Upgrading Windows XP machines?

vista_wallpaperDuring the conference call my team had on Friday, we were discussing the upcoming content we are planning for the August-December timeframe.  One of my team members who shall remain nameless stated that most of the customers he has talked to aren't upgrading existing Windows XP machines to Windows Vista.  Instead, they are just buying new machines with Windows Vista as the old XP machines roll off the books and are re-purposed, or die.

Is that accurate?  Is that what you are doing?

None of the security, network, search, etc. improvements warrant an upgrade of an existing machine, even with Aero glass turned off so that it performs on par or better than Windows XP?

[UPDATE for 5/18]  For those of you that want to call me a confused idiot and other derogatory remarks, or want to spit venom at Microsoft in the form of comments here, don't bother because I am unlikely to publish your art.  If you want to be polite, courteous and offer some insight into the decisions you or your customers are making, then that is welcome.

My wife thinks you are all crazy.  The says Spider Solitaire alone is worth the upgrade to Windows Vista.  Grin.

[UPDATE for 5/19]  I watch referrals to my blog and noticed a few of you have picked up on what you think is a story here.  First of all, you should know this article has no basis in fact.  The person on my team that made the comment was offering an opinion but he has hardly spoken to every Microsoft customer and gathered any empirical data to support such a statement.  Second, the small smattering of comments don’t indicate any particular fact or trend either.  My questions were posed to initiate some dialog on the subject, nothing more.

I am always perplexed at why people go looking for dirt.  I guess dirt sells.  I’d rather have a conversation about what we are doing right and wrong. Offer an opinion on which way I think people should go.  So here’s mine. 

Buying a machine with Windows Vista is a smart move.  If the OEM has done their job, then the out-of-box experience should be good.  Your experience is going to vary depending on the OEM and of course they know if they do a sub par job, your return business is at stake.

As for the upgrade question, this is something you’ll have to decide but it should not be too terribly hard to test.  We worked hard to provide you an array of hardware and software compatibility tools.

Windows Vista offers a lot of benefits, even for older machines.  I’m running Windows Vista Enterprise on a Compaq Evo n620c and it runs very nicely.  The machine is nearly five years old and only has one gig of RAM.  Your experience will vary and I respect the decisions you make. 

I just want to know why you make the decisions, and what we can do better down the road.  That’s what blogs are for.  Having that conversation. 

Comments (15)

  1. DM says:

    That is correct.

    Even for family members, why pay for a 200$ upgrade to Vista when you can get a brand new PC with Vista for 499$.

  2. Brenden says:

    That would be correct. None of my customers have even considered an upgrade. They are using the method your cohort mentioned.

  3. Scott says:

    No Vista at all for us.  I work for the College of Natural Sciences at the local University.  We are not upgrading to Vista at all actually.  Some of our software is so old it hardly runs on XP – though to be honest it’s also b/c we just don’t have the time to test all of the software.  We maintain a LOT of software … close to 200 titles now.

  4. Sure. Sometimes it’s hard to see the whole picture, but there are a lot of 3 year old PCs from tier I vendors, which don’t run Vista.  Some of Microsoft’s own internal Dell D800, for example.

  5. AdamT says:

    The biggest concern I hear is about performance.  Too many people feel that their existing machines are not likely to perform too well with Vista.

    The perception is that Vista requires brand new bleeding edge hardware to give the same performance as XP on their existing machine.

    The cost of buying extra RAM, extra storage (and possibly a new graphics card if you want Aero) on top of the Vista licence – makes it an unattractive proposition compared to just buying something new.

    When I start using Vista (for more than just testing), it’ll be on 64-bit hardware.

  6. manelze says:

    Jesus! You just found that out now? I thought it was as clear as water that no XP customers are "upgrading" their PCs to Vista because Vista is just too expensive and old machines just can’t handle it, even with AERO, UAC, search, etc turned off. I’m not recommending any upgrades from XP to Vista to my customers, and in a surprising twist, no one is actually interested in upgrading either.

  7. PaulB says:

    We have a small network of 40 pc’s on an SBS 2003 R2 server. We also only upgrade to Vista when new workstations are purchased as old one are retired or more staff are added. The upgrade license is around £170? Can’t justify that over 40 machines.

  8. Bob Muir says:

    There is no compelling reason to upgrade an XP box to Vista.  None, nada, zilch.  And lots of reasons not to do it.

    1. Performance

    2. Compatibility with existing hardware/programs

    3. Cost of the upgrade

    4. As Adam mentioned, the cost of boosting the hardware.

  9. Keith Combs says:

    Ok, I get the picture.  You hate Windows Vista for older hardware and to a large extent, programs you would have to test and run on it.  

    Anyone running it on new decent hardware?  Anything good to say about it there?

    Are you running mixed environments of old and new machines with each OS?  I understand for small and small medium businesses that’s unlikely, but what about when you have several hundred PCs up?  Are you buying new machines with WinXP or flattening them and installing WinXP?  What happens when we stop selling Windows XP in a few weeks?

  10. Fernando B says:

    I’m using vista since last year’s march, it cames with my new laptop. Well, I’m a windows user since version 3.0.

    I’m really happy with vista, I belive that the hardware requirements are proportional the same when all other versions of windows were released. Also the compatibility issues.

    My opinium is people don’t want to spend money for something that is not absolutely NEW, Vista looks like XP with some annoying functions that were not present before.

    My system works fine, without crashes, I put it in standy-by every night, so a restart is rare. I’m using a lot of software, even Beta versions, without a single problem.

    I’d like to say to Micrsoft that vista would be delivered as XP evolution, not marketed as a new one. And that is necessary to create a really new operating system, with new concepts, assuming that internet is the platform not hardware anymore.

  11. Andrew Hill says:

    Four years ago, the company that I work for switched from Novell/Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003/XP.  So when Vista came out last year we decided to hold on to our existing hardware an extra year and upgrade to Vista this summer.  Our normal hardware replacement cycle is 3 years.  This allowed the IT department to run Vista for about a year, work through any issues, and wait for drivers and support to become available for applications.  Now, we are in the process for rolling out all new server and workstation hardware.  We’re also taking the opportunity to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 for DCs, file servers, SCCM and SCOM; other application servers will come later.  So far, there are no known issues for us with either Vista or Server 2008 to prevent us from going forward with our upgrade plans.

    The business driver for the Vista upgrade is purely security and management related as it really doesn’t impact the business user experience.  In addition, we want to take advantage of our software assurance agreement and upgrade to the latest versions within a reasonable time after release.  Why pay for it if you’re not going to use it? We also wanted to coordinate the upgrade with a new hardware cycle to gain the efficiency of only touching the machines once.

  12. Bob Muir says:

    Current mb/chipsets/video (from about Nov07 onward) work fairly well with Vista and I’m buying systems "downgraded" to XP-Pro for my clients who aren’t ready to experiment with a new interface.

    The next step IMHO  should be to 64-bit.  Then we can take advantage of the larger address space.  If MS is smart, they’ll make the next OS 100% 64-bit with legacy applications virtualized.

  13. Marc F (Disk4mat) says:

    I didnt plan on upgrading to Vista but bought a new PC a year ago with Vista Prem. At first the transition was too great so I reverted to XP. Since XP didnt perform much better I restored Vista Prem. and invested some time learning about its new features.

    2 weeks later I purchased Vista Business upgrade and was able to do a clean install. I thought it was worth the $ for features such as Shadow Copy, Complete BackUp & WinFax. Also I didnt want the entertainment features of prem. Call me crazy.

    The Vista Business upgrade was well worth it and I have no regrets. Its exactly what I needed and the benefits would be too much to list here. Now, I cant imagine getting the amount of work done in XP that I achieve in Vista on a daily basis.

    Timing had worked out, that I was buying a new sys anyway. So upgrading the OS on that machine wasnt a consideration.

  14. DJ Hutch says:

    I guess it greatly depends…

    I mean, in my personal business…

    my servers are still primarily running Windows 2000…and everything is doing fine…DCs are Windows 2000, App and Storage Server is Windows 2000 based….

    My workstations are all less than five years old and all run Windows XP Pro, just finished the upgrade to SP3…and everything is great…

    For Vista, my work machine, which is not the top of the line, but has 2Ghz processor and 2 gigs of ram surprisingly cant do Vista, it just hangs for no reason…which has just lagged my migration for vista for I would have migrated a year ago for if I didn’t have so many issues and time ‘trying’ to fix issues, even with SP1,  for a machine that should run it just fine…

    By the end of this year I’m planning a migration to just "phase out" the older hardware, my main PC’s will probably be Vista, and when the XP machines die, etc, they will be then replaced….

    The Servers..Same Story… might get the boost to Windows 2003 server, but getting new servers with 2008, and running them in mixed mode with the older servers in the same instances until all the old guys die out or retire…

    I’m completely fine where I am…I like both XP and Vista, and Windows 2003 R2 and Windows 2008 Server, but for now, I’m still running the network with Windows 2000 servers and Windows XP Pro Workstations…

  15. Eric H says:

    I want to run Vista x64, but my problem is VPN access. My company (like many) uses only Cisco  with IPsec.

    Cisco does not have an IPsec VPN client for Vista x64. Cisco AnyConnect runs on Vista x64 but only support SSL tunnels. I have seen hints that AnyConnect will support IPsec in the future, I am waiting as fast as I can.

    Any ideas?

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