Brien Posey's Windows Blog

Nov 5 2008   1:49AM GMT

Vista Compatibility Issues

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Over the weekend, I had to make an unexpected trip to Kentucky. Since traveling can be a little dull and time consuming, I used the opportunity to catch up on my reading. One of the magazines that I was reading had a story titled “It’s OK to Skip Windows Vista”.

I have to admit that the story’s title bothered me enough that I did not read the article. It has always been my opinion that Vista is a much better operating system than Windows XP, if for no other reason than that it is much more resistant to malware infestation.

Of course we all know that the main reason why so many people have shied away from Vista is because of rumors of compatibility problems. It is important to remember though that every version of Windows has had some kind of compatibility problems, and I’m sure that Windows 7 probably will too.

Believe it or not, Windows Vista is not the version of Windows that has received the worst reputation for compatibility problems. Early versions of Windows NT actually had far more compatibility than Windows Vista ever has. I distinctly recall reading articles in computer magazines stating that NT stood for things like Nice Try or Not Today.

The compatibility problems with Windows NT were so bad that Microsoft created the hardware compatibility list (HCL) and refused to support machines that were not running on approved hardware. I find it interesting that Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, and 2008 are all based on the NT Kernel. Even so, when was the last time that you heard of anybody checking the hardware compatibility list to see if the hardware is certified to run Windows XP or Vista? It just doesn’t happen most of the time.

Even so, Microsoft does maintain a list of hardware and software that will work with Vista. The list is at: If you are thinking of upgrading to Vista, but are concerned about compatibility issues, then this list is a great place to start your compatibility research.

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