Last month I posted a query for those considering buying a new PC: : are you waiting to buy a new PC with Vista preinstalled, or will you buy a new Windows XP machine this year that's Vista ready? 

Well, if you're like me and for family machines waiting for Vista to see if it will run on your machines, you might take a look at what PC World's Scott Dunn (June '06 issue) called out as "free and low-cost add-ons deliver Vista's features to your current XP system."

"Vista delay, schmista delay. You may not be able to upgrade to the official next version of Microsoft's Windows for months, but you don't have to wait a day to add many of the new OS's security, performance, and interface improvements to your current XP setup. And to top it off, many of these advances cost little or no money."
My favories of his recommendations: MemoryBoost Pro, Folder Lock, InfoTip Extension and my Microsoft add-on favorite: Alt-Tab Replacement PowerToy.
 
WinHEC is around the corner (watch at the end of May for more details on suggested/ recommended HW specs for the various flavours of Windows), and I am sticking by my original spec for a new machine: a minimum dual core 2.80GHz processor, 1GB high speed SDRAM, an 80GB HDD, a multi-format CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) and a 256MB graphics card.