Windows Vista and Your PC Purchase
Windows Vista has been available to Microsoft’s corporate customers for a few weeks now. As far as I know there will be no retail packaged editions sold until the end of January. I just met with a client this week who bought a new Dell Inspiron laptop last week. I registered her on the Dell Vista upgrade website and was shocked to learn they required a credit card number. Apparently Dell is going to charge an upgrade fee of $45 plus shipping and handling to those who purchased a system with Windows XP Home between 10/26/06 and 03/15/2007. Those of you who purchase a computer with XP Pro, XP Media Center Edition, or XP Pro x64 Edition will get a “FREE” upgrade and only have to pay for shipping. I am not going to lay out a lot of blame over this issue. Microsoft failed to deliver on its promised release date for Vista by several months and was supposedly taking a major hit by providing OEM computer manufacturers with the ability to offer their customers upgrade coupons. I recall that when Windows XP was released back in late 2001, customers who bought a machine with Windows ME just before the upgrade was released had to pay a “shipping and handling” fee of $20. It’s all a matter of timing. Microsoft has ended all support (security updates, OS updates, etc.) for Windows 98, and ME. Windows 2000 (with the proper update packs) has entered it’s extended support phase until June 2010. You can expect that XP will be supported through 2010 and beyond, hopefully. It seems that Microsoft is extending Windows 2000 support so long because it is a business operating system. Knowing this makes me feel justified in having recommended XP Professional, even to home users, in the past. If you are going to use your computer as an entertainment center, select a new system with the Vista Home Premium installation. Otherwise, choose Windows Vista Business or an upgrade path (XP Professional) that leads to it. Windows Vista Home will basically be Windows XP in different packaging. If you have used XP for several years, you won’t see anything exciting with the Vista Home Edition. My advice: choose a more advanced version of Vista. If you have lived in the dark ages for the past few years by, still using 98 or ME, a new PC with Vista Home should represent a drastic improvement for you, but Vista Business or Home Premium is strongly advised. Other manufacturers may not charge an XP to Vista upgrade fee, so read and ask accordingly.
When is the right time to buy your new (Windows based) computer?? It may seem cliche, but there’s no time like the present. If you plan to retire your old computer as a preventative measure and it still functions well, perhaps you can wait until January 30, 2007 or later. If your PC is on it’s deathbed, a new machine with XP for now and a FREE or discounted shot of Vista coming down the road is the right prescription for you.
If you are really looking to turn over a fresh leaf and desperately need a new computer….a Mac has never looked better. I have been ranting and raving about my experiences with Apple’s diverse product line for more than 2 1/2 years now. I do not have a business relationship with Apple Computer to sell their products. However, I am so enthusiastic about their desktops and laptops because of the enjoyment and computing stability they have brought me throughout this time. I am currently on my 3rd Mac. The first two laptops did not fail me one bit. My needs did change over the past 30 months and the stellar prices I was able to fetch for my used Macs afforded me the opportunity to upgrade. One of my regular advertisers, Joe Wiernasz of Alpha Equipment Services LLC, would tell anyone that “even a used Mac is better than a new Windows based PC”. Joe was just starting his business back in May and he had a computer budget of under $500. I was able to find him a refurbished 14 inch, 700 mhz G3, Apple iBook that was within his price range. This laptop was manufactured in July 2002. Sure he could have found a Windows based laptop that was a year or even two years newer, but he had faith in my experience with Macs. Compared with a new Gateway that his ex-wife bought just a few months ago, Joe says that his 4 year old iBook is much more user friendly and compatible with digital media formats.
Don’t just take his word for it. See this latest entry from the Macworld UK blog. Professional computer users are switching to the Mac in droves. http://www.macworld.co.uk/blogs/index.cfm?entryid=51&blogid=4
You can call me “Mac The Knife” if you so desire,