Windows

Shopping for Windows Vista software and drivers

You can expect to find an abundance of software and device drivers on the market that are specifically designed for Windows Vista. Here are some places to find those products.

We're just now passing the four-month mark since Windows Vista was officially released. So it's at this point that you would expect to find an abundance of software and device drivers on the market that are specifically designed for Windows Vista. Here's a guide to finding some of those products.

Software

Of course, the first place to look if you're tracking down software for Windows Vista is the page that lists the applications that have earned the "Certified for Windows Vista" logo or the "Works with Windows Vista" logo. Here, you'll find quite an extensive list of software you can use with Vista. Microsoft updates the list weekly.

When it comes to software that will run under Vista, Microsoft has two classifications: Certified for Windows Vista and Works with Windows Vista. Each of these classifications is given a unique logo that is affixed to the packaging of the software. Here's Microsoft's official description of these two classifications:

The Certified for Windows Vista logo

This is a compatibility designation for applications and devices that have passed a rigorous testing program on computers that are running Vista. The technical requirements for this designation target four core areas: reliability, security, compatibility with Windows Vista (and future operating systems), and installation and removal.

The Works with Windows Vista logo

This is a compatibility designation that's designed to encourage Vista compatibility for the current generation of Windows-based applications. To receive this designation, software companies test their applications to make sure that the applications meet the program's guidelines.

If you want to contrast Microsoft's official list with something on a grass roots level, then you should also check out the Windows Vista RTM Software Compatibility List page on the ieXbeta Web site. Originally set up to provide news of Microsoft beta software, ieXbeta is now wiki and has been working on creating an extensive user contributed database on operating systems and software applications.

The Windows Vista RTM Software Compatibility List page provides first-hand accounts of what software does and doesn't work with Vista. Many entries contain information on any special requirements needed to get the software to work, and many others contain links that that you directly to the manufacture's Web site.

Drivers

When Vista shipped, more than 31,000 updated drivers were ready to go. The vast majority of these drivers were included on the Windows Vista DVD so, right out of the box, Vista supports a lot of the hardware that existed when it shipped. And, new drivers are available all the time right from within the operating system via the Windows Update feature. Just click the Start button, select All Programs, and then click Windows Update.

You can also check the hardware manufacturer's Web site for new and updated Vista drivers. For example, to get drivers for your HP printer, just go to the HP site and track down the Software & Driver Downloads page.

If scanning through technical supports sites isn't your cup of tea, then check out the RadarSync site. On the Vista Drivers page you'll find hundreds of links that will allow you to directly download the drivers that you need without a lot of hassle.

In addition, you might also want to check out the Vista Drivers Page on the WinDrivers site. The list is quite extensive and also allows you to directly download drivers.

Conclusion

Windows Vista software and drivers seem to be pretty abundant at this point in time and it's a sure bet that things will only get better. If you have information on other sites that you've found helpful in learning about Vista software and drivers, please take a moment to drop by the Discussion area and let us hear.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

30 comments
bohdan2
bohdan2

I like what Vista has to offer, but I think that Microsoft and other manufacturer's could have done a lot better job in ensuring the drivers wher available for exiting hardware that's less than a year old. Seems awefully dumb to me that a new OS would would make your hardware obsolete. Espaecially hardware that's less than a year old. Sure it's getting better now, but Vista has been out for a while too.

wmahoney
wmahoney

HP did not update it's drivers it points you to the new printer that are Vista ready. I know this first hand because my psc 1350v will not be updated to Vista sorry but here are some of our newer HP system that are Visa compatible. this is the second time HP has done this to me there will not be a third I am buying a Cannon or Epson all in one printer. BillM from NY

gtaylor
gtaylor

I think all of us who have been shafted should write CEO Hurd (Hurst?) demanding that if HP won't update their drivers, they should ship free Vista-ready printers that are closest to our present ones. Especially since they sold me a $2.3K Pavilion without warning me their own gawddamm printer wouldn't work!

ken_mcc
ken_mcc

This article is really poor. Smacks of being on someone's payroll or in their hip pocket. VISTA has been a complete nightmare full of incompatibility problems from the onset of the 1st beta. The most common response to most of my issues was "This has been fixed in the release version" ... what a complete joke and lie .. ramped with networking problems consistently loosing the network connection when other systems reside on the same network and as for drivers? Well, the most predominate answer from manufacturers is consider buying new hardware for hardware that functions perfectly fine under XP Pro. And, support, who heard of it for VISTA? Save yourself time, headaches, and money to enjoy life with and stay on XP Pro for as long as possible or seriously consider Linux or Apple. VISTA was the best invention to cause me to recommend Apples to my clients.

Fil0403
Fil0403

Your comment is really poor too. If you have so many problems with Vista it's because you don't know how to work with a PC and weren't careful enough to run something called Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor, most of us Vista users are very satisfied. Your clients will surely thank you from their hearts when they realize they have to reboot their computers every 15 minutes to run Windows-specific software (around 50% of software).

golf24_7
golf24_7

I thought the article was useful in the fact that it pointed to resources for drivers that have been newly released or found to be compatible with a new OS. Does Vista have its problems sure so does every other OS out there. Since installing Vista on my primary PC in November (Gold release to Manufacturing) I have had some difficulties but most have been overcome with the release of new drivers reminiscent of every other OS upgrade I have done. The two exceptions are a PVR card and an 8 year old wireless printserver I removed the PVR card and replaced the printserver. Note I did a clean install and I had to upgrade my Antivirus oh wait I have to do that every year if I want current DAT files. Please note I am not nor I ever been employed by Microsoft but overall I like their products and the flexibility they give me. PS If you don?t want to deal with issues of using a newly released product that has significantly changed core logic then don?t install it. Better yet move to linux and enjoy life on the edge or better yet if you have money to burn buy a mac so you can load windows on it. In other words you have a choice. PSS Before installing Vista run the compatibility tool I did that on my laptop before that install and it pointed out areas of concern which let me know in advance that my fingerprint reader would not work. A little thought and planning is always a good idea.

lorabet
lorabet

I am a MS partner. When rcceived Vista Business I installed it as a clean installation in a separate hard drive. Now I am not able to change in my Computer-Network ID to a private network so I can keep the Workgroup network designation. I will keep my Windos XP for now. I will report this to Microsoft as a problem

SkyNET32
SkyNET32

I find it ironic that Adobe is not on either list.

Ernie Ganas
Ernie Ganas

That's because Adobe is mad at Microsoft for planning to release PDF drivers when they shipped Office, MS didn't but they are available for download from MS. Adobe has been so greedy for so long that they are going to loose the PDF standards war to freeware and inexpensive competition. They refuse to release patches to make their current software as of 11/30 compatible with Vista out of spite. Their new releases, CS3 and Acrobat 8 have problems because of their attitude. Shades of Word Perfect!!

janthos
janthos

I have been fighting vista to allow me to use Adobe 8 reader. Every time i try to bring up a document, it says Adobe has stopped working. I have tried several suggestions I found on the web, including running adobe in compatibility mode, but nothing works. What a headache!!!

STumilty
STumilty

That is weird because I have Vista and Adobe reader 8 on one of my computers and it works fine. I find that Microsoft may of released vista to early since some people are having problems with one thing where others aren't having any problems. I think that maybe more testing needed to be done.

Fyrewerx
Fyrewerx

... I wish I could determine why. I know lots of people are having trouble with Adobe 8 Reader. I don't know what I could have possibly done during installation that would make it absolutely stable.

Mihnea D. Mironescu
Mihnea D. Mironescu

I read this post hoping that I would find some unexpected clues or tips on the Vista hell. But I was a bit disapointed. Let me explain why. I've just finished installing Vista on my brand new computer, and it went pretty smoothly. Then I looked for the drivers for my CreativeLabs Audigy sound card, and I had the first disapointment: an official driver was available, but bare-bones only! No DTS decoding, no EAX, no sound configuration tools, almost nothing from what the XP version of the software offers. Then I went to Logitech's website to look for a newer version of SetPoint for my Bluetooth diNovo keyboard and mouse. Again, a driver was available, but (again this dreadful word) the bluetooth stack only supports the mouse and the keyboard. No other bluetooth devices (like your mobile phone for example) are supported as in the XP version. If the Audigy card can be called somehow obsolete, the Logitech devices are new! And I really don't want to mention my Pinnacle digital capture card, which needs a totaly different version of the software in order to work with Vista! So I hardly see the Vista drivers heaven that the article described so nicely. Mihnea Mironescu

Fil0403
Fil0403

The exception confirms the rule. The Bluetooth drivers that come with Vista are good for practically any Bluetooth device (I use my Conceptronic Bluetooth pen regularly in Vista with my Nokia 6280 mobile phone to transfer pictures from and to the PC and it always works smoothly). The rest is the manufacturer's fault, not Microsoft's or Vista's and it's also certainly not Microsoft's fault you weren't careful enough to run something called Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor.

crobertson
crobertson

I use an obscure piece of hardware called a printer. It is made by some generic fly by night outfit called HP. I also cheaped out, and only bought the +$1k color laser all in one a couple of months ago. It should have occurred to me that drivers for such unusual functions as faxing, scanning, and OCR would be problematic...but I was not thinking. Like you, after upgrading, I had the utterly basic functional set of features...it WOULD print (after some effort). However, no fax to .pdf, scanning is a nightmare, no OCR, no one touch scan to email from my mail program. After calling MS to inquire...assuming I had done something wrong, I was informed that I had just made some unfortunate choices in peripherals. I didn't complain or throw things, but I am now trying open office. Figure my luck with random people trying to do a better job won't be worse than the integration of MS and HP.

Xwindowsjunkie
Xwindowsjunkie

My company writes software that runs on Windows XP. We've been testing Vista, with the Beta, our software would not even install properly. When RC1 came out it would still not install properly. Now suddenly on the final version, it not only installs but runs as well. Our software packages were written in unmanaged C, Delphi 3 and VB6. So we were expecting to have to re-write all of it. Now we don't. I don't want to look a gift-horse in the mouth BUT all along we've gotten the message that these software development tools would not be suitable for Vista and we even experience that issue. But when the final release comes out for Vista, everything works, so what did they do? Put a new face on the old XP code and ship it when the testing kept telling them that the OS software was going to break too many companies product? Who can we believe in Redmond?

normhaga
normhaga

nah. It broke all but four pieces of software I use. Had to purchase new versions of everything. Some, especially in the utilities arena, I have yet to find equivalent programs. The drivers supplied by HP on a new laptop are buggy.

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

you just gained from the compatibility features that were left out of the Beta & RC1!! I'm afraid to say it will fail one day, on a patch or SP, due to your non rewrite and apparent gift horse mentality. You heard it here first.

gtaylor
gtaylor

I received my new HP Pavilion with Vista Ultimate in March, and HP still hasn't supplied a driver for the Laserjet 1020 printer. Consequently, I have three printers that don't work and had to go out and buy a Brother 2040. You'd think the computer manaufacturer would ensure there are drivers available for ALL its own peripherals before shipping, or at least provide a warning. By the way, HP's website says the 1020 driver MAY be ready by July.

cirievans
cirievans

You will find that you can buy generic inks for Epsons and Canons, for half the price. Over time it will easily pay for the cost of the printer. I always check the price of the inks before I pick a specific model.

mjstod
mjstod

Yes, I bought a scanjet 4760 that was a year old when Vista came out and when a driver finally appeared in April, it "provides basic functionality only". This is another way to build in obsolescence in their products. You have to go out and buy a new scanner. When I get one, it will be a Canon or Epson. I will stick with xp pro for now and leave Vista on my secondary computer (so my wife can play the Majong tile game)

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

before you upgraded? The Hardware vendors are at fault here I think.

gls0927
gls0927

I have just purchased a (ugh) gateway, running vista because I wanted to know more about it. Tried to upgrade to 4GB of ram and the system dumps..Gateway tries to sell me product but has no clue. Vista seems to blame gateway.. The guts of it are if I install the dimms midday..the system usually accepts it..all the test come out fine.They are kingston dimms/match the sys spec..and checked out fine at a local comp fixit shop Im feeling screwed

gallopingghost
gallopingghost

Before we get into assigning fault - let remember that Microsoft has no access to the operating kernel. That is a major departure for hardware vendors to write new driver, especially when the ongoing discussions may have led them to hope for kernel access.

melvins-12449368
melvins-12449368

I just read a new posting recommending everyone with HP equipment demanding a refund or a replacement. Not a bad idea. I had a problem with HP awhile back and called support about a network problem I was having and the support person was in India somewhere and couldn't speak much english and the english she did speak sounded like it came out of a high speed wood chipper. The first thing she did was recommend higher memory. I thought that was ludicrous as I already had over 1 GB of memory. So realizing I had more knowledge about computers than she did, I hung up the phone, went on HP's website and looked up the telephone number of HP's corporate headquarters in California. I called and told the secretary that I wanted to speak to the President or the CEO. The person she connected me to was the executive secretary of the CEO. I informed her of my problem and she told me that she would have someone call me right away. Before I hung up with her, I did inform her about their most idiotic support people in India and how inefficient and unknowledgable those people were and that I had been an avid HP user for over 20 years, and that was now over. I would be using other products henceforth. She was sorry to hear that of course and apologized profusely for the problems that I was having. I did however receive a call from a support person from the United States in just under 20 minutes. She wasn't much help either, however she did leave me her name, a ticket number and a direct line to her to help me resolve my problem. Finally, I did an XP restore and reinstalled my programs. That took care of my problems. Now for my recommendations. For those of you who went ahead and upgraded to Vista, you actually have a couple of choices. You can go back to XP Pro and solve your hardware and printer and driver problems, or you can live with your Vista misery. If you have you old XP software, reinstall it and get it over with. If you don't have your old disk, you can go to www.softwareoutlet.com and purchase the XP OS for under $140.00. If you don't see what you want when it opens, type "operating systems" in the search engine and it will take you to it. In other words, go back to what was working for you and don't listen to all this Vista hype. Mel

STumilty
STumilty

I do have to agree with you about new OS's having bugs and business are working with older OS's fine, but what about the security risks with the older OS's? For example WinXP is more secure than any of the previous OS's. One thing I do hate is that all the new OS's keep getting patched all the time. Which is good in away but at the same time it slows your machine down alot. Today you can't really run XP on the recommended requirements anymore, there are just to many updates. On the other hand, they are getting better in a way. especially since hackers, crackers, etc are finding new way every day to break into a system. I would say it is going to be a long time before we see the "perfect" OS.

mxyzyptylk
mxyzyptylk

The question is, how many of us are thinking this way and being forced to install against our better judgement? And WRT XP being "unavailable", machines on sale in stores that already had XP preinstalled were sold as "Vista Basic" or "Vista Home", normally on machines with XP Pro. I'm wondering if store personnel had to turn around and clobber the XP on the machine with Vista, and swap the install CDs in the box.

melvins-12449368
melvins-12449368

I'm sure glad I read these TechRepublic articles and all the posts that go with it. I remember when all of the Operating systems from 3.1 to Vista came out and offered as the next best OS next to heaven itself. In fact, all of these systems had a tremendous amount of bugs in them. My philosophy has always been patience. In my opinion, 3.1 was the best operating system ever. It just kept on working and working and working and never any crashes. All of the software made for 3.1 worked. So along comes 95 and everyone was all hyped up for it. Not me. I kept 3.1 until people stopped reporting bugs and problems, then I upgraded with all the fixes and patches. Same with 95. Same with 98. Same with XP. My daughter up in Georgia has a business there. Called me for my recommendation on which computer to buy. I specifically recommended to her that she not buy a computer with "Vista" as the OS, but that XP Pro had pretty well worked most of the bugs out of it and that was the one to buy, especially with SP2. She did but with great difficulty. No one wanted to sell her one with XP Pro or they did not have them with XP Pro installed. However, she finally found one and so far it is working as expected. What some people fail to realize is that some of these corporations out here in the real world, and even some state and county agencies have "job specific" programs that they use and are still using the older operating systems which work perfect for what they are used for, and so they won't mess up things by changing their OS's. Every time something new comes out, its touted by the mfgr as a "must have" and you can't conduct your business without it. I think its time the public slow down a little and analyze their needs as well as the cost factors, and especially the "vendor program deficiency" factor before hastily upgrading to something that doesn't work or that makes you jump thru hoops to make it work. And so, the old addage, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it." Mel

j.binner
j.binner

Vista I think has too many compatability issues.If I ever try it again I'll waite a year or so till I know they have ironed all the bugs out of it.The OS would require better ram,graphics card,& proccessor most likely& I don't know that I want to spend that kinda money.XP PRO is the best thing going now so I'll keep it simple.Any thing eles is on sinking sand. Sincerely . J.Binner.