Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.
I ordered a new computer this week. It's a desktop machine, and as you might imagine I ordered it with lots of memory, processor, power capacity, disk space and so on. So far it's a fairly nice machine, and I'll probably report on it some more in upcoming articles after I've had a chance to iron out a kink or two.
When I placed my order I had my choice of operating systems: Windows Vista, Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux.
I ordered the machine with Windows XP Pro pre-installed.
Now it wasn't that easy a decision; I actually had to think about it.
As I've said before, for most people Windows Vista just isn't as bad as many might have you believe. Yes, there are absolutely people having significant problems with it, but while those problems get a lot of publicity I believe that they are really the exception, rather than the rule. Particularly when pre-installed - in other words not an in-place upgrade over XP - Vista's a reasonable choice. That's how my laptop came, and I've been running Vista quite successfully on it for well over a year now.
Last week's podcast notwithstanding, Ubuntu Linux was also worth some serious consideration. The fact that it was available only without support, coupled with many of my requirements I alluded to on last week, made that a non-starter for me. (My plan, however, is to install Ubuntu on my current desktop which this new machine is replacing.)
So why did I decide on XP?
In a nutshell: because it works.
I'm not saying that Vista wouldn't, but the probability of XP working is a little higher.
One particular area of risk for Vista is in graphics and media. I ordered this machine with the capacity to do some video editting and right now XP's drivers and overall performance seem ... safer.
For all it's flaws, XP has a track record that extends back several years now. With SP3 just around the corner, XP is a reliable, stable operating system. Vista has yet to establish something like that same track record.
Given my eventual reliance on this new machine, I simply decided that until I need Windows Vista, Windows XP would do just fine.
And of course with XP perhaps disappearing in the coming months this could perhaps be my last chance to get it pre-installed.
So what should you do?
Good question. To be honest, today I think you'd have a hard time going wrong by following my example and choosing Windows XP.
But the good news, in some senses, is that it's not necessarily a obvious decision. For the average user, Windows Vista is still a fairly safe bet as well - at least for pre-installed systems.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.net and enter 12330 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse the hundreds of technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.net.
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