Wait to Upgrade to Windows Vista to Avoid Issues
By STAFF AND WIRE REPORT
(Original publication- January 30, 2007):
Windows Vista operating system goes on sale
Microsoft Corp.'s long-delayed Windows Vista operating system went on sale to consumers at midnight yesterday, but the mood of anticipation was fueled during the day by acrobats twirling above Manhattan streets and computer sales representatives getting shelves ready at CompUSA in White Plains.
Steven Ludsin of New York City was at the Tarrytown Road store in midafternoon to pick out which Toshiba laptop he planned to buy when he returned at midnight.Ludsin, a lawyer and financial consultant who travels around with no less than four portable digital devices, said he enjoyed participating in the hoopla.
"It's an event, and the cleverness of Microsoft is to make it sort of special, and we connote it as something offbeat or attention-grabbing by having it at midnight," Ludsin said.
In Manhattan, dancers clad in Microsoft colors dangled from ropes high above street level and unfurled flags to form the red, green, blue and yellow Windows logo against a building wall in New York. McLaren Engineering Group of West Nyack engineered the temporary truss and banner-rigging system for the event.
At a swank midtown eatery, speakers pumped out a hit from hip-hop hotshot Snoop Dogg before Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's chief executive officer, took the stage.
"Vista is the center, the launching point for the next generation of connected entertainment in the home," Ballmer said.
If you missed the event yesterday, Jeff Dudash, a spokesman for Best Buy, said Ballmer would be at the company's Midtown Manhattan store at 529 Fifth Ave. at 10 a.m. today. "He's going to be there to give a speech and kick off the event," Dudash said.
Vista was set to go on sale around the globe today, along with new versions of Microsoft Exchange e-mail software and the flagship Office business suite, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Several retailers, like CompUSA, had even scheduled midnight sales.
But unlike the recent launches of next-generation game machines like Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3, customers haven't been camping out for days.
"When I look at Windows Vista, I see a technology that is interesting, that is relevant, but to some extent is evolutionary," said Al Gillen, an analyst at the technology research group IDC. "I do not believe it will create a lot of motivation for people to rush out and get a new operating system."
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said the company actually wasn't pushing midnight sales events - after all, the software will be available as a download over the Web for the first time. Ballmer acknowledged that, as in the past, most consumers will switch to Vista only when they buy new computers.
Nonetheless, CompUSA spokeswoman Jessica Nunez said yesterday that stores were fully stocked with an expected high demand for computers and software - and plenty of questions.
More than 10,000 employees have been trained to answer questions from consumers who are wondering which PC to buy and whether their home computers can handle the new software, she said.
New Rochelle resident Dan Smith, a computer salesman at CompUSA's White Plains store, said he's telling customers that 2-year-old computers are at the outside limits of handling the most basic capabilities of Windows Vista.
But to really enjoy all of the bells and whistles, not to mention several of the key security features touted by Microsoft, a heartier machine is in order.
"You're going to definitely need a new machine, with at least a gig of memory," he said. "To get the ultimate, you would really need a powerhouse of a machine."
Microsoft is also providing aid to consumers on its Web site for people who aren't upgrading to a whole new PC. To run the basic version of Windows Vista, you need an 800 MHz PC with 512 MB of system memory and a graphics card that is DirectX 9 capable.
The minimum requirements for Windows Vista Premium is a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of system memory, a 128 MB graphics card, a 40 GB hard drive with 15 GB of free speech, a DVD drive and a few other requirements you can check out at Microsoft's Web site (www.microsoft.com).
More than five years in the making, Vista was released for businesses Nov. 30, but the unveiling for consumers of the latest edition of Windows - which runs more than 90 percent of the world's PCs - only came today. Vista retails for $100 to $400, depending on the version and whether the user is upgrading from Windows XP.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software maker contends that Vista is such a huge improvement over previous computing platforms that users inevitably say "Wow" when they see it.
Over the weekend, Dell Inc. started taking orders for PCs with Vista. Kevin Rollins, Dell's chief executive, said the company's Web site saw a 20 percent jump in traffic, with "tens of thousands of copies" of Vista sold for delivery today or later.
In White Plains yesterday, the anticipation wasn't universal. Scarsdale resident Derek Mauro, on hand to help buddy Adam Rothstein of White Plains pick out a new laptop, said he prefers Linux.
Mauro, a graduate student in biophysics at Rutgers, said he wasn't wowed by an early version of Vista that he tested on an office machine.
His friend Rothstein was a bit more blunt: "He told me Vista was useless."
The pair had just come from Best Buy, where they had tried a demo of Vista. Rothstein said he was struck by the similarity to his father's Mac. "The new features that are different from Windows XP were almost exactly what it does on the Mac. It's like they are copying it, which makes sense because the Mac works. But I don't know, I wasn't impressed," he said.
David A. Milman, founder and chief executive officer of the computer repair business Rescuecom, urged business and home computer uses to take a wait-and-see approach.
"Sometimes the latest is not necessarily the greatest and we'd hate some minor glitch to result in major headaches for our customers or anyone else," he said. "We suggest waiting six months before purchasing Vista. Allow the early users to discover the flaws and weaknesses and allow Microsoft to perfect this exciting product before blindly and enthusiastically placing your computers and your data in its care."
Smith is taking that advice. He said he didn't plan to upgrade to Vista soon.
"Not yet, I want to wait to see these bugs worked out first," he said.
Julie Moran Alterio of The Journal News and Jessica Mintz of The Associated Press contributed to this story. Reach Alterio at email@example.com or 914-694-5228.
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