Tech Talk: Is it time for Microsofts VISTA? |

Tech Talk: Is it time for Microsofts VISTA?

Ive had so many people asking me about the new OS (Operating System) from Microsoft named Vista that I just had to comment. Vista hardly needs an introduction since Microsoft, retail suppliers and PC manufacturers have been hyping the new product in a flood of advertising. The buzzword Microsoft has given the product is WOW! Its difficult not to be taken in by the hype, so I dont blame you for asking if its time to jump to Vista.Mac vs. WindowsIn my experience with Vista, WOW does describe the enriched graphics and redesigned interface and some of the new usability features. However, the basics are essentially the same. If you were to buy a system based on the WOW factor, you would have bought a Macintosh a long time ago. When you study the hardware requirements needed to run Vista, you find the cost of a Macintosh is now in line with a Windows system.The Vista GUI (Graphic User Interface) is more Macintosh-like, meaning crisp and vivid with redesigned icons. There is also more intelligence built-in, truly making things easier, just like the Macintosh. Just had to say that. But dont get me wrong, I make my living off of Windows products, however, I have always admired Macs. Judging from Vistas GUI, so has Microsoft.To switch or not to switchWhen I boil it down, people are asking me, What am I getting into if I switch to Vista? When I answer, I focus on the cost of switching, and believe me, there is a cost. If you want to upgrade from Windows XP, I recommend you think long and hard before you do. There are several hidden costs and gotchas you could encounter in the process. Even the professionals have been reporting it to be a huge challenge to upgrade their own equipment to Vista because of all the incompatibilities with older hardware.Forget the old, go newIf you want to switch to Windows Vista, my recommendation would be to purchase it on a new computer from one of the top computer makers. That way, you will know that all the packaged devices will be compatible with Vista. In the future, more and more devices will be manufactured with Vista in mind, so adding new ones should not be a problem.Be forewarned that Windows Vista requires stronger hardware then XP to perform well. I would go with one of the new dual-core CPU choices. Get at least 1 gigabyte of RAMM (Random Access Memory Module) and make sure that you have at least one empty RAMM slot. That will allow for adding RAMM in the future without throwing away a chip to add a larger one.Best bet: Get a system with four RAMM slots. Fill two of them with the largest chips possible and leave the other two empty for the future. If you pair same-sized chips on the motherboard, you take advantage of the DDR (Dual Data Rate) capabilities of the RAMM. That can make a huge difference in performance.Will my old software run on Vista?If you purchase all new software with the new computer, then you should be home free. If you intend to install software you already own, be certain to check your versions compatibility with Vista. There may be downloadable upgrades available for your software, but you will have to research that possibility. If you are using software specific to your industry, contact the software provider directly for guidance.Four Windows Vista editions Vista is available in four editions. Skip the Vista Home Basic version, as it is little more then XP. Home Premium has all the Media Center features. Vista Business focuses on networking and business functions, while Vista Ultimate has everything Vista has to offer. But dont forget. At least for now, you can still get the tried and true Windows XP.The Sierra Tech Center, LLC tech team includes Johnny Pierce, PC service and lead technician and Brian Mac Surgeon Prestowitz, their Apple specialist. Both are highly experienced computer technicians. They are located at 10151 Brockway Road in Truckee. Sierra Tech Center offers computer sales and service, commonly used parts and accessories, as well as wired and wireless networking solutions. Although they do not offer free technical support, they do offer consultation services and a free educational resource center. You can reach them at (530) 587-6682 or e-mail them at

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