Natural Selection

Which flavour of Windows Vista do you choose? With a Microsoft Technet Subscription at my fingertips, I could install any version I like, but not everyone has this advantage. Most will end up with Windows Vista Home Basic. Pirates will probably have Enterprise, before they realise what they actually wanted was Ultimate, those with money to burn will have Ultimate, and businesses will supposedly have Windows Vista Business. The full list of versions (according to Microsoft Technet) goes like this:

  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Business Basic
  • Windows Vista Business Premium
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Enterprise

You can check out a comparison here. Obviously there are academic variations of each of the above versions (excluding Enterprise), and I am sure there are many other types of versions as well (evaluation, pirate, trial etc). For the purpose of my “90 Days of Vista”, I will be using Windows Vista Ultimate.


Before installing Windows Vista, you really need to take a few things into consideration. Firstly, the PC the guy at your local Hardly Normal (Harvey Norman) store is trying to sell you with Windows Vista, is not going to cut it when it comes to performance with Windows Vista, regardless of what edition you choose. Let me set you straight right now. YOUR OLD PC IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. You really need a PC that you bought late in 2006 or in 2007, to really use Windows Vista at it’s best. Why? Windows Vista is a resource and power hungry monster. Trust me, your AMD Duron 900Mhz CPU might be flying along with Windows XP now, it will be slower then a turtle with Windows Vista.

At the time of writing, I couldn’t find Microsoft’s recommended hardware requirements, so here are mine.

Minimum Hardware Requirements

  • 1GB RAM (Microsoft Says “512MB” – Vista will use all that up just for itself, and that’s when it’s idle)
  • 1.9Ghz CPU (remember, this is the minimum)
  • 20GB HDD. Windows Vista Ultimate will need up to 10GB of HDD Space, depending on how much RAM you have. Other versions of Vista may need less, but I doubt it. Don’t skimp, if you have a 40GB HDD, give it all to Windows Vista.
  • 64MB Graphics Card AGP (anything less, and Windows Vista will just seem slow and laggy)

The rest of the requirements are pretty standard. Obviously you will need some sort of optical drive to read the installation media (in most cases you will need a DVD-ROM Drive).

Recommened Hardware Requirements

  • 2GB RAM – Trust me, it makes a huge difference
  • 2.2Ghz+ CPU or 1.8Ghz Dual Core CPU
  • 40GB HDD Space
  • 256MB AGP or 128MB PCI-E

The rest of the requirements are pretty standard. Obviously you will need some sort of optical drive to read the installation media (in most cases you will need a DVD-ROM Drive).

I won’t waste space stepping you through the installation procedure. Just keep a few things in mind when installing however.

  • Vista can be installed on any partition, it no longer has to be the first partition. Beware, it will overwrite your existing boot loader if you happen to be dual booting with anything else other then another version of Windows.
  • Don’t Skimp! Give Windows Vista lots of HDD Space, I was being serious about the 10GB.
  • When asked what version you have, consider the power of your machine and what you would like to try out. If you select a version that you didn’t pay for, don’t put your installation key in. You can actually trial any of the Windows Vista versions available to you during the installation procedure, for up to 30 grace days (and longer if you are clever), before you will need to put in your key, and have Windows Vista revert to the version that you purchased.
  • You are going to need more then 10GB of HDD Space. Windows Vista will want to copy all it’s setup data to the HDD first (about 2GB).

My Installation

Excluding my troubles in dual booting with Fedora 7 and recovering my linux boot loader, I installed Windows Vista twice. The first time was to see how much of my hardware would get recognised, and to discover how many of my Windows XP drivers would work in Vista. The second time around, I got it all right.

I have Windows Vista Ultimate installed on two machines (a Laptop and a PC). On both machines, I am dual booting with Fedora 7.

Laptop (Odyssey)

PC (Prometheus)

  • CPU: AMD Sempron 3000+ Processor 2.0 Ghz
  • RAM: 1GB PC2700 DDR
  • HDD: 20GB Partition
  • Graphics: 256MB Radeon 9800 Pro AGP

If you are like me, and need to get back to your linux installation as fast possible, before giving it up to Windows Vista for 90 days, here is guide to help you get your Grub boot loader back. If you are using Lilo, well, why are you using Lilo? If you are using Lilo, then you should know how to get it back.

The guide is aimed at those who use Ubuntu, but the steps will work for just about anyone who uses a version of linux booted by Grub. You can ask me for help and assistance in regards to recovering Grub, but please do me a favour and check the link above first.

So to finish my installation and begin my 90 days of Vista, I also installed Microsoft Office Ultimate Edition, and Windows Live One Care (hence the 90 days).

My “90 Days of Vista” starts today, on the 1st of July 2007.

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