Resisting Vista? Here's What You Can Do
Despite some bad press, Microsoft's new operating system, Vista, has many advantages over XP, which it's finally replacing after five years. But some consumers would rather stay with the tried-and-true, or just avoid Microsoft altogether. If you don't want a Vista upgrade, here are alternatives:
Stick with XP. Dell said recently it would offer the old, reliable operating system on some consumer PCs. Or you can go to the small-business sites for Dell, HP, Gateway, and other makers to find computers with XP preloaded. Be warned, however: Microsoft is determined to shift the market to Vista, and other companies are designing software with Vista in mind. So, while you can freeze your computing experience for now, it'll get harder over time.
Buy a Macintosh. Apple's computers are attractive, stable, and secureand more fun than Windows. Macs can handle all of the Internet, audio, and video functions that most families need, though some games and other software are not available. While they appear more expensive than comparable PCs, Macs can be cheaper than a computer that's properly outfitted to run Windows Vista. One more bonus: If you must, you can run Windows on your Mac with programs like Parallels.
Try Linux. For beginners, it's worth $60 to buy a copy of Linspire, a slick version of the open-source software that also gives easy access to just about any kind of software that you could want. Linspire can't completely hide the geeky guts of Linux, which includes more problems than Vista in getting drivers for some hardware such as printers.
If you're a bit more techie, it costs nothing to download the system from developers like Ubuntu or Xandros. Be ready for error messages that are even less intelligible than those in Windows. But if you know how to burn a disk image to a CD, you are ready to try Linux without even loading it to your hard drive.
Buy a new PC. One with Vista, and preferably Vista Home Premium. Yes, Vistabut at least you'll save the trouble of trying to load it onto an old computer, which probably doesn't have enough firepower to run Vista with its new good looks. You still may tangle with getting old software to run, but most applications work with little or no futzing, and most hardware problems come from older printers and scanners. For most people, Vista works just fine and is a better system than XP. Really.