Upgrading (or not) to Vista

A question from Askville:

Do you think upgrading from XP to Vista is a bad idea?

I have an upgrade disc and I wonder if its worth it. I want to get Vista on my computer but with all the bugs. It doesnt seem like a good idea right now. Makes me wonder how long I should wait.

First, ask yourself a question: Why do you want to upgrade?  What would you get with Vista that you miss so badly in XP?  Then, read this guide and see whether you have to do a “clean install” (a computer geek term for the new OS wiping out all data on your hard drive during installation, so that you have to back up your data before the OS upgrade and install all your applications again after the upgrade) or there is an in-place upgrade (which, mercifully, won’t destroy your data and will let you keep your applications) available.  If you have to do a clean install, contemplate the perceived benefits of having Vista against the hassles of recovering from a clean install.  Finally, see if your applications will work under Vista; it’s possible you will have to upgrade them as well.

Assuming you do have a reason to upgrade (most people don’t), download and run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor utility from Microsoft before trying to upgrade; it will analyze your computer and tell you if it’s Vista-ready (many computers aren’t).  Note that with Vista, there are two sets of system requirements; your computer may fully qualify for Vista itself, but fail to qualify for its new user interface called Aero (Aero has higher requirements for the video card and graphics memory).

So the real question is really not “how long should I wait?”.  The real questions are: (1) “do I have a compelling reason for this upgrade?”, (2) “do I have to perform a clean install?”, and (3) “does my computer meet the system requirements for Vista and Aero?”

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