2,000 Canadians want to save Windows XP

Steven Georgieff has a plan to deal with the migration from Windows XP to Vista.

“If I can’t get a computer with XP on it, I’m going to get a Mac,” said Georgieff, a pilot with Calgary-based Sunwest Aviation. “It’s that simple.”

But Microsoft Corp. is no longer selling Windows XP through retailers and is touting the Vista operating system as more secure with a better interface.

Georgieff is one of 2,125 people who signed our Save XP petition, which asked Microsoft Corp. to continue offering Windows XP beyond the June 30 end of sale date. At ComputerWorld Canada, we launched our Save XP campaign last February.

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What to do during the XP phase-out

Though the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has stopped selling XP in retail stores, XP Professional is available to some users as a downgrade option with the purchase of Vista Business or Vista Ultimate.

“Vista is a Mac wannabe,” Georgieff said. “They totally got it wrong. The interface is not as user friendly as XP. I don’t want all the funky colours and little drawings. It’s not meant to be pretty. It’s meant to be useful and that’s how I use it. With Vista you don’t have that option.”

PC manufacturers offering the downgrade option include Dell, HP, Lenovo, NEC and Sony. Businesses will also qualify for download rights if they are part of a Microsoft Volume Licensing Program.

Companies have complained to ComputerWorld Canada that upgrading to Vista is too expensive and some applications will not run on XP.

Infoworld magazine collected 210,562 signatures on a similar petition.

Another Canadian user who signed ComputerWorld Canada’s petition was Art Richmond, director of information systems for Mosaid Technologies Inc., an Ottawa-based company that designs semiconductors for component manufacturers.

“On the several occasions that we tested Vista, we found that it performed poorly in comparison to XP and that it was incompatible with much of our existing hardware and software,” Richmond wrote in an e-mail to ComputerWorld Canada. “XP on the other hand is working well as the core of our PC environment and I don’t see any need to replace it.”

One user at Burnaby, B.C.-based Telus Corp. has had problems with Vista.

Lawrence Glazer, a contracts manager for Telus’s technology strategy group, wrote in an e-mail that in the past, Windows migrations were “incremental” and learning curves “relatively painless.”

But Vista is different.

“The operational and security features are infinitely frustrating,” Glazer wrote. “After six months on my desktop server, I still can’t get my laptops to find the scanners and printers! With Vista, Microsoft has hit new lows in marketing as well. What can be said of the arrogance of a company that “greys out” the screen that allows you to perform an incremental upgrade unless you buy the most expensive version of their operating system? “

Glazer added despite frequent security upgrades and other faults, XP is still Microsoft’s best OS so far.

“In my opinion, Vista is a disaster,” he said. “Did I mention that I am now in the market for a new iMac?

Of the 50,000 enterprise users surveyed by Forrester Research Inc., 87.1 per cent were still running Windows XP at the end of June, compared to 8.8 per cent for Vista. According to author Thomas Mendel, that implies that the majority of PCs upgraded to Vista were those running older versions of Windows, such as Windows 2000 or 98.

Mendel described Vista as the “new Coke” of software, in reference to Coca-Cola’s decision in 1985 to change the formula of its soda pop. The same year, the beverage maker scrapped New Coke and resumed sales of its old drink under the Coca-Cola Classic brand.

Microsoft is encouraging companies to upgrade to Vista through the Windows Vista Small Business Assurance, which is available to businesses with fewer than 50 employees or 25 PCs. It also said it will provides free telephone support through the end of October to companies that buy new PCs with Vista Business or Vista Ultimate between now and Sept. 30.

But this does not help users like Richmond.

“The plain truth is that nobody is moving over to Vista willingly and so Microsoft is trying to jam a failed product down our throats by killing a product that works well for us,” he wrote.

With files from Eric Lai and Gregg Keizer

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