Business-Wise - I have decided a year+ ago that we would not be upgrading to Vista at all in the general user population. As far as IT personnel, I let them decide for themselves if they want to use Vista, along with a caveat that (IT-Developers) they would not receive any support whatsoever from the Helpdesk or any IT Infrastructure personnel. They are basically on their own.
Personal-Wise: I've been running Vista at work since the last Beta version, thru the RC's and FR's. I also had another tried and true XP Pro system I used in time of utter desperation and frustration.
Home Use: Once we received the MSDN Final release (the one prior to the OEM's, etc Jan release) I've been running Vista Ultimate on two of my home systems. (Hold on.....I'll get to SP1 in a moment.) I did very little tweaking of anything on any of the systems in which I had Vista installed until Symantec finally released the Vista version of Backup Exec System Recovery for Desktops so I could make a complete System Drive Image of a Vista system that was running at acceptable standards PRIOR to doing any tweaking, Update Installs, or Security Patches releases.
I have never trusted either Windows Update or Microsoft Update, in particular beginning about a year and a half ago. At that time I had one of my Desktop Support Tech's compose an all-inclusive list of every OS release of all types for XP Pro that was ever released from Microsoft since XP was officially released. I also had the Tech include the kb URL for each release, along with hard-copy attached to the All-Inclusive List in order of release date. Out of the three page, single-spaced itemized list, I personally read and reviewed every kb for each release, made some notes, then scheduled a department meeting with all support personnel to discuss each Windows/Microsoft Update release, using the associated kb article(s) Summary explanation, Cause and Resolution sections as a basis to decide if each particular update/hot fix/security patch was actually needed and beneficial for out general user population computer systems. We differentiated between systems permanently attached to our internal LAN (behind two firewalls--BTW XP Firewall and Security Center services we decided early on to set as Disabled), laptop users, and remote users who used their own home system to VPN into our corporate internal LAN.
Before I state our findings I would like to point out that up to that point in time we had each system configured to automatically update using Script Logic Desktop Authority, basically pushing out every thing released from Windows/Microsoft Update Service Site. What originally instigated me to begin this whole investigation was due to the fact that every corporate system (servers included) were, over time, running slower and slower, with increasingly longer boot up and shutdown times. I thought this to be a little odd as all our user systems automatically ran the current version of Diskeeper Auto-Protect, as well as doing daily Boot-Time Defrags when the user logged in each morning. (If this is consistently performed on a daily basis no noticeable extension of complete boot up time was noted.) Additionally, all flavors of Temp files were deleted daily (inc. IE v.x) and chkdsk was run on each drive daily prior to the daily Boot-Time Defrag of each drive.
As I stated earlier we had noted drastically increasing boot and shutdown times on EVERY computer system Corporate-Wide. With this knowledge, I determined that this was a very important issue that was costing the company money, ultimately all-combined, to find the root cause of the degradation of each computer system internally.
Our conclusion was that out of the total (at that time) of a little over 100 OS changes from Microsoft, only five were of utmost importance and of high priority. Ten were marginal depending on the user/system primary function. The remainder, including most ALL security patches, was totally useless to the systems in our environment, and was entirely not needed. With this knowledge I had one of my Desktop support Tech's to take a clean system, install XP Pro/SP1 embedded in the install, install all normal corporately used applications, including Office 2003 (with Outlook 03), etc. He then made the appropriate configuration changes following a standard corporate desktop/laptop configuration checklist. He ran chkdsk and Diskeeper after each install as required in the aforementioned installation document. The five updates we ultimately decided were mandatory for our systems were then installed chkdsk and defrag ran. Using a Performance Benchmark based on an average of the current state of all our user systems, this new system was lightning fast. Our conclusion is that the Server NOS's and the user OS's had become hopelessly bloated and out of sync internally to the OS due to the installation of the 95+ unneeded OS changes brought on by Windows/Microsoft Update recommendations. Needless to say we began to closely scrutinize each release from Microsoft and recreated system hard drive images that mirrored the test system with only what we determined to be mandititory updates from Microsoft. Once all user computer systems had been reimaged, our User population was the happiest of any group I have ever been responsible for keeping happy.
Now for Vista SP1/RC1 and the required "pre" install updates. On my two home systems I first created system Drive Images of each using BESR for Vista, but was able to get the pre-requisites installed on only one system after a day of hacking, constant rebooting, etc. the following day I was able to install SP1/Rc1 without any apparent errors. (BTW-The install took an extremely long time to complete). This system ran fine and I actually noticed a VERY small increase in boot up and shutdown time. Any improvement would be great as each Vista Ultimate system typically takes 5-8 minutes to shutdown then another 4-8 minutes to boot up entirely. All was fine for two days......
The third day after the apparent successful installation of Vista SP1/RC1, I ran chkdsk/f on the C:\ System Drive. The chkdsk utility ran almost to completion then the system Blue Screened, telling me to use the Vista Install DVD to run a Boot repair. I did that, it found several errors that were reported to have been fixed, however the system still blue-screened on boot. I hacked on this for a few hours, unable to get it resolved and the system booted. At that point I re-imaged the system with the image made prior to any of the Microsoft required "pre' install updates and the Sp1/RC1 install. My decision was to let sleeping dogs lie and I have not attempted to try it again on either of my home systems. I directed my Support people NOT to ever bother with any of it due to the total amount of wasted time and the unsuccessful outcome.
To summarize, in my opinion, the Windows/Microsoft Update site is designed for home user idiots that probably don't even know where the oil dip stick is in their automobile. I will NOT install SP1 Final Release until I can read about al the fallout and decide if it is even worth it. In the meantime I'm patiently waiting for Vista ME to GO AWAY!
My next home system(s) will be Mac?s from this point forward......
Forrest Salfen, MCP
IT Infrastructure Director