How to Install Windows Vista - Upgrade to Vista

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Computer users considering upgrading their current computer system to Microsoft’s newest operating system Vista need to make sure their computer system meets the minimum requirements for Vista. The same is true if you’re planning on upgrading from one version of Vista to another because each version has different minimum requirements.

Computer users upgrading to Microsoft Vista may find they need more memory, a faster processor, and more versatility in computer architecture to get their upgrade to operate efficiently and make the Vista upgrade worthwhile. Microsoft’s current system requirement recommendation is that your computer have the following:

  • Processor with a minimum speed of 1GHz (x86 or x64)
  • 1GB of RAM
  • A GPU that supports DirectX 9 and the following:
  • WDDM (Windows Vista Display Driver Model) Driver
  • 128MB of video RAM
  • Hardware support for Pixel Shader 2.0 (Pixel Shader 2.0 is a shader program that adds 3D shading and lighting effects to pixels in an image. Microsoft’s DirectX and Silicon Graphics’ OpenGL support pixel shaders. In OpenGL a pixel shader is called a fragment shader)
  • 32 bits per pixel
  • 40GB hard drive (with 15GB free - again, don’t worry though, Vista doesn’t take up 15GB, it just needs that much room to install!)
  • A DVD-ROM drive
  • Note that BitLocker Drive Encryption also requires a TPM 1.2 chip or a USB 2.0 flash drive

The requirements above are a little low to actually get the most out of a Vista operating system, we think Vista users should have a computer system with the following minimum specifications:

  • A processor with a minimum speed of 2.0GHz (dual-core recommended)
  • 2GB of RAM for x86 (32-bit) systems, 4GB for x64 (64-bit) rigs
  • A GPU that supports DirectX 9 and the following:
  • WDDM (Windows Vista Display Driver Model) Driver
  • 256MB of video RAM
  • Hardware support for Pixel Shader 2.0
  • 32 bits per pixel
  • 100GB SATA hard drive with 50GB free
  • CD/DVD burner

This means users upgrading to Windows Vista Ultimate, Vista Home Premium, or any of Vista’s versions, may have to upgrade their computer hardware before they can enjoy the benefits of Vista. In addition, new features like Vista’s SideShow, Vista’s technology that lets the user display data your system pushes to secondary screens, requires beefed up hardware.

Powerful Vista Ultimate computer systems being sold today use Intel Core 2 Quad processors, 8GBs of RAM, and 1500 GBs of memory, probably a little more powerful than most home computers.

Vista does include a slew of new and improved capabilities and features that will make upgrading to a Vista Windows PC a lot more fun and improve efficiency, but it will take computer time to learn. Included in these new features is more secure Windows Mail with Junk E-Mail filter and Instant Search feature to help find specific email messages faster. While no one feature will knock your socks off, you should find a few tidbits to make the nine year wait (four years from the expected release date) for Vista worthwhile, and hopefully justify your Vista upgrade.

If the computer system you want to upgrade to a Vista operating system doesn’t meet the system requirements we have outlined above, it’s probably best to buy a brand new computer loaded with the version of Vista you want. Otherwise, you will probably experience problems taking advantage of some of Vista’s capabilities.


Paul Thurcott. OS Market Share: Microsoft Stomps the Competition. WinInfo Web site. 2003. Available at: Accessed December 1, 2008.Sample contents.

This post is part of the series: The World of Windows Vista

Welcome to the world of Microsoft’s Windows Vista. Here we will take you through the world of Vista, which is being created day to day by you the user and provide you with information, helpful hints and suggestions on how to use your Vista system better and get more production out of Vista.

  1. Installing Windows Vista
  2. Assessing a Computer for a Windows 7 Upgrade
  3. Tweaking Vista to Improve Performance
  4. Installing RAM to Improve Vista’s Performance
  5. Installing a Video Card to Help Vista Perform Better
  6. Upgrading from XP Home to Vista Home Premium Part 1
  7. Migrating from Windows XP Media Center Edition to Vista Part 2
  8. Upgrading from Vista Basic