Wait! Don't Buy Microsoft Windows Vista

3. Vista Wants a New PC

To get full value from Vista, you're probably going to want to buy a new, Vista-optimized PC. Many of the benefits of Vista require hardware your current PC doesn't have. ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive, for example, require special hybrid or flash drives. Windows Aero looks awesome, but only if your graphics card supports Pixel Shader 2.0. You can record high-definition cable TV, but only with a tuner card designed to take advantage of that Vista feature. You can enjoy DirectX 10 games, but only with a compatible video card.

Vista's new indexed searching is great, but you'll need extra hard disk space for the index--and extra storage for the operating system itself. Don't even think about running Vista on a system with less than 1GB of RAM; 2GB is reasonable, and 4GB is the sweet spot. And if you want to really enjoy the Aero eye candy, you'll want a 20-inch or larger flat-panel LCD display.

Sure, you can buy Vista and install it on an old PC. But that's like subscribing to HD cable, but not buying an HD TV. You're paying for the HD experience but not actually experiencing it.

4. Vista Is Time-Consuming

Installing any new operating system is time-consuming. You have to configure everything, load your data, install your applications, and get your peripherals working. Then, in the case of Vista, you have to figure out where Microsoft buried all the options, menus, and features, and get used to the ubiquitous Search boxes. Anytime you want to do anything in Vista, it seems, the software asks, "Are you sure?" You'll want to figure out how to turn that off and customize Vista to get rid of all its annoying "user-friendly" hand-holding features.

But buying Vista now, and installing it on old hardware, means doing additional, time-consuming tasks--possibly an additional day or two. Why? Chances are, you'll have to hunt down, install, and troubleshoot new drivers for your old peripherals and system components.

You may have heard about Windows Easy Transfer, which moves files and settings from XP to Vista. But don't get too excited about this. It works only after you've reinstalled all your applications; it doesn't actually move installed applications, just settings and data.

By waiting, and getting Vista on your next PC, you'll save yourself the pain and hassle of trying to retrofit your old PC with the new operating system.

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