Windows Vista System Requirements



Vista System Requirements The most noticeable change with Windows Vista is the new Aero interface and for that you will need an Aero-capable DirectX 9-class graphics card. The various editions of Windows Vista can make a purchasing decision rather confusing. Look at The Windows Vista Secret Decoder Ring and Understanding the Vista Product Editions to get an overview of the main features in each edition.



Notes - Physical CPUs are per socket. Every edition of Windows Vista supports Multi-Core, Hyper-threading and 64-bit (x64) CPUs. All retail versions except Vista Ultimate will only be 32-bit (x86) out of the box. To obtain the 64-bit (x64) version, you will have to contact Microsoft or purchase the 64-bit (x64) OEM version. The retail version of Vista Ultimate includes both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) versions. All OEM versions of Windows Vista have licensing restrictions that prevent it from being transferred to another computer once activated. This will be enforce with the Windows Software Protection Platform.

UPGRADING

Upgrade versions require you to own a copy of Windows 2000 or XP (any edition) with a valid license. Upgrade versions can technically no longer be cleanly installed to an empty harddrive and require the older operating system be present on the harddrive before upgrading. You will then have an option to do a clean install which will format the harddrive before installing Windows Vista. This can now be circumvented thanks to a loophole. It is highly recommended to always do a clean install regardless. Just make sure to backup all important data first. In-place upgrades (not recommended) can only be done from certain versions of Windows XP to certain versions of Windows Vista:

Windows 2000 -> Clean Install Required
Windows XP Home -> Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business or Vista Ultimate
Windows XP Pro -> Vista Business or Vista Ultimate
Windows XP MCE -> Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate
Windows XP x64 -> Clean Install Required

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Windows Vista Home Basic Edition

Vista Home Basic Box

Minimum:
800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
512 MB of system memory - RAM (Only 64 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
20 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
Super VGA (800 x 600) graphics card *
Internal or external CD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

Maximum:
1 Physical CPU (Multi-Core + Hyper-threading supported)
4 GB of system memory - RAM with 32-bit (x86) CPU
8 GB of system memory - RAM with 64-bit (x64) CPU
5 Simultaneous Peer Network Connections

Recommended:
800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
512 MB of system memory - RAM (Only 64 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
20 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
32 MB DirectX 9-class graphics card *
Internal or external DVD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
Internet access capability
Audio output capability

* Aero is not supported

Notes - Actual hardware requirements will vary, depending on system configuration and on the programs and the features that you install. If you install Windows Vista over a network, additional hard disk space may be required.

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Windows Vista Home Premium Edition

Vista Home Premium Box

Minimum:
800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
512 MB of system memory - RAM (Only 64 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
20 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
Super VGA (800 x 600) graphics card
Internal or external CD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

Maximum:
1 Physical CPU (Multi-Core + Hyper-threading supported)
4 GB of system memory - RAM with 32-bit (x86) CPU
16 GB of system memory - RAM with 64-bit (x64) CPU
10 Simultaneous Peer Network Connections
5 Media Center Extender Sessions

Recommended:
1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
1 GB of system memory - RAM (Only 256 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
40 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
128 MB Windows Aero-capable DirectX 9-class graphics card
Internal or external DVD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
Internet access capability
Audio output capability

Notes - Actual hardware requirements will vary, depending on system configuration and on the programs and the features that you install. If you install Windows Vista over a network, additional hard disk space may be required.

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Windows Vista Business Edition

Vista Business Box

Minimum:
800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
512 MB of system memory - RAM (Only 64 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
20 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
Super VGA (800 x 600) graphics card
Internal or external CD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

Maximum:
2 Physical CPUs (Multi-Core + Hyper-threading supported)
4 GB of system memory - RAM with 32-bit (x86) CPU
128 GB of system memory - RAM with 64-bit (x64) CPU
10 Simultaneous Peer Network Connections

Recommended:
1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
1 GB of system memory - RAM (Only 256 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
40 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
128 MB Windows Aero-capable DirectX 9-class graphics card
Internal or external DVD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
Internet access capability
Audio output capability

Notes - Actual hardware requirements will vary, depending on system configuration and on the programs and the features that you install. If you install Windows Vista over a network, additional hard disk space may be required.

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Windows Vista Ultimate Edition

Vista Ultimate Box

Minimum:
800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
512 MB of system memory - RAM (Only 64 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
20 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
Super VGA (800 x 600) graphics card
Internal or external CD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

Maximum:
2 Physical CPUs (Multi-Core + Hyper-threading supported)
4 GB of system memory - RAM with 32-bit (x86) CPU
128 GB of system memory - RAM with 64-bit (x64) CPU
10 Simultaneous Peer Network Connections
5 Media Center Extender Sessions

Recommended:
1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
1 GB of system memory - RAM (Only 256 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
40 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
128 MB Windows Aero-capable DirectX 9-class graphics card
Internal or external DVD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
Internet access capability
Audio output capability

Notes - Actual hardware requirements will vary, depending on system configuration and on the programs and the features that you install. If you install Windows Vista over a network, additional hard disk space may be required.

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Windows Vista Enterprise Edition

Open License

Minimum:
800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
512 MB of system memory - RAM (Only 64 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
20 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
Super VGA (800 x 600) graphics card
Internal or external CD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

Maximum:
2 Physical CPUs (Multi-Core + Hyper-threading supported)
4 GB of system memory - RAM with 32-bit (x86) CPU
128 GB of system memory - RAM with 64-bit (x64) CPU
10 Simultaneous Peer Network Connections

Recommended:
1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
1 GB of system memory - RAM (Only 256 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
40 GB hard disk with 15 GB of free hard disk space
128 MB Windows Aero-capable DirectX 9-class graphics card
Internal or external DVD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
Internet access capability
Audio output capability

Notes - Actual hardware requirements will vary, depending on system configuration and on the programs and the features that you install. If you install Windows Vista over a network, additional hard disk space may be required.

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Windows Vista Starter Edition

Advisory Windows Vista Starter Edition is not currently scheduled to be available in the United States, Canada, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, or other high income markets as defined by the World Bank. The Official system requirements for Windows Vista Starter Edition have not yet been released. The following are based on some unofficial sources:

Minimum:
32-bit (x86) CPU
384 MB of system memory - RAM
Super VGA (800 x 600) graphics card *
Internal or external CD-ROM drive
Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device

* Aero is not supported

Maximum:
1 Physical CPU
1 GB of system memory - RAM with 32-bit (x86) CPU

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Windows 'N' Editions

Windows Vista Home Basic N and Windows Vista Business N are to satisfy anti-trust regulations for the EU European Commission and will only be sold in Europe. These editions will not include Windows Media Player. Otherwise they will be identical to their equivalent versions minus the 'N'.

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Windows 'K' Editions

Windows Vista Home Basic K and Windows Vista Business K are to satisfy anti-trust regulations for South Korea and will only be sold in South Korea. Microsoft won't ship Windows Vista Home Premium K, Windows Vista Ultimate K, and Windows Vista Enterprise K until Windows Vista SP1. These editions will not include Windows Media Player and Windows Messenger. Otherwise they will be identical to their equivalent versions minus the 'K'.

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Aero

Aero (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open) is the new hardware-based graphical user interface in Windows Vista. Intended to be a cleaner, more powerful, more efficient and more aesthetically pleasing user interface. The new Aero interface is supported in all Windows Vista Editions except Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Standard.

Aero Close Up

Windows Vista Aero provides spectacular visual effects such as glass-like interface elements that you can see through.



Aero Minimum System Requirements:
800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
512 MB of system memory - RAM (Integrated UMA Graphics not supported) *
64 MB Windows Aero-capable DirectX 9-class graphics card **

* 1 GB of system memory (RAM) is required with Integrated UMA Graphics to use the new Aero interface.
** Supported resolution up to but not including 1280x1024 on a Single Monitor System.

Aero Recommended System Requirements:
1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) CPU
1 GB of system memory - RAM (Only 256 MB can be used for Integrated UMA Graphics Memory)
128 MB Windows Aero-capable DirectX 9-class graphics card

Aero-capable Graphics Requirements:
DirectX 9-class GPU that supports Pixel Shader 2.0
Supports a WDDM driver
Supports 32-bits per pixel
Passes the Windows Aero acceptance test in the WDK

Here is a list of Aero Compatible GPUs

Aero-capable Graphics Memory Requirements Per Resolution:

(Single Monitor and Mobile Systems)
- 64 MB up to but not including 1280x1024
- 128 MB up to and including 1920x1200
- 256 MB over 1920x1200

(Desktop dual monitors)
- 128 MB up to but not including 1280x1024x2
- 256 MB for larger dual monitor configurations

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Visual Styles

Windows Vista will look differently depending on the edition you get and the level of hardware your PC has:

Aero Visual Style
Vista Aero Visual Style
Default if Aero-capable on Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate

Vista Standard Visual Style
Default if meets the Recommended Requirements on Home Basic *

Vista Basic Visual Style
Vista Basic Visual Style
Default if not Aero-capable on Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate

Windows Classic Visual Style
Vista Classic Visual Style
Must be manually selected on Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate

* Since the Windows Vista Home Basic Edition does not support Aero, this is what you get if your hardware meets the Recommended Requirements for Windows Vista Home Basic Edition.

Compare each visual style quickly and easily here: The four faces of Vista

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ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost lets users use a removable flash memory device, such as USB memory keys, flash memory cards and other types of flash devices to improve system performance by caching disk reads onto the device. This can improve system performance because the Windows memory manager can retrieve data kept on the flash memory device more quickly than it can retrieve data kept on the hard disk, decreasing the time you need to wait for your PC to respond. ReadyBoost technology is reliable and provides protection of the data stored on your device. You can remove the flash memory device at any time without any loss of data or negative impact to the system. Nothing is stored on the flash memory device that isn't also on the hard disk (all pages on the device are backed by a page on disk. No exceptions), so if you remove the device, the memory manager sees the change and automatically goes to the hard disk and your performance returns to the level you experienced without the flash memory device. Additionally, data on the flash memory device is encrypted using using AES-128 to help prevent inappropriate access to data when the device is removed. Also, the memory manager compresses the pages before writing them into the cache on the flash memory device, which means you'll get more mileage from each MB.

ReadyBoost Minimum Flash Memory Device Requirements:
256 MB USB 2.0 or PCI Flash Memory Device
2.5 MB/sec throughput for 4K random reads
1.75 MB/sec throughput for 512K random writes

ReadyBoost Maximum Flash Memory Device Requirements:
1 Flash Memory Device
4 GB Flash Memory Device

ReadyBoost Recommended Flash Memory Device Requirements:
1:1 ratio of flash memory to system memory on low memory systems
2.5:1 ratio of flash memory to system memory on high memory systems (Higher than that and you won't see much benefit)

Notes - "When you connect a supported flash device to your system and choose the Speed Up My System option, Windows Vista runs a quick performance test to see if the device meets minimum standards required for ReadyBoost. These results must be consistent across the entire device. If any of these tests fail, the drive is rejected. You can look up the specific performance results for yourself. Open Event Viewer (Eventvwr.msc) and click the Applications And Services Logs category in the console tree on the left. Under this heading, click Microsoft, Windows, and ReadyBoost. Under this latter heading, select Operational. The log entries in the center pane include performance test results for both successful and unsuccessful attempts." - Source

List of ReadyBoost Compatible Devices

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Utilities

Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor - Download - Home Page
"Want to see if your Windows XP-based PC can run Windows Vista? Just download, install, and run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. This small software tool will scan your computer and create an easy-to-understand report of all known system, device, and program compatibility issues, and recommend ways to resolve them."

Notes - Works only with 32-bit (x86) versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista.

PC Wizard PC Wizard - Download - Home Page
An advanced system information utility designed for detection of hardware, analysis and benchmarking. This can assist you in determining what hardware is in your computer.

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End

Feel free to submit suggestions or comments to OptimizeXP@comcast.net. Do not send Technical Support Questions. I cannot answer if your system will run Vista, that is what the information on this page is for. I recommend using the Utilities if you are having any trouble.