Find out what you'll need to upgrade your current files and software to Windows Vista
CNET Reviews staff
Before you upgrade to Windows Vista, take advantage of the online compatibility adviser from Microsoft. This requires an Internet connection and a download of an ActiveX agent onto your Windows XP machine. The agent will scan your system and confirm that you have the necessary hardware for Windows Vista. It will also recommend the edition of Windows Vista that you should run.
Here, the Microsoft compatibility adviser says our Acer Aspire 9500 series laptop can run Windows Vista, specifically the Home Premium Edition. But be sure to scroll down the page for any warnings or caveats.
Microsoft says the driver for our RealTek High Definition Audio will have to be updated after installation. We'll need to contact the vendor directly; Microsoft does not yet have that driver in its database. Other than that, we don't require any hardware upgrade before we begin.
Windows Vista will check the Internet for any updates before installing. If you are not connected to the Internet at the time of the install (say you have a dial-up connection), no problem; Windows Vista will check again after the installation.
Unless we want to perform a clean install (install Windows Vista over our existing Windows XP data or on a new partition on our hard drive), our installation has stopped. Our Windows XP SP2 Acer Aspire laptop has a file structure on the hard drive volume that's FAT32. To continue our installation of Windows Vista, the hard drive file structure will need to be converted to NTFS.
To convert to NTFS, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Command prompt. Type cd\, then hit Enter get to the c:\ prompt. Type convert c: /fs:ntfs ("convert" space c colon space slash f s colon n t f s).
Next, you'll be prompted to enter the volume name. To find that, click Start, My Computer, then look for the name associated with the C: drive. Enter that name at the command prompt. Next, you'll have to dismount the hard drive volume; you'll get a notice saying you can't do that while you are using Windows and asking whether you'd like to do that the next time you reboot. Say yes, then reboot your system.
Again the Windows Vista installer checks your system. Here's a list of potential problems, a list that differs from the online compatibility adviser list. None of these will halt the upgrade, but you should be aware of potential conflicts that might arise after your new operating system has been installed.
Finally, we're ready to upgrade our Windows XP SP2 Acer Aspire system to Windows Vista. When done, Windows Vista will boot up with all your former Windows XP applications installed, with all your personal file and settings in tact. In some cases, however, some of your applications will work with the new operating system.