Windows Vista Information

The latest version of Windows, Windows Vista, was released to the public on January 31, 2007. It is available in six different editions. Carnegie Mellon expects to be getting a site license for the Enterprise edition some time this spring.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind before installing Windows Vista. The most important is one of compatibility. Many crucial pieces of software are not yet compatible with Vista and, as of the time of this writing, CMU has no antivirus, VPN, Oracle Calendar, or Kereberos that work with Vista. It also should be noted that many drivers, most notably those for nVidia video cards, are either incompatible with Vista or offer poor performance. An additional compatibility consideration is that Vista includes Internet Explorer 7. IE7 is not fully tested with many sites used at the University, particularly some of the business and financial sites. Therefore, it is a wise idea to ensure that the sites you visit are compatible with IE7 before you consider upgrading.

Vista also has considerable system requirements. While Microsoft suggests that any computer with at least 1GB of RAM and a 1GHz processor should be capable of running Vista, indications are that performance may be poor with less than 2GB of RAM, 256M of video memory, and 2-3GHz processor. Testing of Vista will start as soon as it is available to the University community, and suggested minimum system requirements for departmental computers will be posted here.

Overall, my recommendation at this time is not to install Vista. Any new computers should be ordered (if possible) with XP, or should have XP installed on them after arrival. After some time, Vista will be the suggested operating system for new computers, but those computers which are currently running XP should probably continue to do so. At this time, Vista is too recently released to guarantee a level of support. It is important to note that, as a result, Vista is not currently supported within the Chemistry department at any level beyond a best-effort basis.

For further information, please see CMU's Vista Status Page. As always, you should also feel free to contact me directly at

Last updated: 2/21/2007