Windows Vista: Your Next Windows Operating System

We go through this every few years, so I’m going to make this short and to the point.
Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows Vista is set to officially launch later on this year (second half of the year), right now it’s in beta still being tested by various customer segments. Should you have it for your business?
As we discussed for Windows XP, my initial recommendation is that you not RUSH out to buy it for all your computers, if the setup you now have is running at least Windows 2000 or XP has plenty of memory and hard disk space. Things should be running just fine.
However, for your NEW computers you need to be up to speed on what the new Vista offers and if you have older PCs that you want to upgrade.
For machines you want to upgrade, if they are too old (and slow) then it’s probably better you get a new computer with more robust hardware, as Windows Vista is going to run slower on it most likely. This computer, depending on when you buy it will most likely come with Windows Vista.
Here’s an overview, from Microsoft’s press release, of what Windows Vista has to offer for businesses and home users (read the full press release here) :
The Windows Vista product lineup consists of six versions, two for businesses, three for consumers, and one for emerging markets: Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Starter (only for developing countries). The number of offerings is the same as the number of offerings currently available for Windows XP. More important, the lineup is designed to deliver clear value to a broad range of customers, each product tailored to meet specific needs of various segments of customers ó home PC users, small and medium-sized businesses and the largest enterprises ó and is aimed at bringing 64-bit, Media Center and Tablet PC functionality into the mainstream.
Windows Vista: Designed for Businesses of All Sizes
Business customers can choose from two versions that are designed to meet their needs, based on the size and scale of their organizations:
ï Windows Vista Business. Windows Vista Business is the operating system designed for organizations of all sizes. For small businesses, Windows Vista Business will help keep PCs running smoothly and more securely so they are less reliant on dedicated IT support. For larger organizations, Windows Vista Business will provide dramatic new infrastructure improvements that will enable IT staff to spend less time focused on day-to-day maintenance of PCs and more time on adding strategic value to the organization. These are some of the specific features of Windows Vista Business:
ï A new user interface, named Windows Aeroô, is designed to deliver the most productive, highest-performing desktop experience possible. Windows Aero will provide a professional-looking, transparent glass design, with subtle effects such as dynamic reflections and smooth animations, along with Windows Flip and Flip 3D desktop navigation features.
ï In addition to these navigation improvements, Windows Vista Business makes it easier than ever to manage huge volumes of business documents. By integrating search throughout the operating system and providing new ways to organize files, Windows Vista Business helps business users quickly find exactly what they are looking for.
ï Windows Tablet PC technology provides built-in handwriting recognition and enables interaction with the PC with a digital pen or fingertip instead of a keyboard.
ï Windows Vista Enterprise. To better address the needs of large global organizations and those with highly complex IT infrastructures, Windows Vista Enterprise is designed to significantly lower IT costs and risk. In addition to all the features available in Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise is designed to provide higher levels of data protection using hardware-based encryption technology. It will also include tools to improve application compatibility and will enable organizations to standardize on a single worldwide deployment image with the inclusion of all Windows user-interface languages. Windows Vista Enterprise will be available only to customers who have PCs covered by Microsoft Software Assurance or a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. These are some of the specific Windows Vista Enterprise features:
ï Windows BitLockerô Drive Encryption helps prevent sensitive data and intellectual property from falling into the wrong hands if a computer is lost or stolen.
ï Virtual PC Express is one of several built-in tools that improve application compatibility with previous versions of Microsoft operating systems. Virtual PC Express enables a legacy application to run unchanged on a legacy Windows operating system in a virtual environment on top of Windows Vista Enterprise.
ï Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications enables users to run UNIX applications unchanged on a Windows Vista Enterprise-based PC.
The new user interface Windows Aero is also available in this edition of Windows Vista.