If you’re upgrading a computer running Windows XP, you can save money by opting for an upgrade rather than the full version of Windows Vista.

However, you can’t necessarily perform an ‘in-place’ or ‘over-the-top’ upgrade; sometimes you have to perform a clean installation of Windows Vista, which means backing up and reinstalling all your current programs, folders and files. The table shows where an over-the-top upgrade is possible.

In practice, a clean install means a fresh start; anything short of this can carry over problems from your old, cluttered version of Windows XP. Strictly speaking, when Windows Vista installs itself over Windows XP, it actually does perform a clean install and then imports all the old settings.

This should help prevent problems and can even, in principle, carry through hardware drivers that can’t be installed under Windows Vista itself, thereby preserving the working life of older devices. However, we’d recommend a truly clean install whenever possible. More »

Windows Aero is the premium visual experience of Windows Vista. It features a transparent glass design with subtle window animations and new window colors.

Here are some solutions to common problem with running Windows Aero.

Which editions of Windows Vista include Aero?

The following editions include Aero:

Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Home Premium, and Windows Vista Ultimate. Aero is not included in Windows XP or earlier versions of Windows.

To find out which edition of Windows Vista you have on your computer, do the following:

Open Welcome Center by clicking the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking Welcome Center.

The edition of Windows Vista you’re running is displayed with your computer details near the top of the window. More »

Most programs written for Windows XP also work in this version of Windows, but some older programs might run poorly or not at all. If a program written for an earlier version of Windows doesn’t run correctly, use the Program Compatibility Wizard to change the compatibility settings for the program. To change settings for a program manually, use the individual program’s Compatibility tab.

If changing the settings does not fix the problem, go to the program manufacturer’s website to see if there is an update for the program.

Do not use the Program Compatibility Wizard on older antivirus programs, disk utilities, or other system programs because it might cause data loss or create a security risk. More »

Keeping a close eye on Microsoft is not exactly an easy task, moreover since the company has entered a new era of translucency over transparency. But at the same time there are a variety of sources orbiting Microsoft and providing enough crumbs from the Redmond feast. The problem in this context is the centralization of information. In this regard, the Microsoft EvNet Dev Team has made available a collection of no less than five gadgets designed to integrate seamlessly with the Windows Vista Sidebar and deliver content from the main videocontent websites focused on the Redmond company.

“Check out this set of Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets for keeping up to date with the latest content on Channel 8, Channel 9, Channel 10, TechNet Edge, and Mix Online. Features: automatic rotation of latest articles on the site allows you to quickly see what’s new and keep up to date without opening a browser, read articles and view videos right on your desktop or navigate directly to the post and the gadgets work with both Silverlight 1.0 as well as the SL 2 beta,” revealed Ronan Geraghty, a member of the Developer and Platform Group in Microsoft Ireland. More »

Windows 7, the successor of Windows Vista, is set to bring to the table an overhauled graphical user interface. As far as Windows 7 Milestone 1 (M1) Ultimate Edition Build 6.1.6519.1 is concerned, Windows Aero has survived without any major redesign, for the time being. There is, however, a certain amount of specific nip and tuck touch-ups across the Windows Aero in Windows 7, for build 6.1.6519.1, but nothing definitive, and certainly nothing that provides a clue as to the final visual style of the next Windows iterations. But as an integer part of the Aero UI, the Start Menu is bound to take a heavy hit in terms of revamping in the user interface redesign that will be synonymous with the evolution from Windows Vista to Windows 7. More »