Walmart Hated "Vista Home Basic" And Thought It Should Not Exist

Computerworld has posted some excerpts from internal Microsoft emails that seem to imply that Walmart was not happy with “Vista Home Basic.”

There’s currently a class action lawsuit over the marketing of computers that were marked “Windows Vista Capable,” even though the PCs couldn’t run all of Vista’s heavily advertised features—and instead were only able to use a limited “basic” version of the OS called “Vista Home Basic.”

From Computerworld:

Wal-Mart was particularly unhappy, both with the Vista Capable scheme, and more than that, with the fact that Microsoft was releasing Vista Home Basic, which is such a stripped-down version of the operating system that even some Microsoft officials don’t consider it Vista.

On February, 2006, Microsoft exec Robin Leonard wrote this to other Microsoft officials about what Wal-Mart had to say:

Wal-Mart was very vocal regarding the Windows Vista Capable messaging. They are extremely disappointed in the fact that standards were lowered and feel like customer confusion will ensure…They also went so far as to say that they wished Windows Vista Home Basic was not even in the sku line up. The would totally support the higher ASP, but feel that competitors will be offering Windows Vista Home Basic machines and as such they need to support that for their opening price point.

Doug Degn (EVP-Electronics) spoke about how we could be creating the biggest nightmare by giving editors the opportunity to simply say don’t buy a Windows Vista Capable machine because you can’t trust the logo.

Wal-Mart: Microsoft should kill Vista Home Basic [Computerworld]


Edit Your Comment

  1. humphrmi says:

    That’s actually pretty clue full of Wal-Mart.

  2. and when wal-mart’s unhappy…people DIE!!!

  3. James says:

    I think Microsoft screwed the pooch with Vista anyway. I’ve been using it over a year now and it’s still a piece of shit operating system.

  4. Bay State Darren says:

    This is quite interesting. Usually when Wal-Mart tells a manufacturer there’s a problem with the product it’s like the mafia: you’re under no actual obligation to meet their demands but still…it’s an organization you don’t want to challenge if you want to stick around. To see that there’s somebody to big for Wal-Mart to push around is quite unique. [I’m not trying to sound pro-MS, BTW.]

  5. Snarkysnake says:

    This will be interesting…All of the WalMart haters that don’t like it when they “stick it to the little guy” are probably going to give them huzzahs for putting big,bad Microsoft in their place. Now do you envious , self righteous WalMart haters see why they do serve a purpose ?

    Let the flaming begin in 3…2…1…

  6. RvLeshrac says:


    You’d have to have been fully lobotomized to have been stupid enough to think that “Vista Home Basic” was a good idea.

    Of course, it could’ve been avoided entirely if PC manufacturers would stop using the cheapest crap they can possible source in their machines, in addition to trying to squeeze out every penny by putting the minimum amount of memory necessary in them.

  7. FLConsumer says:

    Wow, Mal-Wart somewhat putting quality over price… I’m almost impressed. If Vista weren’t such a pile of poo it’d be a major statement. C’mon Mal-Wart, reject Vista outright — that’d be sending the message home to MS.

  8. MustyBuckets says:

    Then they asked Microsoft for their receipt…

  9. Bay State Darren says:

    I wish this wasn’t posted on the night of major primaries. I’m flipping between Consumerist and politics [I desperately need a GF instead of this shiat] and the polarized mentality the election is making me feel like I must support one of these two companies.

  10. azntg says:

    Probably the only time I can agree with Walmart’s opinion… over Windows Vista among other things. Though of course, rationale behind opinions are probably different.

  11. Nicholai says:

    I wanted a new (windows) computer, but all the different versions of vista where so hapless, confusing and expensive, but I *wanted* a PC. In the end, I just killed $130 for OSX leopard. Not somewhere between $200 and $400. I still had the Mac hardware.

  12. Nicholai says:

    @darkblast93: I meant “hate the mac hardware”

  13. k6richar says:

    @James: Then why dont you use a different operating system? I would recommend Ubuntu.

  14. FilthyHarry says:

    Seeing as how there is now a class action lawsuit re: the “Vista Capable” sticker, I’d say Wal-Mart was right.

  15. FilthyHarry says:

    The only reason I’d get Vista is for DX10. Add on the 400 to 600 dollar cost for a DX10 video card and its stupid. I’ll stick with XP for a while I guess.

  16. Nytmare says:

    I read the whole article and still don’t get what’s wrong with Basic other than it didn’t include the Aero. Is the Aero appearance really what drove customers to buy a Vista “upgrade”? Cause you pretty much need a higher-end new computer for Aero to be usable and that would preclude buying an “upgrade” for any existing machine.

  17. h0mi says:

    XP home/Professional was hard enough to stomach. Going from that to Home Basic/premium/business/ultimate was !#&*()!(&*!$)&!$ stupid.

  18. FilthyHarry says:

    Historically most OS upgrades required some kind of hardware upgrade and the visual interface was always the main selling point. Its good for the economy. An OS upgrade that doesn’t need a hardware upgrade is only good for MS, not anyone else. (Not saying I agree, just that thats the way its been with MS OS’s)

  19. StevieD says:

    I like Vista so well that I authorized a complete upgrade of all of the business computers to Vista 64bit.

    With RAM prices dropping to rock bottom prices there is no reason to equip a computer with less than 2GB. Vista does really, really well with 2GB.

  20. FilthyHarry says:

    Well if you LIKE it so much why don’t you… oh you did. Nevermind. :)

  21. XianZomby says:

    I bought Windows Home Basic. I had a few problems at the start with drivers, but now everything runs great.

    I bought it because I noticed some of the new programs I wanted to run, such as the latest Photoshop Elements, would not run on my Windows 2000 machine. Also, I thought it was silly to upgrade from Windows 2000 to Windows XP when Vista had been out for almost 9 months.

    Am I concerned about my inability to run the “Aero” interface? Not at all. My machine can run the high-end Vista, but I am happy with the Windows 2000 interface, and my Vista machine is set to classic mode. What I was concerned with was getting in at the starting line of the OS that software manufactures were going to start coding for, and getting out of the Windows 2000 environment that nobody codes for anymore.

    I’m more interested in ensuring the software I want runs, and less interested in the software offerings of the OS.

    Incidentally, when CompUSA went out of business I picked up a full version of Photoshop CS2 for $400. It would have run great on Windows 2000 and XP, but is not guaranteed to run on Vista – though it does.

  22. Bay State Darren says:

    Clash of the Corporate Titans: Microsoft vs. Wal-Mart

    Round One
    Weapons: memoranda

    Round Two
    Weapons: Nunchucks?

  23. B says:

    I can’t beleive I’m siding with Wal-Mart on this one. Doesn’t Wal-Mart have a reputation of forcing vendors to lower the quality of their products in order to get the price down?

  24. wav3form says:


    You can buy dx10 vid cards for much less than 400-600 dollars. :rolleyes:

  25. wellfleet says:

    The reason they release the Vista Home Basic is for it to be able to run on PCs with less than 1GB of RAM. In order to properly run the full version of Vista, you need *at least* 1GB of RAM, and better yet, 2GB of RAM. This bumps the cost of many basic PCs $100 or $200. I work at Best Buy and every Sunday, people come out for the ad computers that have 512MB of RAM and either need to add memory, or run Home Basic. For most people, Home Basic is probably just fine.
    That said, I live near their home office and shop there weekly. Their buying power makes my groceries 40% cheaper than at Harp’s.
    And no, I’ve never, ever been asked for my receipt in three years of shopping there.

  26. se7a7n7 says:

    Come on, Vista isn’t that bad.

    The most I’ve ever had to reboot my Vista computer is 3 times in 1 day.

    On good days I don’t have to reboot at all!!!

  27. I am puzzled. WalMart is complaining about marketing schemes and shoddy products?

    Did I read this right? Is St. Louis actually Hell (since it snowed there today)?

    Color me confused.

  28. nardo218 says:

    @StevieD: Hey look, a boss from hell.

  29. Pec says:

    Does anyone remember the days before Windows XP Service Pack 2 was released?

    All those wonderful average household computers completely littered with spyware and other forms of malicious software. Pornographic advertisement appearing in front of the children at random. People email bombing their own company addresses when they log on at home via a web browser. Worms infecting over 25% of AOL users running Windows all over America.

    Service pack 2 made improvements. But you won’t see it on Vista. Not for awhile.

    I repair computers for a living. I see about 15 cases of malicious software infestation a week. Of which all are Windows XP. Vista just doesn’t have these kind of security issues to the common computer illiterate user.

    I used to get a lot clients with driver issues, but the number has slowly diminished. It took along time(and I do not blame Microsoft, I blame cheap companies not wanting to create new drivers) but now when you walk in an electronics or office supply store you can be assured 100% of the software and hardware available is Vista compatable out of the box.

  30. ChuckECheese says:

    Late last year, IBM started offering recent computer buyers the “Microsoft Vista-to-XP Downgrade.” They even had a banner advertisement for it on their support website–it was so cute. I was all over that offer, since Vista made my computer run with all the finesse of… well, something really awful.

  31. Rectilinear Propagation says:


    WalMart is complaining about marketing schemes and shoddy products?

    @PotKettleBlack: They knew that their customers were going to read “capable” as “fully capable”. If Behind the Counter is any indication of how returns at Wal-mart go then I can’t blame them from wanting to avoid the unholy chaos of all those customers wanting to return their computers.

  32. CPC24 says:

    Vista is pretty nice, if you take the time to learn it, and don’t buy the cheapest hardware available. Wal-Mart shoppers do not fit into either one of those categories.

  33. cheesebubble says:

    Cheesebubble Hated “Walmart” And Thought It Should Not Exist

  34. cheesebubble says:

    Walmart Hated “Vista Home Basic” And Thought It Should Not Exist

  35. cheesebubble says:

    sorry bout my second posting there. shite.

  36. HOP says:

    i’m sticking wit xp till it fades away

  37. SeaKaySea says:

    Another example of the fine job that the free hand of the market capital place works. I Luv It!

  38. Caswell says:

    Count me among those that have no problem w/ Vista Home Basic. For normal PC use it’s perfectly capable, and a giant step forward from Win2K which was what my entire family was runnning.

    I saw plenty of sub-$1000 laptops advertising Home Premium as a feature, but none of them had the hardware to actually run Aero. What else is there? Media Center? No thanks. The inability to initiate a Windows Meeting session? Don’t care.

  39. Moosehawk says:

    Man, if you’re not siding with Wal-mart on this one, then you’re siding with Microsoft, and vice versa.

    I hate to say it and it goes against all my morals, but I’m siding with Wal-mart. Vista completely sucks and they need to stop deceiving customers and maybe consider renaming their products; I was thinking something along the lines of:

    Vista Really Suck (Home Basic)
    Vista Suck (Home Premium)
    Vista Alright, but still a little suck (Business)
    Vista Ok (Enterprise)

  40. Moosehawk says:

    I hate to say it but I have to side with Wal-mart on this one. Vista completely sucks and Microsoft needs to stop deceiving their customers and consider renaming their Vista editions to better suit computer illiterate customers. I was thinking something along the lines of:

    Vista Really Suck
    Vista Kinda Suck
    Vista Less Suck
    Vista Minimal Suck

  41. Moosehawk says:

    Well, I thought my comment disappeared, so I re-wrote it. There it is, now I feel like a jackass. I guess you can choose between my two naming schemes or something.

  42. nutrigm says:

    Good job Wal-Mart! I hate Vista too!

  43. Joafu says:

    *Sigh* Why can’t we just go back to Win98? Everyone could play Mechwarrior and be happy.

  44. jamar0303 says:

    XP Pro for me. My laptop only comes with 512MB RAM, and I’m afraid to buy and install more because I have no idea how or where the slot is (it’s a Panasonic CF-T5 if anyone wants to help out). Also because I live in China- I don’t know if that stick I’m buying is genuine or not. Memory cards, I can be all “whatever” about; RAM, not so much.

  45. Pro-Pain says:

    I think all this Vista hating is because we (people who bought Vista) basically bought a slower version of Windows XP with Aero 3d and Direct X 10 built in and have yet to see ONE benefit of doing so.

  46. LionelEHutz says:

    Why mess with Vista when you can get by just fine with an older Atari ST, Falcon, or one of those venerable Amiga machines?

  47. lowlight69 says:

    Vista is simply ME take 2. :)

    on MS campus Windows ME is like the OS that shall not be named, they don’t even like to acknowledge that it ever existed. Vista is heading that way.

    have a friend who works in corp sales at Dell, said when he started getting calls form customers telling them to re-install all their hardware with XP or simply take it all back. the writing was on the wall.

    with SP3 XP should be really solid. I remember reading that they even made some performance improvements on SP3.

  48. vastrightwing says:

    Toshiba, you can directly blame Bill Gates for you selling fewer machines. Why? I would love to buy a new Toshiba laptop, but I refuse to pay for an OS that… sucks… to put it mildly. Will you offer to sell me a laptop with an XP downgrade?

  49. jrmtrx says:

    Back in the day, you saw Pentium PC’s with Win95/98 and 32MB of RAM for the high end. When Win2k came out, many people complained that it ran slow on less than 256MB of RAM. Now Vista is out, and the issue is two-fold: 32 bit OS’s need to die, and Vista runs well on 2GB+ of RAM.

    The problem is not only with Vista. It also lies with hardware makers putting out “bargain” stuff and loading the 32 bit editions of Vista. In a perfect world, our RAM standard should have doubled to 1.5GB standard with XP and 3GB+ with Vista, not including video memory, but all of the hardware makers bundle it with some onboard POS video and 1gb of memory and wonder why people complain.

    No I don’t work for MS. I use Linux(Suse)on my main PC, but my oldest son has had Vista for 4 months now without an issue. No lockups, no reboots, it just works. He has a nicely tuned PC with 4gb of ram and a SEPERATE 256mb video card however, and it really makes a difference.

  50. jeff303 says:

    @FilthyHarry: Nearly every release in the Apple OS X line has run faster and with more stability on the same hardware than the previous major version.

  51. Smashville says:

    When it’s too crappy for Walmart…you know it’s crap.


    One of countless reason’s why I went Mac. Once you go Mac you never go back.

  53. mac-phisto says:

    @jamar0303: see page 23 of the manual, which you can find here -> []

    there is typically an access panel on the bottom of the computer for RAM expansion (some old IBM thinkbooks had an access panel under the keyboard). if you look at the bottom of your laptop, you should see a metal panel with a screw – that is most likely where the RAM is found.

    from what i could find on a quick internet search, you may only have a single slot for RAM. if you have 2 slots, remember that usually you have to “pair” 2 chips – 2 X 1GB or 2 X 2GB, NOT 1GB (slot 1) + 2 GB (slot 2).

    considering most (or all) RAM is manufactured in SE asia & is super-cheap, i doubt you’ll have a problem finding genuine chips. good place to identify your chipset & compare prices so you can expect what to pay -> []

  54. RvLeshrac says:


    You rarely need to pair memory now. That’s an obsolete notion. You only ‘need’ to pair it if you want to take advantage of dual-channel speeds – not terribly important unless you’re a gamer.

  55. RvLeshrac says:


    64-bit OSes are currently bad for the average consumer. Companies largely do not have working 64-bit drivers, and they do not produce 64-bit applications. 32-bit applications will run markedly slower on 64-bit Intel architectures. AMD is a little better, but still not ideal.

  56. mac-phisto says:

    @RvLeshrac: i don’t think his model has two memory slots anyway, so it’s a moot point.