Windows Vista Enterprise Hardware Planning Guidance

Windows Vista-Ready PCs

Thinking of purchasing new PCs for your enterprise? Microsoft programs to certify Windows Vista Capable PCs and Windows Vista Premium Ready PCs, along with the knowledge in this article, will allow you to purchase new hardware now and be confident that your enterprise has the right computers to make the transition to Windows Vista.

The Windows Vista Capable PC logo identifies hardware that meets or exceeds the requirements to deliver the Windows Vista core experiences such as innovations in security, reliability, organizing and finding information. All Windows Vista Capable PCs will run these core experiences, at a minimum.

Some premium features may require advanced or additional hardware. The Windows Vista Premium Ready program denotes hardware that can deliver these premium experiences, including Windows Aero, a productive, high-performing desktop interface. (Features available in specific premium editions of Windows Vista, such as BitLocker Drive Encryption, may also require additional hardware1.) The detailed information in the table and paragraphs below can help IT professionals make informed buying decisions today.

  Windows Vista Capable PC Windows Vista Premium Ready


Modern processor (at least 800 MHz2)

CPU Manufacturer Information

Intel     AMD     Via

1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor 2
System Memory 512 MB 1 GB


DirectX 9 Capable (WDDM Driver Support recommended)

Windows Aero Capable

DirectX 9-class GPU that supports:

  • A WDDM Driver
  • Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
  • 32 bits per pixel
  • Adequate graphics memory3
Graphics Memory   128 MB



40 GB

HDD Free Space   >15 GB

Optical Drive


DVD-ROM Drive4

Other Meets criteria for "Designed for Windows XP" or
"Designed for Windows XP x64" logo

Windows Vista Capable PCs

Computers with the Windows Vista Capable PC logo will meet or exceed the requirements to deliver the core Windows Vista experiences such as innovations in security, reliability, organizing and finding information. They can also deliver key business features found in the Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise versions, such as the ability to join a domain. To find out whether your PC is able to run Windows Vista, read Windows Vista Capable and Premium Ready PCs. When purchasing a new PC, look for the Windows Vista logo to ensure your PC is capable of running Windows Vista.

However, some premium features may require advanced or additional hardware. If a PC is not Windows Aero capable, for example, the desktop graphics experience in Windows Vista will be comparable to Windows XP with regards to visual features, stability and performance.

Windows Vista Premium Ready PC

If a PC is Windows Vista Premium Ready it delivers an even better experience than a Windows Vista Capable PC. PCs meeting the Windows Vista Premium Ready requirements can deliver the Windows Aero user experience that includes additional benefits:

  • Improved productivity (real-time thumbnail previews, new 3-D task switching, interface scaling),
  • Enhanced visual quality (glitch-free window redrawing), and
  • Visual style (translucent window frames and taskbar, enhanced transitional effects)

A GPU that supports the Windows Driver Display Model (WDDM) is an important part of the Windows Vista Premium Ready requirements. A list of GPUs that support WDDM can be found in this TechNet Article.2, 4, 6

Minimum Supported Hardware Requirements for Running Windows Vista

Microsoft anticipates that many IT professionals will choose to install Windows Vista on existing hardware. To aid that process, IT pros need to understand the minimum supported hardware configuration on which Windows Vista can be installed and can run the core Windows Vista experiences. The table below illustrates these requirements.

IT professionals can run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor on individual machines to learn which version of Windows Vista can successfully be installed on the computer. Upgrade Advisor will also report if the hardware is not sufficient to run any version of Windows Vista. To determine if your hardware and device drivers throughout your organization are compatible with Windows Vista, download the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment deployment tool and find out.

  Minimum Supported Requirements


800 MHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor2

System Memory

512 MB


SVGA (800x600)

Graphics Memory



20 GB

HDD Free Space

15 GB

Optical Drive

CD-ROM Drive5

1BitLocker Drive Encryption requires a TPM 1.2 chip or a USB 2.0 flash drive
2Processor speed is specified as the nominal operational processor frequency for the device. Some processors have power management which allows the processor to run at lower rate to save power.
3Adequate graphics memory is defined as:
  – 64 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at 1,310,720 or less
  – 128 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions 2,304,000 pixels or less
  – 256 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor at resolutions higher than 2,304,000 pixels
  – Graphics memory bandwidth, as assessed by Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor, of at least 1,600 MB per second
4A DVD-ROM may be external (not integral, not built into the system)
5A CD-ROM may be external (not integral, not built into the system)
6If the GPU uses shared memory, then no additional graphics memory is required beyond the 1 GB system memory requirement; If the GPU uses dedicated memory then 128MB is required.