Ed Bott @ ZDNETWhen you buy a retail copy of Windows Vista, the most important part of your purchase is the product key that comes with it. That 25-character key determines which Vista edition you're allowed to install and activate, and it also tells the Setup program whether you've purchased a full or upgrade license. (That detail is important, as I'll explain tomorrow.)
Vista keeps track of licensing details using a service called Software Licensing. Slmgr.vbs, a VBScript file included with all Vista editions, allows you to query the current installation and see details about your installation and your licensing status
Tip#2: A no-fuss, nondestructive clean install
0-= Ed Bott @ ZDNETThanks to the radically revised Setup program in Windows Vista, Windows users can safely discard one of the basic tenets that have governed installation decisions since the beginning of the Windows era.
That's right - you can now safely point Windows Setup to a partition on which Windows is already installed, as long as you have at least 15 GB of free disk space and you don't plan to use the copy of Windows on that partition anymore. When you choose to do a clean install in this configuration, Windows Vista Setup moves the old Windows, Program Files, and Documents and Settings folders to a folder named Windows.old. Your new installation creates a brand-new set of top-level folders on the current system drive: Windows (for system files), Program Files (for application files), and Users (for data associated with each user account on the system).
Tip#3: Check your disk before upgrading
Ed Bott @ ZDNETAny day now, the folks who bought new PCs that qualified for free Windows Vista upgrades through Microsoft's Express Upgrade program will begin receiving their disks. Others are buying shrink-wrapped retail upgrades. For most people, the upgrade process should be straightforward. But a relatively small handful of people will be stymied during the upgrade process by two disk-related gotchas:
- Free disk space
- Disk format