January 30 marks the official release of Windows Vista. I'm certainly not as excited about this new Windows as I have been about past versions; I doubt that Vista is as significant as Windows 95 or Windows XP. But new Windows versions are as inevitable as death and taxes - eventually, we have to deal with them.
The big news, of course, is that there are now five editions of Windows Vista rather than the two for Windows XP (three if you count Media Center edition). The last time around, XP Home replaced Windows 98 and XP Pro replaced Windows 2000. This time, the transition is not as clear. Microsoft's comparison table provides some insight. For my small business clients, Windows Vista Business Edition seems a direct replacement for Windows XP Pro.
The big question is whether a given PC will run Vista. To get an answer, use Microsoft's Vista Upgrade Advisor to analyze individual PCs. For best results, make sure the PC is connected to the Internet when the Advisor is running.
Look closely at the results, however. The Advisor told me my laptop would run Vista and that my video adapter would not work with Vista. How does one interpret a result like that? My result exposes the big problem with Vista, which is the additional video horsepower required to run the Aero visual interface.
Although I don't find it particularly well organized, there is a wealth of information at Microsoft's main Windows Vista Web site which links to other areas of the Microsoft site. I commend it to you, but set aside some time.