Mom and dad keep asking you what Vista is, if they need it, and how to tell if their computer is up to snuff for it? Tell them to take it to CompUSA for a free hardware evaluation
. The techs will check out the goods and see if they are up to snuff. The evaluation is free, unless of course mom and pop have to upgrade memory or get a new video card. The evaluation will only take about five minutes and should tell your folks all they need to know about upgrading for Vista (if they even care). I guess you could just help them out your-hardware-savvy-self, but it is nice to know you don't have to if you don't want to. CompUSA says that the minimum hardware you need to run Vista is a 20GB hard-drive (15GB of free space), 32MB video card, and a 800MHz processor or better. Vista home Premium requires more than that under the hood, and CompUSA recommends at least a 40GB hard-drive (20GB free space), a DVD-ROM drive, 1GB of memory, and a 1GHz processor at least. With many machines now sporting dual cores this shouldn't be a problem, even for machines that are a year old or so. Note that these numbers are CompUSA's, not necessarily Microsoft's.