As expected, Microsoft has this week spelt out what system requirements are needed to take full advantage of the new features in its forthcoming Vista operating system.
The company has launched two Vista marketing programmes aimed at PC manufacturers and retailers, which include the system requirements needed by end users to fully benefit from Vista.
The "Vista-capable" programme lists the minimum features to be able to run Vista, and the "Premium Ready" programme is being used to identify PCs that can take full advantage of Vista's high-end features.
High-end features include Microsoft’s powerful Aero graphics system for Windows, which displays icons in 3D.
Vista-capable machines need at least an 800MHz processor, 512MB of memory and a graphics card that can run DirectX 9 graphics.
Premium Ready machines need at least a 1GHz processor, 1GB of main memory, and a graphics card that supports Vista's new graphics-driver model.
A Premium Ready machine must also have 128MB of graphics memory and 15GB of free space on the hard drive.
Microsoft has made available a downloadable tool to enable users to test whether their existing machine can run the operating system, and which features they will be able to use.