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Windows Vista System Requirements

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 Microsoft has designated 2 levels of compatibility for the Windows Vista release. These 2 levels refer to hardware that will support Windows Vista to varying degrees. These levels are designated Windows Vista Capable and Windows Vista Premium.

Windows Vista Capable PC

 Windows Vista capable, means that your present hardware meets the absolute minimum requirements to install and run Windows Vista.

  • A modern processor (at least 800MHz).
  • 512 MB of system memory.
  • A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable, with a minimum of 64mb of RAM.

Windows Vista Premium Ready PC

 A Windows Vista Premium Ready PC, means your hardware meets the minimum requirements to use most additional features of Windows Vista that enhances the user experience. In other words, the higher minimum requirements will improve the system performance and enhance advanced media such as Windows Aero. These are the recommended minimum requirements.

  • 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor).
  • 1 GB of system memory.
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum), Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits per pixel.
  • 40 GB of hard drive capacity with 15 GB free space.
  • DVD-ROM Drive.
  • Audio output capability.
  • Internet access capability.


 The biggest difference between Windows Vista and Windows XP are the system memory and video requirements. Windows XP will run well with 128 MB video card and 1 GB of system RAM. Ironically that should be considered the minimum to install Windows Vista.

 Windows Vista is much more graphic intensive than Windows XP and creates a richer media experience. Of course these requirements increase the cost of hardware needed to run Windows Vista. For those who have been dragging there feet on the video and RAM front have the media creators and PC gamers to blame for the extra cost.

 If you have read some of my other computer articles or guides you will already know that I never recommend using advertised minimum hardware requirements. When you read the words "minimum requirements", the bare minimum is what you get. Any time you upgrade a PC to the minimum recommended requirements the results will always be a disappointing. With that in mind. My recommendations for installing Windows Vista are the following.

  • 2 GB +, of matching system RAM
  • 256 MB +, ATI or nVidia graphics card (not integrated on board)
  • 40 GB +, Hard Disk (15 GB free space required for Vista install)
  • Other required hardware should be obvious.


Test your system: Is your PC Windows Vista Capable?

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