Microsoft has delayed Vista until January 07 – but while that seems like bad news, it gives you more time to prepare and Microsoft more time to polish its new arrival.

This column appears in the June 06 issue of PC Advisor, which is available now in all good newsagents.

If you thought that the wait for Windows Vista, Microsoft's super-slick replacement for Windows XP, couldn't get any worse, you'd be wrong. Santa Bill Gates and his busy Microsoft elves haven't been as busy as we'd like. News has emerged that Windows Vista isn't going to be ready for the all-important Christmas-buying season – and that means many of us having to screw up our seasonal wish lists and chuck them in the fire.

Obviously Vista is a complicated project. Microsoft is not only rewriting the way in which much of its operating system works, but taking the time to ensure its new product is up to scratch. PC makers will be in for a cruel Yule, admittedly, as many people tend to buy a new computer when an operating system ships. And Microsoft will face a bleak Christmas, presumably having hoped to have shipped as many copies of Vista as possible sooner rather than later.

But, PC-makers' coffers and Bill's billions aside, what does the Vista delay mean for you? Well, unless you really get a buzz out of installing and running the latest system as soon as it launches, the hold-up won't mean much at all. First, the actual delay is mere weeks. If your computer can't cling on to life without a Windows transplant, then you should simply upgrade your PC, then install Vista when it ships. From next month, stores will be carrying ‘Ready for Windows Vista' stickers on systems that can upgrade without any hassles.

Taking in the Vista

In fact, the delay could be seen as good news. The official reason is that Vista will benefit from tighter security – a real boon for anyone online. It'll also get a spit and polish, look slicker and have technologies such as Gadgets. Once here in January 2007, your PC will get a facelift that will add a sparkle to the New Year.

On a happier note, I've just received word that BT is going to deliver something on time, unlike the tardy folk at Microsoft. BT has revealed that it's rolling out 8Mbps (megabit per second) broadband across the country from April 2006 – and has a special offer price of just £11.99 per month, including free evening and weekend calls. Expect other broadband providers to follow suit. This really could be the time to make the jump to broadband if you're still lagging behind on a dialup connection. The price jumps to a more serious £17.99 per month after three months, but if you want the fastest-and-easiest available broadband, it's definitely worth a look.

Finally, long-time Microsoft rival Apple turned 30 on 1 April, 2006. And, while many of you aren't fans of its Mac OS X operating system, Apple has moved its latest Mac PCs over to Intel chips. Maybe the Vista delay means one thing. A happy Christmas for Apple?