Are you Vista Ready ?

Microsoft’s latest OS is going to be up and ready by Mar 06 Oct 06 Jan 07. Lots of nice screenshots are doing the rounds of the net. Non-techie people getting the screenshots are going all ga-ga over it. They tell me – vibhu, you worked on Vista ? Does it not look great !

Sorry to put a dampner on you folks, but most of you will not be able to even run the great looking interface on your system.

Shocked?

Let me explain it. The Aero interface as it is called is a graphics intensive user interface. That means that without a dedicated graphics card (like the ones from Nvidia or ATI), you will not be able to see the great looking trancparencies. And that is not all, to be able to do anything more than just playing minesweeper, you will need to upgrade your system. So, if you are looking at upgrading your comp – and can wait for 6-10 months, I suggest you wait and see what is required for the next version of windows. As for now, the current requirements are :

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
  • 1 GB of system memory.
  • A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2.
  • 128 MB of graphics memory.
  • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
  • DVD-ROM Drive3.
  • Audio output capability.
  • Internet access capability.

Since we all know that windows barely runs on the specifications given by Microsoft , and since most of us will be at least using Microsoft office, I would bump up the requirements to (believe me , I was using a AMD 64 with 1GB of ram and it was still slow) :

  • GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor1.
  • 2 GB of system memory.
  • A graphics processor that runs Windows Aero2.
  • 256 MB of graphics memory. (pref 512MB if you are into gaming)
  • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
  • DVD-ROM Drive3.
  • Audio output capability.
  • Internet access capability.

Now a few notes :

  • 128 MB of graphics memory means that the graphics card ( in the point before that) should have 128 MB of memory in it . This is not the RAM of the computer. Typically these cards cost around 10k INR.
  • 15GB of free space is needed to install Vista. It comes to around 5-10GB space used after install.
  • Internet access is needed for the WGA – Windows Genuine Advantage. In other words it lets Microsoft know if you are using a pirated copy or not. How it does is that it contacts the microsoft servers (without telling you) and will block you from using the system if your credentials are not in their white list. It has nothing to do with Advantage for you if you are using a pirated copy. So, with the next release, Microsoft hopes that it will cut down on piracy.
  • One biggest problem with Vista is that it requires activation. so, if you do not have a net connection, you will not be able to use it. In india, most computer users dont have a net connection, and if you dont, then I would suggest that you dont get Vista. And this activation is needed everytime you change the hardware configuration of your system – like say adding a DVD drive.

Its a nightmare.

But, since I have been working on Linux and opensource for sometime, you may call me biased about microsoft. So, I think it relevant that I provide links , some of which are from long time users of Microsoft software ( I was also taken aback by the frustration in these posts).

No. God, no. Today’s Windows Vista builds are a study in frustration, and trust me, I use the darn thing day in and day out, and I’ve seen what happens when you subject yourself to it wholeheartedly. I think I’ve mentioned the phrase “I could hear the screams” on the SuperSite before. My wife said that to me one day, and she was referring to the sound of me barking some primeval curse at my desktop PC as it succumbed to Vista’s stupid slowdowns, crashes, and hang ups for the umpteenth time

My advice is simple: Boycott IE. It’s a cancer on the Web that must be stopped. IE isn’t secure and isn’t standards-compliant, which makes it unworkable both for end users and Web content creators.

A former Microsoftie says addiction to Windows revenue, mediocre products, and missed opportunities could doom Seattle’s most successful company.

Personally, I am only gonna move to vista when the office computers move there. Till then … viva le linux !

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~ by Vibhu on August 7, 2006.

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