The PC industry is in a state of flux as hardware and software developers wrestle with Vista. The security improvements in Vista go deep into the system and the developers are having to work hard to rewrite their programs and drivers so they will work smoothly. Some developers don’t want to work hard. It’s slow going.

Microsoft has published a list of 800 applications that will work just fine with Vista. As this article notes, though, there are a few major players who aren’t fully represented – Adobe is slow to get its graphics and multimedia programs ready; Symantec is having trouble (but then, when haven’t they had trouble writing decent software in the last few years?); Skype, OpenOffice, a few others.

In many cases, you’ll have to buy upgrades to your familiar programs because only the most recent version of a program will run properly on Vista. Quickbooks is the most notorious example but there are many more.

Many, many hardware drivers have to be rewritten for Vista. In almost every case, you should go to the manufacturer’s web site and download Vista drivers for every single piece of hardware to be attached to a Vista computer – the WinXP drivers won’t do it. You might never see a Vista driver for a piece of hardware that’s more than a couple of years old, and more recent equipment is still hit or miss – HP just advised a client to use her printer as a paperweight for a few months longer until Vista drivers eventually appear.

And updates are being released daily for WinXP applications to fix Vista compatibility issues. I’ve discovered Vista updates for these programs in the last week or two: Adobe Premiere Elements 3; Dragon Naturally Speaking 9; Gametap; Nero; Cyberlink PowerDVD; and more. ATI and Nvidia are still trying to improve their video drivers but the current versions are already significantly better than the drivers originally installed by Vista. And on and on.

The real issue will be the niche software developers making business-critical software that might not be ready for Vista for months. Timeslips for lawyers, Epocrates for doctors, fill in the blank for your industry – the sticking point will be the program you can’t live without from the vendor that won’t answer the phone. Good luck!

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