The 4 major Versions of Windows Vista
Retail Versions of Windows Vista may be purchased in either
Full or Upgrade versions.
Full Versions are intended to be installed on a computer
that has no qualifying previous version of Windows. Upgrade
versions are intented for computer systems that are to be
upgraded from Windows XP, Windows Media Center, Windows XP
Tablet or Windows 2000.
Retail versions may be activated on only 1 system, although
there is great latitude regarding the number of hardware
upgrades the system may experience while still qualifying for
The version of Windows Vista that most consumers will have
will be an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) version that
is tied directly to the specific hardware that comprised the
computer when it was first manufactured by the system builder.
Hardware changes that do not include major upgrades such as
motherboard replacement are usually allowed but it is wise to
consult the system builder if there are any questions
regarding what upgrades are permitted.
The 32 bit version is the primary type of Windows Vista
that most consumers will see, even though many Computer CPUs
and Motherboards are currently 64 bit capable. Due to
availability issues surrounding a substantial number of
hardware devices, 64 bit versions of Windows Vista must be
specifically requested by the consumer. In the future 64 bit
Windows Vista may become more commonplace.
Versions US Consumers are unlikely to see: 1) Windows Vista
Starter - for Developing Countries, 2) Vista "N" Editions -
specifically to comply with the legal requirements of the
European Union, 3) Windows Vista Enterprise - sold only to
business enterprise customers via Software Assurance (SA)