Windows Vista problems can ruin your user experience, and cause issues with running the software you need. This happens anytime an operating system gets upgraded, but that doesn't stop frustration from making you think upgrading to Vista was a mistake. Before you toss those Vista discs in the trash, take a look at these common problems to see if there are ways to fix them.
Software Compatibility Issues
One of the biggest problems with Windows Vista is software compatibility issues. Many older versions of software simply won't run under Windows Vista. Some companies have issued patches or updates to tweak their software so you can use it. Other companies require you to buy a newer version of the software to get Vista support, requiring a potentially large cash outlay.
If you're having trouble running your software in Windows Vista, try running the software in Compatibility Mode. Browse to the folder containing your software, and then right click the application program. Go to Properties, and then click on the Compatibility tab. From there, you can click a checkbox to tell Vista to run your software in Compatibility Mode, and select a prior version of Windows to run the software. This won't work in all cases, but it can definitely solve some of your software issues. You should also check the Web sites of software makers to see if there are any free patches you can download to help older software work with Vista.
Driver Support Problems
Many people experience hardware conflicts in Vista due to lack of driver support. The drivers for Windows XP may not work fully in Vista, or they may not work at all, making it impossible for Windows Vista to recognize or use some pieces of hardware. If you're experiencing hardware problems, check with the manufacturer to make sure you have the most updated drivers.
Beyond that, check Windows Vista forums to see if anyone else has discovered a workaround; otherwise, you may have permanent hardware issues. When buying new hardware, check the Windows Vista Compatibility Center to ensure that it will run: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/. New hardware should be labeled as Vista compatible.
High Memory Requirements
Programmers simply aren't as concerned about keeping file sizes and memory use minimal in this age of cheap memory. As a result, Windows Vista requirements aren't lightweight, which can cause serious performance issues for older and entry-level computers. Even if your computer meets the minimum requirements, you may still experience performance problems if you don't have enough on-board RAM. You can optimize performance a bit by turning off animations and processor-intensive display features.
Windows Vista requirements vary depending on the version you're using, but the minimum requirements include a 1 GHz processor, 512MB or 1GB of RAM, a 20 or 40 GB hard drive with 15 GB of available space and a video card with DirectX 9 or higher. Most users find that they don't have a good user experience without more RAM and a faster processor. If you've got an older computer with a slower processor, upgrading could be the only way to get Vista to run.
Using Vista Forums
The Windows Vista forums provide useful assistance for people who have common Windows Vista issues. If you're experiencing hardware or software problems, consult the Windows Vista forums to find out if anyone has discovered a workaround. Many common issues can be solved with a little technical know-how, so don't give up until you've exhausted all your avenues.
Is It Worth It?
Newer operating systems from both Microsoft and Apple have provided challenges to owners of older computers and those who run legacy software. New computers keep getting more powerful, and programmers take advantage of that power to improve graphics and multimedia capabilities, often at the expense of older, less-powerful computers. While you can generally wait a year or two to upgrade, you'll need to invest in a new operating system eventually, because the most popular programs, such as Web browsers and media players, will eventually stop working on older operating systems.
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