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Get XP While You Still Can

Business PC users are pretty much stuck with Windows. Yes, I also have a Mac and I love working on it with ProTools, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and other creative applications. But my company has eight PCs for business. Some companies have switched to Mac, which is easier now because current Intel processors can also run Windows.

Even so, most of us are stuck with Windows. Thats where the industry-standard business programs are found. To interact with others in the business world, we need to use MS Word, Outlook, Excel, and a wide range of other
office products.

Word has never been my favorite word processor, but if I sent you an e-mail attachment created any other way, you could not read it. Since I interact with clients, suppliers, and others every day, I have to speak the most common language in all business communications.

The Security Issue
Windows Vista was released in February of 2007. After years in the making and several delays, this new OS was supposed to be a major leap forward with an improved user interface, better technology, and bulletproof security. Vista has been a constant source of frustration to PC users and today, 18 months after Vistas release, the user experience really has not improved. The latest service pack update that should fix some of the problems seems to be stuck in a limited beta release. Lets talk about what went wrong.

For years, Microsoft has been the focus of widespread criticism over all of the security vulnerabilities in Windows. There are so many ways that hackers can break in, so many computer viruses that have taken down users, so many problems that must be solved for secure communications and financial transactions. Microsoft made resolving these security issues the number-one priority of Vista.

While these security issues are very important, the way Vista has now tightly locked down everything has created lots of roadblocks that get in the way of everyday use. It seems every time I click on anything in Vista, a security window pops up and asks, Did you really click there? Are you sure you authorize this? Are you really, really sure you want to allow this? Nope, you still cant do this because you are not the administrator.

This little demon is called User Account Control, or UAC for short. After about three days and 300 pop-up security windows demanding answers, you will want to curse Bill Gates and throw your PC in the trash. When you reach this point of eminent madness, you can open Control Panel and click on User Accounts, where you can turn this terrible irritation off. The problem is if you turn it off, the security does not work.
Youre caught between two bad choices. You cant live with it and you cant live without it. Some functions may not work with it on, some may not work with it off.

Then there are permissions. Do you know what they are? Vista only allows you to do certain things in certain folders where you have permission. If you try to copy a simple Word document into a folder, Vista may prevent you with a notice that the file is read-only. You can then navigate to the file, right click the file to check its properties, and sure enough, read-only is not checked!

Staying with XP
The problem really grows when you understand that many things you do on your PC involve programs talking to each other and to your hardware. When Vista blocks communications to printers, drivers, files, and interoperations, it can wreck your whole day. What can you do?

Microsoft wants us all to switch to Vista, but there is still hope. About 80 percent of businesses have not switched to Vista and still run Windows XP or 2000. I recommend that you stay with XP as long as you can. XP can serve your needs for years to come. Service Pack 3 is newly out for XP, and Microsoft is still forced to support it. Did you know that you can still buy new business PCs from Dell and HP that run XP? Yes, I purchased two Dell Vostro series PCs last month that you can buy with XP installed. Check listings for business PCs.

Even if you have Vista installed, you can still downgrade to XP. You may need to do some research, talk to your computer experts, and might even have to purchase XP, but now is the time to grab XP while you still can. PCs are a big enough pain. Why make it worse with Vista? By the way, Microsoft is already working on Windows 7. Maybe we can just skip right over Vista.