Q: I bought a new computer running Vista. I hate it! It’s slow, it won’t work with my old printers and I just don’t like it. Can I downgrade to Windows XP? Robert G - Florence
A: You may wish to consider Microsoft’s new “Drag and Drop” feature included with Windows Vista. This is where you “drag” your computer to the top of a tall building then “drop” it off the side. I personally have grown to like the operating system. I just hated what I had to go through during the upgrade process to get all my old stuff working. For that reason, I still don’t recommend that the average user “upgrade” to Vista but if you are buying a new computer you don’t have much of a choice. It will come with Vista.
Yes you can downgrade to Windows XP. Before you seriously consider that, make sure you are doing so for the right reasons. Most of the complaints I hear from Vista users are from people who purchased low-end home computers that have only 512MB of RAM. That is simply not enough to run Vista efficiently. Vista prefers at least 1GB of RAM. 1.5GB is better and 2GB is best. So, if you have one of those cheap systems that only has 512MB of RAM, adding a 1GB stick of RAM can cost as little as $40.00. The bottom line here is that Vista should be as fast as or perhaps a little faster than Windows XP on a properly equipped computer.
If you are still determined to downgrade to XP, there are some things you need to know. First, if you had previously upgraded to Vista from XP, be aware that Microsoft has not provided a way to simply “uninstall” Windows Vista to go back to XP. To revert, you will have to erase the Vista system and re-install XP from your original XP recovery CD using a valid XP license key.
For Vista haters who have recently purchased a new system, be aware that Microsoft has changed the Vista licensing terms and are allowing PC vendors to furnish a free copy of Windows XP Professional for users of Vista business or Vista Ultimate. Some manufactures are including this copy of XP with the computer and some require that you ask for it. Manufacturers are not providing downgrade CD’s for users of Vista Home or Vista Basic.
For those of you that prefer Vista but still have one application that is not compatible with it, you may wish to consider downloading Microsoft’s free “Virtual PC.” Virtual PC is software that allows you to run Windows XP (or Windows 98, ME or 2000) inside a window on your Vista computer. There is also a way to install XP and Vista in a dual-boot configuration but describing that process if outside the scope of this article.