IT Talk – Choosing VISTA

Which version of VISTA is right for you?

Microsoft’s long-awaited Windows VISTA was released on January 30th. If you’re thinking of upgrading to VISTA, you have four choices. (There are actually five versions of VISTA, but VISTA Enterprise is only available to volume customers— typically large organizations with a global reach.) Here’s our take on each one, and our recommendations:

VISTA Home Basic. This is the no-frills, stripped down version of VISTA. It lacks most of the features that make VISTA worth getting, and with a $199 price tag (or $99 for an upgrade from XP), it’s not worth the bother. You can already get a lot of good features by downloading Internet Explorer 7 for free. VISTA resolves many chronic Windows security issues, but if you have good security software such as Norton Internet Security 2007, you’ll be fine with XP and Internet Explorer 7.

VISTA Home Premium. If you’re going to spend money on VISTA, this is the minimum level you should consider. For $239 or a $159 upgrade, you’ll get all the security and other features of Vista Home Basic, plus the Windows Media Center, a treasure trove of graphic, gaming, and media-related goodies. This version includes the slick Aero 3D interface, and allows you to play, author, and burn DVDs. This is a good choice for your home computer, but be sure you have at least 2GB of RAM in order to get the most out of it.

VISTA Business was created for the small to medium sized business. It has strong security features and a lot of business tools such as backups, fax and scan programs, and Windows Meeting Space. Although it lacks the Windows Media Center found in the Home Premium edition, Dependable Computer Guys recommends this version of VISTA to our business customers. VISTA Business costs $199 for an upgrade or $299 for the complete package, and while it’s a bit stingy on entertainment features, it’s a good buy for business owners. Just be sure you allow time to test and learn all of the features.

VISTA Ultimate. If you’re a professional who relies on a PC for business and pleasure, you’re involved in design or gaming, or if you happen to love high-powered tech tools, this is by far your best option. It comes with all the features of both VISTA Home Premium and VISTA Business, plus a lot of extras. In addition, Microsoft promises a wealth of downloadable “goodies” exclusively for VISTA Ultimate users, although they haven’t announced what any of these are. You’ll want a high end DX10- compatible graphics card, and at least 2GB of RAM for VISTA Ultimate to really shine. At an affordable $399 for the full package, or $259 for an upgrade, this is the version you won’t want to miss.

About Brent Whitfield

Brent Whitfield is CEO of DCG Technical Solutions, Inc., which provides IT Support in the Los Angeles area since 1993. DCG exists to help our clients choose, implement, and manage IT and cloud solutions that are cost effective and reliable. DCG's pro-active approach to IT is ideally suited for companies who depend on reliable IT infrastructure, but don't want to spend a lot of money to keep it that way. DCG was recognized among the Top 10 Fastest Growing MSPs in North America by MSP Mentor. Brent has been featured in Fast Company, CNBC, Network Computing, Reuters, and Yahoo Business.

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