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.
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.
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.
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.
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.