Avoiding the great Vista rip-off

All the different editions of Vista are starting to do my head in. Not so much because there are so many options, but because of the way they are being used as an excuse to extract more cash when you're buying a new computer

All the different editions of Vista are starting to do my head in. Not so much because there are so many options -- it's pretty easy to work out what you get with each one using this table -- but because of the way they are being used as an excuse to extract more cash when you're buying a new computer.

My old machine is way past its prime, and certainly not worth upgrading, so I'm using the launch of Windows Vista as an excuse to treat myself to something new. But checking out the prices of the latest models from the big manufacturers, I'm struck by how many of them only come with Windows Vista Home Basic.

Home Basic doesn't have the cool Aero interface, the Media Centre stuff or the DVD maker, which are the main (perhaps even the only) reasons for buying Vista in the first place.

You can only have these features if you pay extra to upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium, which seems like a right cheek to me.

Take a look at the Entertainment PCs on the Dell Web site. If, like me, you'd assumed that an 'Entertainment PC' would arrive with something vaguely entertaining, like the posh screens that Windows Aero offers, you might be disappointed to find that you need to pay £17.21 extra to be so entertained. Even the PC costing £579 comes with the basic edition. Not until you get to £679 do you get to the Premium edition.

It's a similar story over at Evesham. Only when you buy a PC over the £500 mark do you start seeing systems with Vista Premium; any less and you have to pay £24.99 to upgrade.

Perhaps I'm just being a skinflint, but it seems to me that PC manufacturers offering Vista Basic is a bit of a rip off. Vote with your feet!

 

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