Windows Vista logos - what do they all mean?

Windows Vista logos - what do they all mean?

Summary: Now that Windows Vista has gone RTM, it might be a good time to take a brief tour of the different Windows Vista logos that you'll be seeing on PCs and hardware. After all, if you're in the market for new hardware or software and want it to be Vista ready, you'll want to pay special attention to these logos.

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TOPICS: Windows
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Now that Windows Vista has gone RTM, it might be a good time to take a brief tour of the different Windows Vista logos that you'll be seeing on PCs and hardware.  After all, if you're in the market for new hardware or software and want it to be Vista ready, you'll want to pay special attention to these logos.

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Windows Vista Capable and Premium Ready PCs

There are two kinds of PC designed for Windows Vista:

  • Windows Vista Capable PC
    Windows Vista Capable
  • Windows Vista Premium Ready PC
    Certified for Windows Vista

Microsoft has issued a minimum for PCs that carry these logos.  This is as follows:

Windows Vista Capable PC

  • A modern processor (at least 800MHz)
  • 512MB of system memory
  • A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable

Windows Vista Premium Ready PC

  • 1GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1GB of system memory
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128MB of graphics memory (minimum), Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits per pixel
  • 40GB of hard drive capacity with 15GB free space
  • DVD-ROM Drive
  • Audio output capability
  • Internet access capability

Compare these with the minimum spec required to run Windows Vista:

  • 800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 512MB of RAM
  • GPU capable of SVGA (800x600)
  • 20GB hard drive with 15GB of free space
  • CD-ROM drive

Don't buy anything on the basis of these logos alone. The idea is that if you want a PC that's capable of handling the core features of Windows Vista then the system to look for is one that is Vista Capable.  However, if you want to have all the new fancy bells and whistles, such as running the Aero interface (sorry, user experience) and features relating to media center, then you need a Premium Ready PC. 

However, things are a little more complex that that.  It's important to remember that while a Premium Ready PC supports Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions, and that it is the Ultimate edition which comes with media center support, a PC carrying the Premium Ready logo might not come with hardware such as a TV tuner card.  Make sure that you check what's supplied with the PC before you commit to buying.

Another very important thing to bear in mind is that neither the Vista Capable nor the Premium Ready spec is anything to write home about in terms of performance.  Apart from the RAM and graphics card requirements, even the Premium Ready spec is pretty low.  Don't use either of these logos as a "performance" guide.

Bottom line - Make sure you know what you are getting.  Don't buy anything on the basis of these logos alone.

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Certified for Windows Vista and the Works with Windows Vista logo

There are two more logos that you need to know what they mean.  These are:

  • Certified for Windows Vista
    Vista Certified
  • Works with Windows Vista
    Works with Windows Vista

The difference between these two logos is subtle.  Here's the difference according to Microsoft:

Certified for Windows Vista
Products that carry the "Certified for Windows Vista" logo have met explicit standards of reliability and quality, and have been tested and proven to deliver a superior experience with a PC running Windows Vista. Using software and devices bearing this logo with Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Enterprise, or Windows Vista Ultimate edition provides the richest PC experience. [emphasis added]

Works with Windows Vista
You can have confidence that a hardware or software product displaying the "Works with Windows Vista" logo will easily work with Windows Vista and deliver a reliable experience. These products meet baseline standards of functionality on all PCs running Windows Vista. [emphasis added]

So the difference is in the level of testing that's been done and put simply Certified for Windows Vista is better than Works with Windows Vista.  Expect higher-priced hardware and software to have the Certified for Windows Vista logo while budget hardware and software will have the Works with Windows Vista logo (or no logo at all).

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Topic: Windows

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24 comments
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  • editing cleanup required. backstreet boy sez.

    "Don't [b]by[/b] anything on the basis of these logos alone. "
    [b]by, by, by[/b]? your alarm should be going off, mr. editor.
    saysaywhat
    • Editor hears alarms

      Spelling corrected. thanks!
      David Grober
    • Thanks!

      That got "by" my editing! :-)
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Kremlinology

    Entrail-reading is all well and good, but wouldn't it be more practical to get into a serious discussion of whether Santa Claus wears boxers or briefs?
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Depends ...

      ... planning to run Vista on those?
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Nope

        [i]planning to run Vista on those?[/i]

        I don't know anyone who is planning to run MSVista on any computers that don't come with it as the only available preload.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
        • I will be upgrading!

          Now you know one! :)
          ShadeTree
          • Me too

            ... about a dozen boxes.
            Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • Boxers

      :)
      Patrick Jones
      • Nah, definitely long johns.

        And red ones at that. An open sleigh at the North Pole is no place for breezy boxers!
        dave.leigh@...
        • Briefs,

          boxer briefs, boxers, lycra tights, and then red wool union suit.
          swoopee
  • A couple problems with the article.

    " It's important to remember that while a Premium Ready PC supports Windows Vista Ultimate edition, and that it is the Ultimate edition which comes with media center support, a PC carrying the Premium Ready logo might not come with hardware such as a TV tuner card. Make sure that you check what's supplied with the PC before you commit to buying."

    1. Home Premium also supports Media Center Functionality.
    2. A TV Tuner is only required for PVR functionality. Media center is more then just a PVR. Only insist on a TV tuner if you need PVR functionality.
    ShadeTree
    • True

      ... but the PVR feature is an important Media Center feature and users could be lead into thinking that PVR support is part of the logo requirements.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • I Agree that PVR is an important for your living room PC ....

        ... but if you are like me I also run MCE 2005 on my laptop. I record the shows on my living room TV and take them with me on my laptop. I know this can be done without running MCE but I like the common interface and controls. The difference in price between Home and MCE is not enough to prevent me from doing so.
        ShadeTree
  • This is great for us more knowledgeable people

    but what will the salesman in BestBuy, circuit City, CompUSA, MicroCenter, etc. tell the poor customer if it ever gets to whether the computer runs Vista, assuming the customer has even heard of Vista.
    Taz_z
    • Once the marketing blitz starts ....

      ... everyone will have heard of Vista. The Vista / Office 2007 marketing campaign will be the single largest product introduction in history.

      the more vexing problem for retail is how to continue the tren of sub $500.00 Laptops and sub $ 400.00 Desktops when they have to have 1GB of ram and 128 MB of video ram to get the Vista Aero goodness. It is difficult in retail to change people's expectation of opening price point.
      ShadeTree
      • My point exactly

        now, will the retail channel even explain Vista capable and premium ready certs and how these cheap computers are probably Vista capable, but not premium ready? The poor common folk are already confused as it is.
        Taz_z
        • Retail is in the best position to explain it.

          It is the person who is ordering from a web site unassisted who might have trouble. The new rating system in Windows could be used to upsell to a more capable and margin rich model.
          ShadeTree
      • An even more vexing problem...

        will be the cost of Windows is probably approaching 50% of the
        cost of a new PC. How do you create a $400 PC when the OS
        costs $399?

        "[i]the more vexing problem for retail is how to continue the tren
        of sub $500.00 Laptops and sub $400.00 Desktops[/i]"

        People say Apple's PCs are expensive, but a [b]full[/b] copy of
        OS X costs the same as the cheapest [b]upgrade[/b] of the new
        Windows.
        Fred Fredrickson
        • Not exactly true!

          You are comparing the retail price for the OS to the price of the computer. The OEM price is substantially less and only slightly more then XP pricing. You are also using the extreme example of Ultimate which will not be on retail computers. If you bought OSX back when XP was released and kept it current you would have paid an addition $ 500.00 for the incremental updates. The updates to XP were free. The pricing models are different but the end result is the same. Apple just takes it in smaller bites more often.
          ShadeTree