Microsoft is putting the final touches on Windows Vista, the next-generation operating system scheduled for early 2007. Delays are still possible but recent builds of Windows Vista have dramatically improved and there is relentless pressure on Microsoft to get it out the door.

There will be much to say about Vista before it goes on sale. Here’s a simple introduction if you’re anxious to get started.

Let me suggest one guiding principle, based on history and gut instinct.

We undoubtedly will buy Windows Vista with new computers, as soon as it is available. It has important improvements in many areas, from security to usability.

But we will not upgrade our existing computers to Windows Vista. An upgraded operating system has never been as stable as an OS installed from scratch, and I haven’t heard anything about Vista to make me think that will change. We might reformat hard drives to start over with Vista but I will be very skeptical about spending time on upgrades.

More, much more, to come.

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