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back to article Windows Update to trumpet Vista Capable debacle?

Little did Microsoft executives realize when they blessed the seemingly brilliant wheeze of "Windows Vista Capable" as a way of flogging the operating system that the idea could turn into a bitter pill their company might have to swallow. But there's the very real possibility Microsoft's very own Windows Update and MSN could be …

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Happy

Oh the irony

"But there's the very real possibility Microsoft's very own Windows Update and MSN could be forced to carry ads promoting a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft"

LOL ;-)

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Joke

sueing for you own stupidity?

Duh.. i be sueing because me not know how to read well enuf to know between Vista Capable and Vista Compatible. Me not like Vista on my under-powered, over-priced machine, i don't have Aero.

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Coat

so

"They've also asked for banner ads to appear on MSN in addition to Yahoo!"

they really don't want people to see it do they.

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Gates Halo

Ahem

Isn't the most basic version Windows Vista Basic?

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Jobs Halo

So what ?

Any car manufacturer could slap a sticker on a 20HP vehicle, and call it: "Autobahn capable". All the law requires is a speed of +60 Km/h. Nobody said it'd be fun.

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Linux

Sounds like tattoo time

Ballmer needs "Windows Vista Capable" tattooed on his tush. Just ask Rev Peter Mullen (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/06/audacious_tattoo_plan/)!

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Jobs Horns

Life is getting better

First OJ.....Microslut is next....

Then the politicians

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Paris Hilton

I doubt this will happen...

...I know lots of people hate Microsoft and at times I do too, but this would not be possible, how could implement this properly without bringing down whole campaigns and possibly companys. Forget Microsoft for a minute.

A couple of examples:

1) PS3 and its list of long delayed games and some cancelled features (some kind of pop up when you turn "This console is now missing parts of its initial launch campaign 2 years ago...")

2) Broadband in the UK although they do deserve more than anyone. (Pop up on login "Sorry you are no way going to get what we marketed, thanks for signing up for the year though!)

2) HD-DVD "Hi guys some of the content we promised is never going to be on the films and you'll probably only get a 3rd of the films Blu0Ray players have but thanks for spending the cash"

Because even Paris wasn't an early adopter, her tape was not the first! Not even with night vision.

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Silver badge

@George

Just because others are culpable does not mean MS should be let off the hook. "Everyone else smokes pot" does not work as an excuse.

The others should get fried too.

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Anonymous Coward

Not sure I agree

I'm not sure I agree with the comments. Microsoft's logo and statement clearly says that the item sold is able to handle Vista. Its not like an early promise for something that only a few anorak-clad furry-toothed geeks will remember, its a solid thing, right there on the laptop, you can tap it with a finger nail.

Personally I view that logo and statement as a promise of performance, and so would the lawyers. If I think its important then it goes to the heart of the contract that the customer had with their supplier - Microsoft are clearly saying that the box is ready for their next generation of kit. They are the only ones in a position of knowledge compared to their customer so in the event there is confusion they cannot take advantage of that fact, implying that the logo and statement could be a misrepresentation on Microsofts part. Then again its something that the lawyers can look at, but they need to contact the customers, hence the current (and rather neat) solution.

Bear in mind that at that stage I for one had not really realised how bad Vista was, the hope among some people out there was that it would eventually exceed XP for performance.. D'oh!

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Happy

Vista Culpable

A modest rebranding suggestion.

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Linux

I'd have thought...

that the buck, ultimately, stops at the CEO (as in CHIEF Executive Officer)

I'm posting this on a corporate machine, of Dell origin, with the aforementioned "Windows Vista Capable" label prominently on view. This box originally came (in December 06) with 512Mb of RAM. Not what most folks would call "Windows Vista Capable" I think. (It's been upgraded to 2Gb, 'cos it wouldn't run jack shit, still running XP though). My colleague's box next to mine was produced in June 07, with 1Gb, and sporting a "Designed for Windows XP" sticker.

Tells ME all I need to know about the 'Windows Vista Capable' program.

Hope this action succeeds, and that the appropriate penalties are paid by those ultimately responsible.

Tux, simply because I'm finally in the process of migrating my own hardware to Linux.

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Thumb Up

lol

Have to love the recommendation to get M$ to find their own opposition!! Genius!

Disagree with George, this was quite a calculated manoeuvre to get people to buy PC's that really weren't up to the job, whilst pushing the new brand. Not on.

That said, does anyone know what EXACTLY the machines said on them??

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Blame

So the two guys responsible have now left? I wonder who was responsible before then..?

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Dead Vulture

@ I doubt this will happen...

Could you imagine a country that would put stickers on Deibold voting machines that say:

There is no reason to believe the veracity of votes this machine churns out?

Or on walls outside banks:

The machine you are about to use will eventually cost the economy 700billion just in the USA alone?

Can you imagine a Socialist party nationalising a bank such as Northern Rock and paying the idiot in charge three quarters of a million pounds? Then going on a year later having learned nothing...

...shoot!

You are right; it ain't gonad zappen.

Where is the icon for kicking our beloved leaders of government and commerce etc in the knackers? Feck you have a black helicopter for them stuffing us!

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Gates Horns

But...

...is it really true that a non technical person would think that because it says 'Windows Vista Capable' that even though it says 'Designed for Windows XP' that it will any version (even the 'best' verson of Windows Vista) just as well as it would run XP?

Is that really a realistic assumption?

I suppose they'll have to yank in a random man from the street and ask him what he things to test the assumption in court.

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Paris Hilton

@Greg Ashworth - no, it's even more basic than that...

Actually the most basic version of Vista is Starter Edition, a vertsion that MS only had the nuts to release in the Third World under the typical western assumption that poor people are too stupid to know when they are getting screwed. Vista SE is so crippled as to be almost paraplegic (like not being able to run more than three apps at once). What makes it worse is the thing that, despite being stripped to the marrow, it still needs a lot of memory and horse power just to boot up.

Paris, 'cause she knows a shafting when she gets one...

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Flame

You know...

this entire lawsuit is just utterly daft. Last time I checked Vista Basic was still Vista. The sticker never actually said what version on it did it. If anything this mostly lies with the hardware manufacturers who slapped the sticker on anything and everything just to shove it out the door. Really if anyone should be facing a legal slapping it should be Acer, Packard Bell, Advent, Medion and co who love to shove out utterly dreadful machines (will let Acer off with the One, it seems to be an exception of much of its stuff).

Hey ho, no doubt MS will be slapped again big style as is so common while it seems everyone else gets let off once more...Apple super computer adverts, Apples our PCI graphics is faster than your 4x AGP gibberish...Apples are easy to use yet we haven't discovered the wheel mouse...and will throw in a good Sony, makers of quality batteries :P

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Coat

hmmmmm

So let me get this straight, coz i dont see the problem. Computer sold with a sticker saying Vista Capable, is in fact Capable of running Vista. Nope, still dont see the problem.

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Alert

@So What? - Antoinette Lacroix

- Any car manufacturer could slap a sticker on a 20HP vehicle, and call it: "Autobahn capable". All the law requires is a speed of +60 Km/h. Nobody said it'd be fun.

More like putting out lots of advertising for your brand new toll roads that says they are the ultimate way to travel fast. Then putting a giant sticker on a vehicle that says "Toll Road Compatible" in big friendly letters but not pointing out that you can only use those shiny toll roads if there is only a single person in the vehicle, no baggage, the fuel tank is 10% full of super high octane special fuel, the road is dry, and you don't use anything but the slow lane. Yes, you can use the road but you aren't exactly having the experience that was advertised...

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Stop

@D@v3

Yes, but you see the problem is, that it can't run all flavours of Vista. It's a bit like buying a spanking new graphics card, and it states it's DirectX compatible...but the hardware only supports DirectX7 calls. Yes it is technically DirectX compatible, but you sure as sh** didn't know about lack of DX8/9/10 support until you parted money.

My Diesel car is capable of both Diesel and Petrol. I say capable, it will technically take Petrol, but it just won't work very well, if at all...

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Gates Halo

Vista Capable

A computer that's branded as "Vista Capable" has at least:

800MHz Processer, 512MB RAM, 20GB Hard Drive (With 15GB of Free Space), a DirectX 9.0 Graphics Card with at least 32MB of Memory, and some kind of DVD-ROM drive.

If a computer meets these specifications, then I don't see the problem. But even here, I think that it'd be the fault of the hardware manufacturers for slapping these stickers on machines that might not be compatible with Vista.

Also, Windows Vista Home Basic is still Windows Vista. I don't see how adding Aero in and a Media Centre suddenly makes the Premium versions of Vista an entirely different Operating System.

There is another sticker, "Vista Premium Ready", which states the computer can support premium versions of Vista. And yes, this has its own set of minimum requirements (1GB RAM, 1GHz Processor, etc).

So basically, I don't see what MS are doing wrong here.

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re: But...

Uh, the desktop PC WILL run any version of XP. The only versions it won't are the ones you don't buy retail (and some of those it will). I.e. cluster (fuck) and HA server.

It helped that XP didn't have the profusion of versions that Vista was released with (and people complain about there being too many versions of Linux! They didn't shout out here, though, did they... pussies).

But, they would run any version of XP if it had the sticker "Designed for XP".

Until a 64 bit version came out, but those machines had a big "64" on them.

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@Vincent

And Vista Premium is still Vista.

Why do you take the minimum and say "well, as long as it manages that, it's OK".

What if your motorway ready car could only do 45mph (the minimum possible for a motorway: any less than that and you're obstructing traffic)?

Or what if your four seater car could seat four piglets? It still seats *four*. They never said four *what*s.

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Re :David Hayes

I do see your point, but the sticker is not trying to say it can "run all flavours of Vista" I have a laptop that runs vista home premium, and wouldnt think of trying to put anything higher up the scale than that on it.

As Vincent says "Windows Vista Home Basic is still Windows Vista" the clue is in the name. If it said Windows capable and only ran 3.11 then yes i could understand people getting a bit pissed off.

As for your DirectX comparison, last i checked, all the different 'flavours' of VISTA, are infact Vista just with more (or less) function than the others. where as DX7/8/9/10 etc.. have fundamental differences due to the significant time difference between the release dates

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Boffin

Difference between capable and ready

There is a big difference between "capable" and "ready".

Here's an analogy: my TV has a "HD Ready" sticker on the front of it, but it's never shown anything in HD. Of course I knew it wouldn't when I bought it because I don't have any HD sources to connect to it. However, if I were to connect a _totally separate_ HD device to it then it should in theory show a HD picture without having to do anything to the TV itself.

In my mind anything which says "Vista ready" means it is ready to run Vista as-is, without making any modifications at all to the hardware. OTOH "Vista capable" means it is _capable_ of running Vista (i.e. it can boot Vista and it can be used) but not necessarily _ready_ to run it with all the extra features (e.g. Aero) or with any great level of performance.

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Boffin

Re: David Hayes - by D@v3

That is all well and good but remember the readers here are clued up enough to understand the differences between the flavours of Vista.

For the majority of the population Vista **was** the shiny aero interface and funky media player that was advertised. These consumers would not have understood that these were optional functionalities and were not part of the Vista that they would run on the advertised "Vista Capable" machines.

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@ Mark

The stickers are there showing that they can run Vista, not how well they can run it. If you want to find out how well it can run Vista, then it's up to the consumer to look at the specifications of the machine and then make their mind up on that.

As for your comparisons (e.g - four seater car can only seat four piglets), then that, again, is a decision that you make. If you buy a four seater car without even having a proper look at it, then in all fairness that's your fault for not making an informed decision. Same applies to computers - you should buy a computer with the specifications and Operating System that fit your needs. e.g - You can't really buy something like an Eee PC and then complain that it can't run Crysis at full spec. The same applies to Operating Systems, imo.

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Gates Horns

Performance Index

Something no-one else seems to notice is the Performance Index issue.

Microsoft states on it's website (or maybe in the help file for the PI. I don't recall which) that a new machine which is bought with Vista pre-installed should NEVER score less than 3.0.

Both Vista machines I've owned only score 2.0.

So, where does the fault lie? The hardware vendors for installing an operating system they technically shouldn't be? The retailer (PC World in this case) for not telling me I' get substandard performance from it? Or Microsoft for allowing the hardware vendor to install said software on such a machine anyway?

I'm really honestly surprised that no-one else as picked up on this.

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M
Happy

Dabbling with semantics

This lawsuit is not about the kind of people that read el Reg. It's about the poor schmoes who bought a new laptop or pc with the sticker 'MS Vista Capable'. They are shown a load of tables and charts to show that 'Vista' is all shiny and new and lovely.

So they want the shiny and new stuff on their new laptop, but it doesn't work when they get home. That's why there is a lawsuit.

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Paris Hilton

@D@v3

And the sticker doesn't say it won't.

Neither does the OS say "must have Designed for Vista Premium hardware" on it.

And as I've said, Vista Ultimate is still Vista. YOU CANNOT USE THAT ARGUMENT. Because it fails before it even gets to the first hurdle. VISTA ULTIMATE == VISTA.

The first hurdle, of course, being the adverts. All with Aero and whizzy snappy stuff going on, saying all this and more is yours with Vista.

Not "Vista Premium". just "Vista".

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Happy

Two Mark's

It seems both me and another Mark are posting at cross purposes... I guess I need to change my nick to something a little more recognisable!

In any case "Dabbling with semantics" by M is correct, this is all about assumptions. The advertising misled people to think Vista Capable meant the Vista they saw in the shiny adverts. This is not the case as everyone here seems to agree. Hence why there is a lawsuit.

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Bronze badge

re Mark (11:00gmt)

i think we are getting to the bottom of the problem.

i think we can all agree that these 'vista capable' PC's are 'Vista capable'.

I think the actual problem here is how M$ advertised 'Vista' in the first place, as you say "The first hurdle, of course," etc...

If I were going to try and get some money out of M$ (which can't be easy) i would be pointing out their shoddy advertising and promotion tacktics, not the fact the a sticker, which they may or may not have designed (?) is being put on hardware, that they didnt design/make, that at the end of the day is only stating that you can run Vista on said piece of hardware, which you can.

(just not the all singing, all dancing, bells, whistles and frilly bits version that they promoted (which i <seem> to remember had a bit of small print saying {{some features only available in premium and above}} [or something similar] ))

<<sorry for excessive use of ( { [ etc...>>

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Flame

Hapilly running Vista - on my iMac!

Happily running Vista on an 24", dual 2.4G iMac with 1GB ( I squeezed OSX down to bare minimum, "Oh the heresy!", I can hear the Apple Fanbois now! ), running Crysis, FarCry, UT3 full on even runs Oracle 11g and various other Oracle products.

Nothing wrong with it! STFU you muppets who keep knocking Vista down, until you know what you're talking about!

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Stop

I Often Criticize MS, but This Is Wrong!

First use the common sense: "Vista capable" ~ "Can run Vista", and that's true for those machines.

Also, as the people said, Vista launch campaign included tons of tables. Many of those tables were about choosing the right version of Vista and whether or not your graphics card can run Aero (and that's why there was also the "Vista Premium Ready" logo). Plus Aero is arguably the least important reason to switch to Vista (there's a free addon for XP that displays open apllications' thumbnails), and even if you can't run it, you still get the other stuff: increased security, multi-core optimizations, better memory management...

In short, all the relevant info was there, people were actively instructed to chose the version that's right for them (such as Vista Home Basic for weaker PCs, which doesn't even come with Aero and is appropriately the cheapest), but, as always, some people are unhappy with the decisions they've made themselves and like to sue others.

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Boffin

Dear Andy

You've just proven the point in question IMHO.

You say;

"TV has a "HD Ready" sticker on the front of it, but it's never shown anything in HD. Of course I knew it wouldn't when I bought it because I don't have any HD sources to connect to it. However, if I were to connect a _totally separate_ HD device to it then it should in theory show a HD picture without having to do anything to the TV itself."

However, the "HD Ready" logo merely indicates the device's ability to accept an HD source, via an HDMI connector. What it DOESN'T tell you is whether or not you TV is actually capable of displaying a full High Definition picture, at the 1080p resolution.

Different Logo, same shit.

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Communication problems...

I think that we can probably all agree that this is a problem with communication between Microsoft and Joe Public.

It's fair to assume that the average guy thinks that Vista is shiny and has Aero on it, which Vista Home Basic doesn't support.

Still, perhaps they should replace the stickers with "Vista Basic Compatible" and "Vista Premium Compatible" to avoid future arguments like this. Still, I don't think that a lawsuit is in order because to me, it seems like a genuine mistake to make.

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Tom
Silver badge

Even with the best case scenario, the consumer still loses

Let's assume for a moment that the adds run in all the places where the court wants them to run. Hell, just for fun let's assume Google runs the banner ads on their home page. Let's further assume that everyone who bought a PC with a 'Vista Capable' sticker joins the lawsuit. Let's assume the case goes badly for Microsoft and they pretty much lose on all counts. Now we get to the penalty phase. What are consumers likely to get for all that trouble? Cold hard cash? Not a chance. They'll get coupons for reduced rates on other Microsoft software, and all be Microshafted again.

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Thumb Up

DirectX comparison not quite sitting right....

Back to the old car then....

My car (Skoda Oct. 1.9 TDi) is according to the manufacturer *capable* of a maximum speed of 119MPH. Well, maybe... but not under it's own power... The best you can get out of it on the flat is 110MPH so I'm told, and you need outside help to get it to 119MPH (downhill, tail wind, slip stream). If speed were a choice for a car, and I bought it based upon the fact the car did 119MPH, I would have been mislead, as it cannot achieve this without external factors.

The same is true of Vista Capable. Standard hardware may be Vista Capable, but to get it to do the things that Microsoft advertised Vista on (and to the layman, never really pointed out that all these bells and whistles were very shiny expensive things only available in the premium versions), you have to rely on more hardware (external factors).

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Dear Vincent

"I don't think that a lawsuit is in order because to me, it seems like a genuine mistake to make."

Can I come over and join you in your nice, cuddly, fluffy, friendly world, where everybody is concerned with the well-being of everyone else, and not out to make a massive profit on the back of the lack of knowledge of someone else, or just generally shaft the shit out of them whilst cheerfully lining their own pockets.

Meanwhile, back in the real world...

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Coat

Dear dervheid

Can I come over and join you in your horrible, unfriendly, cinical world, where everybody seems to have some kind of contempt for each other and are willing to stab each other in the back?

Look, I don't always trust Microsoft, but I feel that I know where to draw the line. And to me, this seems like a genuine mistake. Obviously Microsoft are out to make a profit, just like every other business, but at the end of the day the whole "Vista Capable" thing seems like a way to make life a little bit easier on the customer. I mean, if they really wanted to make a large profit they'd just force everyone to have Vista Ultimate, even on an Eee PC or some crap like that.

So yeah, sorry i'm not cynical enough for you.

Mines the one with Mr Cuddles in the pocket.

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@Vincent

"Look, I don't always trust Microsoft, but I feel that I know where to draw the line. "

And about 90% of the free world don't believe you've drawn it the right place.

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Paris Hilton

RE: I Often Criticize MS, but This Is Wrong!

"First use the common sense: "Vista capable" ~ "Can run Vista", and that's true for those machines."

And where do you *buy* this Vista?

You can't.

You can buy Vista Home, Vista Premium etc, but you can't buy Vista.

And why the fuck is "I often criticise MS" considered to be an endorsement of your stupidity??? It only matters for people who only listen to people who complain about MS. And that's abou tfive nutters worldwide...

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Try returning that opened software

"The stickers are there showing that they can run Vista, not how well they can run it. If you want to find out how well it can run Vista, then it's up to the consumer to look at the specifications of the machine and then make their mind up on that."

Uh, how do you do that? You can't install a kosher copy because you can't return it. And installing a cracked copy is illegal.

So, how do you see if your hardware works with Vista X???

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Paris Hilton

@Mark

a) Any "flavour" of Vista will run on any machine declared as "Vista Capable".

b) As I've said, during the launching campaign, people were urged to find out what was the most suitable edition for them and there was a lot of material that covered this. Some people were to lazy to do that.

Good day.

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@Mark

"So, how do you see if your hardware works with Vista"

You check the specs of the computer that you plan on buying against the minimum/recommended requirements for Vista?

Did I really just have to answer that?

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Paris Hilton

Paris

Sex capable, but that doesn't mean she will do it with you, mate.

ok, doesn't cover the subject of microshaft, unless you have one, but seriously; if you have never

read that 78 page finding from the first judge in the monopoly trial, you need to go back and read it and wonder why the hell they were never broken up or punished back then and we wouldn't be seeing this shite now.

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@E_Nigma

A microsoft VP would disagree with point a.

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@Vincent

"You check the specs of the computer that you plan on buying against the minimum/recommended requirements for Vista?"

And Which Vista? 'cos you also have to read what "Vista" you want to have will do. And that's not easy, is it.

So how does someone without computer systems experience or complete geek overload (i.e. Joe Blow) find out whether his computer is capable for Vista?

He can't.

He has a big sticker saying "Vista Capable" but he doesn't know if the Vista it is Capable of running does the things he wants. He has an advert on Vista that shows wobbly windows, 3D effects and all sorts of TV-friendly eye candy. No mention of "only Vista Home Premium and Home Ultimate can do this" in the ad. So you need to read the contents of what that version of Vista will do. But where on the Box does it say what it does? Nowhere. It may say in a text file on the CD, but then you're back to "steal or lose your money".

I don't know even though I am a geek because I haven't checked. How will someone with little clue about computer EVER find out?

By the sticker.

Which misleads.

End of story.

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Boffin

Just wondered...

I'm sure I've seen stores still flogging boxes with Basic installed. I can usually identify them by their suspiciously cheap price. Then by looking at the side, and noticing in the hardware specs a meagre 512MB RAM. Then looking down even further to see it only ships with Basic.

Now, what I'd like to know is: do any of these laptop cases feature screenshots of Aero? Of course screenshots are only invitations to treat, so you couldn't build a legal case on them, but that would be one way of deceiving computers.

As would shipping the promise of being able to upgrade their version of vista from within the OS. MS do ship Upgrade Advisor, although IIRC it only recommends versions that are (a) compatible with the version you're running, and (b) your computer is actually capable of running.

Which means Basic users may eagerly click this, only to find the only way they can upgrade is to return the 'puter to the store, ask for a refund, then save up for a decent model. (I'm assuming the average customer buying a Basic equipped PC probably wouldn't feel confident performing open case surgery).

Or flog it to their geeky neighbour for a knock-down price, who will then promptly reformat the HDD as ext4, install a Linux distro, and have fun with Compiz Fusion. Whilst resting their cups on either (a) the recovery CD, or (b) the Symantec SystemWorks CD.

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