Windows

Windows Vista can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be


Security.

When I hear this word it is comforting to me as it should be to you. Windows XP SP2 has been a very secure release for Microsoft. Windows Vista is touted to be the most secure release of Microsoft to date and I tend to agree. But … If you are thinking about rolling out Windows Vista in your corporate environment, you need to be aware of what impact and cost this will have on your company. Word on the street is that any computer you buy today will work well with Windows Vista: "well" being the key word.

As a decision maker, I am sure you do not want Windows Vista to work "well." You want it to scream and perform above expectations. Let’s peel this onion and take a look at Windows Vista’s hardware requirements. What it Takes Threading or hyper-threading will allow Vista to run with greater performance.

The release of Windows XP was met with huge success but very little of its operating system was threaded. With the release of Vista, threading is going to be prevalent throughout the operating system. Having a computer that can take advantage of this will improve performance but is not necessary.

Windows Vista will be much more graphic focused. Microsoft is trying to allow you to organize data visually for greater productivity. They are also trying to position the user experience to rival that of Apple OS X Tiger and who can blame them? (Personally, I love the Tiger interface.) But, what does this mean to your company? It means that you can run Windows Vista in three different flavors: with a classic Windows XP look; with a pared down version of Aero Glass, which is Microsoft’s description of their new interface; or you can run it with all the bells and whistles because you have the appropriate hardware to support it. In order to run the full graphical user experience with Vista, you are going to need at least a 128 megabyte display card; if your pockets are deep, run a 256 megabyte display card to get optimal performance.

As far as memory is concerned, you will want to have at least 2 GB of memory for a 64 bit computer running Vista or a 1 GB of RAM for a 32 bit computer. In your corporate environment, you probably are running integrated drive electronics (IDE) hard disks with speeds of 7200 RPM and 2 MB cache. With Vista, it is recommended that you run serial advanced technology attachment (SATA) drive with a 8 MB cache and native command queuing (NCQ). This will give your system a jolt in performance. In addition, having a DVD writable drive will be beneficial as Vista will write both DVD and CD’s without the installation of third-party products. Again, this is not necessary; your current hardware will suffice. I believe as Windows Vista evolves, you will see some if not all of the hardware requirements change but that is understandable.

What I am trying to show is that moving to Windows Vista can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be. Decisions, decisions … It is like building a house. You can have the bones of the house for a certain price but if you add crown molding, natural stone, etc. the price goes up. Of course all of these things are pleasing to eye but if you just want the newer construction with better efficiency it provides, the extras do not matter. Will the house work for you without the bells and whistles? Yes, just as Vista will work for you without all of the major upgrades to hardware. Certainly, you will benefit from more memory and bigger and faster hard drives, but it really isn’t necessary unless you decide it is.

What we really want is a safer and more secure environment to feel comfortable. You can keep your current hardware and upgrade Windows XP and then choose to run either the classic Vista user interface, which looks like XP, or run a pared down version of Aero. And in the end if you have the money for the bigger Aero Glass house by all means the eye candy is certainly pleasing.

18 comments
Professor-X
Professor-X

Thanks Steven. This article can really help non-business decision makers who are still in puzzle to upgrade to Vista or not. What I like more about this article is, it discuss briefly and neatly system requirements of Vista in stead of blaming or degrading it. I am not sure about how much it can be helpful to decision makers in corporate environment as they have many more issues to think about than hardware requirements.

sbaumann
sbaumann

Use the default Vista drivers. I've all ready built a corporate Vista image. When I used the drivers Dell provided, things were no where near as stable as when I let Vista simply PNP (Plug-n-Play) with the built-in drivers.

pinkham42
pinkham42

I think that Vista is A.) the most unstable OS since ME. B.)Vista Does not even have to be in use on my dell (NEW) and it crashes by itself claiming a "Blue Screen Error. C.) Vista is uncompatible with half of what I need to use. Personally I have been hard core MS since 3.1 and think Gates chose his time to 'get while the gettin' was good!

shraven
shraven

For someone who claims to have been hardcore since Windows 3.1, you have a very limited understanding of how things work! In order for Vista to be "not in use" you would either have to have your machine off, or booted to a command prompt. I'm doubting you get many bluescreens in either scenario.

Steven S. Warren
Steven S. Warren

With the utmost respect, I have to disagree. A blue screen of death is typically caused by a bad driver or hardware that isnt working properly. In the case of a Dell, make sure you update to their Vista supported drivers. Even then, I have heard many issues with Dell and Vista. They are not playing nice but I can remember when Windows XP and Dell didnt play nice either.It sounds to me that your needs and Vista do not coincide. Maybe by sp1 this will change for you. I am having a great experience with Windows Vista and couldnt be more pleased.

blarman
blarman

What good is an operating system if you can't use your devices? My boss (the president) just came in and asked me if we could "upgrade" his computer back to Windows XP because most of his peripherals don't work. And while the vendors share significant blame, I know that the driver toolkits didn't come out for Vista as soon as they should have to enable developers the time to build - and certify - drivers. IMO - Microsoft needs to work with the vendors and get better driver support. They also need to drop this ridiculous need to have signed drivers, as it is demotivating many companies from putting out Vista drivers for older products due to the pain and cost of the certification program.

jayb1
jayb1

Does anyone have a price on the various versions of Vista yet? Knowing the price It's going to cost me would be big help in my personal budgeting over the next few months.

michael.glanton
michael.glanton

I've been using MS Windows since 1989 and have used every version since that time except for ME. I have been doing hardcore graphic design (print and web) as well as heavy web development. Throughout this time period, I have owned 3 Macs that I used to run the occasional print job that came in on Quark or used early Mac-only fonts. I always hated the Mac OS (9 and earlier) and swore by Windows even when the nay-sayers said, "you can't do design work on Windows". I've always had a thorn in my side over what I call "Mac Snobbery" and swore I would NEVER switch. Recently, I purchased and iMac G3 off of eBay strictly for the purpose of testing websites in Safari. It was my first real experience with OS X... I was fairly impressed. Then, Vista came out and I got a few service calls to go do support on Vista machines... I went, I saw, I cringed! When it came time to replace my aging laptop, I cautiously opted for a PowerBook G4 1.5GHZ with OS X Tiger. I figured it would be a good way to test the waters. I have to say, that I was so blown away by how much smoother my daily computing experience is that I now rarely even turn on my XP-SP2 machine. There are so many things that I can do with what's built in to OS X that actually work that I tried to do in Windows but eventually gave up out of frustration. And, don't even get me started on Internet Exploder!!! Now, I've seen the recent Keynote from Steve Jobs with the preview of Leopard and, for the first time in more years than I can remember, I am actually excited about the next OS release for the computer I use to do my daily gig. As I said, I never thought I see the day... that I would turn into a Mac Snob! Is OS X better than any version of Windows? I hate to say this in public but, YES, IT IS! Do I still use my Windows machine? Yes, occasionally when I need to test a website in IE. But, I mostly keep it turned off to save on electricity. ;) BTW, it is well worth the time to watch the OS X Leopard preview that Jobs did. It's quite impressive!

Kiltie
Kiltie

Whichever way you look at it, Vista is going to be expensive or VERY expensive. It is no wonder that many consumers are looking towards Linux as a solution. A recent ZDNet survey found that the majority of responders were looking at 24+ months [b](TWO YEARS)[/b] before even considering moving to Vista. The bean counters at M$ got their figures [b]very wrong[/b] If I was a M$ shareholder, I'd be selling them right now, and investing elsewhere.

Steven S. Warren
Steven S. Warren

Windows Vista Ultimate $349/$199 Windows Vista Business $269/179 Windows Vista Home Premium $239/$139 Windows Vista Home Basic $199/$99

jayb1
jayb1

Thank you for that info. Now I can go ahead & plan my budget. For the Home Basic It is about $256 Australian.

JRLBell
JRLBell

Okay, maybe you Ausies do things differently, after all your winter is during our summer up here in the North. ;-) Honestly, for the life of me, I cannot figure out what an ISP has to do with installing, using and getting on the internet with DOS, W3.1, W95, W2K, WMe, NT4, XP or Vista, or a Mac, or Linux, or even Unix. I'm sure there are a some ISPs that use proprietary configurations but I wouldn't use those services anyway--they are too restricting and probably want you to pay extra, per month, for a LAN. I would think that dial-up would be more restrictive in this respect than regular cable or DSL services because often you have to install software in order to dial-up to the service. I would also think that ISPs would be getting away from proprietary hookups because it requires more direct support that is more difficult to outsources. If you are on DSL, just buy a decent hardware firewall (software might work as well) and let the box do the connecting (dialing) for you. Please, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not trying to cause a fight here but I'd like to know how the version of the OS affects your ability to connect to the internet.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Is currently offering any support for Vista except in Dial Up Connections and that's the good news so far. Bigpond & Optus might have something ready by the middle of the year OZemail isn't currently even looking at supporting Vista on anything but Dial Up. The Home Basic version doesn't have any backup program built into it and many other missing things that make it next to useless to the average user. As you are in a Rural Area close to Brisbane & the Gold Coast you'll most likely get no support for it anyway as the Telco's are over stretched in that area as it's the fastest growing area in AU at the moment. Personally I'm not even considering implementing it in any form for another 18 months or so. By then most of the bugs will be ironed out and there may even be some drivers available that allow it to nearly work right. Col

Tig2
Tig2

Really appreciate the information. While I am going to pass on Vista for now and can't recommend to clients that they jump on the bandwagon, the pricing information will be helpful as we look down the road at options. I will likely choose a Linux distro for home use but also know that I have family and clients who will need to make the switch. I have been recommending that any computer purchases that are planned in the next 90 days happen before Vista is the OS offered by the OEM. What are your thoughts on that strategy? The goal is to purchase Vista ready equipment while holding on to the XP load for a bit longer- let Vista find its feet as it were. I am also hearing that the best route with Vista is to NOT upgrade- instead buy the full version and install as new. Do you think that current thinking will change? The lion's share of my clients need to get a minimum of five years from a hardware purchase. Edit- typo

JRLBell
JRLBell

I have an upgrade version of Vista Business, it cost me about $30 because I bought one of these upgradable to Windows Vista versions of OEM Windows XP. Despite the fact that it is the upgrade version I had a choice at installation to make a fresh install or upgrade from Windows XP. Naturally, for my home computer, I chose a fresh install. Please note that you must use a different primary hard drive partition (having or buying a separate 2nd hard drive works well) in order to keep your Windows XP installation. This way, I dual boot to Windows XP or Windows Vista. It is also no problem having both and Linux and multi-boot. By default, Windows Vista boots when you go for coffee after you start up your system but you can mess with the boot configuration in Windows Vista so that Windows XP is the default. So, you don't need to be hand-tied to Windows Vista. Personally, I was not overly impressed with the graphics in Windows Vista. I actually copied the default desktop background over to my other Windows XP computer and they look pretty much identical. I'm sure there is third party, maybe even freeware, widgets that can be used on XP. Performance wise, with 2 Gb of memory, Vista runs slower than XP. That's my take on it.

Steven S. Warren
Steven S. Warren

I believe a lot of people will pass on Vista until the new computers come out that are quite beefy. I am going to put together some of my thoughts on this a little later. A linux distro for home use is free and totally acceptable. Good strategy for moving forward. I am going to test the upgrade next week and post my thoughts. I will let you know. Typically, I do new installs rather than upgrades. Microsoft is notorious for the upgrades not being so great. I like starting from scratch.

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

300 dolla with 10 dolla per patch, 20 dolla per security upgrade.

Steven S. Warren
Steven S. Warren

He was asking a genuine question. How about helping him out.