Windows Vista, Revisited

Last January we discussed Windows Vista, touted as the best thing for PCs since... well, since Windows XP. How good is this new version, and does it measure up to the marketing?

In short, no. I have not received a single call from someone saying, "Gee, Triona, I really want to upgrade to Vista today." Those who have it are folks who found themselves with it when they bought new machines. I've seen some compatibility trouble with older hardware and software, and of course we're all still getting used to Vista's new look.

Low-cost computers may turn out to be less than a bargain. Microsoft says Vista will run on a PC with 512MB of memory and 20GB on the hard drive. But anyone in the IT world will tell you, there's a big difference between Microsoft's "minimum" system requirements and the real world. You'll need at least 1GB of memory, preferably 2GB, and as much disk space as you can muster. And if you don't have a 256MB graphics card, you can say goodbye to Aero, the fancy Vista interface. Budget computers don't have enough graphics capability. Since it's hard to upgrade graphics on laptops, mobile users in particular may be looking for new machines earlier than they thought.

Most people will find it more cost-effective to replace their computers instead of upgrading to handle Vista, a sad remark on our society's throwaway attitude toward technology. Unless you have a good reason to move to this new Windows version, you might as well stick with XP. But if you're not at XP yet, consider skipping straight to Vista. And do it sooner, not later. Older Windows versions cannot be adequately protected from Internet threats. You can still buy a new computer with Windows XP through June 30, 2008. That's a good option for those of you with older programs that can't yet be moved to Vista.

[This article is reprinted from the January 2008 issue of Triona's Tech Tips. See Green Computing in the right-hand sidebar for electronics recycling solutions, and don't forget to read about the problems folks are having with Windows XP downgrades now that the June 30 deadline has expired.]

Posted byTriona Guidry at 6:31 AM  

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