That Vista PC will run Windows 8 just fine.
The jump in system requirements going from Windows XP to Windows Vista was significant. The move from Windows 7 to Windows Vista, however, wasn't anything of the sort. In fact, Windows 7 ran better than Windows Vista on modest systems.
Even though Windows 8 isn't set for release until 2012 at the soonest, Microsoft is targeting a similar set of minimum system requirements as the ones for Windows 7. By extension, this would mean that Windows 8 will have similar hardware requirements as Windows Vista – an operating system that could predate Windows 8 by three years.
Speaking at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in California, Window's corporate vice-president Tami Reller said, "In both of our Windows 8 previews, we talked about continuing on with the important trend that we started with Windows 7, keeping system requirements either flat or reducing them over time."
"Windows 8 will be able to run on a wide range of machines because it will have the same requirements or lower," she added.
"We've also built intelligence into Windows 8 so that it can adapt to the user experience based on the hardware of the user. So, whether you're upgrading an existing PC, or buying a new one, Windows will adapt to make the most of that hardware," added Reller.
System requirements for Windows 7 are:
1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver