Problems with Microsoft - Vista - XP Service Pack 3

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A number of readers have asked if they should download Microsoft’s latest Windows XP update "Service Pack 3." Many still remember the problems associated with SP2 when it first came out. Well, SP3 also comes with issues that are too numerous to itemize in their entirety, but here are some things you should know:

Two of Microsoft’s other recent offerings have also caused grief for many users — Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7. In fact, so many users have been unhappy with the latter that Microsoft made it easy for those who upgraded from Internet Explorer 6 to easily go back to that version. However, if you install SP3, you will have to first uninstall the update before you can return from IE7 to IE6. SP3 has also been found to cause certain computers to enter an endless loop of shutting down and starting up again.

As for Vista, I hear from very few who have something good to say about the operating system. (Gary Beckner likes Vista. See his letter below.)*

Most ask me if I know how to revert to Windows XP. Well, originally Microsoft declared that no more computers with WinXP would be sold after a certain date and that Vista would be the new standard for all Windows users. Well, Vista turned out to be such a dud that Microsoft quickly back-pedaled and said WinXP would continue to be available to new computer buyers.

There is nothing about Vista that would ever make me want to have the operating system. However, since readers expect me to answer questions about all versions of Windows, I decided to buy a copy that would overwrite one of my WinXP PCs. Well, I spent nearly two hours with a download technician who scanned my computer to make sure it was Vista compatible. He then tried hard, but unsuccessfully, to download the product onto my machine. In fact, we decided to start all and give it another try.

Guess what — neither attempt succeeded, but Microsoft succeeded in billing my credit card for both failed attempts. At this point the download technician turned me over to a customer service representative, who assured me that I would have my refund within 10 working days. As I write this, however, it has been over two weeks with no refund in sight.

So I called Microsoft, using a toll-free number they provided. Guess what they told me — having my card credited for the failed downloads was not their problem and that I would have to arrange with my credit card company to get a refund. Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

As for buying a new computer with Windows XP, they are available from and, while various brands are available in the "Tech Depot" of Office Depot stores.

© Donald Ray Edrington - All Rights Reserved

    Letter from Gary Beckner:

    I read Don's articles every Sunday and usually agree with most everything that he says. However, Don says in this week's article that he has yet to hear from anyone who has anything good to say about Vista.

    Please allow me to be the first.

    I like Vista!

    It acts like the same ole XP underneath a user friendly surface. If you run IE 7 on my XP machine in my office or my wife's Vista machine in our kitchen, the average person will not see any difference.

    Many people like the less techie words in Vista. Just as "reboot" was replaced by restart years ago, non-techie users understand the new words better.

    I particularly like the way Vista can notify the user what causes a problem and a link to the solution from another vendor.

    I have Vista on my wife's HP notebook located in our kitchen. It is steady, reliable.

    To be honest, she uses the notebook mainly for email (Windows Live Mail), IE (which we also like IE 7 and would never go back to IE 6), internet phone calls, internet video, and messages.

    From my perspective, those are the primary uses for a computer, particularly among senior citizens and other non-power hungry non-techie users.

    So, please, when you dish Vista, please try to remember that there are those of us out here with limited technical computer skills who think Vista is the best thing that Microsoft has come up with so far.

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