I'm here to talk you out of it. Here's why. Vista Is Incomplete Microsoft is already planning its first service pack and seeking input from users on what to include. Vista probably won't be truly ready for prime time until that first service pack version, possibly later this year. The hardware and software companies that make compatible products for Vista aren't all ready for the new OS. Many of those companies are scrambling to complete Vista drivers and updates. Most important, not all video and sound card companies are ready.
Audio and peripheral maker Creative publishes a list detailing the status of drivers for each of its many products. Most of their Sound Blaster Internal products already have Vista drivers available. Two of them have only a "beta 2" version of the drivers.
Three of their older products say "No Development Planned. Most are supported by a Catalyst Vista Software Driver, which is in beta, and are plagued by a long list of published "known issues. Their partial readiness for Vista is symptomatic of the larger companies.
Many smaller peripheral makers simply have no Vista support at all. Some PC vendors, such as Alienware and Polywell, are aggressively pushing XP over Vista, because both say graphics and other drivers for Vista aren't quite ready for prime time.
Software, such as the security suites you may have already paid for, may not run on Vista, and some require updates that aren't ready yet. Trend Micro, Panda, Computer Associates, and Symantec have all announced that they'll ship updated suites on Tuesday--just in time for the consumer availability of Vista. Microsoft claims McAfee will support Vista, but hasn't said when.
The company itself has not announced Vista support. And some, but not all, ZoneAlarm products will support Vista by next week. The smaller the company, the longer it will generally take for them to support Vista. Gaming on Vista--and Vista's DirectX 10 graphics support--is awesome for gamers. But that's something you'll be able to fully take advantage of only later. The full gaming potential of DirectX 10 requires three elements: The operating system is ready, the graphics hardware is partly ready, and the games are nowhere.
Eventually, Vista will be the ultimate PC gaming platform. But there's simply no reason for gamers to rush out and buy Vista next week. Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate. You can buy any of these in the upgrade version with a discount, or the stand-alone version without the discount.
But you don't want the cheapest version. Second, Home Basic just won't cut it for most people. Plus, you can't connect Xbox peripherals to Home Basic. For many, including yours truly, those are the three best reasons to upgrade to Vista in the first place. It's for nontechnical, nonpower users who employ their system for lightweight, personal purposes only.
It's got all the fun and goodies of Home Premium, plus the power-user features in the business version of Vista. Are you sitting down? For technical users, the ideal scenario for many will be Ultimate for you and Home Premium for the spouse and kids. The cheapest Vista is the copy that comes with a new PC because you get in on the reseller's steep discount.
After months of demos, early testing, beta releases, and finally announced launch plans, here's what you can expect in an upgrade. When is Windows 7 coming out? Windows 7, the next major operating system OS release from Microsoft after Vista, will be officially available on October The beta version will expire next week, while the RC will remain a free download until August How many versions of Windows 7 will there be? Six different editions of Windows 7 will be available: You won't however see in the shops all the above edition.
Marketing efforts will be concentrated only on the Home Premium and Professional editions. The other editions, including a non-Internet Explorer version for users in Europe, will be available for various markets around the world.
What's in each edition of Windows 7? Microsoft said that features of all edition of Windows 7 would be stored on machines, regardless of which edition the user has purchased. The chart below from Wikipedia; click to enlarge it is a fair guide on the features available in each version of Windows 7.
How much will it cost me to upgrade to Windows 7? Residents in the U. The deal will last until July 11 in the U. The number of copies available is not unlimited and Microsoft did not say how many will be available.
Where can I get this special pre-order deal? The Windows 7 pre-order deal is available only online. In the U. Both special prices upgrades are available for Windows XP and Vista users.
Windows XP users will have to do a clean install. Moving from a bit version of Windows to a bit one will require a clean install as well.
There is no equivalent discount so far for those running Vista Ultimate and willing to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate. This move has already created outrage among many Vista Ultimate users. What if I don't pre-order the special deal? The same pricing is expected after October 22 when Windows 7 will be available to everyone.
HP and Lenovo will offer free Windows 7 upgrades to qualifying customers who own machines running Vista. What are the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 7? Microsoft says Windows 7 is designed to run well on PCs that meet the recommended system requirements for Windows Vista. Before you upgrade to Windows 7, be sure to compare your PC's specifications with the Windows 7 system requirements as follows: Most recent netbooks will be able to run Windows 7.
However, it is yet unclear how Microsoft plans to deliver the update to machines without an optical drive. The latest speculation on the matter suggests that Microsoft is considering selling Windows 7 on a USB drive. Alternatively, the company might partner with retailers and offer an in-store netbook upgrade program.
What if I buy a computer with Vista between now and October 22? Microsoft said that customers who will buy a new a new Windows Vista machine between now and October 22 would get free upgrades to their respective versions of Windows 7. The offer is available for Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate editions. Computers shipped with Windows Vista Home Basic will not be eligible for an upgrade.
The offer runs until January What happens after October 22? After Windows 7 will be launched on October 22, most new machines will be shipped with the new OS. When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.