I started using Windows Vista back when the RTM was first released to the developer community. This was the final release version of Vista and, while I resisted earlier Beta versions, I thought that using the final release would be relatively stable. I installed it on a relatively new Dell Dimension 9150 box with 4Gb of Ram.
I loved Vista at first, it was a little slower than XP and I had to really do some searching for drivers, but I was on the cutting edge. I installed it on a laptop I was using for a contract at the time and impressed everyone with my cool new interface.
Eventually, my desktop PC got slower and slower. It performed terribly. I spent hours looking at start-up processes and background processes that kept running. I think I spent several days looking at the Windows search background indexing alone. The laptop had all kinds of problems, too. My desktop started taking 10-15 minutes to boot. I spent hours on the web looking for solution.
My PC problems had the effect of causing me to hate computers in general. It took so long to load Visual Studio. I turned off all background instances of SQL Server and MySQL. I even started to think about abandoning software development all together. Too many sleepless nights started to cloud my judgment. My PC was unusable, and I had 4Gb of RAM! I had been using Vista for over a year.
I started using Ubuntu on my laptop. My contract was over and all I wanted was to use the laptop to check email and surf. I was amazed with how fast it was. I was determined to become a Linux guy! After nearly ten years as a VB and C# developer, I was going to go back to PHP.
But Ubuntu didn’t help me like I thought it would. I found the most simple things to have a huge learning curve involved. Now, I could learn how to do things like set up dns entries for web testing, etc, but I was frustrated with having to learn a new thing for everything I wanted to do. Also, if I stepped into another contract, I didn’t want to be that guy who keeps saying “I know how to do it on Linux, but Windows? I don’t know.” Besides, I still had to keep my Vista desktop intact to I still had all of my Outlook contacts, Excel (xlsx) files that didn’t open in OpenOffice, etc.
Then Visual Studio 2008 release candidate was released. I really wanted to try it out. So I set up a partition on the laptop and installed XP. This was like a breath of fresh air. All of my Windows apps worked like a dream. Windows booted quickly. All devices worked. When I opened Outlook 2007, it just opened–it didn’t pop up two minutes later after I forgot I clicked on the shortcut.
All of the people I worked with who criticised me for installing Vista too early, who told me to wait for SP1–they were right. In fact, I think SP1 might still be too early.
I’m back on XP. I’ll stay here for the next few years, I think. There are no Vista-only apps out there that I know of. If you are thinking about upgrading, even as late as January 2008, I would recommend sticking with XP.