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This Vista Upgrade Won't Hurt

Pardon Me, But Do You Speak Windows Vista?

Even if you have enough system resources to run Windows Vista, you can’t just install it and expect everything to be hunky-dory in the first 30 days. You still have the rest of your components to consider—hardware such as DVD drives, printers, modems and software programs.

If certain components need to work with Windows Vista, the correct drivers—instructions to help it communicate with Vista—have to be installed on your system. Drivers for most newer devices are installed on your system during the Windows Vista installation. If a device is older, Vista may not have the correct driver and the upgrade utility will flag it as incompatible. In a nutshell, the best way to avoid Windows Vista problems down the road is to deal with these issues before upgrading. “Many problems occur because the user simply assumes that her hardware will work with Vista,” notes John Barnett, a Microsoft MVP (Most Valued Professional) who runs a Vista support site at Vistasupport.mvps.org. “Most hardware incompatibilities can be resolved by downloading the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s web site.”

Sometimes, you won’t find out about a hardware issue until after you upgrade to Windows Vista, although the solution is still the same. Scott Wilson*, who owns and operates an on-site computer service business in Los Angeles, remembers his first 30 days of using Windows Vista. “The Upgrade Advisor never said anything about my web cam—it just stopped working,” he says. Fortunately, Scott knew what to do. “Sure enough, I found a new driver online,” he recalls. “And once it was installed, the web cam worked just fine.”

Scott says his customers frequently upgrade to Windows Vista and hope everything else works. “Predictably, most of the issues they have are driver-related—hanging on startup, trying to reinstall the same driver, devices hanging, etc,” he notes. “People blame it on Vista rather than investigating why [the problem occurs].”

Posted: 1/14/08