Skip Windows Vista as an Upgrade

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The question of the day is whether it's worth upgrading to Microsoft's Windows Vista. From personal experience, my answer is no–unless you're willing to futz around with your computer or pay someone to do it.

Vista is an impressive upgrade to Windows XP, and it's definitely welcome on a new computer. The new operating system is more attractive and pleasant to use, makes it easier to find things on your computer, and does a better job of handling media like music and pictures.

But unlike the release of XP five years ago, Vista won't make computing significantly easier for most folks. I was enthusiastic about upgrading to Windows XP because it simply crashed less often than did Windows 95 or 98. That's not as much an issue in moving to Vista from XP. Vista does improve security, but not significantly for people who already keep Windows XP updated and are reasonably cautious in how they surf the Web.

Vista
COURTESY OF MICROSOFT

Upgrading to Vista will bring irritations. Some of your software or hardware inevitably won't work with the new system or will behave erratically. Or worse, for a small percentage of people, the upgrade will be particularly painful or won't work at all.

The risk isn't worth it—on top of the cost of the upgrade disk itself, which starts at $100.

Me? I'll upgrade at least my primary computer at home. But I have confidence I can work through the issues that come with changing an operating system and can even enjoy the puzzle of it. From experience, that's not true of most folks. So don't bother.