Windows XP. The operating system we look fondly back on as the pinnacle of Microsoft Computing. It was snappy, it looked pretty good, and best of all, it just WORKED. Which is far more than can be said for Windows Vista. But take off those rose tinted nostalgic glasses for a second. Having been a user of Windows 7 since the first leaked beta I’ve been a long term user. Today a client of ours asked whether our software would work on XP and IE 7, so I dove deep into our cupboards and dusted off a Dell Inspiron 9400 – a behemoth of a laptop with an incredible 1900×1200 screen. I booted into XP and started my work.
The first thing I noticed was the glaring colours. There’s just an overwhelming amount of blue and green – every taskbar, the start menu, even the background. It’s all two tone blue and green. I never remembered it bothering me in the past but when I come back to it from the neutral colours of Windows 7 and Mountain Lion… It’s astonishing how designs have changed for operating systems.
In terms of speed however, it was still very impressive – after boot it still felt snappy and responsive, lightning compared to Vista, which took 10 minutes to tell me my password was incorrect today. It loaded applications quickly, didn’t crash or trip up and did pretty much everything I asked it to without breaking a sweat.
XP FELT HECTIC AND MESSY
One point I hadn’t remembered was just how messy the folder structure was. In Windows 7, C:\Users\Your.Name makes sense, and inside there is all your documents. Windows XP threw me a bit with its C:\Documents and Settings\Your.Name and its My Documents and My This and My That. It was the norm back then but I’ve found Windows 7 to follow a much more logical pattern.
I missed features from Windows 7 such as dragging a window to one side to fill that half, dragging to the top to maximise and I even missed the highly criticised Aero look. It just feels cleaner and more modern and even faster to use 7. XP felt hectic and messy.
Perhaps you agree with me, perhaps you don’t, but one thing I do know is regardless of how I feel now, I’ll always look back on XP fondly. But with Windows 7 I think Microsoft have gotten it right and they should stick there.