Dan Ackerman asked, "What happens the day after Vista's launch?" earlier this month, but what happens the night of Vista's launch? If you must have Microsoft's forthcoming OS the second it becomes available (a week from tomorrow, January 30), you have a few midnight-hour options. CompUSA will open its 230 stores next Monday shortly before the clock strikes 12, while Best Buy will do the same thing at about 15 of its stores. Both retailers will have Vista-equipped desktops and laptops priced to move, along with helpful staff on hand to assist you in choosing and installing the right boxed version and any upgrades your current system may require to run Vista. In fact, you can drop your PC off at a CompUSA store now, then pick it up at 12:01 a.m. next Tuesday to find it loaded with Vista.
There is, of course, another option. For the first time, a Microsoft OS will available online for (a legal) download. Microsoft has stated that you'll be able to purchase and download Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate editions (along with versions of Office 2007) at its Windows Marketplace site starting on January 30. Curious to know if your current system is up to the Vista challenge? If so, I would direct your attention to our free and easy Vista Readiness Advisor tool.