Save Money when you buy Windows Vista

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 19, 2007
Updated • May 28, 2013
Windows, Windows Vista

Microsoft decided to make several versions of Windows Vista available that differ in price, availability and functionality. The price of the system varies from $199 for Windows Vista Home Basic to $379 for the cutting edge Windows Vista Ultimate edition.

The price of Vista is already beginning to fall slightly but it will take some time before the price of the operating system will drop significantly.There is however the possibility to purchase Windows Vista for a cheaper price.

The cheapest way for most users is to buy so called System Builder versions of Windows Vista. Those are  supposed to ship with hardware that was purchased at the same time but can be sold separately as well. The main advantage is the price of course, it ranges from $99 for Windows Vista Home Basic to $199 for Windows Vista Ultimate. This means that you can save between $100 and $180 by ordering a System Builder version.

This has however some disadvantages as well. The System Builder Vista ships with no manual and you receive no support from Microsoft or the retailer where you purchased the operating system. It needs to be noted that the System Builder variant cannot be transferred to another PC once installed.

Vista Upgrades

Another option is be to purchase an upgrade of Windows Vista instead. Upgrades have the advantage that they are cheaper than the retail versions. Upgrades start from $99 for Vista Home Basic and end at $249 for Vista Ultimate.

Upgrade are intended to work with previous versions of Windows XP only but this has been proven wrong. It is possible to install Windows Vista from an upgrade DVD without having Windows XP installed at all.

Purchase a new Computer

The third option would be to buy a new computer with Windows Vista instead of upgrading your old one. If you were thinking of purchasing a new computer anyway you could look for one that ships with Windows Vista. This is mostly a valid option if you had the intention to buy a new computer, it does not make sense to purchase a new computer just to receive Windows Vista. Those versions are system builder versions most of the time and cannot be transferred to another computer.

You can however save money using the third option. Dell for instance offers Desktops with Windows Vista installed starting at $359. Those are usually system builder versions of Windows Vista Home Basic. Still you receive a new computer with Windows Vista for the price of Windows Vista Ultimate.

Vista Express Upgrade

If you purchase a computer with with Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Media Center or Windows XP Tablet installed you may find a Vista Express Upgrade option inside. Those computer have been build before Vista shipped and the retailer had no time to install Vista on the system yet.

You can use the Express Upgrade to upgrade from your XP version to Windows Vista. The advantage of this method is that it is still cheaper to purchase such an "outdated" system with an upgrade option than to purchase a computer with Vista directly. This should not make a big difference but everything counts.

If you could get your hands on an express upgrade option alone you could save more than just a few bucks. Lets say your friend bought a computer with Windows XP Pro and an Express Upgrade option. He has however no intention to run Windows on his computer and switches it to Linux completely.

If he is a good friend and knows that you would like to upgrade to Vista he could simply use the express option to receive a copy of Windows Vista and hand it out to you. Or let you buy it for a few beers.


It is possible to save lots of money if you evaluate your options before purchasing Windows Vista. You could save $180 and more depending on the choices that you make.


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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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