Windows XP Twice as Fast as Vista?

Ouch. This hurts. Devil Mountain Software, the outfit that had previously declared Vista SP1 a Performance Dud came to the conclusion that Windows XP SP3 Yields Performance Gains – about 10% compared to XP SP2. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the very same tests show the outgoing operating system, XP twice as fast as Vista, the “flagship” OS. No wonder Forrester Research says Vista’s biggest problem is XP. smile_omg

Of course most users won’t notice it. Why? Because very few upgrade their existing computers from XP to Vista. We don’t buy operating systems, we buy computers: try to get one without Vista. (Fact: most of Microsoft’s Vista Revenue comes from the OEM channel.)

The Vista-based new screamer clearly runs a lot faster than the 3-year-old laptop running XP, but in reality it’s running at half-speed – the other half eaten by the Operating System. Which proves my earlier argument abut this being a pointless arms race: buying faster and faster machines only so they can maintain themselves and barely let us use basic applications.

Unless those applications are in the cloud. smile_wink

Related posts: PC World, Hardware 2.0 and

Update (12/14): Coding Sanity has found a solution.


  1. I would really like to agree with you on the “applications in the cloud” part, however.
    I met a few, and I am involved in the development of one at the moment, and I do maintain my position that it would be better as a desktop application.

    Let’s forget the performance problems, I just concentrate on one thing: User interface.

    Spending 8 hours with an application that’s sole purpose is to search quickly, enter data quickly, navigate between screens quickly is not something that belong in a browser.

    I know it is “modern” and “all the rage”, but the GUI we built in Delphi was 400% percent more usable, more user friendly and quicker.

    I have not seen one web based application the can use all the GUI features a desktop application can offer.

    Plus, we have been on the cloud once before. Just think about the early work terminals. Maybe there was a reason we moved away.

    So, first I would like to see at least one application that is so comfortable and usable that I won’t scream after using it 3 hours, let alon 8 hours for 5 days.

    Especially with browsers that themselves eat up half of your remaining resources.

  2. Hi Zoli,

    I read your blog today. What you say makes a lot of good sense. I was truly hoping Vista would do well because it is linked with Microsoft Marketplace Digital Locker. I think the Digital Locker idea makes good sense also. Just think….if you purchase your software through Digital Locker and if your computer crashes you can reinstall on your programs without looking around for the keys.

    But back to Vista. Is it true that the new Vista computers save a lot of energy costs?

  3. Zoli

    Thanks for giving my gut feelings, posted in my blog ( a proof…
    “Lesson learned: if you design a product, make sure you define its job zero and make it perfect. If you are out to upgrade your customers, make sure that job zero in the new product is at least as good as it used to be in the previous version (oh, how I miss XP…) because no matter how many jobs you have added, they will never forgive you if you mess up with job zero.”

  4. I did not see the point of Vista other then better security. I still use XP when I need to use Windows and it does everything I need. When I more I use OS X. It’s really said that Microsoft spent so much time making a flop. If only they would have thought more about the users and less about how they could add more DRM…

  5. I am just glad that I running XP on a notebook that I have bought late last year. It would have been Vista if I have delayed the purchase a couple of months later.

    Nice to catch up with you again…

  6. This type of thing happens with all programs and OSes. New hardware lets designers make more bloated programs, which then cancel out the effectiveness of the hardware. IT’S INSANE! The software should become more efficient as time goes on, not less.

    This is why I use Linux.

  7. They may well notice. I felt that my old 800MHz 256Mb memory laptop was getting a little long in the tooth for demoing my website offline. Running SQL server, IIS and the web application is a lot for the old XP Pro Laptop.

    I bought a AMD Turion TL-58 X2 with 2GB of memory running Vista Home Premium. It is only marginally faster than than my 2002 XP-Pro laptop. It isn’t all about CPU speed. I also had to but a 17″ model to get a display with a resolution greater than 1278. My onld laptop has a resolution of 1650. It was the top of the line back then.

  8. lol… the funny thing is that with the KDE4 release canidate, computers with *nix OSes have been run on less than 500 MB RAM with all the eye candy when Vista crawls on 1 gig of RAM. tee hee poor windows users

  9. I’m perfectly happy with XP, it rarely crashes, runs everything I need to run relatively smoothly, is compatible with all my hardware. With SP3 hinting at a 10% performance gain, you won’t see me shelling out for Vista.


  10. Personally I hate XP; however, it is preferrable to that abortion called Vista.

    I still run 2K when forced to use MS apps, but Linux is a the only proper OS for a PC.

  11. Vista… sif… what a waste of time and money… as Nick says “New hardware lets designers make more bloated programs, which then cancel out the effectiveness of the hardware”.

    We need to stop accepting bloated crap OSes and office apps. And stop upgrading hardware for the sake of the OS, when all our existing apps run fine on current and even old hardware.

  12. I recently bought a new Dell, which only came with Vista. Re-installing all my apps/games, took a painfully long time, made even worse by those dang popup windows that nag you about whether you want to run them. Well, yeah, that’s why I put the CD in the drive, can’t you figure that much out?

    Fortunately, I have the boxed copy of XP, which I had been using on my now-retired pc. The 9-disk install for World of Warcraft took half the time.

    Unfortunately, Dell quite conveniently fails to provide any drivers for XP on that particular model. I had to spend a weekend searching the internet for them all.

  13. We have to remember that Vista is only in its 1.0 stage.
    Hopefully SP1 will improve performance.

  14. I’m afraid not, you can follow the link from my post to the Vista Sp1 evaluation.

  15. “I also had to but a 17″ model to get a display with a resolution greater than 1278″

    I also bought my laptop in December 06 and boy, am i glad I still have XP! By the way, I have a 14″ non-wide-screen on my thinkpadT61 with 1400 X 1050 resolution on it. I have no idea what you are saying about needing a 17” for higher res

  16. I hate vista…. every tiny little process takes forever… my games run like molasses…. Oh how i wish i had XP on this laptop
    it came with Vista.. what a rip off.. my desktop has xp.. and runs the games beautifully…. but i’m not always at home.. and i want to play dammit… i find myself closing my games on Vista, as they just are so slow that i can’t enjoy them.. Wth was Microsoft thinking?

  17. Victoria Finch says

    Like David Snow, I bought a (Dell) AMD Turion with all the bells and whistles including Vista Home and Office 2007. Within 28 days I returned it, got a full refund and brought a new Dell Vostro which comes with XP and I am MUCH HAPPIER! I loaded my very old Office 2002 and all is working so much better than that hideously slow Vista with the difficult-to-figure-out Office 2007 (although I think if I had time to go to a training course in Excel it would be awesome – only if I could be bothered with the slowness issues). I’m definitely in the ‘I hate Vista’ club.

  18. Did you guys know, theyre cancelling XP on June 30th, breaking my heart here.

  19. “Cancelling XP”? you mean their discontinuing support for it?

    IMO XP has been as good as it can get since SP2 was first released. No more support? boo hoo. Has anyone here ever actually called MS for supoprt on windows XP? I know I haven’t, and my clients contact me for support, which I’m still happy to provide them, so they’ll still be fine.

    Basically this is MS way of trying to scare everyone into upgrading to that bloated PoS called Vista. Even though Windows 7 is due out next year (first beta released late last month), so stick with your XP, even without “support” it’s still gonna run as well as it always has, and will still be at least twice as good as Vista.

  20. Check out . They are running a petition to save windows xp. They have 84000 signatures already.

  21. IEEEngineer79 says

    Build your own PC then Load XP SP2 (or candidate SP3) and enjoy the simple pleasure in life not having to deal with the process development of a beta product that has over 20 new million lines of code doing nothing else but to prevent (basically ONLY you not the hackers) from doing something to hurt the OS..

    No new kernel and AERO interface is the problem here..this cannot be patched (and if it does it will be in order to cripple this ba%%%rd down) ..but then you are not getting what you paid are at best stack to a modified windows XP Installation called Vista..

    I have worked for many years in the telecoms/manufacturing/it industries and generally the B2B world..this is only about money and profit people. There is no such thing as CS..and if there is it is there for the first reason I mentioned.

    It doesnt really matter if this works on not for them. A shift of -5% users (impossible to happen in true numbers) in the long run to MAC OS or Linux is neglible numbers for a company such as Microsoft.

    So suck it up (I dont mean to be offencive) learn how businesses operate and you will have figured it out.

    Many regards to all.
    Theo M.

  22. Call me suspicious, but I have never forgotten that the guy who (or someone very close to him) that discovered that old Intel pentium bug, also discovered that every copy of msft office put a marker on every single document ever written with it that has a unique mac address and the dang msft OS identifier in it, a secret done in conjuncion with the then prior to homeland security NSA.
    Great. Now since 2000, there have been all sorts of hidden system folders, and now they have that S-31-25 -xxx-xx-xx-xx-x-x-xx-x-xx-xx-xx-xx-xx-x-xxxxxx directories where they store their SAM (missile security coding? lol ) files for enduser ID’s and gawd knows what else.
    Vista is a more bloated pig, and for the life of me there’s no way I’ll ever figure out what the heck it is doing, so that I can stop it’s pig jowls from chowing down on the hardware and harddrive space ever chance it gets.
    Ever since Win98, a brand new computer has had to be “optimized” , so the fat pig bloated advertising, selling, hook ever innocent end user into their scheme isp or “required” software so your computer doesn’t “crash” can be hammered down to do NOTHING, like it should do when you get it, until YOU tell it to do something.
    Well, those days are long over. THEY own the OS after you buy it, THEY OWN your desktop, they own your peripherals useage, and they WILL USE THEM, and it will slow you down and make you, their little you know what.
    Good luck to those of us who have for YEARS spent most of our time trying to learn how to DISABLE their bloated JAM-IT-DOWN-YOUR-THROATS ware.
    I’m telling you, it’s alive with their “helpful fixes for their thousands of mistakes”, man, and it takes hours and hours and hours just to jab enough spears into it to get the giant globbing monster to stop wiggling around and slobbering off in a million different directions, all for your convenience and protection, of course.
    Just figure it this way. They know the average end user doesn’t have clue one, and almost every customer I’ve ever had thinks “they did something wrong” to their own computer – they live in fear of “crashing their system” – they the dummy who doesn’t know anything about all this “computer stuff”, so the big fat pigrosoft is off the hook from the word go, no matter what they do, and they know it.
    I’m sure their heart is in the right spot, huh. LOL Save us from ourselves oh great and wodnerous lord of all msft ! We bow before your great wisdom. May I download that? May I open that file ? May I view the contents of my harddrive ? OMG an attachment ! Save us msft ! an attachment ! Dear gawd how will we survive?!!?
    Pretty soon they’ell have everyone corralled into their own little world of what is “ok” to do, and our pigmasters will have us steered into their choice… all for our own “safety”… or maybe that bit of 1984 has already happened,

  23. Sorry, one more thing, at least.
    How is it, one should ask themselves, that SP3 gives about 10% performance gains ? I mean they’ve had how many YEARS to fix their bloated slow pig XP ?( It’s all relative fellow XP fans )
    So as they have announced that it is near it’s end of life death knell( June I read here I think ), they somehow managed to fix 10% of excessive bloat they had stuck into all of us for how long ?
    Look, who knows how or why they finally got around to doing this. Call it a going away present.
    I have to ask myself just how screwed up an OS is that after years and years of massive patches and fixes, totalling hundreds of megabytes, over half the original operating system size, that they have suddenly discovered and whacked off 10% of the fat they had hanging on the OS… wasn’t that supposed to be part of the patching and fixing all along ?
    Well, no, of course not. Fat pig one has to help fat pig two sell more fat pig machines to more endusers, so fat pigware is great…
    Yes, so the going away present is “the 10% liposuction gift”….
    Man I’m telling you…
    I’m just sitting here shaking my head. I guess I should be grateful, so many customers are so surprised that their computer runs “better than when it was new” – after a tech gets a hold of it and disables as many of the bloated processes chugging along in the backround as possible…
    Yeah, and XP loves to “magically re-enable” it’s bloatware, too. Man I’m telling you…the magic firewall, the magic security center, the magic anti- phisher, the magic no-view in folder Explorer, the magically re-hidden control panel options, the magic is never-ending…
    Magical bloatware…. all the hardware hog you could never afford to begin with. Get a patch, and “by magic” all that crap you disabled is suddenly alive again…
    Oh, now we all have to be “green” conscious, too…LOL
    If they didn’t have a thousand processes screeding along under the cover of non-disclosure to the in home enduser, there would never be any sort of “electrical overconsumption” going on to begin with.
    Oh, I have to go, the magical download blocker beep crap popped up again, and asks me for the ten thousandth time after disabling it if I noticed the popup line below the url…good GAWD….WHY DIDN’T they just make the “did you see it” pop-up message that spams away DEAD CENTER – the actual Q&A for downloading?
    Did they have to make a “not in the way line under the url” – then ALSO spam you in middlescreen with their INSULTING “did you notice” question ? HUH ? Oh yes, they DID, of course, that DOUBLES THE BLOAT, adds insult, makes you the enduser the IDIOT, and gives them a good feeling, they’re teaching you “how to pay attention” to changes on the screen… I guess we should call it Sigmund FREUDWARE…
    Thank you msft for teraching me how to notice your under the url warning line, with a spamming middle of the screen insulting popup… gee where was your popup blocker when you made that centerscreen popup so I could notice yer other popup you failed to put front and center ? GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
    Oh don’t you love the new ” add-ons ” “management” internet explorer has used, with the enable and disable feature, and the SECOND SET of the same dang thing…
    Yes, the ones it CLAIMS to be currently using, and that second set that it “has used over the course of all time”….
    Yeah, sure….. so they’re sitting in the “not using currently” area… but they’re enabled… just click along…they’ell magically jump up to the in use area when you’re not looking… the in use area that pops up by default….oh boy… and no way it seems to figure out a lot more by right clicking them… oh you’ll have to locate them in the hidden areas on your harddrive and go from there…
    Oh boy, I’m an add-ons manangement Manager – wow I’ve been promoted to Management… ( when an OS has to have someone “managing” all it’s problems, something is wrong with the OS )
    Yes, it’s stuff like that…. and Vista is so totally bloated with it, like I said, I’ll never be able to figure out what the heck it is up to… what the heck it’s doing…
    Ok, I’m off, preparing a hundred little “kill process spears” and clicks and sublclicks and subroutine page popup access there it is finally found it cheers to beat down the giant slobbering beastie…

  24. I heard of a lot of complains about Vista, and your report. What’s the point to buy [or upgrade to] Vista? Can microsoft just stick on 1 OS to make it perfect?
    So far, Microsoft have not sold any OS with No Bugs. I don’t really need new fancy features! I just want an OS with No Bugs!

  25. Apart from using more and more system resourses as time passes by, my Vista laptop will not do what I want it to do in terms of connecting to networks.
    I am now at the stage where I cannot get a valid IP from a DHCP Server (such as a home router), and I get the “Blue Screen Of Death” every so often.
    I have tried the fixes on Microsofts Website, and they just fix one problem and create another.

    This caused me to wander off and download Ubuntu 8.04 (a linux OS)
    This works absolutly beautifully. I have gone from using 48% of my total processing running nothing, to just 12% on one processor and 0% on the other.
    On top of this, I get awesome e-mail, internet and word processing for free, aswell as 1000’s of other programs.
    To get the equavalent of the programs I am now using regularly on vista – over $2000!!! Ubuntu is FREE.

    I would recommend Ubuntu for everyone who does not want to use their computer for gaming. (I have got very few games working).
    If you want Games, stick to XP, or do what I’m doing and dual boot. That way you get the free stuff and the gaming 🙂

  26. What is this? Why is everyone having such problems with Vista? I have a Dell desktop with XP and it is slow as hell! I can’t keep this computer so I’m getting a new vista computer. My friend has vista home premium and its the nicest and best working computer i’ve seen in a long time. I don’t know why everyone is saying vista is slow because i don’t see that on any vista computer i’ve used. And i’ve used a few. Maybe instead of wanting to keep XP you should go to the next step. XP is 5-6 years old now. Technology does not wait.

  27. @Gav

    Welcome linux convert brother! may you have many years of not having to get new hardware to acheive the same old results. enjoy… that reminds me, I need to do an 8.04 upgrade here too.


    To see that vista is in fact slower, there is a simple test;
    Do a clean install of XP on your Dell, you’ll find it will run every bit as quick as it did when you first bought it (and you prolly thought it was pretty quick then)

    Now do a clean install of Vista… and watch your system jerk and lag and not run properly.

    See, we get to thinking that computers get slower with age… they don’t. You system is as fast now as it was when you bought it (short of hardware failure). And it’s not even that your perception has changed all that much, it’s just that windows tends to get slower the longer it is used. Vista will be no different, but it will start significantly slower on the same hardware (new or old).

    This means that with a clean install (or alternate OS… Ubuntu? Mandriva?) you old PC will give you years more use.

    My current system is a first generation AMD64 3.0 (that makes it a 2003 vintage) and it’s currently being used as a multi-seat PC, and it flys with Ubuntu64 and runs well with an XP VM going at the same time. Try the same old 5 year old hardware with Vista and it barely runs.

    Sure if I throw $1500 at a new box and $500 for vista ultimate, then vista will run almost as good… but why upgrade to a broken OS and make my hardware less effective?

    Technology does wait… if you know how to ask it to wait.

    Newer != better

  28. Hommous habilis says

    1. Build your own PC (a monkey could do it)
    2. With the 000’s you save, buy a cheap copy of XP Pro off ebay
    3. Bathe in your money, and laugh like a loon at the suckers who buy garbage boxes with Vista pre-loaded

  29. Hommous habilis says

    Hey Ryan, did you know that NEW computers work better than OLD ones because the technology improves all the time? That’s why new ‘Vista’ computers work better than your old ‘XP’ computer. By the way, Vista isn’t a brand of computer, it’s a COMPUTER PROGRAM or ‘bloatware’ that runs on any computer that costs too much and is not very efficient. Noob.

  30. @Hommous, you are so right. Everyone should build their own computers. And their car… and their house. Any monkey can do it.
    While at it, why not grow your own food, make your own clothes ..etc?

  31. Actually, gaming computers NEED vista. Windows XP only uses 2 gb of RAM in total when playing games, using applications, and etc… If u have a high end computer with all the hardware needed for it to support vista, then it is actually a bit better than XP cause the more gb`s of RAM it sucks up the MORE is supported.

  32. @ Dr Breen.

    Thats the dumbest thing I’ve EVER heard.

    That’s like saying that a V8 (insert local rev-head car make here) is faster that my 1100cc motorcycle, because it can make use of more fuel!?!

    Vista doesn’t support more ram BECAUSE it uses more, it supports more because it has more memory addressing, it uses more because it is typical MS bloatware.

    Gaming doesn’t NEED vista, windowsXP uses up to 3.2GB of ram if your running 32bit, and more than you’ll find in a consumer system when running 64bit.

    So… lets say I have a system that supports Vista. We’ll call it a 3.0Ghz 64bit with 3GB of ram and an nVida 8800GT (with 768MB ram). Now this is well within the specs required to run Vista Ultimate. Anything I do on this system (be it gaming, surfing the net, desktop publishing, developing, other) WILL BE SLOWER under Vista than XP. If we push into the 4gb+ workspace for memory I can use 64bit and anything I do will be slower under Vista than XP. But your argument wasn’t about the performance, cause that’s be proven in benchmarks that XP is fast, you’re talking about ram.

    So…say I’m playing spore, which lets you set how much system memory to let the game use to cache graphics, and I have a 4GB system. Because Vista will use at least 1GB of my RAM for pre-read caching and system processes, I’m left with up to 3GB for Spore and any other apps I have running.

    Now, say I’m doing the same on XP. XP averages ~200mb ram use (provided you have more than that, XP home will actually run on 64MB, but I digress) when “idle” if any OS is ever truly idle. that leaves me (on 32bit) the same 3GB for my game and apps OR or 64bit 3.8GB for my game and apps.

    (I actually run Ubuntu64bit and usually have 2xVirtual Machines, a chat program, a music program, and multiple terminal windows running while I play spore – or any other game – try that on Vista).

    The argument that Vista can address more ram in the 32bit version than XP can is really irrelevant to it superiority or inferiority as an OS.

  33. OHHHHH, now me getz it lol.A question btw,right now i have a 2.2 cpu dual core nvidia geforce gtx 280 and 4 GB of ram. My speed is sometimes a bit choppy though i just have installed like 17 programs (counting drivers) and i want to use all the ram available for more speed. How can i increase the block or watever that is making the use of ram reduce???

  34. I like XP pro, but Vista looks good, modern. Eventually it will replace XP, but I will keep my XP pro for as long as I can. Vista has some confusing and annoying features.


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