Vista is Here
Time flies. It’s been almost six years since
Windows XP was introduced to the world. Vista, Microsoft’s new pc
operating system, was officially released to businesses on November
30th. You will see it on individual pc’s available for sale starting on
January 30, 2007. In addition, Microsoft is introducing new versions of
Office, Exchange Server, and SharePoint in 2007… quite an ambitious
There are five versions of Windows Vista: Home,
Home Premium, Business, Enterprise (requires software assurance), and
Ultimate. Our advice to you is to get the Business Edition for the pc’s
in your company. Without it, the pc cannot join a domain, set itself up
for remote desktop access, be governed by group policies, or use the
encrypted file system (EFS). The Ultimate edition combines the Home
Premium features such as HD Movie Maker and DVD Authoring with the
Business Edition feature set.
What makes Vista different? Well for starters,
Microsoft states that Windows Vista is more reliable than Windows XP,
reducing both the frequency and impact of user disruptions. It includes
fixes for known crashes and hangs, and new technology that will prevent
many common causes of hangs and crashes. It has better self monitoring,
reporting features, and supposedly, self-correction of problems detected
such as slow performance, etc.
Next, security has been beefed up. With Group
Policies you can now prevent the copying of data to a removable device
such as a USB flash drive. Microsoft has done a better job of giving
necessary permissions to standard users so that a user does not have to
have administrator rights to a pc to do their work. Windows BitLocker
Drive Encryption encrypts entire volumes helping to secure corporate
data if a notebook or pc is lost or stolen (Enterprise Edition only).
There are several features that can improve worker
productivity. The new “Aero” user interface features transparent
glass-like windows that allow users to do more things at once. You can
more easily see the open programs and documents on your pc with “live”
icons. Included is a very nice desktop search engine to find
information on your computer. It has Internet Explorer 7 built in.
There is a new Sync Center for syncing a pc to the network, to another
pc, or to a mobile device. Windows Meeting Space has been added to
permit small (two to ten users) Vista to Vista web meetings similar to
Until the operating system is released in mass, you
will find that some pc’s being sold are coming with an upgrade coupon.
Be careful if you are purchasing a new pc that states that it is
“Windows Vista Capable”. That designation simply means that you can
load the most basic Home version on it which does not utilize the Aero
interface. If the pc literature says that it is “Windows Vista Premium
Ready” then the hardware is probably ok. A new business pc needs to
have a minimum of 1 GB of RAM, a DVD ROM drive, and a video display
board that supports DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of
graphics memory (minimum), Pixel Shader 2.0, and is capable of 32 bits
per pixel. Most nVidia and ATI graphics cards meet these
Should your company upgrade its current pc’s with
Windows XP to Vista? First, check with each of your major software
vendors to ensure that their software has been certified to run on
Vista. Next, determine whether the pc’s to be upgraded meet the
specifications. How many years will you be keeping this pc? If it is
only a year or two, the time and expense is probably not worth it. Many
companies are delaying any upgrades to Vista until the first major
service pack comes out which will probably not be until mid 2007.
However, we suspect that most corporate IT Departments will start buying
their new pc’s with Vista pre-installed to save themselves the work of
upgrading the pc’s later.
Life’s an adventure. Go for it.