First we have Windows XP Windows 7. It’s about everything and nothing.
Update: Since I originally wrote this article Microsoft has introduced Windows 7 to the world. What a difference a few months makes. Windows 7 makes up for everything Vista did wrong and them some. It is certainly the best OS Microsoft has produced since XP and some might say Windows 2000.
And its not a disappointment this time around like it was with Vista. Besides improving the interface they have revamped most of the built in applications, simplified wi-fi networking management, gotten rid of the annoying security prompts, gave it better battery life, and made major improvements to the task bar. It will even run on lower powered hardware like netbooks.
Unlike the Vista launch most of the hardware compatibility problems have been resolved. Windows 7 is based on Vista so all the work manufactures put into updating their drivers to Vista will still apply.So most of the problems controlled by Microsoft that are outlined below have been resolved. The problems related to existing in the Windows based eco-system are still there.
What about Windows Vista? Stay away from Vista. But isn’t Vista the latest and greatest from Microsoft? Latest, true. Greatest, no.
There are two major reason to stay away from Vista. One, corporate America has pretty much passed on this operating systems due to software incompatibilities, cost, and lack of benefit. Second, a major lack off legacy hardware support. What business wants to buy a new computer for everyone just for a fancier interface and find out that they have to replace everything else, printers, digital cameras, scanners, just to make it all work together again? For that matter, why would you? Unless you don’t have any legacy hardware or software, just stay away.
If you need proof of all these problems, all you have to do is look at Microsoft’s support policy for Windows XP. Windows XP was suppose to reach end of life in the middle of 2007. Since then, due to the backlash from vendors and consumer problems, that support has been extend to June of 2008. Now the rumor is that support will be extended, again, to 2010. Why 2010? That’s when Microsoft plans to release its next version of Windows.
So why use Windows XP? Well Windows XP is still the most widely supported operating system and dare I say it, the most stable product in the Windows family. You’ll never have a problem finding hardware, software, or support for a Windows XP system. Windows XP also still has the most support for running your custom business applications. The last reason to select XP over other alternatives is gaming. If gaming is a major consideration you are practically locked into choosing Windows XP.
So, at this point, you are probably saying to yourself that Windows XP is for you but, hold on, being the biggest has its dark side. For one, Windows is targeted for malware more than the other operating systems. Due to the architecture of Windows, when that malware gets into your system, it can do more damage and be harder to remove than other systems. Windows is general more unstable than its counterparts. I’d love to lay the blame for this entirely at Microsoft’s feet but, that would be unfair. The sheer magnitude of configurations options means that there really can’t be rigorous quality of assurance testing for every scenario that might come up and they can’t be blamed for that. What they can be blamed for is continuing an architecture that allows the failure of one system to affect the rest of the system.
An example of Windows inherent instability might be when you accidentally unplug your camera, mouse, printer, whatever, from you computer while it is in use. Instead of just the programs using that device locking up, your whole computer locks up and needs to be rebooted. We have all had this experience. We also all blame Microsoft solely for the problem. That isn’t exactly fair. The root cause of the lockup was the device driver, written by the manufacturer, being unable to handle this unexpected event. Where Microsoft shares the blame is not being able to keep this single, poorly written, device driver from affecting the whole system.
If I made this same mistake in Linux, and I have, I would probably just lose the ability for the application I was using to talk to the device I had disconnected. It is a very rare event that the whole system would lock up. In any case, to fix it, all I would have to do is reconnect the device and restart the application. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t an example of better drivers being written for Linux. If, in this example, the driver was better than its Windows counterpart then my application wouldn’t need to be restarted. It is an example of the underlying architecture of Linux being able to handle this unexpected event better than Windows.
- More then 80% of the desktop computers in the world run some sort of Windows operating system.
- You won’t have any trouble finding hardware and drivers.
- You won’t have any problems finding support.
- Most widely supported operating system for games.
- Large shareware and freeware application library.
- The most prone operating system for spyware and virus applications.
- You are going to need support.
- General instability due to the shear number of possible configurations.
- Poor security.
- Limited access to the library of free open source software.
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