Windows Fatal Error No, you didn’t read the title of the article wrong. With all of the Vista bashing going on we thought it would be fun to take a step back and see what the initial consensus was of XP when it launched back in October 2001. Since so much time has passed it is easy to forget the messages that were filling the forums and reviews.

I’ve never recommended that anyone go out and drop a few hundred dollars to upgrade their computer to Vista, but at the same time I’ve never told anyone to downgrade a newly purchased machine to XP. When Windows 7 is released in 2009/2010 the same thing is going to happen, and a new wave of “Windows 7 sucks, I’ll stick with Vista” messages will undoubtedly be sprawled across the Internet. Isn’t it obvious that with time comes maturity?

Here’s our recap on Windows XP’s first year of existence:

  1. [09/08/2001] This forum post happened one month before the release of XP, and it was in response to someone wondering whether an XP upgrade is worthwhile. Guess XP wasn’t really considered a major upgrade…

    I don’t see as a really big upgrade personally. It does contain some more integrated features, like CD Burning and a firewall along with some more networking options, but I don’t see it as much of an upgrade over 2k. Win9x, however, is a different story.

  2. [05/16/2002] We’ve quoted this CNet article before, but it is a really good representation of the issues people faced 6-months after the release of XP. Sound familiar?

    Microsoft’s latest operating system just turned six months old, and most would say that it’s neither a failure nor a raging success. While XP promised the latest and greatest multimedia, security, and ease-of-use features available, many users have not yet upgraded, fearing the hefty system requirements and potential compatibility disasters inherent in a major OS upgrade.

  3. [09/09/2002] Almost a year after the release of Vista this UK site primarily covered the performance of the operating system, but also had this to say about software compatibility:

    Having a PC that is up to the task of running Windows XP isn’t the only issue that has rankled with PC users. Perhaps even more of a bugbear has been compatibility. The truth is that XP just doesn’t work well with a lot of older software and hardware.

  4. [09/12/2002] It’s been about a year since the release of Vista, and I still think it’s astonishing the people who criticize Vista without having tried it. This forum is a shining example of the same thing happening to XP:

    dont goto XP … ive heard bad stuff about it 2 … more than the others

  5. [Sometime in 2002] I’m not sure exactly when this was written, but it was sometime in 2002. It’s essentially a guide of what to expect when upgrading to XP, and they mention the same thing about the minimum requirements that I tell people who want to upgrade to Vista:

    Face the facts. If you’re running the minimum 233-MHz Intel or AMD compatible processor, 64-MB RAM, 1.5 GB of free disk space, Super VGA (800×600) video adapter and monitor, and Microsoft-compatible keyboard and pointing device, you aren’t going to be happy with Windows XP. Nor will you be able to enjoy all the features that XP offers. It would be like driving a Ferrari with a Ford Pinto motor.

You might be saying to yourself that there wasn’t as much XP bashing as there is with Vista, but you also have to consider how many more opportunities people have to be vocal about their experiences. There weren’t many blogs back in 2001, forum activity was generally light, and sites like MySpace and Facebook didn’t exist. You didn’t have the opportunity to create a “XP sucks” Facebook group to see how many thousands of people you could get to join.

Another thing you need to realize is that some of the Vista opinions are based on experiences people had with pre-release versions. Microsoft decided this time around to open up Vista Beta testing to the public early on so that they could get feedback, and users didn’t have to pay a dime to test it out. I remember when I wanted to test XP I had to fork out $10 just to download the Release Candidate, and boy was that a driver nightmare at the time. Millions of people tested out Vista, and I know several people who haven’t tried it since then… therefore skewing their perception of the final operating system.

The reason I defend Vista is because it’s been a great operating system for me as a consumer. I think it looks better than XP, performs better in most areas, and hardly ever nags me (ex. Vista installs necessary device drivers in the background automatically instead of popping up with a window). So don’t rush out to buy the operating system, but if you get a new computer I don’t see any reason as to why you shouldn’t get the latest version of Windows.