Released on November 17 , 2006 to MSDN subscribers.
Released on November 30 , 2006 for volume license customers.
Released on January 3 , 2007 to MSDN Academic Alliance .
Planned release on January 30 , 2007 for worldwide retail availability.
Hardware Requirements Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista Vista Capable Vista Premium Ready Processor 800 MHz 1 GHz Memory 512 MB RAM 1 GB RAM Graphics card DirectX 9 capable DirectX 9 capable GPU with Hardware Pixel Shader v2.0 and WDDM driver support Graphics memory N/A 128 MB RAM supports up to 2,756,000 total pixels (e.g. 1920 × 1200) or 512 MB+ for greater resolutions such as 2560x1600 HDD capacity 20 GB 40 GB HDD free space 15 GB 15 GB Other drives CD-ROM or DVD-ROM DVD-RW
Editions Edition Retail/Upgrade Description Windows Vista Starter Much like Windows XP Starter Edition , this edition will be limited to emerging markets such as Colombia, India, Thailand, and Indonesia, mainly to offer a legal alternative to using unauthorized copies. It will not be available in the United States, Canada, or Europe. It will have many significant limitations, such as only allowing a user to launch three applications with a user interface at once, not accepting incoming network connections, a physical memory limit of 256 MB, and will run only in 32-bit mode.  Additionally, only AMD's Duron , Sempron and Geode processors, and Intel's Celeron and Pentium III processors are supported. Windows Vista Home Basic $199/$99 Similar to Windows XP Home Edition , Home Basic is intended for budget users not requiring advanced media support for home use. The Windows Aero theme with translucent effects will not be included with this edition. 64-bit Home Basic will support up to 8 GB of physical memory, and will be supported until 2012. Windows Vista Home Premium $239/$159 Containing all features from Home Basic, this edition will also support more advanced features aimed for the home market segment, such as HDTV support and DVD authoring . Extra premium games, mobile and tablet PC, network projector, touchscreen, and auxiliary display (via Windows SideShow ) support, and a utility to schedule backups are also included. Home Premium supports 10 simultaneous peer network connections (compared to 5 in Home Basic). The version of Meeting Space included will also allow for interaction (in Home Basic, you may only view meetings), but Remote Desktop sessions may only be received, not controlled, in this edition. This edition is comparable to Windows XP Media Center Edition . 64-bit Home Premium will support up to 16 GB of physical memory, and will be supported until 2012.
Editions (con’t) Edition Retail/Upgrade Description Windows Vista Business $299/$199 Comparable to Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Windows Vista Business Edition is aimed at the business market. Includes all the features of Home Premium with the exception of Windows Media Center and related technologies, Parental Controls, and Windows DVD and Movie Maker HD (the regular Movie Maker is included). Includes the IIS web server, fax support , Rights Management Services (RMS) Client, file system encryption, dual processor (two sockets) support, system image backup and recovery, offline file support, a full version of Remote Desktop , ad-hoc P2P collaboration capabilities, Previous Versions (Windows ShadowCopy), and several other business features not in Home Premium. 64-bit Business supports 128 GB of memory. Mainstream support for Business ends on 4/10/2012; extended support ends on 4/11/2017. Windows Vista Enterprise This edition is aimed at the enterprise segment of the market, and is a superset of the Business edition. Additional features include multilingual user interface support, BitLocker Drive Encryption , and UNIX application support . This edition will not be available through retail or OEM channels, but through Microsoft Software Assurance . Since Enterprise is a benefit of Software Assurance (SA), it will include several SA-only benefits, including a license allowing for multiple virtual machines to be run, access to Virtual PC Express , and activation via VLK .  64-bit Enterprise supports 128 GB of memory. Mainstream support for Enterprise ends on 4/10/2012; extended support ends on 4/11/2017. Windows Vista Ultimate $399/$259 This edition combines all the features of the Home Premium and Enterprise editions, a game performance tweaker ( WinSAT ), and "Ultimate Extras". On January 7 , 2007 , at CES , Microsoft began to announce what some of these Ultimate Extras will be. When Vista launches to consumers on January 30, Microsoft will immediately make the following Extras available for Ultimate users: "Dream Scene", a utility that will allow for full-motion video desktop backgrounds; "Hold'Em", a Vista-customized version of the Texas Hold'Em poker game; Multi-user interface language (MUIL) packs, designed to allow individuals fluent in different languages to share the same PC; BitLocker Online Secure Key Storage, where Ultimate customers will be offered a secure place to store their BitLocker encryption keys in the Online Vista Marketplace; and "Digital publications," a collection of tips and tricks, blog links and other resources for getting the most out of Ultimate.  After that, many more are expected to be announced through 2007, including a photo editing and merging tool shown at CES called "GroupShot". More detailed information regarding some of these extras can be read at the Vista Ultimate website here The Ultimate edition is aimed at high-end PC users, gamers, multimedia professionals, and PC enthusiasts. 64-bit Ultimate supports 128 GB of memory. Mainstream support for Ultimate ends on 4/10/2012; extended support ends on 4/11/2017. Another upgrade variant of Windows Vista Ultimate is the Windows Vista Ultimate Signature Edition, a limited, numbered edition of Windows Vista Ultimate that features Bill Gates' signature on the front of the packaging along with its unique number.
Windows Aero : a new hardware-based graphical user interface, named Windows Aero – an acronym (possibly a backronym ) for Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and Open . The new interface is intended to be cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing than previous Windows, including new transparencies, animations and eye candy .
Windows Shell : The new Windows shell is significantly different from Windows XP, offering a new range of organization, navigation, and search capabilities. Windows Explorer 's task pane has been removed, integrating the relevant task options into the toolbar. A "Favorite links" pane has been added, enabling one-click access to common directories. The address bar has been replaced with a breadcrumb navigation system. The Start menu has changed as well; it no longer uses ever-expanding boxes when navigating through Programs. Even the word "Start" itself has been removed in favor of a blue Windows Orb.
Windows Search (also known as Instant Search or search as you type ): significantly faster and more thorough search capabilities. Search boxes have been added to the Start menu, Windows Explorer, and several of the applications included with Vista. By default, Instant Search indexes only a small number of folders such as the start menu, the names of files opened, the Documents folder, and the user's e-mail. Advanced options allow to choose for a specific file type how it should be indexed, the properties only or the properties and the file contents or exclude it.
Windows Sidebar : A transparent panel anchored to the side of the screen where a user can place Desktop Gadgets , which are small applets designed for a specialized purpose (such as displaying the weather or sports scores). Gadgets can also be placed on other parts of the Desktop, if desired.
Vista Features (con’t)
Windows Internet Explorer 7 : new user interface, tabbed browsing , RSS , a search box, improved printing, Page Zoom, Quick Tabs (thumbnails of all open tabs), a number of new security protection features, and improved web standards support. IE7 in Windows Vista runs in isolation from other applications in the operating system (protected mode); exploits and malicious software are restricted from writing to any location beyond Temporary Internet Files without explicit user consent.
Windows Media Player 11
Windows Media Player 11 , a major revamp of Microsoft's program for playing and organizing music and video. New features in this version include word wheeling (or "search as you type"), a completely new and highly graphical interface for the media library, photo display and organization, and the ability to share music libraries over a network with other Vista machines, Xbox 360 integration, and support for other Media Center Extenders .
Backup and Restore Center: Includes a backup and restore application that gives users the ability to schedule periodic backups of files on their computer, as well as recovery from previous backups. Backups are incremental, storing only the changes each time, minimizing the disk usage. It also features CompletePC Backup which backs up an entire computer as an image onto a hard disk or DVD. CompletePC Backup can automatically recreate a machine setup onto new hardware or hard disk in case of any hardware failures.
Vista Features (con’t)
Windows Mail : A replacement for Outlook Express that includes a completely replaced mail store that improves stability, and enables real-time search. It has the Phishing Filter like IE7 and a Junk mail filtering which is enhanced through regular updates via Windows Update. 
Windows Update with Windows Ultimate Extras
Windows Calendar is a new calendar and task application.
Windows Photo Gallery , a photo and movie library management application. WPG can import from digital cameras, tag and rate individual items, adjust colors and exposure, create and display slideshows (with pan and fade effects), and burn slideshows to DVD.
Windows DVD Maker , a companion program to Windows Movie Maker , which provides the ability to create video DVDs based on a user's content.
Windows Meeting Space is the replacement for NetMeeting . Users can share applications (or their entire Desktop) with other users on the local network, or over the Internet using peer-to-peer technology.
Windows Media Center , which was previously exclusively bundled as a separate version of Windows XP, known as Windows XP Media Center Edition , will be incorporated into the Home Premium and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista.
Games: Every game included with Windows has been rewritten to take advantage of Vista's new graphics capabilities. New games include Chess Titans , Mahjong Titans and Purble Place . The Games section will also hold links and information to all games on the user's computer. One piece of information that will be shown is the game's ESRB rating.
Reasons to use Vista
New Networking Stack – Networking stack has been rewritten and includes IPv6 support
New Audio Stack – Rewritten and includes per-application audio control
Desktop search feature that is built
New fonts and readability
New features for international users
Reasons to use Vista (con’t)
New Print Stack
New sidebar and gadgets
New Auxiliary Displays
Reasons not to use Vista
Microsoft has a tendenacy to push out their operating systems to quick
Wait until the first service pack has been released
Vista drivers may not be available
If you decide to upgrade Approach / Risk Kill the game Eat the meat raw Upgrade your Primary computer Clean install on Secondary computer or hard drive Cook your meat Well done Cook your meat Medium rare Cook your meat Medium well Clean install on Primary computer or hard drive Upgrade on Secondary computer or hard drive In all case, BACKUP your computer otherwise you have no parachute
Upgrading path Other software Productivity Suite Operating System