Build a Windows Vista Upgrade Parachute

Drivers For Vista

One side effect of upgrading to Vista is that you will need updated drivers for your hardware peripherals. Printers will probably work ok, but legacy scanners have been a problem, at least for me. When it comes to Vista drivers, some manufacturers have decided to ignore older but perfectly good hardware, and blackmail you into buying new expensive, yet only marginally better products. As a matter of principle, I would support only manufacturers that make a good attempt to supply Vista drivers for hardware made in the last two years.

Tip: Check your hardware on Microsoft's HCL (Hardware Compatibility List).

If you can possibly wait before you upgrade to Vista, then you will avoid these teething troubles with drivers and other backward compatibility problems. In six to nine months' time, pioneer upgraders will solve these and other unforeseen nuisances. As a result, it will become clear to the second wave of upgraders exactly how to make Vista run securely, yet smoothly.

Beware Vista Logos

My latest hobby-horse is this: beware Vista logos. A Vista logo containing the words "Certified for Windows Vista" or "Premium" is good news, and means that Microsoft has tested the hardware and certified it as suitable for Vista. However, regard with skepticism logos like "Works with Windows Vista", "Basic", or "Vista Ready". What "Basic" or "Vista Ready" logos really mean is that the product will run on Vista, but will deliver only a limited feature set. My worry is that a "Basic" or "Vista Ready" logo gives no hint about the serious limitations of the product that it is promoting.

Office 2007 Upgrade

In all migrations and upgrades you should look for opportunities to add value; for example, wireless networks, Bit-locker security for laptops, WiFi and speech recognition. Thus, as you upgrade to Vista, what are you going to do about your present MS Office application?

In the past, I have always derived extra benefit from matching the current version of Office with the current version of the Microsoft operating system: Windows 2000 and Office 2000, and especially XP and Office 2003. This argument leads me to believe that Vista and Office 2007 will be a good partnership.

I generally despise those new-technology-fearing Luddites who, every time a new version comes out of any system, say "the older version was better and easier to use." However, my very first experience with Office 2007 was devastating; I was in danger of turning into one of those Luddites that I so disdain. I could not find the old settings, it seemed slower than Office 2003, and I was not convinced the new Ribbon was adding any extra value.

Now, day by day, I am growing to appreciate the new Office 2007. I have found my favorite old settings, which was easy once I looked in the right places. Could it be that the pre-fetch feature is anticipating what I am going to do and thus reducing latency? Some of the Ribbon icons are improving my efficiency, and I love Excel's conditional formatting. As I hinted earlier, I genuinely believe that the greatest benefits of Office 2007 are under the covers, and are delivered only if you run this version on Vista.

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