I just realized this is my 22nd year of playing with computers. AutoCAD is now v16? v17? and, was 2, or something similar when the drafter who took CAD classes announced, with reverent awe, that he was inserting a 1 mega-byte memory chip into his IBM compatable.
In primary school, we had PETs, and we used cassette tapes as storage devices. I was considered a big expert because I owned a Commodore 128. Ah, the good old days.
For a couple years prior to NT I had the fastest machine in our office; not the most up to date, but it had a broken sound card and released gobs of computing power to an otherwise dog machine. My latest with 2.8 ghz slogs along, crippled by security software, firewalls, snoopers, the latest jimcrackies for AutoCAD/Windows seamless operation, internet, 300% more software than "no-soundcard". I guess it has a good sound card. I don't have speakers.
It seems unlikely that your old computer would be faster than your new computer if it had the same security software, firewalls, and so on, broken sound card or not [given how little impact that might have]. It seems like you're comparing a stripped old machine with a loaded new machine, and then being surprised when the old machine was faster. Well, of course it is! If you stripped the new machine, it would /fly,/ but it wouldn't do all the things it's being required to do.
And that's a nice metaphor for Windows. My Commodore 128 booted faster than my new AMD 3200+. But it did 1 percent as many things. The reason Windows 2000 is faster on a P2 450 than XP is because customers keep demanding more and more features, and Microsoft - stupidly, in my opinion, but they're the rich ones and I'm not - keeps cramming this stuff in. But by the same token, applications on Windows 2000 will run /slower/ on a modern machine than the same machine running XP, in many cases. So we can bitch about Microsoft's idea of progress all we want, but the fact is, new Microsoft OSes do more than their predecessors, and often do it faster. The OS itself has more overhead, but it allows you to do more.
At home, I am trapped by the notion that all my expensive computer hardware should at least have a radio, if not TV, HD and a few other things. But what good are they when I turn off the sound to avoid the chirps, beeps, and sirens Windows belches in turettes (sp) fits.
You're trapping yourself, then, because Windows system sounds can be disabled, or changed to suit your tastes with whatever sounds for whatever events you choose. I personally turn them off, because I get enough visual feedback of events that I don't need audible feedback, and besides, the sound card has to keep switching bit depth to play the Windows samples, which restricts performance when I'm using Reason or Sound Forge.
Vista? Is it as fast and simplified as 98? Even DOS?
It is faster than both, but much more complex. It also requires more horsepower to be faster; a Pentium 90 will run DOS faster than Vista, but a Pentium EE will run Vista faster than DOS. Oh, and you can't actually do much of anything in DOS, if you haven't noticed.
I see new computers and software when I open our refrigerator. It is full of condiments, several flavors of dressing for greens, canned frosting, moldy containers from a month ago. The door barely shuts. The bread is there. I move aside pickles looking for some butter. There's a couple greenish leaves in the core of a slimy head of lettuce. Butter, lettuce, two slices of bread and a frozen pack of shaved, processed meat taste great - except for the excess of sodium and paragraph of alien names with the meat.
When my computer-ignorant friends ask me what photo solution to buy, I tell them to find an old, used copy of Photoshop 5 or so. "But, that's not the newest!" they say. I know, I tell them. You don't want the newest. CS2 is for graphics professionals, and it's going to be packed with stuff you don't want, need, or understand. Sure, you could use Elements or whatever stripped version of the modern software you choose, but Photoshop 5 will do everything you need and then some, and won't be unnecessarily complicated.
It sounds to me like you like Windows 98, or 2000. So run it. If you don't want all the sauces and pickles, why have XP? Certainly, don't buy Vista. You have that option. It'll be more difficult, sure, because modern applications won't support your OS sometimes, but that's the price you pay for wanting the old, stripped version. It's like my choice in cars: I drive a 20 year old BMW, because I don't want power seats and airbags and all the weight that comes with them, but BMW doesn't make a modern car - save the M3 CSL I can't buy - that doesn't come with all that crap. The downside is, I have more difficulty buying parts for my car, and modifications for my car, and if I get in an accident, I won't have an airbag, because BMW doesn't "support" my car, and make retrofit airbags for something that's two decades old, the same way Microsoft doesn't release security patches for OSes two generations behind the razor's edge.
You make your choices. If you don't like your choices, well, that's kind of the way the world works. But it seems like a lot of the choices you're making - not having speakers because you don't like Windows sounds, for instance - are based more on ignorance than on informed decision-making.
I guess I'm not too concerned about Vista.
Me neither. Vista doesn't contain enough improvements to make it a better choice for me than XP SP2. It's crammed with awesome sauces and pickles, and it's pretty as hell, but, well, I'm the kind of guy who drives a 20 year old car because power seat motors weigh too much. That's the choice I make.