Windows Vista also available for download

Microsoft's new operating system Windows Vista is being released to the general public today. But the way most people will get it is when they buy a new computer with Vista pre-loaded. (People like me who recently bought PCs got vouchers to use by March.)

Vista comes in four flavors for consumers:
Home Basic
Home Premium

A few Microsoft fans probably lined up today to buy it on discs (DVD-ROM). But as I wrote in my other blog a few weeks ago, for ordinary people there's no immediate need to go out and buy it ASAP; instead, we'll wait a few months to hear about security risks and to have other companies develop compatible software.

If Windows XP already works fine for you, just wait till you buy your next computer to upgrade to Windows Vista, because you'll be needing a lot of extra computing power to run Windows Vista anyway w/ its full functionality turned on. It's just going to slow down your current computer...

Microsoft is also releasing Office 2007 today. It's received much greater raves than Vista. If you use Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher and/or Access, you've got to have Office 2007. It will increase your productivity tremendously and, yes, it works with Windows XP.

Office Home and Student - full versions of Word 2007, Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007 and OneNote 2007 (electronic notebook)

Office Standard - Outlook 2007, Word 2007, Excel 2007 and PowerPoint 2007

Office Small Business - Accounting Express 2007, Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager, Word 2007, Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Publisher 2007

Office Professional - includes the same six programs as Office Small Business edition with the addition of Access 2007

Office Ultimate: Access 2007, Accounting Express, 2007, Excel 2007, InfoPath 2007 (electronic forms), Groove 2007 (info sharing), OneNote 2007, Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager, PowerPoint 2007, Publisher 2007 and Word 2007

Both Windows Vista and Office 2007 can also be bought not on discs, but as a download. (Good luck w/ that...) This is aimed at people who are running Windows XP and want to get Vista without buying a new PC. Again, you have to remember that Windows Vista has very high hardware requirements. Make sure your current computer is Vista-capable before you get all excited.

the BAREST minimum:

Processor:  800 MHz
Memory:  512 MB RAM
Graphics Card: DirectX 9 capable (WDDM support recommended)
Graphics Memory: 128 MB
HDD capacity:  40 GB
HDD free space: 15GB
Optical drive: DVD-ROM drive

If you are buying a new computer, go for a faster processor (1 GHz+), much more memory (at least 1 GB of RAM) and a better graphics card (w/c I am not qualified to talk about).