You should complete some pre-installation steps before jumping into the Vista setup. One of the most important pre-installation steps is for you to verify that the hardware in your computer is compatible with Vista and that it meets the minimum hardware requirements. As I mentioned in Part I of this series, you can easily do this by running the Vista Upgrade Advisor. The results will tell you if any hardware does not meet the requirements to run Vista.

Vendors design their operating systems to run on a minimum set of hardware requirements to ensure adequate performance. Not meeting these requirements often results in a failed installation or at least poor performance.

The minimum hardware requirements for Vista include:

Vista Home Basic

  • 800-megahertz (MHz) 32-bit (x86) processor or 800-MHz 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 512 megabytes (MB) of system memory
  • DirectX 9-class graphics card
  • 32 MB of graphics memory
  • 20-gigabyte (GB) hard disk that has 15 GB of free hard disk space
  • Internal or external DVD drive
  • Internet access capability
  • Audio output capability

Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Enterprise, and Vista Ultimate

  • 1-gigahertz (GHz) 32-bit (x86) processor or 1-GHz 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1 GB of system memory
  • Windows Aero-capable graphics card
  • 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
  • 40-GB hard disk that has 15 GB of free hard disk space
  • Internal or external DVD drive
  • Internet access capability
  • Audio output capability

Note: A Windows Aero-capable graphics card is a graphics card that meets the following requirements:

  • Supports a Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver
  • Has a DirectX 9-class graphics processor unit (GPU) that supports Pixel Shader 2.0
  • Supports 32 bits per pixel
  • Passes the Windows Aero acceptance test in the Windows Driver Kit (WDK)

Keep in mind when you are choosing hardware that these are the bare minimum requirements to run the operating system and does not take into account any network services or applications that may be running on the computer. Plan to increase these requirements for optimal performance.

Microsoft has also published the Vista Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) which is a list of products that work with Vista. If your hardware is not present on the list it does not necessarily mean you cannot proceed with the installation but you should verify with the hardware manufacturer that the component is Vista ready.

In the next installment of this series, I will continue looking at some of the important pre-installation tasks that you need to perform before installing Vista.

[tags]Windows, Vista, OS, Microsoft, install, installation, Windows upgrade[/tags]