook M635.
After that it was on to feeding the machine a whole series of install CD’s and DVD’s to load back on the various bits of software I had running. That tedious task continued this afternoon, but finally it’s done!
So what’s it like? To be honest I’d forgotten quite what a nippy machine this is – all the games, which with the Mac as my main machine is one of the primary uses I have, seem to run a lot faster. The desktop, without all the bells and whistles that Windows Vista adds actually moves along too – Windows Vista just feels sluggish in comparison. Security wise I’m also not having to contend with the User Account Control which is one of the biggest annoyances in Windows Vista when trying to do pretty well anything to do with files.
In terms of the machine, the other thing that now works that never did under Windows Vista is the power management. When running Vista all you had to do was unplug the power cable to cause the OS to get very upset and generally lock up – a bit of a pain on a machine that was supposed to be mobile.
So will I install Vista again? I’ll keep an eye on the forums when the service packs come along – but ultimately for my purposes I’m fine with Windows XP, and the machine seems to run a lot better with that installed.
Of course that does leave an interesting point for discussion, if my experience is common, as it is amongst the other gamers, it does seem that Microsoft has a bit of a problem. Indeed it is interesting to note which machines Dell have re-introduced Windows XP for – the high end games machines. Vista poses a number of problems at work, and indeed is not being supported with drivers by some of the companies we work with. Then you also have PC Pro recommending that the average user would be better off with a Mac. So is there anybody who would be better off with Vista?