It may only be 23 months old but Vista has been widely panned by both businesses and home users. However, it may yet become the world's favourite OS - here's why.

Windows Vista was released only 23 months ago but it's been widely critisced. With home users proclaiming their hate for the operating system (OS) and some businesses quickly uninstalling it, analyst firm Gartner has said the Vista is "collapsing" under its own weight.

Meanwhile, predecessor Windows XP has belatedly become so beloved that it's even garnering calls for 'unretirement'. But all of the griping about Vista and instant nostalgia for XP covers up a dry, statistical reality: XP itself was slow to catch on with users - maybe even slower than Vista has been thus far. For instance, in September 2003, 23 months after its release, XP was running on only 6.6 percent of corporate PCs in the US and Canada, according to data compiled by AssetMetrix, an asset-tracking vendor that was later bought by Microsoft.

In comparison, Forrester Research reported that, as of the end of June - 19 months after Vista's November 2006 debut for business users - the new operating system was running on 8.8 percent of enterprise PCs worldwide. Forrester analyst Thomas Mendel, who authored the report, wasn't impressed

But even Gartner, that prophet of Windows' doom, forecasts that Vista will be more popular at the end of this year than XP was at a similar juncture - with 28 percent of the PC operating system installed base worldwide vs 22 percent for XP at the end of 2003.

"The uptake of XP was slower than people remember today," said Michael Cherry , an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. He noted that many IT managers "labelled XP a consumer-only upgrade" at first.

Users loved Windows 2000, which was less than two years old when XP was released, and for many, XP didn't add enough to make them want to move up. "XP was really viewed as a glorified upgrade, not a new operating system in its own right," recalled Donnie Steward, CIO at ACH Foods, a US-based maker of processed foods.

Then there were all the security issues. XP now is considered highly secure, but that wasn't the case in 2002. That's when LifeTime Products upgraded to the operating system after Microsoft released Service Pack 1, its first major bug-fix update.

"We used to say XP was like Swiss cheese - full of holes everywhere," said John Bowden, CIO at the Clearfield, a US-based maker of recreational equipment.

To try to fix the security problems, Microsoft developed a second service pack, which it pushed customers to adopt. But SP2 was such a major change that it broke applications - lots of them, especially enterprise ones. That caused many companies to block updates to SP2 on their PCs for months until they could prepare for the mammoth upgrade.

NEXT PAGE: More reasons why Vista may still become the world's favourite OS

  1. It may be hated now but things could turn around
  2. More reasons why Vista may still become the world's favourite OS

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