Microsoft Windows Vista was one of the least well received Windows operating systems released by Microsoft. While for the most part corrected in later patches and updates for the operating system, several initial system stability issues plagued Windows Vista and was a major contributing factor to its poor public image.
Windows Vista Release Date
Windows Vista was released to manufacturing on November 8, 2006 and made available to the public for purchase on January 30, 2007.
The most recent version of Windows is Windows 8, released on October 26, 2012.
Windows Vista Editions
There are six editions of Windows Vista available but only the first three of them listed below are widely available to consumers:
- Windows Vista Ultimate [Check Prices]
- Windows Vista Business [Check Prices]
- Windows Vista Home Premium [Check Prices]
- Windows Vista Starter
- Windows Vista Home Basic
- Windows Vista Enterprise
Windows Vista Starter is available to hardware makers for preinstallation on small, lower-end computers. Windows Vista Home Basic is only available in certain developing markets. Windows Vista Enterprise is the edition designed for large corporate customers.
Two additional editions, Windows Vista Home Basic N and Windows Vista Business N, are available in the European Union. These editions differ only by their lack of a bundled version of Windows Media Player, a result of anti-trust sanctions against Microsoft in the EU.
All editions of Windows Vista are available in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions except for Windows Vista Starter, which is only available in a 32-bit format.
Windows Vista Minimum Requirements
The following hardware is required, at a minimum, to run Windows Vista. The hardware in parentheses is the minimum necessary for some of the more advanced graphics features of Windows Vista.
- CPU: 800 MHz (1 GHz)
- RAM: 512 MB (1 GB)
- Hard Drive: 15 GB free of 20 GB (15 GB free of 40 GB)
- Graphics Card: 32 MB & DirectX 9 capable (128 MB & DirectX 9 capable + WDDM 1.0 support)
Your optical drive will need to support DVD media if you plan on installing Windows Vista from a DVD.
Windows Vista Hardware Limitations
Windows Vista Starter supports up to 1 GB of RAM while 32-bit versions of all other editions of Windows Vista max out at 4 GB.
Depending on the edition, 64-bit versions of Windows Vista support much more RAM. Windows Vista Ultimate, Enterprise, and Business support up to 192 GB of memory. Windows Vista Home Premium supports 16 GB and Home Basic supports 8 GB.
Physical CPU limitations for Windows Vista Enterprise, Ultimate, and Business is 2, while Windows Vista Home Premium, Home Basic, and Starter support just 1. Logical CPU limitations in Windows Vista are easy to remember: 32-bit versions support up to 32, while 64-bit versions support up to 64.
Windows Vista Service Packs
The most recent service pack for Windows Vista is Service Pack 2 (SP2) which was released on May 26, 2009. Windows Vista SP1 was released on March 18, 2008.
See Latest Microsoft Windows Service Packs for more information about Windows Vista SP2.
Not sure what service pack you have? See How To Find What Windows Vista Service Pack is Installed for help.
More About Windows Vista
Below are some of the popular Windows Vista specific tutorials and walkthroughs on my site:
- How To Perform a Startup Repair in Windows Vista
- How To Find Your Windows Vista Product Key
- How To Start Windows Vista in Safe Mode
- How To Use System Restore in Windows Vista
- What To Do if You've Forgotten Your Windows Vista Password
You can find most of my other Windows Vista tutorials on my Windows Vista How-To's, Tutorials, and Walkthroughs page.
If you're looking for something more than maintenance and troubleshooting help, which is my site's focus, please know that the About.com Windows site is also available which is a fantastic resource for helping you get the most out of Windows Vista on your computer.