Seven reasons why IT Pros who skipped Vista should regret it now

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Thu, September 24, 2009 - 21 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

vista-logo In a few weeks, Vista will be history. Even though, it will still be running for quite some time on many machines out there, most IT pros will focus now on Windows 7. Of course, no IT pro will start using Vista now. But I am sure many are still running XP on their own computers, at work or at home, and quite a few of them believe that skipping Vista was the smartest thing to do. If you are one of them, then this article is dedicated to you. Quite by chance, I’ve found seven reasons why you should now regret your decision.

1. Windows 7 is great

You probably think that since Vista was such a mess and Windows 7 is so great, your decision to skip Vista was a wise one. The contrary is true. The major reason why Windows 7 is so great is because it builds on Vista. You could have had many of the great Windows 7 features long ago.

2. What is Windows 7?

You probably will never really be able to answer this question. If you move directly from Windows XP to Windows 7, you won’t be able to tell if a new feature was introduced with Vista or Windows 7. Whenever you log on to a Vista machine, you will be confused because many things are similar, but some are different. This is embarrassing for an IT pro. Let’s hope that in the future you never have to work for an organization that still has Vista.

3. You are left behind

Perhaps you played a little with Vista. But using an operating system on your own computer every day is a different thing. This is how IT pros learn to internalize how an OS has to be managed. You can’t learn this from a book. The majority of IT pros are now ahead of you. It will take a while for you to catch up since you now have to learn the Vista and Windows 7 features all at once.

4. You missed all the good trouble

Yes, it is true that in the beginning, Vista broke many applications and device drivers were either unavailable or half-baked. This made countless IT pros around the world sweat and curse. You should envy them. During this time, they have learned more about PC troubleshooting than ever before in their lives. A soldier who has never been in combat can hardly make a military career. An IT pro who managed to get Vista running properly is certainly very valuable for any organization.

5. You missed an important chapter in IT history

I don’t remember a time when an operating system was as passionately debated as Vista. History will tell if Microsoft’s decision to focus almost completely on security was good for the IT community or not. One thing is for sure, though, you didn’t really play a role in this chapter of IT history. Perhaps you took part in the debates, but someone who hasn’t really used this OS doesn’t have a say. This important chapter in IT history just passed you by.

6. Lack of bashing flu antibodies

Shorty after Vista was released, the Vista bashing flu was spreading from journalist brain to journalist brain, and many IT pros willingly got themselves infected. After trying Vista for a week or two, they downgraded to XP and proudly told everyone who wanted to hear it that Vista really is a mess, just like everyone says. Come on, how can you get to know an operating system in a week when it was developed over five years by several thousand engineers? I also know some IT pros who kept using Vista and didn’t change their minds. That is okay. They proved themselves to have bashing-flu antibodies in their brains because they didn’t fall for impression-motivated, anti-Microsoft-campaigns driven by the IT yellow press. You probably lack these antibodies.

7. Windows XP worked just fine

There is no doubt that this argument was abused most often in discussions about Vista. Of course, XP was the best desktop OS of its time, and so were Windows 2000 and Windows NT. And of course, they all worked just fine when their successors were released. To use this as an argument against a new operating system is the worst sin an IT pro can commit. If everything works just fine, nobody really needs you. This argument can be used against any kind of innovation. Heck, our business is to make those things work that aren’t working fine. Besides, as mentioned above, Vista mainly was a security release and an operating system that is significantly less secure than its successor doesn’t really work fine. Let’s just hope that the XP machines in your network don’t belong to one of these fast growing botnets.

You feel remorse now? Okay, one has to be able to forgive. Go and get Windows 7 as fast as you can.

You still don’t regret it? Tell me your reasons why skipping Vista was such a good idea!

;-)

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21 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. routerguy says:

    Reasons why skipping Vista was a good idea:
    1. Customers didn’t want it.
    2. Significant upgrade cost, no demonstrable advantage to business.
    3. PC troubleshooting for driver issues is a cost and productivity drain, not a learning opportunity.
    4. Most employees already familiar with XP, cutting retraining time and cost.

    On the flipside, the fact that there’s no simple migration path from XP to Windows 7, although a ridiculous and, I suspect, punitive move on the part of Microsoft, makes not going to Vista an unfortunate choice.

  2. Richard says:

    As I an IT vendor I was put off Vista early when, despite many weeks of trouble shooting effort, we couldn’t get it to run correctly on Lenovo tablets (built for Vista!).
    Even when upgraded to 4 GB RAM. Same systems ran beautifully on XP.
    Similar issues on other PCs in the early days stopped me recommending it at all. The hit-and-miss success for no apparent reason made it too risky as a proposition.

  3. Jarred Fehr says:

    Michael, I think you missed the most important point. Any admin who kept their end users on XP all this time has let them languish without having to learn anything new. Upon an upgrade to Win7, they might be even more resistant to change since it has been so long since they’ve had to. Also, they have an even bigger education delta to learn.

    I’m looking forward to moving my users to 7 from Vista. I think learning the new SuperBar will be a lot in itself. I’m glad I won’t have to cover many of the shared features of Vista (search, gadgets, Windows Flip, etc.). Getting end users to learn everything from XP->7 is more daunting.

  4. Trevor says:

    Most of these points are weak at best. Let’s review them:
    1. Windows 7 is definitely good, much better than Vista. The main reasons here being that Microsoft most of what was broken, annoying or unusable in Vista. Also, they weeded out the performance issues that plagued Vista.
    2. You’re going to try to embarrass us into regretting not using Vista? I was never embarrassed in 2001 when I had to tell friends and associates that the machine running Windows Me was trash and the same applies to Vista….they agreed then and I know they agree now.
    3. Left behind? I learn quick. Learning now versus learning then, the net time required to learn new tech is pretty well the same. I’m sure back when Vista came out I was learning something valuable like ESX. Now the poor sucker who spent those long hours dealing with Vista UAC, is way behind me on the leading industry virtualization technology.
    4. Missed all the good trouble? Having grown up with NT4, whose middle name was trouble, I think I’ve paid my dues when it comes to trouble on the desktop OS. And for the industry noobs, there’s always Google.
    5. See comments about Windows Me above…no one cares!
    6. Now we’re being accused of being sheeple (sheep people)? Yep, used the OS several times, it ran poorly and any kind of advanced changes I ever tried to make to it too twice as long as on Windows XP. Not sheeple, just pissed off when New == Crap!
    7. XP did not work fine; it worked and continues to work great! Yeah, it doesn’t handle multiple monitors well, the interface isn’t quite as polished looking as Vista/7 and wireless and VPN are a bit cumbersome; but I dare anyone to go find a device out there that doesn’t have an XP driver for it, or software that doesn’t run on it without immense headaches. Ok, Ok Vista more secure you’re probably right, it is sure nice to not have to run antivirus anymore…….oh, right. :(

    All in all, I find your list to be lame and like much like a lot of your stuff, a little too drunk on Microsoft Kool-aid. I think it’s time to stop following you on Twitter.

  5. moiecoute says:

    Cost Cost Cost & Cost.

    Neither Vista’s GUI or features were enough for us to spend a couple hundred thousand dollars upgrading our fleet, buying new software, training and in some cases new peripherals because of driver issues.

    Those people who went Vista I hope your IT credentials and your IT department reputation survived. Perhaps Win 7 will help you repair both. We often would joke here that Vista was Windows ME mark 2. Myself and all my team dumped it once the RC trial ran out.

  6. AntiTrust says:

    Yep, I’m sure theres plenty of IT professionals who regret not trying Windows ME. Who cares if you don’t know that a feature (Like System Restore in ME, oh wait it barely worked then anyway, but wait theres shiny stuff in Vista that you’ll never truly appreciate in Windows 7 unless you never got the chance to turn it off in Vista) was first introduced in Vista.
    No-one except for mum and dad home users who had it forced on them when they bought their shiny new computer that was ‘so’ much faster than their old one (until it got Vista’d) will be using it soon anyway. Hell my wife have still been using ME if we hadn’t met and I ‘upgraded’ her back to Win98 (and now XP).

  7. Ron M says:

    As an IT professional with 16 years of experience that recently made the move from XP to Windows 7 RTM, it took me about hour to load the OS, drivers etc and find my way around. Not much of a learning curve in my opinion. Getting Plug & Play to work right when it was introduced was more of a challenge than this OS. I am not going to get into Windows NT and the many headaches it caused.

    Anyone remember the “era” of Novell to NT migrations in the mid to late 90s? Now that was a fun, exciting and frustrating time defiantly worth remembering.

    I loaded Windows 7 on a system that is about 7 years old. It was a PowerEdge 800 Server with a P4 2.0 GHz CPU, 2 GB of Ram and a 5400 RPM IDE hard drive that I converted to a workstation a couple of years ago.

    The performance appears to match what I was getting with XP and it has been running for about a month. Based on what I have read about Vista, this system would not be very usable after a few weeks due to how Vista uses memory to cache commonly used programs/services. Apparently that was one of the improvements in Windows 7. The hardware requirements of Vista was a major detractor when it was released.

    For me at least, it really was not that XP worked fine but that it worked with everything and did not require a gaming machine configuration to run well. As far as security, the two words I live by are Firewall and Firefox. Honestly, the only thing IE is good for is Microsoft Updates, but I will add that IE 8 does seem to run better on Windows 7 than it does on XP or Vista.

    I have no regrets and am glad I did not waste my time with Vista. I can’t wait until it is retired, that’s about the only thing I will remember about the Vista “era”.

  8. Barry M says:

    Ron M, you should think back to 2001 when XP was first released. The specs you posted for your server are gaming system specs from that era. Sure, current gaming specs are higher, but in 2001 2GB of RAM was unheard of. XP only required 64 MB to run (128 MB recommended). I’m betting most people had around 256 MB. So XP does essentially require a gaming configuration from its era.

    Windows Vista and 7 on the other hand don’t require a gaming configuration from their era. They’ll both happily run on 2 GB of RAM, while most gaming rigs have at least 4 (speaking as a gamer). With RAM so cheap these days, it almost makes no sense to run with less than 4 GB.

  9. Dave says:

    I for one like Vista. Sure it sucks up more resources, UAC is funky, the learning curve is steep but short, but I’m a better tech for it. Supporting various companies throughout the week have provided me great in-depth knowledge of Microsoft OS’ and I have never regretted the day I installed Vista in January of 07, however, I could hardly wait for 7. Now I have MSDN of 7 64-bit on both my work laptop and home and it is a godsend of an OS. I use it to work, I use it to game, I use it to do spreadsheets and email and it hasn’t let me down yet. I praise the Microsoft gods every day for making it much easier to use and the nuances much easier to fix than Linux and much more comprehensive than OS X will ever be. If you don’t like Windows, then don’t use it but don’t bitch about it. THANK YOU MICROSOFT for doing Vista right with Windows Seven!

  10. Victor says:

    Very weak reasons…

    1.- Yeah, Windows 7 builds on Vista. But Vista wasn’t great. It was slow, had a lot of problems, incompatible apps, Did I say slow?…

    2.- I don’t care if a new feature was introduced with Vista or Windows 7.

    3.- I already know how to work with Windows 7. It doesn’t take 2 years to learn. If you needed 2 years to learn how Vista works, either you had a problem or Vista had.

    4.- I enjoy having a life. If I missed all the problems, power to me. I don’t envy you for having lose hundreds of hours on your life just troubleshooting Windows Vista.

    5.- I don’t want to waste my life on useless chapters.

    6.- I ditched Vista after having tried it more than 2 weeks. Not because a mag article.

    7.- My network is secured on perimeter. A real security consultor will never trust a user machine.

  11. Jeff says:

    Windows 7 is really nice. I gave it to an end user two days ago. I spent 30 minutes explaining the new taskbar features, and GUI enhancements, and then I left them alone. I have had one question since. Windows Vista never made it out of the IT department. There were too many difficulties and incompatibilities that we ran into from day to day that required an IT mind to work around. While I suppose the painful experience of Vista did provide some useful information, I cannot say it was at all worth it.

  12. dan says:

    I really missed The Point of your post …

  13. Harry says:

    Michael, think the party has already started without you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cX4t5-YpHQ

    Better hurry over there before they drink up all the kool-aid!

  14. Frank Drakman says:

    I enjoyed the read – but wholeheartedly disagree with its assertions, as your logic is rather flawed.

    I’ve done exactly this [skipped Vista for the above stated reasons] and have received nothing but praise and accolades from my clientele for steering them away from the red-headed-stepchild that is Vista.

    They can’t seem to thank me enough.

    Particularly when their associates, who failed to heed my warnings, begin belly-aching because an app or certain piece of hardware will not function properly.

    I still come to their aid (which, quite frankly, I sort out via search engine most often, as I refuse to waste my personal time studying this frustrating and soon to be obsolete OS) which actually has kept me familiar enough with Vista to have a fundamental understanding of its workings – and kept me grateful that it’s not in any of my machines.

    You’re basically claiming that I’ll be sorry, since I did not spend all of those hours mired in aggravation while trying to gain knowledge of a piece of software will soon likely joins the ranks of Win ME…?

    Funny, I don’t feel sorry.

  15. Dave says:

    All of you nay-sayers will soon see the light. Yes, XP is a solid and GREAT OS and Vista is sheit compared to it. XP is great for 80% of home users out there, but gamers, hardcore enthusiasts, and pioneering developers all demand the latest and greatest in code, hardware, and capability – that was Vista and that will now be Seven.

    The fact is that XP will be phased out of production lines soon and Seven will be the new standard for Joe user. Granted I don’t see XP phasing out any time within the next decade. Even then, die hard users will still dual-boot next to Windows Nine ;)

    Most companies will continue running XP Professional as long as they can until it’s no longer supported, applications will cease to updated or developed, and they will run it primarily for legacy applications. Honestly, I’ve seen way more BSOD’s and WTF’s with XP than I have with Vista. Eventually XP will go the way of the dodo bird.

    You may as well embrace Seven now, there never will be another XP from Microsoft. I’ve been using Vista since January of 07, mostly for gaming and mostly because I knew it would be inevitably come pre-installed on systems and I knew some of my more ambitious clients would migrate to it. No doubt, Vista has been a pain.

    Just saying, all good things must come to an end and when one door closes, another opens…who knows, maybe Eight will be Seven done right and so on until we’re back to XP usability and simpleness factor. Only time will tell ;)

  16. routerguy says:

    To clarify:
    I’m personally running Windows 7, and recommending that my clients migrate to it. It’s a solid offering, and has the speed of XP with the visual appeal of Vista while resolving most of Vista’s UI mistakes. I’m still not seeing any disadvantage to having skipped Vista from a personal, professional, or customer standpoint. I’ve yet so see the application (other than games requiring directx 10-not your typical corporate application) that didn’t perform as well or better on XP. The fact that Windows 7 will actually run on a netbook is a telling factoid. As far as I know, there are zero netbooks out there running Vista. That’s as clear an indication as I can think of that Vista is poorly optimized and hardware-hungry, traits that aren’t exactly in-demand in my world.

  17. Fred says:

    No regrets here.
    Now, I do have a lot of catching up to do on the structure of the file system, GPO options, the non-classic start menu, etc etc etc.

    There was a LOT of under the hood changes in Vista (VVVV) that I missed out on learning. From what I can tell, 7 has a smaller delta (77), and increased stability.

    So now I have VVVV + 77 changes to learn. I can handle it.

    From a user’s perspective, I think most will be able to handle the switch. They’ll stumble across new things they like but, won’t suffer much. I think the start menu will be the biggest shock for most of them.

  18. Alan says:

    I personally like Vista. Vista with SP2, that is. I wouldn’t recommend running XP without at least SP1 either. ‘XP no SP’ was as buggy as a conference of entomology professors. The driver and app issues are going to happen somewhat when the OS changes. (They did when XP was released too and again with XP SP2 and it’s firewall.) Fortunately, Win 7 and Vista are not that much different, so most of those things have been worked out by now. You add the increased speed and other changes and Win 7 (or Vista R2, if you prefer) is quite nice.

  19. Chris says:

    I totally agree with you. I’ve used Vista on my notebook and on the desktop since the early beginning. It was hard to learn the new features and especially security attributes. Now I can see much better features on Windows 7.

    Chris from Germany

  20. Thanks for all comments! As you can imagine, I don’t agree with everything. However, I also found quite a few arguments convincing. I think some of you take such discussions a bit too serious. After all, we are only talking about computers here. I guess it doesn’t make much sense to discuss all the arguments. I just would like to stress that this article was NOT about skipping Vista in corporate networks. I only addressed IT professionals. I think this is a totally different matter. Anyway, the final word belongs to 4sysops readers and this is the topic of my hopefully last Vista article.

  21. Pretty simple: Software I use every day for work would not function correctly or not at all on Windows Vista.

    I need to run many versions of Visual Studio, from VS6 to VS2008 and neither VS6 nor VS2005 initially worked on Vista at all. VS6 still doesn’t work.

    If I can’t debug on the operating system that I am supposed to be developing for, it is a good reason to skip it.

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