Microsoft Vista was introduced last week, amidst a flurry of press releases from hardware manufacturers, once again proclaiming support for the new operating system. One week after the launch the actual truth of the matter seems a bit grim, as new PCs that come shipped with Vista indeed work right out of the box, however end users aspiring to install it on their not-so-new PCs are left in the dark by many manufacturers. Not exactly what you would expect after spending anywhere from $100 for an upgrade to well over $200 for a full version right? Having been in development for the past few years you would think support for older hardware would not be the issue here, because that is always been properly supported by previous Microsoft operating systems. Well, apparently that is not the case with Vista, and Microsoft is only partly to blame for that, hardware manufacturers also had months, if not years, to prepare for the launch.
Traditionally Microsoft has had an excellent track record for supporting new, or old, hardware. You could simply hook up that old HP DeskJet 500 printer and be on your way in a mere few minutes. For example the vast number of built-in drivers that Windows XP shipped with meant that in 90% of the cases you would be able to get all devices in your PC up and running, about 95% of them after having installed SP2, the rest would be supplied by the respective manufacturers. With Vista they seem to have abandoned this approach, hence relying on the hardware manufacturers to supply drivers for their products. However these manufacturers do not seem to be in a hurry to supply you with the needed drivers for your older hardware either and from a business point of view you cannot blame them really. Obviously they would love for you to conclude that you are in need of an upgrade anyway and should just go out and buy that new PC, pick up that new printer, order that scanner, or simply do away with all your old hardware as it is now obsolete and start fresh.
So simply upgrading the assorted bits and pieces in your PC with parts that are supported by Vista would get you up and running again? Well, not quite, despite the "Vista Compatible" sticker on the box, or the hardware manufacturer’s press release stating Vista compatibility, a large portion of newly bought "Vista Compatible" hardware actually is not. Which means that buying new hardware for Vista is much like a game of chance, when you are in luck you might end up with something that works without a hitch. However the reverse is also true which could mean you are in for a long wait as some of the larger manufacturers have issued statements that driver support will be in place by July or August of 2007. That is a good six months away, and hence upgrading at this point in time would be adventurous to say the least. If you do not fancy having to jump through hoops and spending countless hours to get your beforehand perfectly working system running again with Vista, I suggest you sit this one out for at least the next six months.