Vista is a marvelous upgrade when everything goes well. I recently upgraded to Vista Home Basic from XP Home, and here's a few things I learned along the way that might help you have a smooth transition to the new world of Vista:
1. Log on to Microsoft's Vista website and download Vista Advisor. This program will tell you whether or not your current system will run Vista. If no, upgrade your present system or purchase a new one with Vista pre-installed. However, if the answer is yes, purchase your choice of Vista's upgrades and continue to step #2. Remember to use any of Vista's upgrades, you must have XP installed already, or you must purchase the full-install of Vista, not the upgrade.***(see note below)
2. Prior to installing Vista, upgrade your system and program drivers, then remove any anti-virus programs running.
3. Check the drive you plan to install the upgrade to (i.e. C: or D:) Ensure that the drive is formatted for NTFS (New Technology File System) If it is, you're good to go. If not you must convert (FAT 32) to NTFS. Windows will prompt you to convert the drive if it's a FAT32. If you're still having problems converting the drive, Google: coverting to NTFS, and you'll score several hits that will guide you in the right direction. Also the DOS command to find your drive label is: Vol C: If your drive letter is D, the command is: Vol D:
4. Install Vista. Remember, it's best to be connected to the internet during the install. The install will still work even if your not connected to the web, but Vista won't be able to download the updates needed to make your transition smooth and error free.
5. Once installed, reload your anti-virus program and enjoy.
***Note: You actually don't have to have Windows XP installed to your hard drive in order to install the Vista upgrade. However, it's a violation of copyright law, to install the Vista upgrade without already owning Windows XP, unless you have the expressed consent of Microsoft.