I have Windows Vista – is that bad? Should I upgrade?

Usually, in technology, newer is better. However, with the release of Windows Vista, something happened
that is rarely seen in this type of environment.

Vista had certainly been a long time in coming. Typically, Windows operating systems come every couple of years (think Windows 95, Windows 98). However, Windows XP was released in October of 2001, and Vista was released in January, 2007. That’s nearly 6 years – and a lot can happen in 6 years.

Windows Vista was a comprehensive overhaul of the Windows environment. Many things had changed, and therefore existing hardware (things like printers, scanners, and other devices) required new software to understand how to communicate with Vista (“drivers”). Many hardware devices did not have Vista drivers when Vista was released – leading to a lot of frustration on the part of many people.

Vista also required more powerful computer components than Windows XP did. That stands to reason – if you upgrade your computer every 5 years or so, what you bought in 2002 would need to be updated to run 2007 software. However, people complained about the hardware requirements that Vista had, expecting Microsoft to make the requirements the same as Windows XP.

As time passed, the first issue of drivers was addressed. Hardware manufacturers either updated the drivers, or admitted that they weren’t going to, ever. People who needed new computers eventually bought them, as usual. And the Vista Service Pack Upgrades (Windows Updates) fixed the other minor issues.

So if you bought a new computer with Windows Vista, what should you do? The answer is – if it’s working for you, don’t do anything. If it’s slow, upgrade the memory (RAM) to the max your computer can take. (That’s a slightly more involved process if you’ll have 4GB of RAM or more, due to Windows 64-bit. Future topics will discuss this.) If you have money left after upgrading the RAM and you have a desktop, upgrade the graphics card. If you have a laptop and still want to spend money – go ahead, buy Windows 7. But it’s not necessary.