back to article PC buyers: 'Vista Capable' machines weren't Vista capable

How misleading was Microsoft's "Windows Vista Capable" campaign? Misleading enough for a judge to approve a federal trial. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that two PC buyers, Dianne Kelley and Kenneth Hansen, can proceed with a lawsuit that accuses Microsoft of deliberately deceiving the public with the "Window Vista Capable …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Dillon Pyron

    Named class actors

    As the named plaintiffs in the suit, they'll make out handsomely. The other poor schmucks will get a $5 Amazon gift card. That's the way it always works (see my other comment today on this subject).

  2. Cade Metz (Written by Reg staff)


    That's right, Dillon. I've made a clarification. -Cade

  3. Aubry Thonon

    MS harpoons itself.

    "Microsoft has argued that its "Vista Capable" marketing campaign also included a "Vista Premium Ready" component that explained the differences between various versions of the OS"

    Well, if that's MS's response then as far as I'm concerned they've lost: If they felt the need to have a specific "Vista Premium Ready" sticker, then the generic "Vista Capable" sticker is not good enough - at minimum, it should have stated "Vista Home Basic Capable".

    If you feel the need to be specific on one, you need to be specific on ALL, otherwise the generic sticker implies that it can run ALL Vista versions.

  4. Andy Bright


    Winners of your average US class action lawsuit can expect anything from 56c to $3.49 (on top of the generous 1 x lab work to see if your bad-prescription induced mangled heart will hold on for another month) - as opposed to the lawyers who receive anything from $560,000 to $3.49 million. Each.

    Obviously these things vary, sometimes maybe a CD token if you bought DRM'd music or free Sony tech support (by phone) to remove a root kit.

    But whatever the more than generous payout to the victim is (over 99 cents), you can be sure that lawyers on both sides are laughing all the way to the bank.

  5. John

    Windows sticker

    The sticker on my laptop box said

    "Runs MS windows XP or better"

    ....So I installed Linux

  6. Daniel Ballado-Torres

    Don't settle

    Shaft M$ on their own turf. The only way MS will stop screwing over their userbase is when they get really hurt by lawsuits, it doesn't really matter if the "compensation money" goes to the end users or not.

    Same should be done with the RIAA, only backwards.

  7. Keith T. Grey, Sr.


    @ Windows sticker


    You would have beat me to it, except mine read "Runs MS Windows 95 or better", so I installed Linux on my TP 600E and never looked back...

  8. Jason


    "Vista Poo-mium Ready"

  9. heystoopid

    Or as

    Or as the Hollywood Indians would say M$ speak with much forked tongue !

  10. Valan Chan

    Silly M$

    They should have printed one sticker with all Vista versions on it and the dealer ticks the suitable version.

    Any mistake would be down to the dealer.


  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what is "Vista"?

    It depends how you define "Vista". To me, a "Home" edition that is lacking half of the features and is missing Aero and looks just like XP, is not "Vista" no matter what the box says. So selling a "vista capable" computer that actually can't run the real Vista, is a lie.

  12. NIILL

    So when did Microsoft start selling PC's?

    The decision to add these stickers to the PC are taken by the PC manufacturers; they are well aware of what the hardware is capable of, and if they were happy with the OS performance the user would experience, then surely they are the guilty parties?? And all the MS-haters need to realise that there is more to an OS than a flashy 3D GUI; Vista provides users with many other features that XP doesn't have, and most (not all) but most HOME users will not use most the the features anyway, so a Home version is better suited. I would like to know who the PC Vendors were and what they say about this!

  13. M

    On the other hand...

    M$ could say that it's manufacture of the computer is at fault as they stick them labels on....

    Therefore M$ wins!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is Vista

    Surely Vista is the standard Normal Version. I would define this as the one they sell the most of on new preinstalled PC's...

    But then again, saying a TV is 'HD Ready' means it takes the signal not that it has a HD screen!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: What is "Vista"?

    What the hell are you on about? Do you work for PC World or something to come out with comments like that?

    Vista Home Basic is nothing like XP at all, and doesn't even share the same codebase. Vista (ALL VERSIONS) were written from the ground up.

    As long as a PC meets the MINIMUM specs for Vista as stated on the retail packaging or on the MS website, AND drivers are available for the hardware installed, then it is Vista capable. The people bringing the class action should have done their homework first before expecting to get the Ultimate Edition or Home Premium with their machines.

    Oh, my Vista CAPABLE Toshiba notebook runs Vista Ultimate perfectly fine and as well as it ever run XP & no Home Premium Ready sticker in sight.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Must be the school holidays

    Judging by the amount of pathetic and immature comments on the subject I guess it must me the school holidays again.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Windows Sticker

    The stickers that came on my home and work machines said "Designed for Microsoft Windows XP".

    These have been carefully removed and applied to the office dustbins and toaster.

  18. David Foster

    So this is news how?

    I abandoned microsoft at about Windows 98 in favour of an operating system that actually worked (kind of). A couple of years ago I bought a laptop as a present for My girlfriend, not too shabby but definitely price was the deciding factor in my choice. 128mb video card, 256 of memory, should be OK, I thought. How wrong I was. Not being overly conversant with Windows XP I had no idea what a fat lardy bit of code it was, also it was not helped by all of those little things the manufacturers decide you need running. The video card stole 64mb from the main memory and when booted the OS had a footprint of 259mb at a stand still. All the poor little thing was capable of doing was sitting on its own quietly in a corner swapping like mad purely just to stand still. You could hear the quiet pleas of turn me off coming from the hard drive. It was duly turned off and returned to the shop where bought for a refund on the grounds that it did not do what it said on the tin. ie the made for XP sticker. They were not happy but finally coughed up. The sticker scam has been going on for years I would assume with large PC sales companies fixing the machine by adding extra memory at extra cost to make it do what they told you it would do in the first place.

  19. Test Man

    Vista capable

    I don't see what the problem is. The Vista capable sticker shows that it's capable of Vista. The "Home Basic" version is Vista, isn't it? In the same way that a low-end Ferrari is still a Ferrari (so is completely legit to stick a sticker saying that it's a Ferrari), a Vista-capable sticker is completely accurate if it can run ANY version of Vista.

    Maybe Microsoft should've stuck (in small print) Home Basic underneath the word "capable" (especially as they had Vista Premium stickers to show what machine is capable of the Home Premium version), but that's simply a clarity issue. It's certainitely not a legal issue and we'll see that in this instance Microsoft will clearly win this one.

  20. George Flecknell

    Marketing foolishness

    If Microsoft were suitably proud of Vista Home Basic, why was it not marketed as THE Vista release with all the additional versions advertised as pro-packages and add-ons? The XP model worked fine. The only features appearing on XP Pro over and above Home edition are only really necessary for proffessionals.

    Most new machines I have set-up in the last few months shipped with Vista Home (not ordered by me!). Each also came with an Upgrade disc. Microsft know that all they need to do to fuel the need to constantly upgrade in the home enthusiast market is to introduce a new OS. Theyre all bound to upgrade later. Home users are getting used to upgrading hardware by increments, so why not software?


  21. Adam

    What's the fuss?

    Unusually, I'm on M$ side here. The sticker says "Vista ready", and the machine runs Vista. Bang the gavel, throw it out of court.

    The budget PC doesn't run the Premium version, but the sticker doesn't say anything about running a Premium version. And why would you automatically expect a budget computer to run a premium OS? Did they look at the price list and think "Hmmm, shall I get the $500 PC or the $2000 PC? Well, there can't be a difference, they both say 'PC' and the CPUs are made by the same company."

    I have a laptop that can't run SUSE, it won't even complete the installation without crashing. Yet Mandrake worked straight out of the box. So would it be right to say the laptop doesn't run Linux? No, it runs Linux, just not every version.

    Perhaps it is time that the US adopted a stance against vexagious litigants? And perhaps it is time those of us who DO have such rules actually used them!!! Stupid petty cases really get my goat. What next? A case brought against a games publisher because someone doesn't think it's fair the game runs like poo on a PC with the minimum specs?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Caveat Emptor

    One question springs to mind, can the machine, as sold, run any version of Windows Vista, if so then Microsoft wins even if it is Home Basic. It still says Windows Vista on the packaging, load up screen and EULA so it is Windows Vista.

    If someone else exagerated the claims that it could run higher than Home Basic then that it their fault, and if the customer did not enquire as to which version it could run then that is their fault.

  23. Simon Westerby

    Missing the point.

    The point isn't about whether the PC can run ANY version of Vista, but how M$ advertised the idea of what windows "VISTA" was.

    Much of the hype around VISTA was based on features nor suppliewd in the Home Basic version, and so when people saw the "Vista capable" srickers the immeditle though of all those whizzy new features...

    That how the sticker is mis-leading.

    The only goog thing about teh arrival of vista as far as I can tell is PC's now come with 512mb as standard memory.... more then enough fo Win XP or various Linux flavours .... at seemingly no extra cost then just a few months earler when they shipped with XP and 256 memory.....

  24. druck Silver badge

    Ferrari Home Basic

    Ferrari Home Basic:

  25. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The fuss is

    "The budget PC doesn't run the Premium version, but the sticker doesn't say anything about running a Premium version"

    The sticker says Vista, and if people are clueless enough to buy spamvertised products, then you can hardly expect them to differentiate between OS versions, now can you ?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Low end Ferrari?

    What world do you live in? When have you ever seen a low end Ferrari?

  27. bigfoot780

    Shoul'nt the stickers say..

    Vista capable but if you wanna run any other programs well at the same time forget it.

  28. david wilson

    User expectations?

    For an average person, maybe especially someone with experience of past MS OSes, they might easily have assumed that the different versions just had extra functionality, rather than requiring significantly better hardware to run adequately.

    At first glance, they may have seen the differences as like Win9x with or without the Plus pack, or like XP Home vs. Pro vs. MCE.

    Still, it does seem like an issue of who stuck labels on the machines, what guidelines they'd been given from MS, and what steps they took to make customers aware of the real differences between Vista editions.

    Here in the UK, I'd have thought someone's first and possibly only port of call would be the person who sold (or mis-sold) them a machine, and that wouldn't be MS.

  29. Ross

    Slightly OT

    Is it just me that finds it absurd the recommended minimum memory for Vista is 1GB? I mean, it's an OS - it glues the applications to the metal.

    How much memory can Vista Home Basic address? My ancient P3 for example can in theory address 64GB of RAM, but Windows only lets it play with 2. If you need 1GB for the OS where're your applications going to live?

    They should sell one version of Vista without Media Player/Centre, without IE etc for around £50 (that's about 100 of your funny green things) and then sell the other rubbish as addons so if you want to pay for anything other than the OS you can. Everyone else can have an OS that doesn't hog every resource you own.

  30. Scott Mckenzie

    HD Ready TV

    Errr... think you need to read up on that one, what exactly is an HD screen then? It is one that can display HD video, i.e. has a minimum pixel count, has an HDMI or DVI input and as such can handle HD video.

    Or are you one of the obsessed folks who only believes that full 1080p is HD and nothing else is?

  31. Andy

    Missing the point. re:simon westerby

    So basically the point is the users are idiots for assuming something instead of asking someone with some braincells... again its not MS fault people are thick!!!

  32. Joel Mansford

    Machine with XP MCE should run Home Premium

    If I were to buy a machine with Windows XP Media Centre edition (MCE) that had a sticker on it stating that it was "Vista Capable" I would fully expect the machine to be FULLY capable of running Vista Home Premium and thus getting the new version of Media Centre.

    Specific stickers aside I think the machine should be capable of running the equivalent version of Vista to the version of XP that it shipped with. I struggle to see how MS are to blame for this as it's the OEMs who put the stickers on the box though.

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. Ben Gibson

    Why this might be worthy of court

    People are citing that since the sticker reads it is Vista capable that then running any version of Vista is good enough grounds to make this not court worthy.

    That is not the case, because its not the point. The point is how Vista was advertised, not whether computers with Vista Ready stickers could run Vista Basic or not.

    Its not about whether a computer is technically capable of running a version of Vista, its about whether adverts were used to mislead people.

  35. James Pickett


    "Vista (ALL VERSIONS) were written from the ground up"

    Really? Then how come you can call MS and with a simple licence code turn it back into XP? The number of times this happened might be germane to the case, too...

  36. alistair millington

    RE: RE: What is "Vista"?

    "Oh, my Vista CAPABLE Toshiba notebook runs Vista Ultimate perfectly fine and as well as it ever run XP & no Home Premium Ready sticker in sight."

    ...You are indeed one of the blessed few. I also guess you work for them or don't do much with your laptop.

    Vista was sold as containing all these new features, if you turn them all off you are left with a normal OS that isn't really that good. It worked for only 600 or so known things at the time of going live by their own admissions and doesn't work with a lot more. (Halo 2 being the one I have issues with)

    If you have a basic OS that does some stuff it is fair to call it XP, afterall once you turn of the aero deck and get rid of all the annoying features that make it Vista, there is little different to Xp. (except stability)

    The fact it was written from scratch just means they had bad project managers who let this thing be born defunct. Inheriting the same bad mistakes Xp had on go live and after all those years and all those lessons that had been learned as well. Such a shame.

    I bought a new machine, and Pista ultimate, on the inflated prices for Europe and immediatly went back to XP. I bought a machine far in excess of what Vista needed. Only to find out they lied on how much RAM it can use (3GB or 128 (see small print of 64 bit only)) How little driver support there really was by all the hardware manufacturers and how little it actually works within a business environment.

  37. Ross Fleming

    HD Ready argument

    The anonymous HD Ready poster was (I think) just slightly confused. He/she means HD Compatible. But this is MS' golden get out of jail free card - HD Ready and HD Compatible would be identical to the uneducated mind, but they got away with that one. What does "Capable" mean? Anything you like. If you manage to install it, does that mean it was capable?

    Misleading - I doubt it. But if it was, sue the @ss off the retailers. I can't imagine it was the sticker that convinced consumers to buy, it was the sales people. I still see high street retailers talking to customers and telling them how "future-proofed" their purchase is.

  38. Test Man

    Re:Low end Ferrari?

    "What world do you live in? When have you ever seen a low end Ferrari?"

    Relatively low-end compared to the other cars in the complete line, obviously! Ferrari don't sell cars all at one price you know!

  39. Test Man

    Re:Low end Ferrari?

    "What world do you live in? When have you ever seen a low end Ferrari?"

    Relatively low-end compared to the other cars in the complete line, obviously! Ferrari don't sell cars all at one price you know!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should have Sued Dell as Well

    Dell sold plenty of Vista Capable Computers. They were selling computers with Vista versions with only 512MB of RAM. I think this is a big rip-off.

    Looks like they recently upped the minimum RAM to 1 GB. Wonder why? Maybe they dont want to be sued? Now you can get 1gb of RAM and a cheap Celeron for a mere $399.00 US.

    Very Interesting.

  41. Johan Bastiaansen

    How about PC that come with Vista, but don't run it ? ? ?

    Yup, that's what I said.

    I often install specific 3D modelling software on customers machines. They use laptops and these are only available with Windows Vista.

    Now here's the sting. The drivers for the graphic cards, like Gefore Go 7600, aren't suited for Vista, they're still Windows XP versions.

    You wouldn't notice if you run Word or Excel, but it would limit our software to wire frame views only since rendered views will crash the software.

    So it's running Vista out of the box, but not all components are really fully supported by Vista.

    And no, you can't download an new driver by visiting the website of the manufacturer (HP, Dell to name a few). Can't download them from the Nvidia website either, so we're forced to use tweaked versions we find here and there on the internet. And this is mid august 2007 people ! ! !

    But some day we'll be staring at a black screen with a upset customer accusing us of destroying his new hardware.

    You think I could sue Bill for emotional damages?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got lucky...

    I found my Acer notebook in Portugal (I live in Brasil) WITHOUT THE FREAKING LONGHORN, er, Vista... it came with XP Media Center, only the "Vista capable" sticky thing! Woohoo!

    Core 2 Duo, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce Go 1300 , the works (not MS works) and NO VISTA IN SIGHT! The store could have charged twice as much, and I still would have bought it. I almost bought a VAIO, but it was "Vista Infected", no video card (if you call the Intel gm 950 whatever a video card, shame on you), and cost twice as much.

    I believe they shouldn't have changed the name to Vista, and keep the LongHorn moniker, because that it the size of the thing they are trying to shove up everybody's @ss.

    The sticker should also read: "Vista Infected" so there wouldn't be any doubts that you are being fooled.

  43. Mark

    Vista ready

    Don't know about machines being ready for Vista I think the bigger problem is Vista isn't ready for machines.

  44. A. Merkin


    Obviously the "Home" version should include the Kewl Aero graphics and the pimped out Media player, and the business versions should not...


    Join this class action suit now to get a valuable coupon for $5 off your next purchase of Vista Ultimate! ($600 retail)

  45. John A Blackley


    "A couple of years ago I bought a laptop as a present for My girlfriend, not too shabby but definitely price was the deciding factor in my choice."

    I'm curious - how much did she cost?

  46. Maligned Truth

    Definitely Linux ready!

    All the "Vista Ready" systems our LUG tested in Central Florida were definitely Linux ready, and all that I tested in Best Buy, Costco, and other chain stores also ran Beryl!

    Linux is part of the peaceful FOSS movement, where we attempt to not sue.

    Instead, we simply migrate away from dysfunctional monopoly businesses.

    Trust me, I am the oft malignedtruth

  47. Walter Brown

    RE: RE: What is "Vista"?

    its funny watching people bash on others like they know wtf they're talking about! so now i ask you Mr. Anonymous Comment Poster... What the hell are you about? Vista was not written from the ground up, they started from the sever 2003 kernel... so go on, Mr, Anonymous Poster of incorrect information, enjoy yourself a bud light, you've earned it!

  48. Mike

    Vista Issues

    Having just bought two Acer Inspire computers with dual Intel processors for home use I was more than upset when the pre-installed Vista home edition turned out to be a heap of crap. Firstly I couldn't see any real advantages over XP or Win2k for that matter and the only real difference was the 'packaging' both actual and on the GUI. To make matters worse, unlike Win2K or XP many of my favorite applications failed to install leaving me with a pretty useless OS. Finally, it appears that with 'only' 1Gb of memory its loads and shuts down at such a slow pace making it a sick joke. To make my new computers usable and fast I dumped Vista and installed XP home edition on them both and the problem was solved at a stroke. Everything now works and the PC's are fast and user friendly compared to when they had Vista on them. This constant treadmill Microsoft tries to force us to upgrade always demands more horsepower from the PC and this time is worse than any previous upgrade. Its a well known fact that if MS had produced a bug free OS on day one they would be out of business by now as aside from their OS's most people use third party apps over MS apps. Only by having buggy software in their OS can Microsoft continue to scam us for the next 'latest and greatest' under the pretense of fixing security issues and adding pretty 3D GUI's that most people don't give a toss about. Vista has certainly turned out to be the worst version of an OS whether you're upgrading or buying a new budget PC.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Blackley

    "How much did she cost?"

    At a guess, £29.99 from Ann Summers.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like