In short: Got Windows XP and thinking of bumping "up" to Windows 7? Save your money. As for the Second Life Viewer 2 comparison between the Windows and Macintosh versions... new comparison coming soon. Now, back to our regularly-scheduled programme...

I just plunked $200 down at, which allows me to legally download and use everything Microsoft makes and sells from their "business" units, including every version of each from the current and all the way back. So, I downloaded and installed Windows 7 (Ultimate) for the very first time and I agree: it is a vast, massive, stunning improvement over anything "Vista".

However, like the majority of commercial enterprises, I had downgraded my Vista back to Windows XP and have been utterly happy-go-lucky because of it. Even before Service Pack 1, I had felt and proclaimed Windows XP as being the first version of Windows Microsoft "got right". I understand that even though Windows 7 is "selling like hotcakes" (primarily through attrition - as people buy new computers) - it still has not achieved the number of "seats" that XP still enjoys, primarily through commercial users, though it is catching-up slowly.

So I plopped Windows 7 onto my Macintosh via VMWare Fusion 3.1. I see it has the same interface as Vista (which I gave a full vetting for 11.5 months before I was fed-up enough to return to XP). However, other than the eye-candy, I can so far see absolutely no compelling reason to spend any money upgrading from Windows XP to 7. None. Zip, zilch, nada. Seriously, Windows 7 runs as fast as XP (apparently) but not any faster. At least not that can be seen by the naked eye or felt by the user (benchmarks are really moot unless you are an uber-geek who thrives on information useless to the overwhelming majority of users.)

In addition to spending the bucks for Windows 7 (I don't actually have to buy it because I get it free with my Technet subscription) there is the issue of first backing-up everything on my XP computer, installing Win7 from scratch, then restoring all my backed-up stuff, reinstalling all my software and setting preferences and then... dealing with the learning curve of a new interface. Windows 7 offers no real benefit for going through all this headache and time.

My point: Windows 7 is not a compelling upgrade from XP. Why try to fix what isn't broken? Vista on the other hand is definitely broken. My recommendation is if you have a Windows XP disc and key: downgrade. Now. You'll hate yourself for not doing it sooner. If you don't have XP with a valid key, then and only then: upgrade to Windows 7. But if you do, wipe-out Vista completely and start from scratch.


This scenario does, however, present me with an unique opportunity:
I will install and test Cryptic's "Star Trek Online" and Linden Lab's "Second Life" and compare them in the following scenarios:

  • How do they compare when running native in Windows between XP and 7?
  • How do they compare in XP between native hardware (Bootcam) versus virtual machine (emulation via Fusion)
Additionally, I will in the next few weeks run some fascinating comparisons on Linden Lab's Second Life software in what will certainly be the most accurate comparison ever done between the different versions. I will compare Viewer 2.1, Imprudence and Snowglobe in the following ways:
  • Windows version native in Windows XP (Via bootcamp - native hardware to Windows XP)
  • Windows version native in Windows 7 (Via bootcamp - native hardware to Windows 7)
  • Macintosh version native in OS X
  • Windows version in Windows XP emulation via VMWare Fusion (Fullscreen)
  • Windows version in Windows 7 emulation via VMWare Fusion (Fullscreen)
  • Windows version in Windows XP emulation via VMWare Fusion (windowed in OS X)
  • Windows version in Windows 7 emulation via VMWare Fusion (windowed in OS X)
Because every single one of these tests will be happening on the exact same hardware (not just comparably-equipped separate hardware, but the exact same machine - exact same configuration in all instances), it should prove to be a fascinating comparison among all scenarios, even more accurate than Torley Linden's comparison between the Mac and Windows version of Viewer 2 (which was not a very precise test, but a great effort just the same).

Because I am out of town the week of the 20th, I will begin these tests on my return and most certainly post my results here.