Will UMPCs run all Vista apps?

UMPC enthusiasts like Kevin Tofel have been installing Vista on their UMPCs and delighting in how well the new OS runs on the under-powered PCs and we’re starting to see a lot of them blogging about how well Vista is running.  There is no doubt that Vista adds a lot of functionality to the UMPC with advanced tablet and touch features that work very well on touch screen devices.  These folks have been running Vista long enough to start testing all areas of the new OS and reality is beginning to set in regarding the graphics capabilities of UMPCs running Vista.  Two of the websites, jkkmobile and CarryPad, are reporting that some of the graphics apps included in Vista will not run on most UMPCs running Vista.  In particular, Windows Movie Maker and DVD Maker generate the following error dialog box when they are run on UMPCs with under-powered graphics:


Their investigation has turned up that some of Vista’s heavy graphic applications apparently require a PC with Vista Premium Ready components, something that most UMPCs do not have.  Vista will install and run on these UMPCs but any attempt to run one of the affected programs will generate the dialog box shown above.  Most of the UMPCs available today use either the Intel 915 graphics controller or earlier and do not meet the Vista Premium Ready designation because Intel has not produced WDDM drivers for the chipset.  UMPCs with Via processors are probably even worse off as their integrated graphics do not even support DirectX 9.x.  This may even affect the soon to be released OQO Model 02 as it uses the Via processor so even if you get the great new dock with the integrated DVD burner you may not be able to burn DVDs with Vista’s DVD Maker.

UMPCs (and other devices like the Fujitsu P1610) that use the Intel 945 graphics controller should be OK as Intel has produced WDDM drivers for this controller.  I can vouch for that as the P1610 even runs Aero Glass natively out of the box, although I must admit I never tried the two programs mentioned above.  It is not clear at this point how many other Vista programs will not work but it is something to consider for UMPC owners wanting to upgrade to Vista as soon as it’s available.


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