When, Not If . . .

Vista will officially show up in a week. What should you do?

Well, there’s a lot of people running around (above and beyond the Penguin People) who are saying, “I will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER buy Vista.”

The vast majority of these people are liars. They may not know they’re liars yet, but they will be.

Count on the Australians to be blunt about it. In this article, the author concludes by laying it on the line:

10. Face it, you have no choice
When Microsoft brings out a major renovation to Windows, you can choose to ignore it for a year or two, but then the device drivers start drying up for older versions of Windows, your friends start asking questions about their new PC that you can’t answer, and even if you use Linux, you’ll inevitably need familiarity with Microsoft’s latest interoperability blockers. Face it: your arse belongs to Redmond.

Granted, the other reasons he gives you in the article will probably not set your hearts afire. Indeed, you might find the article in the magazine arguing that you ought not buy it to be more compelling at the moment.

Nonetheless, this is going to be with us for the next five years. Sooner or later, you’re going to buy it. The issue simply becomes a matter of when and how.

So get out of Neverland. Never is a very long time.

That being said, what should one do?

For those building a new system: Take what the defense gives you Right now, and for the next couple months, you can buy XP and get a coupon for a free or at least cheap upgrade to Vista. No one says you have to install Vista right away, just get the upgrade and put it away until the time is right (SP1, which will come pretty quickly, or whenever). Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. You’re going to feel pretty stupid paying a good deal more for the upgrade when you finally decide you need it.

For everyone else: Make them make you buy it First, please note that there’s a big difference between saying, “I will never buy Vista,” and “I will never buy Vista for my current box.” The first is just silly, the second will often be the smartest thing to do.

For most reading this, DX10 will probably be the only serious reason to put Vista on a current box, and it probably would be wise not to do so until there’s actually a DX10 game you want to play. Then you can add the cost of a DX10 card to the cost of Vista, and maybe you won’t want to play that game anymore, or wait until you do a major system overhaul.

I suspect that even among enthusiasts, many will wait until new box time before doing that. For Sixpacks, it will be a rare Sixpack who will have any real need for it, and if you run across one, make them tell you what specific feature they need. If they can’t, then they don’t need it.

Of course, this will not stop many of them from wanting it, but just tell them how much 2GB of RAM will cost them (OK, maybe 1GB will do, but exaggerate a bit), or better yet, tell them that their box is so old that they need to replace it at $$$, and that ought to cool most of their jets.

We began by saying that you should stop saying “Never” because you’ll buy it sooner or later. We have no problem with “later.”

P.S. A Few Resources And A Warning

Wondering which version of Vista you ought to get and what you get for your money? You could do a lot worse than looking here.

Wondering about whether or not your hardware/software will work under Vista. Try looking here and here

Finally, OEM copies of various Vista version are now on sale at various online merchants. However (as in “Danger, Will Robinson”, the OEM versions seem to be coming in separate 32 and 64-bit packages, with separate manufacturing part numbers. This would seem to say that if you buy an OEM version, you don’t get both versions of the program, so if you start with the 32-bit version, and decide later to go 64, you have to buy it again. We’re not sure on this, but better to be safe than sorry.


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