Microsoft Windows Vista

Everything you need to know about Microsoft Windows Vista

Windows Vista was one of the least well-received Windows operating systems released by Microsoft.

While for the most part corrected in later patches and updates, several initial system stability issues plagued Vista—this was a major contributing factor to its poor public image.

Microsoft Holds Its Annual Shareholders Meeting
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Microsoft stopped supporting Windows Vista in 2017. While there are a few reasons to stick with Windows Vista, we recommend upgrading to Windows 11 to continue getting new security updates, technical support, and features.

Windows Vista Release Date

Windows Vista was released to manufacturing on November 8, 2006, and made available to the public for purchase on January 30, 2007.

It's preceded by Windows XP, and succeeded by Windows 7.

The most recent version of Windows is Windows 11, released on October 5, 2021.

Windows Vista Editions

There are six editions available, but only the first three listed here are widely available to consumers:

  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Enterprise

This version of Windows is no longer officially sold by Microsoft, but you might be able to find a copy on or eBay.

Windows Vista Starter is available to hardware makers for preinstallation on small, lower-end computers. Windows Vista Home Basic is only available in certain developing markets. Windows Vista Enterprise is the edition designed for large corporate customers.

Two additional editions, Windows Vista Home Basic N and Windows Vista Business N, are available in the European Union. These editions differ only by their lack of a bundled version of Windows Media Player, a result of antitrust sanctions against Microsoft in the EU.

All editions of Windows Vista are available in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions, except for Windows Vista Starter, which is only available in a 32-bit format.

Windows Vista Minimum Requirements

The following hardware is required, at a minimum, to run Windows Vista. The hardware in parentheses is the minimum necessary for some of the more advanced graphics features.

  • CPU: 800 MHz (1 GHz)
  • RAM: 512 MB (1 GB)
  • Hard Drive: 15 GB free of 20 GB (15 GB free of 40 GB)
  • Graphics Card: 32 MB & DirectX 9 capable (128 MB & DirectX 9 capable + WDDM 1.0 support)

Your optical drive needs to support DVD media if you plan on installing it from a DVD.

Windows Vista Hardware Limitations

Windows Vista Starter supports up to 1 GB of RAM while 32-bit versions of all other editions of Windows Vista max out at 4 GB.

Depending on the edition, 64-bit versions of Vista support much more RAM. Ultimate, Enterprise, and Business support up to 192 GB of memory. Home Premium supports 16 GB and Home Basic supports 8 GB.

Physical CPU limitations for Windows Vista Enterprise, Ultimate, and Business is two, while Windows Vista Home Premium, Home Basic, and Starter support just one. Logical CPU limitations in Windows Vista are easy to remember: 32-bit versions support up to 32, while 64-bit versions support up to 64.

Windows Vista Service Packs

The most recent service pack for Windows Vista is Service Pack 2 (SP2), which was released on May 26, 2009. Windows Vista SP1 was released on March 18, 2008.

The initial release of Windows Vista has the version number 6.0.6000.

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