Dear Vista: it's time to part ways

The world just wasn't willing to accept you...

Vista, I have to tell you something, and I thought it would be easier to say in a letter. Microsoft's newest operating system is on its way; Windows 7 will be here on October 22. So, I know this is kind of awkward, Vista, but I'm going to have to ask you to get your things ready and start packing up.

Look, I know you'll miss your old hard drive, but this kind of thing happens all the time. I hope you aren't crying. Don't you remember your cousin? Windows ME? He had a tough career too, and now he's got his own Wikipedia page. Retirement is going to look good on you too, Vista. And, remember, Microsoft will be giving you product support for a few more years anyway.

I know we've gone through some good and bad times together. I really felt for you when InfoWorld started that petition to extend Windows XP licensing indefinitely. I mean, how embarrassing for you, really. Then there was the whole downgrading to XP from Vista episode, but let's just chalk that up to a natural human tendency to resist change.

I certainly hope you're not still mad about that whole class-action lawsuit over the Vista Capable program. I told you it was something that I just said in the heat of the moment. I didn't mean it. Look, put yourself in my shoes, would you? I had just found out I needed to purchase a new machine that was supposed to work well with this new OS called Vista. You had so many neat sounding things like Aero, BitLocker, ReadyBoost, SuperFetch, Windows Connect Now, and Windows SideShow. I had no idea what all that VistaSpeak meant, but it sounded fun. So there were some problems at first, but in the end I didn't go through with joining the lawsuit, did I? Besides, a federal judge decided the Vista Capable complaint couldn't go forward as a class-action suit anyway, so it all worked out didn't it? I mean, you turned out to be a wonderful OS for this machine; well, you were very pretty and very nice anyway.

Now, I know what you're probably doing right now. You're blacking out your screen and asking me if I want to continue. Look, I know this is hard, but yes we have to have this discussion. Your User Account Control security obsession always annoyed me. Yeah, I know I could've just gone into your Control Panel, selected User Accounts and Family Safety, then User Accounts, and then clicked Turn User Account Control on or off. But then I wouldn't have had that added security would I? I just wanted to have greater control, that's all; and Windows 7 is supposed to let me modify the UAC a little bit more.

Please, let's not talk about those hard times; I think it's best to remember the good days we had. I'll never forget how confused I was when I saw you for the first time. Here you were, this pretty little OS and I had a heck of a time finding my old XP features that were renamed and moved all over the place. Fun stuff.

Remember when it took me all night to put you on an upgraded XP machine? Those were good times. I remember I wanted to back up my files, wipe the hard drive and then do a clean install. That meant I had to do a fresh install of XP instead of just installing Vista and then inserting my old XP disc to verify that I qualified for an upgrade. But eventually we got there, and I finally saw your shiny interface on that old computer.

What a crazy night that was, and if it makes you feel any better there have been reports the XP to Windows 7 upgrade path won't be easy either--although improvements have been made. I realize you're probably thinking about all those features you've got over XP right now. It's true: Vista search capabilities were so much better than XP. I mean, who really liked that flea-bitten XP dog anyway?

It's also true that some are saying Windows 7 is really just Vista with a new look and a few tweaks, and the new OS may not be much faster than Vista, but look everybody's really excited about Windows 7. Did you see Steve Ballmer at the announcement yesterday? He was so excited. I know he's usually a ball of energy, but I felt there was even a little more excitement than usual this time. Not sure why.

Anyway, Vista this is getting a little long. I know a lot of people are saying they won't miss you, and I regret that things didn't work out. But that's how it goes sometimes. The world just wasn't willing to accept you, even though Microsoft tried to show people how good you were. Look, I hope retirement is really great for you Vista, and let me just close by saying I am truly sorry about that time I tried to dress you up like Windows 7.

Take care, Vista.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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