Customers who want more information about what PCs will require to run Windows Vista will get some, but not much, from Microsoft at the company's conference for hardware engineers this week.

At Microsoft's annual WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference), the company will discuss a 'Get Ready' for Vista program it launched last week that outlines the hardware requirements to run both low-end and premium versions of Windows Vista.

However, Microsoft expects the Get Ready program to pretty much speak for itself, said Mike Burke, a Microsoft product manager, and will not discuss it in "any comprehensive detail" at the conference.

That's bad news for some analysts and users who said they still aren't clear what kind of PC to buy to get ready for Vista, even though Microsoft provided a tool on the Get Ready website they can run on their PCs to help them to test system requirements. Since Vista is such a drastic overhaul to the Windows OS with multimedia features that will require, among other things, premium hardware for graphics, knowing what kind of system to purchase is important to customers.

"I still think [Vista requirements] are still extremely hard to figure out," said Michael Cherry, an analyst with research firm Directions on Microsoft Inc. "It bothers me that I’m sitting here with a brand new machine I just purchased in the last three months, but even though I ran Microsoft’s program, I’m not sure if it could exploit Vista."

It would be helpful if Microsoft or hardware vendors could "clarify" Vista PC requirements at WinHEC, he said.

Burke said that Microsoft has worked closely with its hardware partners so they can articulate to users what kind of technology a PC will require to run Vista, hence the Get Ready site and program. Customers who want more information can certainly get it from those partners, he said. "We don’t want this to be confusing for customers," Burke said.