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Preston Gralla

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Mark Justice Hinton

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Top 5 Things to Do

Microsoft has gotten plenty of bad press about Windows Vista, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a successful upgrade to this new OS. While we can’t give you the hardware you’ll need to ensure a seamless switch, we can offer you these five tips to keep your first 30 days of upgrading to Windows Vista productive and stress-free.

1. Start with the right hardware.

You shouldn’t even consider upgrading an existing system to Windows Vista unless you’re sure your hardware can handle it. If you have any doubt, run Microsoft’s Windows Upgrade Advisor. Microsoft recommends a 1GHz processor, a 40GB hard drive, 1MB of system memory and 128MB graphics memory. But experts agree you’ll need more—perhaps twice those recommendations—to ensure good performance with Windows Vista Premium, Business or Ultimate editions.

2. Check for compatibility.

Most of the problems people report about Windows Vista have to do with hardware and software incompatibilities. Before using Windows Vista, address any issues identified by Microsoft’s Upgrade Advisor utility. If a hardware device isn’t compatible, track down new Vista drivers at manufacturers’ web sites or purchase new components. If a software program won’t function with Windows Vista, check the developer’s web site for a downloadable patch or upgraded version of the application.

3. Fall back on classic settings.

Switching to Windows Vista doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. If you’re feeling a little unsteady inside that fancy new interface, take advantage of all the classic features still lurking within. Those old standbys are like training wheels. Use them to gain your confidence, then get rid of them. In the meantime, if you’re more comfortable with menu bars in your folder windows or solid window frames instead of the see-through variety, so be it.

4. Maintain a positive attitude.

You can talk yourself into or out of just about any mood or attitude. During the first month of getting used to Windows Vista, keep it positive. Talk yourself into enjoying the novelty of Vista’s new features or appreciating the latest technology. It’s a lot more productive than griping to yourself and everyone around you about all the features you don’t like. Even if you didn’t choose to switch, or you wish you hadn’t, you do have a choice in how you look at it. Make the best of the situation and you’ll get through the transition that much faster.

5. Buy antivirus software.

Vista comes with some fabulously redesigned security features—Windows Firewall, Windows Defender and User Account Control, to name a few—but one thing it doesn’t offer is antivirus software. To keep your system protected from nasty bugs and viruses, download or purchase an antivirus program today. What good is a new OS if you don’t have a healthy system to run it on?

Posted: 1/14/08

This information was useful- thanks big time.


I take gentle exception to #3. Rolling back to the XP look and feel takes some effort I think would be better spent with the new interface. If you change back, when will you change forward? peace, mjh


Regarding anti-virus software: One of the best programs is free: Link . I've used it for years on many machines and several versions of Windows.


Mark Justice Hinton, author,
PC Magazine Windows Vista Solutions,