If you want to try it out before buying the new Windows Vista operating system, you can go to a Microsoft test site: WindowsVistaTestDrive.com.

There’s a demo that installs a link on your hard drive and lets you play around with most of the new features. New features include a calendar and appointment book, a “snipping” tool for improved screen capture, an instant search button, group document collaboration and lots of other goodies. A sidebar that is very much like the one found in the popular Opera Web browser provides a stock ticker, weather reports and address lookups.

If you’re thinking about upgrading to Vista for your present computer, you can go to Microsoft.com and install the “Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor.” At the same site you can search on “Vista editions.” You will find that not all Vistas are created equal, and you may or may not want to pay for the features in the more expensive versions.

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