WIndows Vista nor or later?
November 28, 2006 8:57 PM   Subscribe

Windows Vista: Should I get it right when it comes out or will an upgraded & updated version be released later on?

I will need a new computer within a year. I am a PC user and so any new computer I buy after January or February will have Windows Vista. (I'm actually looking forward to using it) I have heard that Windows usually sells an updated version of the current operating system after a while.

For example, I bought my current computer when XP was first released. I have since seen newer computers with XP, but the look is slightly different and there seem to be some upgrades.

So, when Windows releases Vista in Jan or Feb., will there also be an updated version that will come out after a year or so? Should I just wait and see? How long does it usually take for the upgraded/updated/enhanced version to come out?
posted by HotPatatta to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
At present, updated builds of Vista are just integrated with Windows Update, i.e. you run Vista, you'll get whatever the latest collection of patches are as they're written.

It's certainly possible that Microsoft will adopt Apple's approach, i.e. charge $80 a year for upgrades, but that hasn't been their way of things.

XP SP2 was for all purposes a new release of the OS, and that was a free upgrade.
posted by effugas at 9:01 PM on November 28, 2006

A better question might be: why get Vista at all? If it adds features that you want now, then get it now, you know? If not, if it's just about having the latest, it might be wise to wait a bit as early issues are worked out.

Disclosure: I say this as someone who's ditched Windows for Mac OS X.
posted by rbs at 9:16 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]

There'll always going be upgrades and patches, until they phase out support. There's even talk of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP in 2008 -- a year or more after Vista is released. The only time I remember MS making us pay for an upgrade to a version of Windows was Windows 98SE. There's no set amount of time for between a release and a major upgrade.
posted by lhauser at 9:16 PM on November 28, 2006

XP SP2 was for all purposes a new release of the OS, and that was a free upgrade.

I wouldn't quite compare this to any of Apple's reference releases. Microsoft gave out SP2 for free because it was security and bug fixes, almost entirely. Apple charged for Panther and Tiger because they represented large API and functionality changes, as well as bug and security fixes.

This having been said, it would be nice to have upgrade pricing from Apple once in a while, but I'm not dyin' over it.
posted by Mikey-San at 9:31 PM on November 28, 2006

(I still run Panther and I still get all the security and other OS updates. Just got one tonight. No charges.)
posted by loiseau at 9:49 PM on November 28, 2006

it would be nice to have upgrade pricing from Apple

All Mac OS X boxed retail packages are upgrades and priced as such. These upgrades won't install if you don't already have a license to run Mac OS X, and this is enforced by a dongle called a Macintosh.
posted by kindall at 10:08 PM on November 28, 2006

Nope, don't buy what you're selling. Also, your sarcasm doesn't make your point any more valid.

Like I said, I'm not dying over this. I get every penny of what I pay for. I got 10.1 with my old PowerBook, and since then, I've willingly and gladly given Apple $340 to stay up to date. (Two single-user reference releases and a family pack reference release.) My point is that it does begin to feel like a chore after a few years.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:25 PM on November 28, 2006

Oops, that should be $440:

$120 - 10.2
$120 - 10.3
$200 - 10.4 (family pack)
posted by Mikey-San at 10:25 PM on November 28, 2006

Get the computer and use the OS that comes on it, since that's what you'll get the best support for. (I use Vista on most of my machines, and it's a big improvement over XP.)

Security updates will almost certainly be free for the lifetime of the machine, and it seems likely that the more full-featured editions of Vista (such as Ultimate) will also get new features released over time.

If you have Vista Home or Vista Home Basic, it seems unlikely that any significant new features will be released for those versions until a whole new Windows is out.
posted by anildash at 10:41 PM on November 28, 2006

given Apple $440 to stay up to date

It's not much more than what you would have paid Microsoft for three upgrades to Windows, frankly.
posted by kindall at 11:21 PM on November 28, 2006

Microsoft intend to release Windows Vista SP1 within the second half of 2007, however as said above it will be a completely free upgrade. The next "new" version of Windows is likely to be in about three years time, so you're looking around 2010 if you want to wait!

As for whether you should upgrade or not, the question is all about the drivers. I'm running Vista as my main and only desktop now and I have found the OS itself to be extremely stable. I've only had one problem and that was due to the ATI graphics drivers not being quite up to standard at the time.

If you are buying a new PC then this isn't really much of a consideration, as if the PC comes with Vista installed then it will come with the right drivers for the hardware already. If you're upgrading an existing machine, however, then you might want to make sure that there are Vista specific drivers for all your hardware (or at least the bits you care about) first.
posted by jon4009 at 1:36 AM on November 29, 2006

It's not much more than what you would have paid Microsoft for three upgrades to Windows, frankly.

And that's supposed to make me feel better, somehow?

Again: Worth the money. Still feels like a chore. No one else's pricing structure makes this any different.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:41 AM on November 29, 2006

The next "new" version of Windows is likely to be in about three years time

That's only if they learn their lesson after the fiasco that was Vista's development process.
posted by antifuse at 3:33 AM on November 29, 2006

Note that you can buy a Dell, or any other major brand, today, and get a free upgrade to Vista when it comes out, if you don't want to wait. This might be the best choice, since it will come with XP, and you can choose when to do the upgrade yourself.
posted by smackfu at 6:44 AM on November 29, 2006

I would wait several months until after the release so you can have a better warm fuzzy that all of your peripherals are going to work.

I've been running Vista RC1 and have too many driver issues. I'm surprised by the number of manufacturers that haven't updated their drivers yet (hello Logitech?? HP??).
posted by matty at 8:04 AM on November 29, 2006

Driver issues have improved dramatically since RC1. Vista RTM seems to contain a lot of updated drivers out of the box. I don't know if MS wrote these themselves or if they got them off the manufacturers, but the only driver I had to install was the ATI one (and even then the built-in one was passable). It even came with drivers for a bunch of hardware I could never find drivers for on XP.

I agree that RC1 was bad, but RTM is HUGELY better. Having said that, do check first if there is some piece of hardware you can't live without.
posted by jon4009 at 12:37 PM on November 29, 2006

To answer your question exactly: No, there will not be a new version of Vista coming out. There will be service packs which will likely add some new features, but the DVD you buy in February will be identical to the one you'll buy next December. The only potential difference would that if a service pack has been released it will be integrated into the commercial release.

Unless you have a valid reason to stick with XP (like a piece of essential software that will definitely not run on Vista), I think you'd be foolish not to get Vista on any new personal computer. Maybe I'm being melodramatic, but to me it would be like buying a new car and choosing the 2006 model because the 2007 model is untested. Nobody would do that unless they were saving money. Will there be initial problems with Vista? Absolutely. Will there still be problems after the first service pack? Umm...Yep. And for this reason I will not be buying any Vista computers at work for at least a year or so (and if I were buying a fleet of cars I might go with the proven 2006 model). I can handle (and expect) problems with my home PC, but would rather avoid them on a few thousand. I wouldn't run out and buy a copy of Vista for your current XP computer, but if you have a choice of operating systems I think the answer is obvious.

Personally, I would wait until computers are shipping with Vista unless you need something now. I haven't read any details yet, but I'm assuming you would only get an upgrade to Vista with an XP computer now. I am never comfortable with upgrading any operating system when I could do a fresh full install. I don't claim to be a coding expert (or even a novice for that matter), but I can't imagine an upgrade is nearly as clean as a full install.
posted by bda1972 at 9:13 PM on November 29, 2006

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