Can you buy an XP computer?

The title says it all. My son-in-law fried his laptop yesterday (spilled a cup of tea on it and the screen first went all white and then all black). He really really doesn’t want to get involved with Vista (partly on the basis of my own horror stories). I am not interested in any reply that tells me that Vista isn’t so bad. I guess if you never run anything but Office, Win Explorer and Outlook, it isn’t, but if you go beyond that it is a horror.


(And Vista isn’t that bad anymore. :p)

Doesn’t he have his original XP discs? Just wipe the new machine and use those.

Melodramatic much? I run a lot more than office and windows explorer and have no problems, and neither do millions others.

Nevertheless, the answer to your question is yes, you CAN still get desktops with XP installed. The Os is less stable and less secure than vista, but it remains a solid OS and the demand (Whether significantly based on misconceptions or on special requirements for business) is still very high.

Some major dealers will only ship a desktop with XP if you specifically ask for it. And if you do ask for it, I think they’ll put it on just about any machine.

You cna also get yourself a PC with a blank hard drive (or build one yourself) and put XP on it. The Os still available from online retailers like newegg. You ca usually get a few bucks off if you ask for no OS to be installed.

Possibly not. For a good while, laptop manufacturers loved nothing more than to stick you with a restore CD or DVD from which you could do things like reinstall the OS or restore the machine to its factory-default state but which were utterly worthless for use on any other machine except those of the same immediate series.

And if he’s buying a laptop it’s probably not a good idea to downgrade to an older OS as a lot of laptops come with specialized drivers for their hardware/OS which aren’t guaranteed(or likely) to work on other, especially older, OS’s. Even more so since many laptops being sold right now are 64bit and with 64bit Vista and drivers for 64 bit vista will not work with 32bit XP. And not many people had the 64bit XP.

You can most certainly buy laptops with XP on them but a quick search around seems to suggest that they’re rather overpriced.

My suggestion would be to just go with Vista, there’s really nothing wrong with it. I spend pretty much every waking moment on my computer and Vista does everything as well as XP, after you turn off all the security features anyway.

If you are absolutely opposed to that though, finding a used computer would probably be your best bet. As new XP laptops seem to be around $300 more then equivalent Vista ones. Though i’m sure you can find fairer deals if you look around a bit i’ve only done a quick search.

There are two problems with that. Many manufacturers do not provide original disks. They provide a program that burns CD “recovery disks”. When I tried that, one of them was defective and I was left with a dead machine. My vendor was able to restore it. So much for that. When I got a new Vista machine, eventually, I acquired a legal copy of XP from the MS employee store and installed it. Only none of the hardware drivers were there. Eventually, my vendor was able to find hardware drivers for all the hardware from different Toshiba sites (it was a Toshiba). Toshiba gave him no help whatever, expressing doubt that anyone would want to do such a thing. I have been using this machine for a year now and everything works fine.

Here are my problems with Vista. When I tried to install my editor in Program files, it would not allow me to copy an .exe file or even rename it once installed. Eventually I installed it under root. When I installed my TeX program, it installed and even ran, as far as I know, but would allow the font generator to write fonts. When I got another version that came as 1142 files on a CD, Win Explorer found only 1141 files on the CD, the missing one being setup.exe. Finally, I got it installed from a command line (that had not been disabled) and it ran even wrote font files. But everything I wanted to do was interrupted by a query box, “Do you really want to do that?” Then the find facitlity was never able to find anything at all. Eventually, I gave up on the whole thing. Also it was painfully slow. Why would I want to wish that on anyone?

It’s only “painful slow” on old hardware. A new laptop or desktop should be fine, as long as it’s not “new” except that it runs on outdated hardware (I’ve seen “new” desktops with the old AMD 3000+ processors - buyer beware).

It seems you were having problems with one piece of vista incompatible software . You can hardly fault vista for that, can you? The bloody thing was available to devs for a year before retail. Maybe there is a new version of the program you were trying to use?

Also, you can solve a lot of incompatibility problems by right clicking the executable and going to the compatibility tab. You can set it to run as an administrator, disable visual themes, run it as an XP app, whatever you need.

The few programs and games I own that won’t run natively in vista without any tweaks (we’re talking 5 year old apps +) run perfectly with some of these compatibility tweaks enabled. It takes al of 30 seconds to set them once, and you don’t need to set them again.

As to the missing file problem: Do you really think that was a Vista issue? If people were missing files because of Vista you’d think people would have heard of the problem somewhere. Vista does not misplace files. Obviously the issue was with something else.

>When I tried to install my editor in Program files, it would not allow me to copy an .exe file or even rename it once installed.

I see that as a huge plus. You should not want to copy or rename .exe files.

My only hope is that they hurry up and soon release whatever comes after Vista. I hear on that system you cannot copy or write .txt files either. It comes with all possible .txt files already written, and a Wizard to help you search and find the one you wanted to write.

Ah, yes. Codename: Capuchin ∞.

This used to be something people said in support of overbearing antivirus programs that threw a wobbly every time the user altered an .exe

There are legitimate reasons why some people will need to copy, rename and otherwise alter executables - software developers need to do this routinely.

I can certainly fault Vista for refusing to display the setup.exe program. I know it was there because I saw it (and ran it, eventually) in a command prompt. And as for incompatibility, the program ran, but could not save the fonts. It worked fine in XP. And the constant querying whether I really wanted to do what I wanted was extremely annoying. Finally, the inability to put an .exe file in a directory under Program files made me wonder just whose computer it was anyway

I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to go with user created problem here as I find no news items, tech reports, nor forum postings about vista hiding (non system) files. And this has never been my experience with Vista since I’ve been using it. Which is since it came out on retail shelves. A faulty drive, CD or other hardware perhaps? Did you fiddle around with settings you didn’t understand beforehand?

The developers of the program in question are responsible for keeping compatibility when a new OS comes out. Not microsoft. And either you never even attempted to run the program with compatibility tweaks, or the program is ancient. As I mentioned above, anything I’ve tried to run on my machine runs fine, as long as some compatibility tweaks are enabled.

Give me a break. The only time Vista prompts you is when installing drivers, new applications, or running something as an admin. It’s also entirely optional. You can disable this if you want to. Do you really not see the strength of this security option? It prevents “silent” programs from hijacking your PC. After you’re done installing your main programs you hardly ever see the prompt. Simply put, you are exaggerating.

Yet another example of an inexperienced user blaming the OS.

I just tried copying an .exe file into a directory in my Programs files. It prompted me, assuredly, since it is a security risk. But after clicking yes, it was copied.

I feel bad for your son-in-law who is not getting the most educated information.
Hopefully he’ll talk to someone else too.

You could get the laptop with Vista, then run Virtual PC to let you run XP on it at the same time.

Could you please elaborate on your objection to .txt files? I routinely write or edit a few every day. There are a lot of things I write which do not need any formatting at all other than paragraph breaks, so I write them in Notepad, which opens and closes an awful lot faster than Word does.

Here’s a very simple example: If I am writing an email – or a post to Straight Dope – that I expect to be longer than a few paragraphs, or that I expect to spend more than a half-hour on, I will not write it in my web browser, for fear of losing the connection, or having some other problem delete all my writing. Instead, I write it in Notepad, save it every-so-often as “temp.txt”, and then post it when I’m done. How can this possibly be one of the “all possible .txt files” that you mentioned? I must be misunderstanding you.

Keeve, did you by any chance just hear a loud whooshing sound?

:smack: OOOPS! He was being sarcastic. I often miss that kind of stuff. Thanks. I truly appreciate it.

Instead of purchasing the Dell with XP and Bonus (which means you are paying the licensing fees for both XP and Vista), what you want is to go to the Dell Outlet. outlet

There you can find XP machines without the Vista Bonus add on price.

No, give me a break. If you have gotten Vista to quietly accept the software you run every day, I’m happy for you. But please don’t assume that yours is a universal experience.

I have a number of programs that I use on a regular basis. I run them multiple times each day. They’re pretty tame - no reading or updating of anything in the registry, at worst hhtp access via the network. But I use them from many different machines, so I have installed them on a common networked drive. Vista will complain about them every single time I launch them. And I have UAC disabled.

Vista has multiple levels of these tests and notifications, and experience shows that they have quite a list of things that can trigger them. Only the top-level (UAC) notices can be readily disabled. But even with those disabled, Vista will complain if you launch any exe for which it cannot determine the publisher, or if you launch any exe from network-mapped drives, or if …

Some of the rules seem to be specifically aimed at discouraging the use of open-source software (note the OP referred to the use of TeX). The insistence upon signed executables is an an example. The most annoying thing is that, in my experience, these lower-level alerts occur every time you repeat a launch - Vista does not remember your responses to sub-UAC warnings.

Assuming you have the installation media for them, and have a talent for locating drivers for hardware of more recent vintage than the OS, I think you can erase the HD and install Windows 2000, Windows95, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, whatever…

Macs aren’t like that; with the same company producing OS and hardware, they have an interest in preventing older versions of the OS from booting on new hw, and do so, and not just when they really have to. But I don’t think Dell and HP and etc have routines embedded in their hardware that looks for and blocks older versions of an OS from booting them; and the hw spec has mostly changed by adding on, the underskeleton remains roughly the same, doesn’t it?