The UK political Green Party has slammed Microsoft’s new operating system (OS) Vista for encouraging users to throw away incompatible PC components.

Microsoft's latest OS is defective by design, said the party in a statement, where future archaeologists will be able to identify a 'Vista Upgrade Layer' when they go through landfill sites.

All computer hardware, such as monitors and sound cards, will have to obey Microsoft's rules for encrypting content in order for consumers to use Vista to play 'premium' content, such as Blu-Ray and HD DVD disks.

Derek Wall, Green Party spokesman said: "So-called 'digital rights management' [DRM] technology in Vista gives Microsoft the ability to lock you out of your computer. Technology should increase our opportunities to consume media, create our own and share it with others.

"But Vista helps the corporate media take away our consumer rights. Silence in government betrays a shocking complacency in the face of this latest attack on our rights."

The Green Party also claims Vista will also be power hungry, as it requires more processing time to encrypt and decrypt 'premium' content, and looks around the computer every few milliseconds to check that nothing is trying to distribute de-coded 'premium' video or sound.

Wall added: "Vista requires more expensive and energy-hungry hardware, passing the cost on to consumers and the environment. This will also further exclude the poor from the latest technology, and impose burdensome costs on small and medium businesses who will be forced to enter another expensive upgrade cycle."

Consumers, businesses and government bodies should protect their interests by migrating to free software, rather than upgrading to Vista, said Wall.

The Greens predict that an enormous amount of hardware will be junked by consumers and companies as Vista will refuse to play Blu-Ray and HD DVD content with current monitors and sound cards.

Siân Berry, Green Party spokeswoman added: "There will be thousands of tonnes of dumped monitors, video cards and whole computers that are perfectly capable of running Vista - except for the fact they lack the paranoid lock down mechanisms Vista forces you to use. That's an offensive cost to the environment. She added that Green Party also supported complaints by computer manufacturers that XAML, a Vista-only internet mark-up standard, would be another attempt to extend Microsoft's virtual monopoly.

"Microsoft is determined not to play fair and we hope the European Union stand up to them. The best way of course is to insist that we purchase products that work with open rather than closed standards."