There’s a bit of large-media chatter this morning over a comment Bill Gates made the other day in a press conference about the sales rate of Vista being “rapid.” So far, 140 million copies of Vista have been sold.
First, on an anecdotal level, I now know six people who run Vista outside of my family (who primarily use Vista). Not six months ago the number was zero. So there is uptake. Now, I will admit that two of those six Vista users run copies of Vista that I donated: one to a developer that at the time was looking for work and one to an older couple looking to experience the latest in the computer field. So maybe you’d count that as four. Of the other Vista users two use a MacBook Pro and two purchased new machines with Vista already installed on them. Neither has had driver problems, although, I don’t think they have old peripherals. That’s an important point.
(Oh, I have seen several many, many more Vista machines at various developer events, but I’m not counting those. I’m just talking about friends and neighbors.)
Overall, I’d say the built-in driver issues are getting resolved. In other words, if you purchase a new machine you’re going to be pretty confident that there are drivers already supplied for everything in the box. What you do still have to be aware of is that if you have a lot of older printers, scanners, webcams and the like, you may be forced to upgrade them if you switch to Vista because you simply may not be able to find Vista drivers for them. Microsoft has said there are tons of drivers now available, but you know how Murphy’s Law always seems to pop up at the most inopportune times. So check and double check when you buy new hardware.
Actually, the Vista driver issue is a big one for peripherals at this time. I’ve seen more than once now where people have purchased brand new standalone peripherals out of the box that don’t have supplied Vista drivers. Sometimes there will be a note saying to download the actual Vista driver–which can be hard to find–or sometimes there’s no support at all. The drivers for built in components in notebooks and desktops is good. However, for standalone devices there are still some holdouts. I’m not talking about devices from major vendors like HP and the like, I’m talking about the small stuff, like MIDI keyboards and special camera capture devices. Most people will not run into these issues now, but I think it’s worth mentioning.
A final note: I know a lot of people purchasing Mac hardware now. Almost everyone wants to run dual operating systems (OS X and Windows). They all ask whether they should use Vista or XP. My first question to them is how many older peripherals do they have. If not many, I always recommend Vista. The Apple machines are terrific with their Vista driver support. Now if they have lots of three+ year old printers and the like I look up whether there’s Vista support for them and make an appropriate recommendation. Most people I know don’t want to be forced to upgrade their peripherals unless there’s some other compelling reason besides going to Vista.