When to buy Vista so it doesn’t suck!

Posted on Thursday, July 31st, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I have a number of PC’s at my disposal with both Vista Home Premium and XP Professional running on them.  My main PC is running Vista with a quad core CPU with 4GB Ram as I do a fair bit of design and graphics work.  My PC was built to run Vista among other things.

I frequent a lot of forums and to be honest I for one am sick of reading the ‘should I upgrade to vista threads’.  These will continue as most people hate to use a search tool on forums and often make a post like this hoping for the answer they want to hear but often see the one they don’t.

The Operating System (OS) you use be that Windows, Linux or Apple is a personal choice, however it is also a hardware choice.  In that I mean you would not try (or should I say you should not) and run Vista for example on a Pentium IV 1.8 ghz PC with 512MB ram (see my note below re minimum requirements).  While it might run (or walk) the computer was never designed to run Vista.

I do a small amount of desktop support mainly for relatives and I am often told that the computer shop salesman said that Vista will run on their old machine.  Just the other week a relative asks me to come over and have a look at their computer as it is all of a sudden running slow.  Well guess what they installed Vista because the salesman told them too.

It would be easy to blame the salesman for saying it should work but I believe it is the user to blame.  My reason is that for any purchase you make be it software, hardware, a car or even a house you should do your homework.  If your PC was bought with XP stay with XP unless you have made some good hardware upgrades.

I know there are also quite a few places that sell new PC’s with Vista that can hardly run Vista very well, this I believe is the salesman and shops fault but again the buyer should ask to see it running with the applications that the client is going to use.  Kind of like taking a car for a test drive.  Just ensure that the computer your testing it on in the shop is exactly the same specifications as what they are selling you and get it in writing if you can.

For those that have already bought it, what to do now that you have Vista?  Well if its an older machine, uninstall it and reinstall XP or update your hardware – plain and simple.

I often have a chuckle to myself about all the bagging Vista gets and will frequently make an argument for Vista rather than against it.  I find Vista far better than XP but again I have a PC that is well above the minimum requirements to run Vista.

Microsoft suggested minimum requirements for Vista

Microsoft suggested minimum requirements for Vista

So what are those minimum requirements you say?  Well this is where it gets interesting as Microsoft on their own site suggests;

  • An 800 MHz processor
  • 512 MB of RAM
  • A 20 GB hard drive with 15 GB of free space

Well I am here to tell you again while it might run (or crawl) it will not run well and really Microsoft needs a slap to the back of the head for those suggested minimums.

So I looked further and they have additional system requirements recommendations;

Microsoft recommended Vista requirements

Microsoft recommended Vista requirements

For Home Basic

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 512 MB of system memory
  • 20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32 MB of graphics memory

For Home Premium / Business / Ultimate

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB of system memory
  • 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with:
    • WDDM Driver
    • 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
    • 32 bits per pixel

Again in my opinion these are still too low and should not be recommended as minimums.

My suggested minimum is;

  • Intel or AMD CPU at 2.4ghz or better, dual or quad core preferred (32 or 64 bit)
  • 2GB DDR2 ram
  • 160GB harddrive – but with hard drives so cheap go to 500GB
  • 256MB PCI-E video card

If you have those minimums the PC will run very well with Vista.  If you do not have anything close to that by all means try Vista but please please don’t complain on your local newsgroup or forums that Vista sucks as you should be using XP.

I am also sure that those that read this post will want to bag MS no matter what they do and that is your choice but please do that elsewhere, I for one am quite happy using MS products such as Vista and will probably continue to do so for a long time…

So does Vista suck?  Well no, not in my view.  I find it far better than XP and more intuitive once you get use to the few ‘minor’ layout changes and where things are.  I also find it handles multi tasking far better with little to no memory issues with many many windows open (remember I have 4GB) whil eon XP I continually had memory issues even with 3GB+ ram.

Crystalxp.net Bricopacks

Crystalxp.net Bricopacks

Visually Vista is nicer than XP but that should not be the only reason to go Vista, if that is your only reason for wanting Vista then there are many sites where you can get a Vista theme for your XP that will turn your XP machine into a virtual Vista one – the best is CrystalXP.

Personally I have never had an issue with Vista and while many are already looking ahead to Windows 7 please bear in mind that when that arrives that too will have its own issues and minimum system requirements and I am sure the same people that are bagging Vista will bag Windows 7.

Thanks for reading and I’ll be interested to read any of your similar stories…


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