(ANS) If you want my sincere advise (advise from a very experienced user) then I would advise you NOT to upgrade to windows Vista. Why? I have used literally every version of windows since it was invented & available for purchase.
Like all software products, programs and operating systems like MS windows evolve over time. To begin with that development generally moves forwards and products improve over time and this is true of windows. However, some versions of windows have been much better than others.
Windows NT & NT workstation were a massive step forwards in windows development and windows 2000 was yet another improvement. Windows XP Pro is in my opinion possibly the peak of windows as an operating system. It may not be perfect but its pretty close to being as good as I think windows will ever get in my life time.
XP Pro has the right balance of features, & functions and a reasonably good intuitive user interface. XP can easily be tuned & tweaked for run at high performance. XP has a proven good track record & most of the issues have been sorted out via the service packs, XP is now a mature product with few holes remaining.
ON VISTA!! by contrast.
Windows Vista is MASSIVE, it has a huge foot print, its clunky, clumsy, its full of vulnerabilities still, Vista its NOT as secure as XP despite all the claims made by Microsoft, Vista is like an over stuffed donut, it has FAR far too much eye candy for a good operating system in opinion ( I hate the GUI).
**Vista gobbles everything you throw at it but still wants more. Vista needs a minimum of 2GB of system memory and thats BEFORE you do anything with windows. Thats just to run windows not including any programs.
**3GB is recommended, but 4GB is completely wasted as Vista for technical reasons wont benefit from more RAM above 3GB limit.
**You cannot put Vista on older hardware, if you try to put Vista on a system running XP you will only be disappointed. I know I try it myself & installed Vista on my DELL precision workstation was dreadful and I quickly went back to XP which it runs beautifully.
**DON'T attempt an upgrade path from XP to Vista thats fraught with even more potential problems.
**Do check Vista "Minimum hardware" requirements before you even consider Vista.
**Vista requires new higher specification hardware before you can run it, this basically means a brand new computer.
**NOTE:- NOT all software is Vista compatible, including many programs that worked fine under XP. So you cannot just assume ALL your favorite software will work or play nicely with Vista.
**NOTE:- Vista still suffers from major problems with device driver compatibility, many drivers are still NOT Vista compatible as companies are still playing catch up with Vista even 12mths on.
**Personally I WON'T be buying or moving to Windows Vista as I cannot see any single advantage to doing so. Vista for me would be a step backwards frankly. To me XP Pro is the best ever version of windows to date, XP is probably as good as it gets or will get.
Kind Regards from Ivan
computer veteran, MCSE trained.