By now, most people have probably heard about Vista, which is Microsoft's new operating system. The next inevitable question is: should you upgrade? And if so, which version should you buy? Unfortunately, as it has done with Office, Microsoft has come up with multiple versions of Vista that are targeted at different users. You can choose from Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate. The price ranges from $200 to $400. This chart shows you what each version contains:
Power users will probably want the Ultimate version since it contains absolutely everything. The other versions depend more on how you use your computer. Frankly, I'd avoid Home Basic, since it's a bare-bones version. Plus, many people who bought XP Home later regretted it.
Of course the initial question still stands. Is it worthwhile to upgrade? Vista sports a prettier interface and a few new features such as better search and backup capabilities. But from what I've read, it's hardly earth-shattering stuff. The other problem is that your current computer may not have the horsepower to run Vista. Before you spend any money on an upgrade, you may want to go through Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor.
If you've been using a computer long enough, you may remember the hype that surrounded Windows XP when it was released. Many people didn't heed the warnings and tried to upgrade marginal computers from Windows 98 to XP with unpleasant results. So I'll offer the same advice I did back then. Wait until you buy a new computer to deal with Vista. Sure Vista may have some nifty new features, but upgrading an existing system is a giant pain, unless you really love technological challenges. Microsoft isn't going to drop support for XP any time in the near future, so just wait for your current computer to become obsolete. Your new computer will have Vista preloaded on it anyway, so save yourself some aggravation and let the nerds at the computer store deal with Vista.