CNET has your complete guide to Windows Vista: software and system reviews, videos, the latest news, downloads, tips, and a test to check whether your system's ready for the upgrade.
Need a road map for Vista? We've rounded up some simple tips and tutorials on the OS's most useful new features. Check out our video how-tos, tips, online classes, forums, and more. Read moreMarch 12, 2007
If you are looking to put Vista in your living room, we've reviewed three home theater PCs that might fit the bill, and we anticipate seeing many more introductions in this category as the year progresses. Read moreFebruary 22, 2007
CNET Labs tested two laptops with XP and Vista to see how performance differs between the two operating systems. Read moreFebruary 21, 2007
Find Windows Vista tutorials, tips, and classes with CNET experts. Read more
The new Windows Firewall in Windows Vista allows outbound connections by default. How is that providing two-way firewall protection? Read moreFebruary 2, 2007
Most of the touted security enhancements in Windows Vista don't appear in the Home Premium and Basic versions, and what's there could have fit into a free Windows XP Service Pack instead. Read moreJanuary 29, 2007
Microsoft is finally unleashing Windows Vista for consumers. One of the software giant's messages is that the operating system upgrade boosts PC security. But is it enough to warrant buying a new Windows version? Listen to the podcastJanuary 26, 2007
While most vendors were still putting the finishing touches on their refreshes and introductions, HP and Toshiba were the first two manufacturers to get us working units for review. HP served up a Pavilion tablet and a totally unique all-in-one desktop, while Toshiba's first Vista laptop is a beautifully crafted convertible tablet. See how they performed.January 18, 2007
After five long years, Windows Vista is finally here, but where is the software for it? Get tweaking utilities--and resources for installing and running Vista--in our special collection.
Upgrade to Windows Vista Home Basic from Windows XP Home.
Upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium from Windows XP Home or Windows XP Media Center edition.
Upgrade to Windows Vista Business from Windows XP Home, Windows XP Pro, or Windows XP Tablet PC.
Upgrade to Windows Vista Ultimate from Windows XP Home, XP Pro, XP Media Center, or XP Tablet PC.
Make changes to hundreds of system features within Windows Vista and optimize to improve speed.
Composed of 25 different tools, this utility suite lets you manage startup items and security settings.
Create new 256x256 icons with the first icon editor certified for Windows Vista by Microsoft.
Shoppers have many choices when they're upgrading to Windows Vista. If you have recently bought a new desktop or laptop or will do so before March 15, 2007, you may be eligible for an Express Upgrade, and some machines may have the software preinstalled. If you prefer a do-it-yourself OS upgrade, you have four versions of Vista to choose among: Windows Vista Ultimate ($399), Windows Vista Home Basic ($199), Windows Vista Home Premium ($239), and Windows Vista Business ($299).
Here's a CNET Quick Tutorial on how to manage the Welcome Center when booting up Windows Vista. Read more
Microsoft has released Windows Vista to consumers, but your decision about whether to upgrade is not a simple yes or no; you have four flavors of Vista to choose among: Windows Vista Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business, or Windows Vista Ultimate.
The Windows Vista DVD disc includes an ISO image of the entire code, so whether you buy the Basic edition or the Ultimate edition, the code remains the same; only the product key unlocks your specific set of features. This means users who opt for the lesser editions can always upgrade (assuming they have the proper hardware) by securing a new product key online. However, all features--even if you paid for them--are dependent on specific hardware configurations being present; if you don't have the proper graphics hardware, for example, you'll simply never see the Aero graphic effects on that old Dell computer in your basement.
To see which edition(s) of Windows Vista your current computer can handle, visit the CNET Vista Upgrade Advisor to find specific hardware recommendations so that you don't buy the wrong edition. Most people will find either Windows Vista Basic and Windows Vista Home Premium to be their best choice. While Windows Vista does make a backup of your previous operating system before installing, it is always recommended that you backup your current Windows XP system yourself, just in case.
Common to all editions of Windows Vista are ad hoc backup and recovery, instant search, Internet Explorer 7 browser, Windows Media Player 11, Windows Mail e-mail client, Windows Calendar, Windows Photo Gallery, performance tuning and self-diagnostics, Internet protocol IPv6 and IPv4 support, Windows ReadyDrive, a maximum of 4GB RAM support on 32-bit editions (up to 128GB RAM on some 64-bit editions), Windows Sync Center for mobile devices, Windows Mobility Center for presentations on the road, User Account Control security protection, Windows Security Center, Windows Defender antispyware, Windows Firewall, Windows Meeting Space for ad hoc wireless meetings, Remote Desktop for working from home, XPS document support for PDF-like files, improved peer-to-peer networking, improved VPN support, and improved power management.
Included within certain editions (and thus also included within the Ultimate edition) are Windows Media Center, Windows Tablet PC, Windows Movie Maker, Windows DVD Maker, Parental Controls, Windows SideShow for remote gadgets, domain join for Windows Small Business Server, Group Policy support, client-side file caching, Roaming User Profiles for remote server access, Windows Fax and Scan, Windows ShadowCopy to create file backups, Windows Rights Management Services to protect documents, Windows BitLocker hard drive encryption, integrated smart card management, and various Windows Ultimate Extras to be named later. Despite many feature changes within Windows Vista, Microsoft has held onto its original marketing promise of providing users with Clear, Confident, and Connected solutions.
Windows Vista Business is essentially warmed-over Windows XP, which we see in our video review. If you're currently happy with Windows XP SP2, we see no compelling reason to upgrade. On the other hand, if you need a new computer right now, Windows Vista is stable enough for everyday use.
Windows Vista Home Basic is essentially warmed-over Windows XP, Windows XP SP3. If you're currently happy with Windows XP SP2, we see no compelling reason to upgrade. On the other hand, if you need a new computer right now, Windows Vista is stable enough for everyday use.
Software now on shelves worldwide.