Corporates don't like new operating systems.

They're largely unpredictable until after virus writers have decided they're no longer the flavour of the month, and the first Service Pack has been released and deployed extensively. Oh, and until the whole thing is bug free.

By contrast, consumers do like new operating systems. But that doesn't mean they'll rush out and buy Windows Vista , as our Tech.co.uk mini-survey proved.

They lapped up Windows 95. They loved XP. But there were good reasons for this: every new consumer Windows operating system since 95 has represented a sea-change in the way we use our PCs.

That's with the pointless Millennium Edition excluded, of course.

Windows as we know it

Windows 95 was a complete change for the PC. The Start menu appeared, as did My Computer. It was the foundation for everything that followed.

Windows 98 represented more stability than 95 while seriously dealing with the new-fangled internet.

XP represented driverless installation, ease-of-use and added supreme stability.

So what, exactly, does Vista represent? Security is Microsoft's big push - but do consumers still trust the company when it comes to security issues?

Vista's major problem is that people don't actually understand why they would want it. None of the fundamental leaps in usability that we saw with 95, 98 and XP are present; nor have its advantages been communicated to the public.

Gleam and gloss

True, the search improvements are brilliant, but that's just not enough to encourage people to part with their hard-earned cash.

Neither is the glossy interface.

Of course, games in DirectX 10 (hello, Halo 2) will encourage uptake among enthusiasts. But as long as Office supports Windows XP - and it will at least until the end of the Office 2007 lifespan - Microsoft will be hard pushed to get businesses to turn their backs on XP.

It's no wonder Microsoft decided to change the EULA (end-user licence agreement) to encourage enthusiasts to buy Vista.

But, there's one cold, hard fact. Next year, more people will be using Windows XP than ever before.

And no wonder. It's now safe for the workplace, runs remarkably well on pretty much any recent hardware - even Macs - and doesn't cause havoc with hardware.

Isn't that what computing is supposed to be about?