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Summary:

I think I’ve had my new Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium UMPC for around six weeks now. In that time, I’ve run Windows XP Tablet Edition (which came pre-installed), Windows Vista and even Mac OS X. It’s time to settle down now and that means I need […]

VistainstallationcompleteI think I’ve had my new Samsung Q1 Ultra Premium UMPC for around six weeks now. In that time, I’ve run Windows XP Tablet Edition (which came pre-installed), Windows Vista and even Mac OS X. It’s time to settle down now and that means I need an operating system for the long haul. Yes, I might do more experimenting, perhaps with a Linux distro or two, but I need my UMPC to be usable and rock-solid for everyday mobile use. So I’ve just wiped the drive and made a choice. Many of you would choose otherwise, but I went with Microsoft Windows Vista.

Let me clarify one point right from the beginning. I’ve now run Vista on UMPCs with a 900 MHz Celeron, a 1 GHz Pentium M and most recently, a 1.33 GHz Core Solo CPU. The experience obviously varies with different equipment. However, one thing has remained constant: the overall performance is greatly enhanced with 2 GB of memory. If I didn’t upgrade the RAM on the Q1 Ultra Premium, my choice would have been Windows XP.So why did I go with Vista? There’s a few reasons and these reasons are personal to me. I won’t go into every possible pro and con here, but instead, I’ll hit the main points. I fully expect that others might make a different choice because logically, they have different needs and requirements.The main reason I made this choice is for the inking experience. Bar none, Vista offers the best and most integrated Tablet PC experience over any other option. The Tablet Edition of XP isn’t even what I’d call a close second. Yes, it’s very usable, but by comparison it feels like an add-on feature at best. Ink, and to a lesser extent, touch, permeates the operating system in a way that makes it a part of the operating system. Obviously, if ink isn’t important to you on a UMPC, you’re more likely to go with XP for performance reasons.While I could use the split QWERTY keyboard on the Q1UP, it’s usually my last option. When out and about with the device, I carry a Bluetooth keyboard with me. For heavy text entry, it’s my tool of choice. But when I’m sitting around the house or enjoying a nice day on the deck, I really don’t want to balance a keyboard on my lap. It’s far more effective to whip out a stylus and ink for a little input. I’m sure the integrated QWERTY keyboard works well for many people, but it simply doesn’t for me. The keys are too small for prolonged use and I don’t like darting my eyes back-and-forth as I search for keys. I’ve tested my input speed and I’m far and away a faster inker than keyboarder with the split keyboard. It doesn’t hurt that Vista’s handwriting recognition learns to become more accurate over time as well.The second reason I opted for Vista relates to my point of clarification above. Simply put: the hardware I have can handle it quite well. No, the UMPC I have isn’t a desktop-class device, but it does have a notebook-class processor in the Intel Core Solo. Coupled with the 2 GB of memory, the integrated Intel 945 graphics chipset, 80 GB hard drive and 1024 x 600 touchscreen, I’ve got a very capable device that makes for a positive computing experience with Vista. I’m certain that folks using XP will point out “When I use [insert application name or feature here], it’s much faster in XP”. That may well be and if so, I say: great! But again, everyone’s needs are different and we all value different aspects of our computing experience in a personal way.Another reason for my choice: I’ve somehow avoided some of the performance issues that many others have unfortunately experienced. Call it luck of the draw, but I never saw any major disk thrashing and when I sleep and resume my device with Vista, it only takes a few seconds. I rarely shut my device down so boot times are a non-issue. I don’t think I’ve done anything special to avoid this situation and I suspect that part of the reason for it is that I don’t install tons of third-party applications. I’m a pretty basic web-worker these days and I gravitate more towards web applications over installed applications.Staying with XP is certainly a strong consideration. Many people would do just that due to personal experiences or second-hand horror stories with Vista. Honestly, folks are justified to keep XP for their needs. For me though, there’s no compelling reason to go with XP over Vista. I end up losing functionality (out of the box) in terms of ink integration and I don’t need the performance of my UMPC to compare with my Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro. It wouldn’t with XP anyway. Make no mistake: not everyone needs or wants Vista and I suspect Windows XP will be around far longer than folks think. Still, for my needs with the current device I own, Vista is a solid choice for me at the moment.

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  1. I haven’t had any problems with Vista.

    I think a lot of the Vista hate is a bit over blown, mostly by people who’ve never even used it.

  2. Inking is an addiction, Kevin. Someone needs to take you through an intervention.

    OK, dammit, I volunteer. Just send that Samsung to me and you’ll be well on your way to the healing process.

    Heh-heh.

  3. Quick question, Kevin. It’s got nothing to do with UMPC but I just wanted to ask since you’ve wiped and installed OS few times. I was wondering if there’s a way to save your favoirte bookmarks for your internet explorer or firefox. I format my computer from time to time and it’s such a pain in the neck to find all the favorite websites and add it again on my bookmark. If there’s a way, that’d be great.

  4. As for backing up personal data I always grab my profile i.e. c:documents and settings{myusername} or c:users{myusername} and transfer it to a usb hard drive before wiping a device then pull over the My Documents, Favorites, Desktop. Then if I missed something, I can go back like if I missed my custom dictionary in ms word, or a pst file under application data. I’ll usually delete the data off my usb drive after a month or two, after all if I didn’t miss it, it must not be worth having :)

  5. @PJ: you can export/import bookmarks from firefox

  6. borax99 (Alain C.) Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Hmmm, I installed Vista on my P1610 once the “upgrade” became available. In order to get decent (and useable) performance, I had to (1) turn off SuperFetch (2) turn off User Account Control and (3) disable Aero and revert to Windows Classic. Having done those things, which took 5 minutes or less, performance was OK. Then of course I discovered that my Kyocera EVDO modem didn’t work in Vista – with no driver update in sight. Back to XP, haven’t looked back since . . . The overall Vista installation was in place for only two or three days.

  7. @ PJ

    I use the Foxmarks extension in Firefox for backing up and importing my bookmarks. It hasn’t failed me yet, and I highly recommend it.

  8. Alain

    I can’t understand why turning off UAC has any impact on performance? Also, I assume you were on 1Gb ram?

    Asking as I have a P1610 running XP. TBH, I can’t see me putting Vista on until 2Gb is affordable in microdimm format.

  9. Dr. Julius Hibbert, MD. Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    While I can understand why you’d detail your reasons for going with Vista on your Q1UP considering the comments you’d get if you didn’t, I think it’s a shame that you would have to justify your decision to install Vista to anybody. Whatever the popular opinion of Vista may be, it’s your device and you can install the OS of your choosing.

    PS- I love the site!

  10. @Nate: A lot of it may be, but far from all of it. I think a lot of it is the usual effect of a newer OS with more abilities needing better systems than an older one — it’s OK to admit that. After recently putting a Vista partition back on my X60 for gaming, I realized that a large part of MY bad Vista experience was because of vendor-bundled applications, even in the case of Lenovo, which has a reputation for being much better about such things. (Compared to Dell or Sony.)

    I loved a lot of the new features of Vista and especially the new filesystem layout, but IBM’s connection software caused endless headaches for me, and when I first tried it there were issues with Cygwin… and Microsoft changed its own Unix subsystem, which was free for XP, to pay for Vista. (I’m a Linux user, so this is vital to me.) Firefox also kept crashing on me — and Microsoft’s software or no, removing their OS fixed the problem for me. ;)

    I can’t fault Kevin’s reasons on the input side, though. I never ink, but Vista’s got that much better integrated than anything I’ve seen on XP’s side, and another step better than anything I’ve seen on Linux.

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