For many of us, the Windows Vista experience will begin with the purchase of a new PC. For others, the experience begins by upgrading your current PC, and it's important to understand your upgrade options. Your choices depend on the version of Windows that is currently running on your PC and the type of computer hardware you have to run certain features. Here's how we can start planning for an upgrade to Windows Vista.
You can upgrade from your current edition of Microsoft Windows XP or Windows 2000 to a corresponding or better edition of Windows Vista by purchasing and installing an upgrade copy of Windows Vista.
You can upgrade in-place, which means you can install Windows Vista and retain your applications, files, and settings as they were in your previous edition of Windows.
Upgrading to Windows Vista with a clean install means that you should use Windows Easy Transfer to automatically copy all your files and settings to an extra hard drive or other storage device, and then install Windows Vista. After the installation is complete, Windows Easy Transfer will reload your files and settings on your upgraded PC. You will then need to reinstall your applications.
If you are currently using Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Professional x64, you are eligible for an upgrade copy to a corresponding or better edition of Windows Vista, but a clean install is required.
Upgrade copies are not available for versions of Windows earlier than Windows 2000. These earlier versions of Windows require you to install a full copy of Windows Vista.
If the edition of Windows Vista that you choose to install will result in a loss of functionality over your current edition of Windows, you will need to do a clean install, or install Windows Vista to a new partition on your PC.
Your PC and Windows Vista
While selecting the edition of Windows Vista that's right for you, it's important to clearly understand what hardware your PC will need to ensure the features you want will run reliably.
If you plan on adding Windows Vista to your current Windows XP-based computer, I suggest that you run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor to ensure that your PC is ready for the edition of Windows Vista that you choose to install.
I also recommend that you review the system requirements for the edition of Windows Vista that you want to run. This information will also help you to determine if your PC is ready for the edition of Windows Vista that you want to install.
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