Turn back the hands of time and breathe a little easier.

Ahh… sit back in your rocking chair and breathe in that fresh country air… You adjust your straw hat and the smell of fresh eggs and ham on the skillet hits your nose…

Okay, not that far back in time. Just a year or two. While computers are getting smaller, cheaper, easier, and exponentially faster, some new models are actually slower and harder to use than their predecessors. What computers are those? Windows Vista computers.

Is it really that bad? Personally, I’d say yes. XP was more or less functional. Sure it had problems, but at least there were some measures you could take to make it stable. Windows Vista, pretty as it is, should be renamed Windows Psychotic.

Yes, the software actually shows signs of psychosis. The development team was so worried that users would download malware to their computers, that for most any operation, Vista actually blacks out the screen, suspends the entire system, and asks you for permission to… obey what you just… told it to do. HOW are the users supposed to know what’s good and what’s not? WHY would you burden a user (especially a beginner, overwhelmed to begin with) with a dramatic screen-freeze and subsequent permission box? Nature.com defines psychosis as: “distortions in inferential thinking, such as delusions (fixed, false beliefs that are firmly held in the face of contradictory evidence)” which may be the case here. Vista keeps asking the user if certain programs or Web pages are “safe” for view, when in reality, two things are occurring:

1: Windows is wasting valuable system resources (slowing down your computer) and the user’s time, thinking that somehow the user is able to/desires to stop all incoming attacks himself.

2: Windows itself is not actually safer from anything (i.e. it’s still as susceptible as ever to hijacking), so it really hasn’t been “improved” at all.

Paranoid while not actually doing anything productive about the challenges it faces? Sounds like psychosis to me. Some more reasons Windows Vista shouldn’t exist:

1: (Anecdotal) Last Sunday while trying to add a printer to two of my friends’ Vista laptops, the computers kept freezing. I let them stay for a while and realized it was just Vista (probably performing some “security check” on their printer!). As soon as I press print, I have to let it wait 3-5 MINUTES before the Printer dialog comes up. Then I press OK and wait ANOTHER 3-5 MINUTES before the Printer dialog goes away and the printer starts. Abominable. Almost every other experience I’ve had with Vista was equally perturbing.

2: UAC (User Access Control) is the name for the majority of the paranoid add-ons. An overwhelming number of people have reported THE INABILITY TO DELETE FILES in Windows Vista. One way to fix it is by Disabling UAC.

3: Vista is a prime example of DRM gone wrong (I know, it’s redundant…). It suspects pretty much everyone of piracy when they want to watch movies or listen to music. Not only is this a huge technical inconvenience, it’s an invasion of privacy.

Studies show at least one third of Vista computers purchased are immediately downgraded by their users!

Some of them are done by the PC manufacturers themselves, and some are done by the customer (by calling MS and requesting another license, but who knows how many people used their preexisting or pirated copies of XP).

Are you a victim of Vista? Here’s what you can do:

Step 1: Throw your computer out the window (or sell it) and buy a Mac.

Step 2: If unable to complete Step 1, call your computer manufacturer and demand that they “down”grade you to XP. If successful, you’re done.

Step 3: If after months of calling, writing, and visiting your computer manufacturer, they will not give you XP, then there may still be hope. If you have Vista Business or Ultimate, you can call Microsoft and demand a license for XP Pro (an equivalent XP Home license may be available for users of lesser Vistas):

If you want Windows XP Pro on a new machine, buy Windows Vista (Business or Ultimate) and then downgrade – David Overton’s Blog – David Overton’s Blog and Discussion Site

Step 4: If still unsuccessful, you can still purchase a retail copy of XP online (eBay or iOffer may be a good place to find it- just make sure it comes with the COA/License). Then, erase your computer and install XP. You may have to search for XP drivers (-software that controls your video, sound, etc.). Visiting your manufacturer’s support page for your model may yield those drivers. If not, then chances are you have an Acer – they had horrendous-to-no support for XP downgraders last time I dealt with them.

Step 5: If unable to find XP drivers for your computer, you have a few options. First, you can throw your computer out the window and buy a Mac. Second, you could put Vista back on it and live with it (be sure to disable UAC) or alternatively, sell it and then buy a Mac. Third, you could format it and put Ubuntu on it. I’ll write about how to do that in an article very soon.

So, yes, Microsoft is trying to get everyone “switched over” to Vista, even if it means making your computer run like molasses or stop before doing anything at all (including deleting desktop icons) and panic. The good news is, you’re not stuck. Dell and other manufacturers are standing up to MS on your behalf and extending XP’s service life as long as possible, and plenty of other Microsoft-free alternatives are now available. Enough people are with you on this one.

Photo credit: Genesee Country Village & Museum

UPDATE: Just for fun…

http://www.youtube.com/v/uLbJ8YPHwXM&hl=en&fs=1

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