What's the difference between Windows Vista upgrade and the full version?





What's the difference between Microsoft's Windows Vista upgrade and Vista full version?



If you currently have Windows XP or Windows 2000, you can just buy a Vista upgrade, instead of the full version. (If you have an older version of Windows, like Windows ME, then you need to buy the full version of Vista.)


So what version of the Windows operating system do you now have?

If you currently have Windows XP Home, you can easily upgrade to any version of Windows Vista. In fact, you can install Windows Vista and keep your applications, files and settings as they were. This is called an "in-place" installation.

If you currently have Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE), you can only easily perform the "in-place" upgrade to Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate.

I use the word 'easily' in these cases, because in other scenarios, you'll have to do a "clean install." Your hard drive has to be wiped clean before installing the Vista upgrade. For example:

If you currently have Windows XP Professional, the "in-place" installation option is available only if you upgrade to Windows Vista Business or Vista Ultimate. If you're upgrading to Windows Vista Home Basic or Home Premium, you need to do a "clean install."

If you currently have Windows 2000 (W2K), you can only upgrade by using the "clean install" option, regardless of which Vista version you're upgrading to.


How do I know what version of Windows I currently have?

Go to Start. Right-click on My Computer.
Click on Properties.
Under the General Tab, you will see what your System is.


If I need to do a "clean install," what will happen to the old stuff on my computer?

If you want to keep your old files, you need to save them to an external drive or a CD or DVD. Microsoft has provided information on how to do that using Windows Easy Transfer. They call it "Easy."


REMINDER

Before you get all excited about getting Vista, make sure your computer meets the hardware requirements to support its heavy demands: a processor faster than 1 GHz and a memory of about 1 to 2 GB RAM. You also need an advanced graphics card.


How do I know if my computer has enough memory to support Vista?

Go to Start. Right-click on My Computer.
Click on Properties.
Under the General Tab, look at the bottom half.
You should see how many GHz and how much RAM you have.


Windows Vista Versions

Windows Vista Home Basic
the counterpart of Windows XP Home
- has better security and search than Windows XP
- does NOT include the much-touted "Windows Aero" visuals that enable transparent window borders, live previews and animations
- no Windows Media Center or DVD Maker
- for lower-end PCs with at least 512 MB of memory and an 800-megahertz microprocessor
- $199 for full version, $99.95 for upgrade

Windows Vista Home Premium
the counterpart of Windows XP Media Center Edition
- improved security and search
- includes the "Windows Aero" user interface
- has Parental Controls, Windows Media Center, Movie Maker and DVD Maker (integrated DVD burning)
- also has Windows Tablet PC technology
- for higher-end PCs with at least one GB of memory
- $239 for full version, $159 for upgrade

Windows Vista Business
the counterpart of Windows XP Professional
- all the features of Home Premium with some extra stuff (Windows Fax and Scan...) for business desktops and mobile PCs
- does NOT have Parental Controls that the Home versions have
- does NOT have Windows Media Center, Movie Maker or DVD Maker
- $285 for full version, $192.00 for upgrade

Windows Vista Ultimate
- all the features of Home Premium and Business
- for those who want the best available (hard-core gamers, those who are serious about manipulating images and video, et al.)
- lets you download Microsoft's Ultimate Extras, w/c are tools for advanced image editing, for animating the desktop background, etc.
- $399 for full version, $259 for upgrade

Vista will automatically turn off features that can't be supported by your computer's hardware. So if you have just 512 MB of memory, Vista will not run its "Windows Aero" visuals, even if it's in your version.