Microsoft might actually do something right…

Windows vista I have looked at, and for the most part, considering it the spawn of Windows ME. Vista has its good points, and Microsoft tried with it, but with a moving target, stripped down capabilities compared to what it was supposed to have, and massive delays on getting it to market, Microsoft really messed up.

It wasn’t just that older software would not run on it, but software and hardware companies didn’t buy into it. It took forever for applications to be written for it, let alone all the issues with hardware drivers Vista has had.

Well, it seems that Microsoft can learn from its mistakes. Windows 7 has been in beta for a little while now, and most people call it a big improvement from Vista. The first Release Candidate becomes public on May 5, and yes I’m going to get it. What I am looking forward to seeing how it works is the newest feature announced for Windows 7. XPM the feature is called, and if it works the way it is supposed to , well, there will be very little reason not to move to Windows 7.

The idea behind XPM is basically Windows XP sp3 running in a virtual machine, which allows legacy apps to be run normally. The kicker to XPM is the idea that it runs seamlessly in the background. Apps that require XP still get shortcuts installed to your normal Start menu and when you launch the app, it seamlessly launches in its own window, even though it is on a virtual machine, you don’t see the virtual machine running. You don’t have to start a virtual machine session first. Supposedly, it just works.

We shall find out how well it just works rather soon. This is the one thing that if it works right, could save Microsoft’s reputation.

Windows XP: The end is near

We all know that Windows 7 is on the horizon. We all know that Vista is a huge hunk of junk. We all love our Windows XP, which is why we are willing to pay a little more for the “downgrade” to XP that a number of manufacturers will ship, even though the machines officially count as having been sold with Vista (Microsoft loves to punch up its Vista numbers this way). Now, Windows XP is about to pass to the next stage, drawing us closer to the end of one of our favorite OS’s life.

Mainstream support for Windows XP ends on April 14, which just happens to be the next Patch Tuesday. What does this mean for everyone? Well in simple terms it means a few things:

1) No more Service Packs or feature upgrades! This of course is something that can be expected. XP can only do so much and handle so much, seeing as it is way beyond what Microsoft intended its lifespan to be.

2) No more free incident support. Yep, any support from Microsoft for XP is now fully chargeable. Make sure you know your way around google, Microsoft’s knowledge base, or know someone who is a tech that can help you.

3) No more Warranty Claims. Yep, XP is out of warranty, even if loaded on a brand new machine by the manufacturer. How does this affect the fact that Microsoft still pushes XP for Netbooks? Time will only tell if they are smart and make an exception, otherwise, make sure you get a netbook with Linux on it.

Now not everything is doom and gloom. There are still some thing that the Extended Support Phase, which is what XP is going into, does give.

1) The Microsoft knowledge base, and support site still will have all the XP information it can hold. So you still can look through all the things.

2) Security updates will still be pushed out. It is important to remember that Security Updates are different from Feature Updates. While no no features of feature bugs will be fixed, at least any Security Holes that could allow viruses, such as Cornficker to grab a hold of your machine, will still be created and pushed out, and this will continue until 20014.

So XP is not dead yet, but instead is more on life support for the next 5 years. Personally, I would have likes Microsoft to have pushed XP 64 bit more and longer instead of forcing Vista out there. The other thing is with end of mainstream support, Microsoft now can reallocate resources to other projects. Here is just hoping that Windows 7, which is in beta and has been getting decent reviews, doesn’t get screwed up and suck when released.

And now for something completely different

Server 2008 is a nice Operating System. Works pretty smooth, pretty easy to find things in it, DFRS management could be a little bit easier, but the biggest problem I have with it so far is…

Aero. That’s right the stupid looking, pain in the arse, Vista look. I can hear you now saying, “Come on, it just takes some time to get used to.” That is what they said about Word 2007, and after a year I still can’t find half the stuff I used in Word 2003, heck I found that they pulled some of my most useful things in that.

So pardon me if I say it loud and proud. I HATE THE AERO EXPERIENCE! The way that you “explore” a network is unintuitive, a pain in the rear, and just cumbersome. The layout, even when switched to Classic Mode, is extremely poor, and again unintuitive. The fact that you have to turn on the run command is just plain stupid on a server. The login screen is a pain also, especially if you want to log onto a different domain or workgroup.

Yeah, there are people out there that might love it, and good for them. I’d rather see microsoft give us a choice of the old XP desktop or the Aero desktop. Hey, with Linux you have KDE and GNOME, plus a bunch of other lesser known GUI desktops. Give us the choice!