Windows Vista / Getting Started

Can My PC Still Run Vista?

If your PC already runs Windows XP well, it will probably run Vista, but not at its best. However, upgrading your PC with a few things will help Vista run better.

Here is the shopping list:

Vista requires powerful graphics for its fanciest 3D features, such as Flip 3D. Upgraded video cards can cost more than $100, and they are not available for laptops. But if your PC's video lacks the muscle and your wallet lacks the cash, don't despair. Vista simply slips into more casual clothes, letting your PC run without the 3D views.

Vista loves memory. For best results, your PC should have 1GB of memory or more. Memory's easy to install and relatively cheap, so don't skimp here.

DVD drive:
Unlike Windows XP, which comes on a CD, Windows Vista comes on a DVD. That means your PC needs a working DVD drive to install it. That probably won't rule out many PCs these days, but it may rule out some older laptops.

Windows Vista should be able to run most of your current programs without problems. Some, however, won't work, including most security-based programs, such as antivirus, firewall, and security programs. You will need to contact the program's manufacturer to see whether it will give you a free upgrade.

Shopping for a new PC to run Vista? Visit any store, and you will find plenty of PCs running Vista. To see how well a particular PC handles Vista, click the Start button, choose Control Panel, and open the System and Maintenance category. There, select Performance Information and Tools. Vista displays that particular PC's Windows Experience Index, which ranges from 1 (dismal) to 5 (excellent).

Not sure what version of Windows your PC has? Right-click Computer from the Start menu and choose Properties. That screen states your Windows version.

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