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Old 9 May 2006, 05:48 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Windows Vista hardware protection explained part1-3

Windows Vista« hardware protection explained

Windows Vista Capable PC Hardware



Windows Vista Capable PCs need to pass the current certification requirements for Designed for Windows XP logo. In addition, these PCs need the following combination of essential PC hardware for good overall Windows Vista performance:
  • CPU — PC systems should have a modern CPU.
  • RAM — PC systems should have 512MB of memory or more.
  • PC systems should have a DirectX 9 class graphics processor.


Windows Vista offers significant improvements to the graphics user experience. To take advantage of these advances in the graphics user experience, graphics processor will need to support Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM). Graphics processors capable of supporting WDDM:
  • Are designed to ensure that graphics user experience scales up with hardware capabilities.
  • Offer improved graphic stability and performance.
  • May be able to support additional desktop productivity features.

Windows Vista Capable PC systems would greatly benefit from a graphics processor that will support Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM). Therefore, WDDM support for GPU is a recommended criterion for Windows Vista Capable PCs.

Good, Better, Best Graphics experience when running Windows Vista

Windows Vista will scale with PC hardware capabilities. One of the features that scales with hardware is the desktop graphics experience. Therefore, it is possible to support multiple tiers of graphics user experience on Windows Vista Capable PCs based on hardware configuration.

Good — PC systems that meet the above requirements of a modern CPU, 512MB RAM and DirectX 9 class GPU should be able to offer a good experience, when upgraded to Windows Vista. They will offer a Windows XP comparable desktop graphics experience with regards to features, stability and performance.

Better — PCs that use a GPU with WDDM support would provide a better graphics experience - specifically enhanced graphics stability, multi-application performance and monitor hot-plugging - compared to Windows XP, when running any version of Windows Vista. Therefore, we strongly recommend procuring PC systems that include a GPU with WDDM support to get a better desktop graphics experience while running Windows Vista.

Best — PCs with appropriately configured graphics hardware, as described below, would support Windows Aero user experience that offers additional benefits of enhanced visual quality (glitch-free window redrawing), improved productivity (which includes real-time thumbnail previews, new 3-D task switching, interface scaling, etc.) and visual style (which includes translucent window frames and taskbar, enhanced transitional effects, etc.) when running premium versions of Windows Vista.

To enable Windows Aero, PC systems must meet the following criteria for graphics hardware, with either discrete or UMA solutions:

1.DirectX 9 class graphics hardware that supports WDDM and Pixel Shader 2.0

2.A minimum of 32 bits per pixel

3.Appropriate graphics memory for specified monitor resolutions expressed as total pixels (X dimension multiplied by Y dimension):

A.64MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolution of 1,310,720 pixels (equivalent to 1280 x 1024) or less

B.128MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 1,310,720 pixels and less than or equal to 2,304,000 pixels (equivalent to 1920 x 1200)

C.256MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 2,304,000 pixels

4.Graphics memory bandwidth, as assessed by Windows Vista’s built in system assessment tool WinSAT.EXE, of at least 1,800MB/s at following resolution:

A.Desktop PC: at a monitor resolution of 1,310,720 pixels (equivalent to 1280 x 1024)

B.Mobile PC: at the native resolution of built-in display

Versions of Vista

Vista Starter will be designed for beginning computer users in emerging markets who can afford only a low-cost PC. As with the XP version, Vista Starter will be a subset of Vista Home and will ship in a 32-bit version only. The product will let only three applications (or windows) run simultaneously, will provide Internet connectivity but not incoming network communications, and won't provide for logon passwords or Fast User Switching. Vista Starter is analogous to XP Starter and will be sold only in emerging markets.

Vista Home Basic, a simple product designed for single-PC homes, will be the baseline version on which all other Vista editions will build. It will include features such as Windows Firewall; Windows Security Center; secure wireless networking; parental controls; antispam, antivirus, and antispyware functionality; network mapping; Windows search functionality; the Aero UI; Windows Movie Maker; a photo library; Windows Media Player (WMP); Microsoft Office Outlook Express with Really Simple Syndication (RSS) support; P2P Messenger; and more. Roughly analogous to XP Home, Vista Home Basic will be designed for general consumers, XP and Windows 9x Starter Edition upgraders, and price-sensitive or first-time buyers.

Vista Home Premium will provide entertainment and personal productivity throughout the home and on the go. As a true superset of Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium will include everything from Vista Home Basic, as well as Media Center and Media Center Extender functionality (including cable card support), DVD video authoring and HDTV support, DVD-ripping support (yes, you read that right), Tablet PC functionality, Microsoft Mobility Center and other mobility and presentation features, auxiliary display support, peer-to-peer (P2P) ad hoc meeting capabilities, Wi-Fi autoconfiguration and roaming, unified parental controls that work on multiple PCs, backup-to-network functionality, Internet File Sharing, offline folders, PC-to-PC synchronization, Sync Manager, and support for Quattro (a new Longhorn Server version). Vista Premium is similar to XP Media Center Edition (XP MCE) but adds several other features and functionality, including Tablet PC support. My guess is that it will be the Vista volume consumer offering (today, XP Pro is the dominant seller). This version is designed for PC enthusiasts, multiple-PC homes, homes with kids, and notebook users.

Vista Pro, a powerful, reliable, and secure OS for businesses of all sizes, will include domain-join and management functionality, compatibility with non-Microsoft networking protocols (e.g., Novell NetWare, SNMP), Remote Desktop, Microsoft IIS, and Encrypting File System (EFS). In addition, Vista Pro Standard will include Tablet PC functionality. Vista Pro is roughly analogous to today's XP Pro. This version is designed for business decision makers and IT managers and generalists.

Vista Small Business, which will be designed for small businesses that don't have IT staff, will be a superset of Vista Pro Standard and will include unique features such as backup and Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) support, server-join networking, and PC fax and scanning utilities. Microsoft might include other features, including a Small Business Edition guided tour, prepaid access to the Windows Live! or Microsoft Office Live! subscription services, Multi-PC Health (a managed version of Microsoft OneCare Live), and membership in the Microsoft Small Business Club online service. Microsoft will offer a step-up program for Small Business Edition that will let customers upgrade to Vista Enterprise or Vista Ultimate at a reduced cost. This SKU is new to Vista; no XP Small Business Edition exists. This version is designed for small-business owners and managers.

Vista Enterprise will be optimized for the enterprise and will be a true superset of Vista Pro. It will also include unique features such as Virtual PC, the Multilanguage User Interface (MUI), and the Secure Startup-Full Volume Encryption security technologies (code-named Cornerstone). No analogous XP version exists for this product, which is designed for business decision makers, IT managers and decision makers, information workers, and general business users.

Vista Ultimate promises to be the best OS ever offered for the personal PC and will be optimized for the individual. Vista Ultimate is a superset of both Vista Home Premium and Vista Pro; it includes all the features of both product versions and adds a Game Performance Tweaker with integrated gaming experiences, a Podcast-creation utility (which is under consideration and might be cut from the product), online club services (i.e., exclusive access to music, movies, services, and preferred customer care), and other offerings that are currently under consideration. Microsoft is still investigating how to position its most impressive Windows release yet and might offer Ultimate Edition owners such services as extended A1 subscriptions, free music downloads, free movie downloads, Online Spotlight and entertainment software, preferred product support, and custom themes. Nothing like Vista Ultimate exists today. This version will be designed for high-end PC users and technology influencers, gamers, digital media enthusiasts, and students.

All features mentioned below are not required to run Vista but future implementations require these features on your hardware.

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Last edited by decryptit; 10 May 2006 at 12:40 AM
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Old 9 May 2006, 05:52 AM   #2
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Lightbulb Windows Vista hardware protection explained part2

Graphic Cards

The Windows Graphics Foundation (WGF) is a next-generation presentation subsystem of Microsoft that unifies a whole range of output services: user interface, 2-D and 3-D drawing and imaging, document-based printing and rendering, speech, and audio and video services. In addition, the Windows Presentation Foundation introduces new and enhanced services such as animation, while retaining interoperability with existing code written for GDI/GDI+.

The WGF 1.0 subset named Direct3D 9.L will add a couple of new features beyond DirectX 9.0c. These new features include: cross-process shared surfaces, managed graphics memory (and virtualized graphics memory), prioritization of resources, text antialiasing, advanced gamma functions, and device removal (in order to gracefully recover from a failure the hardware can be "removed" and then "added").

WGF 2.0 is the next version of Microsoft's DirectX application programming interface (API). It is currently being developed by Microsoft and leading graphics card manufacturers, such as ATI Technologies and NVIDIA Corporation. When the WGF is finalised, it will be included as standard in Windows Vista. Microsoft is also calling this version Direct3D 10 on their web site.

Recently Microsoft announced that Direct3D will return to the DirectX name and WGF 2.0 (Direct3D 10) will be known as DirectX 10.
Windows Graphics Foundation 2.0 (WGF 2.0), also known as Direct3D10 (DX10).

1. We will be seeing this supported feature hopefully on Nvidia's new Geforce 8 cores very soon. Currently no Graphic card around supports WGF 2.0 /DirectX 10 (No, not even your new 7900GT card).
Soultions -> Upgrade your card, driver updates won't help.


Vista will offer 3 levels of GUI:

1. Classic user interface which looks like XP
2. Aero which makes some use of the GPU, and
3. Aero Glass which makes fuller use of the graphics card

Monitors(LCD/CRT)+ Soundcards + Graphic cards

The information below states new implementations avalible on Vista that regard protection/encryption/copyright of audio/video content output, meaning that hardware (Not avalible/Few Avalible) must have these features inorder to output protective content.

Microsoft have outlined Output Content Protection features of Windows Vista, and they include what is called Protected Video Path – Output Protection Management. This is a software technology which interacts with hardware to ensure that the display hardware is capable of decoding the content protection used in media distribution. It is also a software technology which demands that computer hardware falls into line with features included in consumer electronics devices such as the more recent DVD players and Television sets.

Output Content Protection and Windows Vista

New output content protection mechanisms planned for Windows Vista protect against hardware attacks while playing premium content and complement the protection against software attacks provided by the Protected Environment in Windows Vista. These output protection mechanisms include:
  • Protected Video Path - Output Protection Management (PVP-OPM) makes sure that the PC's video outputs have the required protection or that they are turned off if such protection is not available.
  • Protected Video Path - User-Accessible Bus (PVP-UAB) provides encryption of premium content as it passes over the PCI Express (PCIe) bus to the graphics adapter. This is required when the content owner's policy regards the PCIe bus as a user-accessible bus.
  • Protected User Mode Audio (PUMA) - is the new User Mode Audio (UMA) engine in the Windows Vista Protected Environment that provides a safer environment for audio playback, as well as checking that the enabled outputs are consistent with what the content allows.
  • Protected Audio Path (PAP) - is a future initiative under investigation for how to provide encryption of audio over user accessible buses.

This paper discusses output content protection mechanisms planned for Windows Vista and future versions of Windows.

Included in this white paper:
  • PVP-OPM: Protected Video Path - Output Protection Management
  • Graphics Subsystem Authentication
  • PVP-OPM Initialization and Play Sequences
  • Output Protection Management Mechanisms
  • Content Industry Agreement Hardware Robustness Rules
  • PVP-UAB: Protected Video Path - User-Accessible Bus
  • Protected User Mode Audio: PUMA
  • Protected Audio Path: PAP
  • Acronym Reference


PVP-OPM provides output control
PVP-OPM provides reliable control of the various output protection schemes such as HDCP, Macrovision, CGMS-A, and resolution constrictors. It uses a simpler form of HFS for authentication and requires Content Industry robustness rules to be met for hardware implementations.

PVP requires a certificate
Manufacturers of graphics cards must implement the various protection mechanisms on card outputs, and must ensure that drivers have robust control of those outputs. Manufacturers must sign the PVP-OPM license to get a PVP-OPM certificate for their drivers. Without the certificate, Windows Longhorn will not be allowed to pass premium content to the driver.

PVP-UAB provides bus encryption
PVP-UAB provides encryption of premium content as it passes over the PCIe bus to discrete graphics cards. It uses Diffie Hellman to establish as session key, seeded HFS for authentication, and AES 128-bit counter mode and an optional High Bandwidth Cipher for encrypting the data.

PUMA provides a protected environment for audio
PUMA is the UMA engine (completely new for Longhorn) running in the Longhorn Protected Environment. PUMA also includes the same level of audio output protection management that is provided by Windows XP SAP, but it is done in a completely different way and takes advantage of the Longhorn Protected Environment.

PAP is long term, but start thinking now
PAP is a much longer-term project that might aim to introduce encryption all the way to audio codec chips. It would have significant audio hardware implications, and would take years to do. Even though it is a long way in the future, it is good to start thinking about possibilities now.

Back to monitors, "To be fair – it’s not just Microsoft," says Rojas in Engadget.

"The next generation of digital content will, by and large, be protected to the display. Recently Toshiba released their HD-DVD specifications and have dictated HDMI/HDCP as a display requirement for playing back high-definition content. Most expect Blu-ray to have similar restrictions.

"What makes the PC situation so insidious is that nearly every monitor being sold today will fall victim to this gotcha. Blame whomever you like (the monitor manufacturers should shoulder their portion of the blame too), just be careful when buying a monitor these days. Or at least know that you could be setting yourself up for disappointment."

Simply put, in future if you want to use the PC for playing protected high definition media content, your PC and monitor will need to be capable of High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) in the same way that modern televisions are. To date, very few PC monitors are capable of the technology. On most modern PCs capable of running Windows Vista, you’ll be able to view the high definition media content, but it won’t be viewable in the high definition that you want to see!

Last edited by decryptit; 9 May 2006 at 08:42 AM
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Old 9 May 2006, 05:54 AM   #3
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Lightbulb Windows Vista hardware protection explained part3

Motherboards (Onboard TPM Chip REQUIRED)

According to a recent article in MSNBC, the PC industry is moving towards broad installation of security chips called Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) into PCs; currently over 20 million PCs worldwide already have the chip installed. The TPM chip was created by a large group of over one hundred companies, led by AMD, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, and Sun. These chips are part of the PC hardware, permanently assigning a unique identifier to each computer, and theoretically permitting virtually fool-proof verification of your identity to other computers on the internet. The chip may also verify that the software running on the computer has not been altered so as to pose a risk to other computers to which it connects; in other words, that it may be trusted. Although the chips are currently installed primarily on corporate computers for purposes of securing the corporations’ networks, this year TPMs will be installed in many consumer models as well. Eventually, TPMs could be installed in any and every piece of hardware, including desktops, laptops, TVs, digital recorders and cell phones.

Advocates for the TPM chips point to a number of reasons why the chips would be useful. For example, they could permit online merchants, banks, and other online services to verify that you are who you say you are, reducing online fraud and identity theft. For example, even if your account name and password were stolen, a thief couldn’t access your account unless they were also using your computer. In fact, merchants and banks would not even necessarily require passwords, as they could identify you through your computer’s TPM. Consumers could also verify that a website was a legitimate merchant site, and not a fraudulent site. TPM technology could also be used to encrypt emails, and to protect the files on your computer in case your computer was stolen.

Although advocates for the TMP chips say that the chips may provide virtually foolproof verification of your identity to other computers, some critics have argued that hackers will be able to break this encryption as well. Further, by ending internet anonymity, TPMs have huge implications for user privacy, for example by allowing for easier tracking of individual computers by law enforcement or other agencies, or by inhibiting online free speech.

Some critics have argued that the main driving force behind the TPM technology is from copyright content owners, such as the music, movie, and software industries, seeking to control how consumers may use their copyrighted content. There is serious concern that these chips may be used to control digital rights management, limiting consumers’ abilities to use their music, movies, and software as they wish on their computers, and further eroding consumers’ abilities to exercise their fair use rights under copyright law.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) have already eroded consumers’ abilities to make fair use of the media they purchase through software controls. Under traditional copyright fair use doctrine, consumers are generally permitted to do things such as: make a back-up copy of software they purchased; listen to music they purchased from their home or car stereo as well as their computer; change the format of purchased music (such as from CD to mp3 format) in order to listen to it on different media players; and record a television show on VHS in order to watch it later. Fair use may also encompass use of a copyrighted work in a parody, for educational or research uses, or for criticism. DRM attempts to lock up consumers’ abilities to use a copyrighted work by restricting where and how it may be played, restrictions that may curtail a user’s fair use rights. The DMCA makes circumventing DRM a criminal act.

TPM technology expands the power of DRM by giving media companies access to hardware controls. For example, if you attempted to play music from a CD on your computer, the CD could examine the TPM to verify whether it can be played from that computer under the license agreement. In this way, the music company could restrict the CD to only play on a particular computer, or only play on a single type of media player, such as a CD player. It could also use the TPM to verify whether the user is permitted to make any copies, send copies to others, or whether it is supposed to self-destruct after a certain number of playings. An online music store could use the TPM to verify that your computer has certain copy-protection measures, and could refuse to sell you music unless it does. Similar restrictions could be placed on the movies or the software you buy. Even Apple has moved towards use of TPMs: as Apple has moved towards using Intel processors, the company has reportedly installed TPM chips ( in some of its computers, in order to prevent the Mac OSX operating system from being installed on non-Mac hardware.

With TPM chips installed in every computer, it becomes much more difficult for consumers to avoid overly restrictive DRM and pressure companies into providing more consumer friendly products. Further, these controls may not be limited to your computer in the future, but could be installed in any hardware, such as your TV, cell phone, or digital media player. In combination with DRM and the DMCA, TPM technology may prevent otherwise legal use of digital content under copyright fair use doctrine.

(The Security feature in Vista that requires TPM) Secure Startup and Bit Locker

PCs must include a specific Intel Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security chipset, which will interact with Palladium software in Windows Vista to provide a number of optional security services.

  • Secure Startup

Secure Startup is a hardware-based security feature that addresses the growing concern for better data protection. The feature uses a Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) to protect user data and to ensure that a PC running Windows Vista has not been tampered with while the system was offline. Secure Startup provides both mobile and office enterprise information workers with more data protection when their systems are lost or stolen.

The TPM is a microcontroller that stores keys, passwords, and digital certificates. It typically is affixed to the motherboard of a PC. The nature of this silicon ensures that the information stored there is more secure from external software attacks and physical theft.

Secure Startup protects data by preventing unauthorized users from breaking Windows file and system protection on lost or stolen computers. This protection is achieved by encrypting the entire Windows volume. With full volume encryption, all user and system files are encrypted.

Secure Startup is transparent to the user and is easy to deploy and manage. When a system is compromised, Secure Startup has a simple and efficient recovery process.

  • Bit Locker

Bit Locker takes the technology behind the Encrypting File System (EFS) and applies it to the full hard disk all the time. The goal here, too, is physical security. Bit Locker's encryption of the drive contents prevents a thief who steals your laptop or desktop PC and then removes the hard drive from accessing its contents.

Last edited by decryptit; 9 May 2006 at 08:43 AM
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Old 9 May 2006, 10:11 AM   #4
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How sad the world is today, the love and greed for money and to control people is just too much.

Maybe its time the general public take the law back into their own hands and decide for themselves which laws are sane and insane. Maybe its time we ALL start to carry guns, and make out first targets, the useless government and corporations.

This world is not making forward progress, we are going backwards, maybe its time for the world the end, along with the disease, corruption and greed.
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Old 9 Dec 2006, 12:35 PM   #5
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Sounds like a complete and utter nightmare for consumers. I'm certainly not going anywhere near this crap. I will NEVER EVER buy Vista. I'll go to Linux instead. This is going to create a myriad of insurmountable problems - for PC hardware & software manufacturers....but particularly the consumer.

I can just see the pirates out there rubbing their hands together and swiftly coming out with cracks for software that disable this garbage, or fool it into thinking one thing while doing the opposite. They will also create a new era of "Mod Chips" for PCs that will circumvent the hardware-based "copyright protection" built into newer motherboards and computer hardware.

They are NOT going to do anything with this except whip the pirates into a frenzy of who can crack this stuff first. And they WILL do it, believe me.
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Old 5 Jan 2007, 10:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Diolacles View Post
This is going to create a myriad of insurmountable problems -.... particularly the consumer.
Indeed. Was'nt the intent of the Windows operating system to make computers easier for the average person?!


Here..I will fix it!

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Old 5 Jan 2007, 03:38 PM   #7
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I will not upgrade to vista I will stay with XP sp2.
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Old 10 Jan 2007, 03:27 PM   #8
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WinXP Pro for me all the way. Vista seems to be and will always be a money gouging piece of software which will only get Mr. Gates richer. I suggest that all leave it alone.
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Old 10 Jan 2007, 03:56 PM   #9
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I woke up the other morning at 3:30 AM and flipped on the TV just to find an info-mercial featuring nobody else but "MR. BILL" Gates promoted the $%&@ out of his new and improved operating system The ultimate VISTA. He showed all the pretty bells and whistles and a bunch of animated 3D flics. It all looked real impressive for what he was showing. BUT:

Not one word about DRM

I flipped to another station shaking my head in disgust.
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Old 24 Jan 2007, 03:33 AM   #10
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I agree that so-called "Trusted Computing" and TPMs are onerous. It's worst than the scandal with the Pentium IIIs that had a UID.

I'm looking to buy a new PC without Vista and TPM. I called Gateway and they say TPMs are now only being added to business PCs. But how can one be sure?

Also... I thought Vista was not going to support "trusted computing" just yet. If it does, what happens if a PC doesn't have a TPM chip?

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Old 24 Jan 2007, 04:06 AM   #11
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Just looked at the poll... you forgot XP SP1 which I'm still running (I uninstalled SP2 shortly after I got it.)... and XP Pro 64.... which I hope to run next.
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Old 8 Feb 2007, 12:47 AM   #12
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More Vista Woes;
With a support note quietly posted to its Web site, Microsoft confirmed what enthusiasts have long feared: Users who purchase Upgrade versions of Windows Vista will not be able to perform clean installs of the operating system. Instead, they will need to first install their previous OS and then upgrade in-place to Vista
There has been quite a bit of controversy over how Windows Vista upgrades work. Many people like to do a fresh clean install of a new operating system and then transfer their data. With the new Vista upgrade process, though, you must already have XP, or another compatible OS, installed and activated on your computer before you can run the update. The update must also be done directly from within the previous OS rather than booting off of the DVD to do the upgrade. To make matters even worse when you update to Vista from within XP, it invalidates your old XP product key so that it can not be used for product activation again.
Paul Thurott, though has found a method that allows you to perform a fresh clean install on a completely clean drive using a Vista upgrade version. This works because Microsoft treats Vista, even a 30-day trial, as a legitimate upgrade path to Vista. To install a trial all you need to do is boot from the DVD and run the install. When it asks for a product key, skip it, and a 30-day trial will be installed. This whole process is broken down step-by-step at the link below.

Now this may seem like an awful lot of steps to get a clean install of Vista on your computer, but when you consider the cost savings between purchasing a Full version of Vista compared to an Upgrade, many will find it worth it. This is a big mess up on the part of Microsoft as now any Vista upgrade is essentially a Full version
Paul Thurott Windows Vista Clean Install Method

Think I'll stick with XP Home...
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Old 8 Feb 2007, 12:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ed klein View Post
How sad the world is today, the love and greed for money and to control people is just too much.

Maybe its time the general public take the law back into their own hands and decide for themselves which laws are sane and insane. Maybe its time we ALL start to carry guns, and make out first targets, the useless government and corporations.

This world is not making forward progress, we are going backwards, maybe its time for the world the end, along with the disease, corruption and greed.

Very well said.
Keep Plugin away
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Old 21 May 2007, 01:03 PM   #14
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Hi folks,

Well, if you are buying a "New" desktop or laptop ... it now only comes with the darn "Vista".

Someone told me that there is a program out there ... something like Vista Transformation program that will make your "Vista" program run like XP.

Q: Is this TRUE!?!?

If so, what is the program and where can be found?

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Old 21 May 2007, 01:09 PM   #15
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you can still build a computer and load xp or order a laptop and do the same thing
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