The wait is finally over. Microsoft has finally released its replacement for the aging Windows XP operating system. You may be wondering if you should go out and purchase a new computer running this highly publicized new operating system or purchase an upgrade. My advice to you is keep waiting.
There are 2 main reasons to NOT purchase Vista at this time. The first is related to hardware compatibility. Every component of a computer needs software, called drivers, to work properly and these drivers are operating system specific. Not all hardware has stable drivers available for Vista as of yet. In fact, Reggie Nicolay (my fellow blogger) and I are ready to purchase new home machines running Vista (we are keeping Windows XP on all of our business machines), but the manufacturer is having driver issues so we are waiting as well.
The second reason to NOT purchase Vista at this time has to do with software compatibility. While main stream software companies seem to be reasonably prepared for Vista, it is going to take weeks, if not months, for real estate and lending software companies to update their products for Vista. In my area, 2 invaluable programs (Winforms and our MLS) are not Vista compatible. Without those tools, an agent couldn’t do business.
If you are in the market for a new computer…
Hold off if you can. If you are in a situation where you need a new computer, purchase one with Windows XP installed and get an “Express Upgrade” coupon for Vista. Many computer manufacturers are still offering XP on machines and there are still many machines in stock at your local big-box store with XP loaded.
The Express Upgrade coupon is available for any computer purchased since October. Those coupons can be redeemed for a free upgrade copy of Vista (usually with a $10 shipping charge). The catch is that they must be redeemed by March 31st of this year. So if you bought a computer in that timeframe, dig out that coupon, send it in and then hold on to the Vista upgrade disc until the dust settles.
If you are considering upgrading…
What’s the rush? From what I have read, there aren’t many features that are going to enhance your real estate business, but the time you waste dealing with incompatibilities will definitely take away from your productivity.
Only consider an upgrade to Vista if the computer is relatively new (look for a Windows Vista Capable sticker on the machine) or if you got an Express Upgrade coupon with your machine. Even then you need to do your homework before you move forward with the installation. Contact the manufacturer of the machine to determine if compatible drivers are available and how to get them. That isn’t too difficult and those types of problems should be solved soon. You will also need to identify all of the programs that you rely on and determine if they are Vista compatible. This can usually be found out by visiting the software manufacturer’s website.
The lure of a new operating system can be tempting, especially for those of us with an affinity towards technology, but we can’t lose site of our objectives. If you are a real estate agent, your objective is to sell houses, not invest hours to overcome technical issues. Keep life simple and let others be the guinea pigs for Vista.