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Boulder Computer Maven Newsletter - January 2007

Dear Friends,

Thank you for letting me help you with your computer needs. This is my customer newsletter, containing information that I hope you'll find interesting and helpful.

This month's topic is Windows Vista, the new version of Windows that Microsoft has just released to the public. New computers now have Vista pre-installed, and you can upgrade some old computers to Windows Vista. Of course, you don't have to do anything. Your old computer will continue working just like it does now.

I've tested several preliminary versions of Vista over the past 18 months, and I've been using the released version since November 2006. Vista's improvements and new features make upgrading to Vista very worthwhile for some people. Consider upgrading your computer if you:

For most other people, Vista is not a compelling upgrade. You can wait until you buy a new computer with Vista. If you get a new computer with Vista, I can help you set it up and transfer your important files and settings from the old computer to the new one.

If you don't want to receive this newsletter, let me know, and I'll remove your name from my mailing list. Previous issues are available on the newsletters page of the Boulder Computer Maven web site. If you change your E-mail address, please send me your new one.

Please call me at 303-444-8247 with questions or to schedule an appointment.

Best Wishes,
Steve Winograd

Helping People Use Computers in Boulder for Over 20 Years

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Windows Vista Released

Microsoft released Windows Vista to the public on January 30, 2007. Windows Vista is available in four editions with different features and pricing:

Here are some noteworthy new features in Vista, and the editions that include them (HB = Home Basic, HP = Home Premium, B = Business, U = Ultimate):


Hardware Requirements

The minimum hardware hardware requirements for a computer to run Windows Vista are an 800 MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and a 20 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free space. Most computers made in the past two years meet those requirements. Computers that are less than five years old can probably be upgraded with more RAM and a bigger hard disk to meet them. Many computers more than five years old can't be upgraded to run Vista.

To check your computer's processor speed and RAM size, right-click My Computer and click Properties. To check its hard disk space, open My Computer.

Windows Aero has additional hardware requirements. See the description of A Windows Vista Premium Ready PC .


Upgrading a Computer to Vista

A computer running Windows XP can be upgraded to Vista. The list price for an upgrade is from $99 to $259, depending on the Vista edition. The upgrade process preserves your existing documents, pictures, music, and installed programs. You can also do a clean install, which erases everything on the hard disk and gives you a completely new Vista installation. See the Microsoft web page Upgrade Paths from Previous Versions for more information on upgrades.

Some programs and devices on your old computer can interfere with the upgrade process. To check, download and run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor before buying a Vista upgrade.


Vista Reviews and More Information

Here are some web pages with Vista reviews and more information on the product: Windows Vista: 15 Reasons to Switch (PC World), A First Look at Windows Vista (Time Magazine), Windows Vista RTM (CNET), Vista: Worthy, Largely Unexciting (Wall Street Journal), Vista, for Better and Worse (Washington Post)