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MAINZ-KASTEL, Germany — On his lunch hour, Sgt. 1st Class Eddie Turner dropped by his local AAFES Power Zone to check out the latest — and potentially greatest — computer operating system, Windows Vista.

Like a lot of people, he wasn’t buying, not yet anyway.

“I was curious,” Turner said as he stood before a wall display holding dozens of boxes of the Vista operating system, “but I just got around to the point where I’m comfortable with Windows XP.”

On Tuesday, Microsoft released its newest operating system, and most Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores, particularly its Power Zone outlets, seemed well-stocked.

Customers have been asking about it, said Brent Haggen, an AAFES employee at the Mainz-Kastel Power Zone near Wiesbaden. “Over the past week, I’ve been approached quite a few times.”

There are four versions of Vista.

Late last year, Microsoft released Business Vista. That was followed up Tuesday by the other three: Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate. All four software packages come in “upgrade” and “complete” versions.

Turner was gripping a box containing the Vista Ultimate upgrade, which retails for $254.95. He didn’t bite, but a colleague of his, Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Buchanan, did.

“This is the mother of all versions,” Buchanan said with a smile as he strolled up to the check-out counter.

Still, he echoed what many computer professionals and enthusiasts are advising: Until Microsoft works out the bugs, it’s best if consumers wait at least a few months before buying the new operating system.

Buchanan bought the Vista Ultimate because he works in the computer field for the 1st Armored Division Support Command. While he surmised it’ll be a few years before the Army upgrades to Vista, Buchanan said he personally and professionally needs to “stay on the cutting edge.”

But the Army, “dealing with national security issues, we can’t have our systems not work,” he said. “Microsoft never gets it right, right out of the box.”

AAFES’ prices for Vista versions

Versions of Microsoft Vista now available at Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores:Home Basic, $198.95Home Basic Upgrade, $98.95Home Premium, $238.95Home Premium Upgrade, $158.95Ultimate, $394.95Ultimate Upgrade, $254.95Business, $289.95Business Upgrade, $198.95

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