Since January 30, 2007, Windows Vista is available to the general public following a period of two months when the operating system could be accessed exclusively by Microsoft Software Assurance customers via volume licensing. There are just four steps that you need to take when preparing a Windows XP machine for the Windows Vista installation to ensure that everything will go as it should. There is a generalized perception
that upgrades to Vista should be postponed until Microsoft releases the first service pack for the platform.
In this context, you have to know that, currently, the Redmond company plans to release the first beta of Windows Vista SP1 before November 12, 2007. The final availability of the service pack is yet to be confirmed. But if you are already thinking of making the swap to Vista from XP then there are a few things that you should be aware of. Make sure to backup all files and items that you cannot do without. Windows XP comes with a built-in backup utility, and Microsoft provides the guidelines for its usage. The Vista installation process has been streamlined and evolved in comparison to Windows XP, but preparing for the worse is a healthy strategy.
Additionally, you can also check to see if your system configuration, peripheral devices and even the software that you are running under Windows XP will function under Vista. With the operating system's availability in early February, user complains have targeted support and compatibility issues. The Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor is designed to evaluate the hardware and the programs associated with XP and deliver a diagnostics revealing whether your system is Vista ready or not. If it's not, then you may want to postpone the upgrade until you fix the problems that the utility will highlight for you.
Another important step is to ensure that you have at least 15 GB of free space on the location where you want to install Vista. Without the 15 GB, you will not be able to deploy the operating system. Preparing the hard disk also involves converting the file system of the partition where you want to install Vista, from FAT 32 – if that is the case – to NTFS. You can do so through the "convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs" command entered in the "cmd." In order to access the command prompt windows type cmd in the Run dialog box and hit enter. Microsoft offers additional details in Knowledge Base article : 931227.
Microsoft, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Tips and Tricks, Vista Installation