Vista in a nutshell

Microsoft released Windows Vista to the public today to the expected ho-hah – PC Pro have an excellent round-up of the launch at their site.

So what are the pro’s and con’s of Vista in a nutshell? In my opinion they are:-

Security – for businesses, I feel this will both be the biggest "plus". Vista’s security "out of the box" is much tighter than any version of Windows before it, but on the downside – expect a few applications to "break" under this new tighter control until Vendors release updated versions of their applications.

Appearance – Vista looks gorgeous. It’s well on it’s way to challenging the foremost Diva herself, the Apple Mac. Are business users bothered about these looks though? Probably not. What’s more – the wonderful new look comes with a requirement for much more power which leads us to…

Hardware – Vista needs more significantly more memory, better Graphics and a faster processor than any version of Windows before it. Yes, you can turn off a number of Vista features to enable it to run on older hardware – but if you are turning off features, why upgrade at all? For this reason alone, I can see many businesses holding off on wholesale Vista upgrades until their current hardware is long in the tooth. And then there is the issue of peripherals. Whilst Microsoft have worked hard to support tons of hardware devices – you can guarantee that not every webcam, printer, scanner or any other device you might own will work with Vista immediately.

If that sounds a negative overview of Vista, it’s not meant to be – I’m really excited about the opportunities Vista allows for deployment and management, for instance. However, I am being realistic.

In my opinion, more so than any other release of Windows before it, Business customers will adopt a "wait and see" attitude. Wait and see any bugs appear to be ironed out, wait and see if their hardware and applications will work, wait and see how long they can put off their upgrade until absolutely necessary.

At the other end of the scale, if you have a business full of Windows 9x or NT machines that are already creaking – moving to Vista wholesale should be high on your list of projects this year – probably in conjunction with renewing all of your hardware and perhaps upgrading your applications.

As for myself, my office Desktop PC remains XP based, my Games PC is moving to Vista Home Premium in the next few days, and I’m undecided whether my laptop moves to Vista Business or not in the next couple of months…


2 Responses to “Vista in a nutshell”

  1. 1 Mike January 30, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Hi Rich. Since you asked a question on Vista I\’ll try to provide an answer; The Quote I\’m responding to is:"Yes, you can turn off a number of Vista features to enable it to run on older hardware – but if you are turning off features, why upgrade at all?".
    Some of the reasons you should upgrade at all are the reasons you started the blog with.
    Componentised OS
    Image based deployment
    One OS regardless of the target (Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, Media Centre etc)
    The features you turn off are all presentation stuff. People make a great play on how Vista looks great – and it does. But looking great is absolutely the last reason why you should upgrade. All the stuff that you don\’t see under the hood are the reasons why you should.
    I\’ve put Vista Business on a 4 year old Toshiba Tablet PC and it works fine. Yes – Aero and Glass aren\’t working but they didn\’t work with Xp either. I have still gone forwards even if it doesn\’t look so funky as it could. I\’ve also put it on my two year old Toshiba Tablet and get "the full fidelity" experience. My experience of actually deploying this on older kit is very positive and the much vaunted extra hardware requirements are a myth. The only hardware upgrade you may choose (not mandatory) is potentially a graphics card upgrade if you want the full visual experience, and my Toshie does it fine on an old NVidea GeForce FX 64MB adaptor that it shipped with two years or more ago. The other myth is memory. When I was running Vista and Office 2007 Pre-release I needed more memory. I had 2GB in my laptop and with my normal working load it ran at 52% (ie over a GB). Now I\’ve got the RTM (ie Release To Market) code all the debug stuff has been stripped out of both and the same load runs at about 30% (ie about 640MB). Ity\’s also very stable (thankfully as I use it as my presentation machine).

  2. 2 Richard January 31, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Hi Mike – you make a good point regarding features and your experiences with older hardware. My own experience has been different though. Running Vista Beta (and of course, it is beta code) on a 2ghz AMD Sempron based PC with 1GB of memory wasn\’t very snappy at all – this is with a GeForce MX2 upgrade installed too.I hold my hands up to the fact I\’ve not tried the RC or Full Version – something I\’ll rectify as my Partner Action Pack (which remains a bargain at £200/year!) has just arrived with the full release of Vista in it. I\’ll be the first to post a blog entry with a positive statement if you are right though – promise!However… I\’d still be surprised if the release code ran at acceptable speeds on, let say, a P4 2ghz with 256MB memory and an onboard Graphics Card. This is a typical Hardware setup for most SME customers I see – especially those with a dozen PC\’s in an office. Yes, adding 1GB memory and a decent Graphics Card isn\’t expensive – probably less than £100 per PC – but it\’s another reason not to upgrade for most customers – especially when the comment I\’m hearing frequently is that XP does "everything I want".I\’m aware of Vista\’s benefits – in fact I\’ve just advised one of my larger clients (250+ Workstations, 8+ Servers) to hold off on a Symantec Ghost server buy-in to help their growing deployment situation and bring forward their Vista upgrade – specifically due to Vista\’s Deployment and Management capabilities – but my opinion has been formed whilst discussing options with many other smaller clients here in the UK – they are going to be a real hard sell to upgrade.I suggest thrashing this out over a few beers when you hit the UK in March – many opinions may change in the next 2 months. 🙂

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