Two words about Windows Vista: Not yet

Well, it’s happened already. I have received a call from a concerned customer whose family just bought her a new computer running Windows Vista. After spending five hours trying to migrate their data and applications from their old computer, they hit a brick wall. Things were just not working.

It’s always like this right after Microsoft releases a new operating system. We went through the same thing when Windows XP first came out. Microsoft, eager for quick adoption of their new product, crams it down our throats before it’s ready for prime time.

Right now it’s almost impossible to buy a new computer running XP. The only way to get a new desktop system without Vista is to have us (or companies like us) build you a new system from parts. We can still obtain OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) copies of Windows XP for you. The only catch is that we are required to sell it with hardware, so we can’t just get a copy of XP to install over top of Vista on your new name-brand system. On the plus side, buying Windows XP now gets you a free Vista upgrade coupon that you can use when you’re ready.

The Web is overrun with the complaints of early Vista adopters, as they find out the hard way that Vista does not support all their old programs yet, and that it has much higher hardware requirements than XP. You might be able to run Vista on your five-year-old Dell, but it will be a tough slog and you’ll have to forgo the interface enhancements that make Vista worthwhile in the first place.

How long should you wait? Personally, I waited almost a year before I recommended Windows XP to my customers. XP really wasn’t solid until about the time Service Pack 2 came out. I expect the same with Vista.

There’s no rush. Windows XP works perfectly well. Windows Vista offers some compelling new features, but there’s nothing you can’t live without right now.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know. Once I have put Vista through its paces and feel comfortable with it, I will recommend it wholeheartedly.