Are you sure about upgrading to Vista?

I hate upgrades. Sure, I used to look forward to the latest and greatest, but there are so many downsides: new equipment requirements, hassles getting all the old apps to work correctly, and getting up to speed on all the new features. (Don't laugh, but I still have a copy of Wordstar and FoxPro on my PC for, well, I don't know what for. Maybe it's just in case someone needs a copy.)

Nonetheless, Vista has launched and Microsoft made a big splash with it in New York. So if you're bound and determined to make the upgrade, I have a couple things for you to consider.

First, take a look at the cost: The new version will set you back anywhere from an unreasonable US$100 (AUD$128) to a mind-boggling US$400. That's for an operating system, folks.

Like me, you may be struggling with some of the new terms Microsoft has pulled out of the Vista hat. (What, you don't know what a BitLocker is?) Don't worry, Microsoft has it all mapped out for you, as Denny Arar explains in ""

Second, the chances are good you'll also need new hardware, and likely more RAM. Start by downloading the Windows Vista Readiness Hands-on Lab to see if your PC is ripe for Vista, then get a second opinion from PC Pitstop's Vista Readiness Test.

The Windows Shutdown Kvetch

The upcoming Vista upgrade may be a big deal for lots of people. For Moishe Lettvin, it works out to about 200 lines of code.

According to his blog, he worked for the Redmond behemoth for roughly seven years, with the last bout from 2002 to 2006. In his blog, he writes about the hassle of developing one feature in Vista: the shutdown button. Here's a taste of what he says:

I spent a full year working on a feature which should've been designed, implemented and tested in a week.

But here's how the design process worked: approximately every 4 weeks, at our weekly meeting, our PM would say, "the shell team disagrees with how this looks/feels/works" and/or "the kernel team has decided to include/not include some functionality which lets us/prevents us from doing this particular thing."

And then in our weekly meeting we'd spend approximately 90 minutes discussing how our feature -- er, menu -- should look based on this 'new' information. Then at our next weekly meeting we'd spend another 90 minutes arguing about the design, then at the next weekly meeting we'd do the same, and at the next weekly meeting we'd agree on something... just in time to get some other missing piece of information from the shell or kernel team, and start the whole process again.

That sounds a little like what happens when I write a column.

It's worth the read, just to get some insight into the compartmentalization craziness of developing an application as big as Vista -- and have a better sense why chances are good that Vista will have bugs.

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Steve Bass

PC World
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