I have finally decided to take the plunge. Last night I upgraded my Vista desktop machine to Windows XP, and this afternoon I will be doing the same to my laptop.
Look & Feel: Windows XP has quite a cartoony look and feel compared to the slick look of Aero Glass; this is mostly offset by the lack of strange screen artifacts caused by malfunctioning graphics code. You know, almost like static on the screen. This was a once or twice monthly occurrence on my laptop, and happened on my desktop whenever I logged in, and also whenever I played a 3D game after leaving Vista running for a couple of hours. I also miss the "orphaned windows" I got on Vista, dialog boxes that would not go away, in a sense they became part of the desktop, since you could drag a selection from within them, despite the fact that the Glass would render the selection below them. Such crazy graphics bugs appear to be a thing of the past.
Performance: Well, here there appears to be no contest. Windows XP is both faster and far more responsive. I no longer have the obligatory 1-minute system lock that happens whenever I log onto Vista, instead I can run applications as soon as I can click their icons. Not only that, but the applications start snappily too, rather than all waiting in some "I'm still starting up the OS" queue for 30 seconds or so before all starting at once. In addition, I have noticed that when performing complex tasks such as viewing large images, or updating large spreadsheets, instead of the whole operating system locking down for several seconds, it now just locks down the application I am working on, allowing me to <gasp> Alt-Tab to another application and work on that. I am thrilled that Microsoft decided to add preemptive multitasking to their operating system, and for this reason alone I would strongly urge you to upgrade to XP. With the amount of multi-core processors around today using a multitasking operating system like XP makes a world of difference.
Windows Vista, Aero, Vista Aero, Windows XP, Article, Microsoft