Review: Windows Vista Business (Upgrade) - PC Specification & Installation
Microsoft cite that Vista will run on an 800MHz processor with 512MB RAM and 20GB hard disc (with 15MB of free space), but if you're going to spend this sort of money on a powerful new OS then it is false economy not to have a system man enough to take advantage of it. Personally I'd recommend nothing less than a mid-range P4, 1GB RAM and 100-200GB hard disc, which equates to a mid-range PC from around 2005-2006. Ideally you'd be running 2GB of RAM - the memory will make all the difference.
For this test I installed Vista on a 2.4GHz P4 with 1GB RAM and a 350GB SATA hard disc. Microsoft provides a tool (unfortunately only after you've installed Vista) to give a yardstick to measure performance buy - the Windows Vista Experience Index. The test, available under Control Panel runs a series of tests on the system and provides a rating for hard disc, memory and graphics performance, with an overall rating based on the lowest rating for the various components. This gives users an instant view of potential bottlenecks in their system which might be removed with a relatively low cost upgrade.
The Installation Process
Microsoft have paid a lot of attention to this. With XP there were two places within the installation where it would ask you for information - Vista gets all of the information up front and then just chugs through the installation process, which in itself took about 30 minutes - I was expecting longer! The reason is that the installation disc contains a semi -pre-installed version of the OS that it literally just decompresses and tweaks as required. It does, however migrate existing XP user settings, applications and preferences.
You can run the Vista upgrade from within XP, but I simply rebooted my machine and allowed it to boot from the CD. After selecting regional settings, entering the product key, accepting terms and clicking on Upgrade you can then select the partition to install on, which should be a formality of selecting the C:\ drive unless you have a non-standard configuration. After this you can sit back - the system will reboot twice over time before prompting you for a username and password., plus computer name and other general settings. Again, Vista will chew data for a little while before finally displaying the desktop. If Vista has detected an Internet connection it'll download any updates automatically. You can also configure it to automatically validate the license during the installation, which will also take place now.