back to article Is Vista ready for Business?

Now that Windows Vista SP1 is here, you’ve got no more excuses to put off that upgrade, right? And if you have strayed in the past onto one of those ‘alternative’ (shiver) platforms such as Linux or OS X, you’ll of course be coming home to grab yourself a slice of that Wow! Maybe, maybe not, but given that Vista has been with …


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  1. Neil Hoskins

    Mixed Networks

    At home I have an 802.11g network. To this are permanently connected a PC running Vista Home and one running XP Home. At evenings and weekends my N95 joins the party, and occasionally we get another XP Home Machine and an XP Home laptop out of the cupboard. The Vista machine seems perfectly happy with these neighbours. What really screwed it up, though, and took a long time to figure out, was when we set the Wii to a permanent connection. The Vista machine then sat and sulked, with only an intermittent network connection. Everything else in the house is perfectly happy to co-exist in peace with the Wii. I've had to set the Wii to only connect when browsing, which means I don't get friends' Miis, the weather channel, or the news channel. Frankly, this pisses me off greatly.

    If it's not ready for my home I wouldn't let it anywhere near my business.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Matt W
    Thumb Down

    @Neil Hoskins

    Agreed. I'm not so concerned as I don't own a Wii, but Vista refuses to talk to the home router with WPA. It's WEP or WPA2 only. i.e. buy a new router.


  4. Andrew


    Vista is built with the ability to block the user, watch the user and report home on the user as an integral 'feature.'

    You can be sure that's not the same as an OS designed to empower the user protect itself and the user's data.

    Defective by design? The only reason it's on so many people's home computers is the difficulty of getting new machines with XP, or any better OS, on them.

  5. Mark Broadhurst
    Gates Halo

    @Neil Hoskins

    I wouldn't recommend it at Nintendo then!

    Apart from that who else has a Wii at work ?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Shurely shome mishtake?

    Shouldn't this be in Bootnotes? Are there any companies (outside of Microsoft and the hardware suppliers) who really want to switch their Users to Vista until it has been out in the Real World for a year or two?

    Oh, you are doing a real survey. Bugger. Still, the answers I gave still stand - from what I've seen of Vista on my friend's machine, it looks like Hell will be going endothermic before I put it on mine. Or I'll buy a new machine, and that's about as likely at this time...

  7. eddiewrenn

    @Neil Hoskins

    Just getting VIsta and XP to see each other, let alone share internet etc, was enough to make me think Vista was a big step back.

  8. Ivor

    @Mark Broadhurst

    er I think the point is extrapolating the behaviour out.

    if it causes such disastrous and inexplicable behaviour in a simple home setup what's going to happen when you let it loose on a monster behemoth of a corporate network?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    @ Mark Broadhurst

    We have a Wii at work - one of the directors won it in a corporate raffle and donated it to the company. It's hooked up to the big screen in the board room.

    Fortunately we don't have any plans to use Vista.

  10. Steven Hewittt

    @ Various


    Huh? What feature is this?! The opt-in feature to provide feedback on crashes in applications, drivers and the OS or the HDCP features used in your Blue-Ray player?

    @ AC

    "...Mike Nash, a corporate vice-president at Microsoft. He points to customers including Continental Airlines (CAL), Bank of America (BAC), Cerner (CERN), and Royal Dutch Shell which are installing Vista on thousands of machines, as evidence of the system's acceptance."

    Plus the few thousand PC's I've upgraded at my current place and the 200 at my previous place.

    @ eddiewrenn

    I'm with you about the problems with getting Vista to see other machines / other machines to see Vista. The problem occurs as by default Vista tries to hide itself so that when your plumbed into a public Wifi you're more secure. Setting your network connection to 'Home' as the location will ensure that Vista works the same as XP. It's a security feature, which as most security it, annoying. However from a sysadmin point of view it's something I'm happy to live with due to the habit of our sales team using public networks non-stop.

    ..." Next"

  11. richard tanswell
    Thumb Down

    Vista Schimista!

    I have a Wii at home (usually in the toilet!), no seriously my Vista Business laptop does not interfere at all with my Wii although I don't open my firewall on my Vista machine for Netbios as it's a work laptop and don't need to access my server or other PC's at home.

    It works happily at work and at home on wifi using WPA.

    I liked Paul Probine's comments too! Vista is just incredibly slow to log on, even with SP1 and all of the indexing, startup programs etc turned off. Once my laptop is on and working, I just use hibernate when not needed now so I don't have to wait for ages to logon and work.

    I think that the actual interface is what will confuse users however. Certainly older, less tech savvy users will struggle migrating from XP to Vista.

    If you want to do video editing, play games etc then stick to XP. If it's just bog standard Office and Internet then Vista is OK but XP performs better anyway so the upgrade is no point.

    There's little on Vista I actually think is of benefit, maybe the incorporated backup is better but I use Acronis anyway so makes no difference to me.

    In my opinion, Vista was designed by Microsoft with very little thought for the user and they felt that they had to bring something new out to keep interest in MS products. Fact is most Business IT peeps were more than happy with XP.

    They tried to make it like OSX, they slightly succeeded on the look but nowhere near on the performance! If you want the "coolness" of Vista, buy a MAC!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Visual Studio 2005 and Vista

    We've been stuck without a developer machine for a while now, and he's been using a laptop with vista installed. there are so many little bugs that don't seem to have fixes that it's difficult to see development machines being replaced with vista installed. And if you can't develop and test on vista there's no way I'm signing off on the project to deploy to end user vista machines,

  13. Jack Harrer
    Thumb Down

    WiFi connection drops

    What about Vista dropping network connections and reconnecting (or not) every few minutes?

    Yes, there're lots of problems with Vista and other machines on the same network. I have Ubuntu on IBM T42 and I've *NEVER* had dropped WIFI conection. Vista does it all the time. If I remove it from network it's better. But if I remove XP also then it's quite fine. Honestly, it doesn't make sense for me.

    Vista and business? No way. What's the point to change perfectly working hardware for new one just to use new OS?

  14. richard tanswell

    @ Jack Harrer

    I've not experienced drops in wifi connections at all with Vista. In my opinion, it used to happen on various machines on XP which was usually solved by a router firmware upgrade, wifi NIC driver upgrade or a 3rd party wifi manager like Intel ProSet etc.

    My recommendations for wifi are to always have the latest driver and to let Windows manage the wifi with no other 3rd party wifi manager installed on Vista and XP.

  15. richard tanswell

    Business OS...who cares!

    Business users: Why not move to a central desktop experience like Citrix, then who cares what machine/OS your users have?

    We have mainly XP but some Linux based thin clients, Windows 2000 and even some Windows 95/98 users working very happily in a Citrix environment thanks!

    Easy to roll out changes etc, OK so it's no good if you work offline but these days, you can be pretty much online anywhere anyway!

  16. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Down

    My answers...

    After 18 months of personal use at work - Vista Business - I can conclude that there are NO REASONS to adopt Vista whatsoever. Our 100-200 machines will NEVER SEE Vista as long as I'm in charge of IT here, that's for sure unless something revolutionary happens but after this much-hyped SP1 turned out to be a complete flop I'm pretty sure no service pack can save this piece of 'patchwork' (pun intended) called Vista.

    Best MS can do is minimize its efforts on Vista and accelerate the development of Windows7 as much as they can (assuming they indeed have switched to *real* modular structure as rumored) otherwise I can see us (animation firm) migrating to something else - Linux or OS X, depending on software availability - in the next 5-6 years period.

    1. Bloated piece of crap, buggy & slow as hell - clunky, illogical, disorganized, useless, foot-dragging monster, an utter piece of @(*&%$, worst OS MS ever released. Good for clueless idiots who get excited by paperware features, useless annoying crap for anyone who would use it for work.

    2. Despite all the lies spread by MS compared to XP its features are actually castrated, once quick tasks became multi-click exercises with idiotic sub-, sub-sub- and sub-sub-sub-sub... windows opening all the time - a beast, impossible to tame (look at the basic process list!).

    3. Despite MS' claims most of the XP applications does NOT run properly, you'll have several problems, let alone drivers etc, even 18 months after its release.

    4. Lame approach, lame features, lamest errors ever and while XP Pro amost literally flies with a 3GHz+ quad-core machine Vista merely gets by with often stalling in the middle of the most generic process (copy, move etc).

    If your app require lots of memory switch to XP Pro x64 like we did, it's working great.

    DO NOT TRY VISTA, AVOID AT ALL COST and it'll save you a lot of headache!

  17. Levente Szileszky
    Thumb Up

    RE: Paul Probine

    "Vista functions like a bloated asthmatic slug towing a caravan full of elephants to a carnival."

    Excellent summary! I hope you don't mind if I'll use this line occasionally for forum signatures...

  18. Levente Szileszky

    RE: Steven Hewitt

    ""...Mike Nash, a corporate vice-president at Microsoft. He points to customers including Continental Airlines (CAL), Bank of America (BAC), Cerner (CERN), and Royal Dutch Shell which are installing Vista on thousands of machines, as evidence of the system's acceptance.""

    Oh PLEAHHHHSE, save me these silly stories.

    Half of it is just plain lies - no way place like CERN will *ever* officially switch to Vista, it's simply just they get new machines and by default they arrive infected with Vista - and banks etc also typically upgrade OS only when they replace machines as well and anyway they only use one or two apps on client consoles, all developed in-house (often Java-based which even further makes the choice of OS irrelevant).

    "Plus the few thousand PC's I've upgraded at my current place and the 200 at my previous place."

    Well, what do you expect as a reply here? Assuming you did your best you have just showed that you have failed to recognize a huge incoming problem - congrat, you just screwed your former as well as and current employer.

    Of course, you served MS' bottom line, that's for sure.

  19. Wolf

    I have 10 Vista Business machines...

    ...that coexist quite happily in an Active Directory network using a mix of Windows 2000, 2003, and 2003-64 bit servers, with XP workstations and one (cough) "evaluation computer" (read play-toy :)) running Hardy Heron. Everything sees everything else, there are no problems, and the Vista machines log in snappily and run quickly and smoothly.

    Just so you know, the Vista machines all cost $500 or *less*, so these are low-end business hardware: P4 3Ghz with 1GB RAM a 250GB hard drive, and a Intel 950 chipset for video. Oh, and it has a 3.0 Windows Experience Index.

    So much for the "needs high-end hardware". :) You people belly-aching about Vista should check out Powerspec B series machines, they're cheap, robust, and work. Looks like the B613 is the current $500 machine. :)

    Having said that, the most sensible way to bring in Vista machines is by replacing older XP machines. As long as you don't have any incompatible vertical market software (which is the biggest offender) everything will work just fine.

  20. richard tanswell
    IT Angle

    @ Wolf

    So you're running Vista on 1GB of RAM? With no applications open it uses nearly 800MB of that so as soon as you have a few applications open you are paging which must reduce performance.

    Unless you're merely using them as internet/office browsers. Do you have an AV running on them?

    I remember XP SP2 greatly increased RAM usage from SP1 and we found we had to put more memory in them as they no longer coped with 256MB. I'm sure Vista will go the same way so now your short sightedness will mean RAM upgrades at some point. Agreed RAM is very cheap nowadays but it's as volatile as Oil prices so there's no guarantee it will be cheap in 6 months time when you need it!

    We get in HP laptops with Vista and have an XP open licence agreement so downgrade for free. We have an image so it takes 20 minutes or so to go from Vista to XP booting from the image software so I also avoid HP's 20 minute Vista setup procedure.

    So I actually save time reverting to XP than configuring Vista! Happy days!

  21. richard tanswell
    Gates Horns

    ....and another thing!

    What is the point of User Access Control on a Vista PC on a Business network?

    Firstly, any good AV with application control will do the same and secondly, if you want to secure certain functions, you enforce them through a group policy and user groups.

    It's Microsoft trying to make visible changes to a system and warrant the upgrade cost when in truth, they are actually useless add-ons already covered by their other products!

  22. Levente Szileszky
    IT Angle

    RE: Wolf

    "Oh, and it has a 3.0 Windows Experience Index."

    This is where I stopped reading your post...

  23. foof
    Gates Horns


    I had the misfortune to have to install software on a one month old HP laptop with 2GB RAM. It wasn't low end, either.

    I'll quote Paul Probine; "Vista functions like a bloated asthmatic slug towing a caravan full of elephants to a carnival."

    Maybe I'm spoiled by using OS X on recent hardware but my god, how can anybody think Vista is usable? Vista set PC's back 10 years. I've yet to see a new Vista machine run anywhere near as fast as an old machine running XP. Combine that with the fact that Vista has nothing worthwhile upgrading (downgrading?) for, and you get a recipe for an epic business failure. The best business OS, if you are forced to use Windows, was and still is Win2K.

  24. Ben Lefroy

    "Slow" isn't even close

    A friend brought her Vista-powered laptop over a few days ago so that I could transfer some files for her. It was slower than the proverbial slug with the caravan full of elephants (hat tip to Paul Probine for that wonderfully accurate description). Didn't notice any problems with the wifi though, running OS X and XP Pro on the network and the Vista machine was easy enough to set up, just really, really slow. And it's running a faster processor with more RAM than the much older XP machines that leave it for dust in the performance stakes - I'd love to see some benchmark test results for simple PhotoShop operations !!

    Oh, and they've managed to change a perfectly good GUI into something that is now more confusing, unworkable and, generally, pants. WTF were they thinking? Will NEVER make the move to Vista. But then I'm spoilt because I do most of my work on the wonderful platform that is OS X.

    You know what they say: An Apple every day keeps the doctor away (that'd be the doctor who brings you the white coat with the sleeves that tie at the back if you have to use Vista for a prolongued period).

    (STOP - because it's about the same speed as Vista)

  25. Ed


    I realize there's a lot of companies out there that simply love paying high electric bills, but for the rest, I can't imagine any of them wanting to use Vista. I've seen a Vista system just idling chugging down more watts than the same system running XP and actually doing work (most likely, the 3d graphics card uses more juice while it's busy than the CPU; Vista loads down the 3d card, whereas excel 2003 doesn't.)

  26. Will
    Gates Horns

    You cant say 'I WAS a Visa user at xx'

    I had vista for 3 months, ended up ebaying my PC and now have a Mac, lovely!

    No I'm not a fanboi, but it is just better!

  27. CrestaMan

    Windows 3.11

    In the time it takes to boot Vista, logon, wait for the desktop to load on a lower spec machine I could have a new Windows 3.11 PC unpacked, configured and on the winging users desk, booted and logged on. My best time for this was under 7 minutes.

    My laptop is tri-booted and used in this order Mandirva 2008 - XP - Vista.

    Mine's the one with the 30 pin 1 Mbyte SIMM in the pocket

  28. Trevor

    vista wireless

    I too had a problem with Vista wireless connections - I have a moderatley new netgear router and a moderately new wireless card that worked seamlessly with xp. However Vista didn't allow me to have any kind of encryption WEP WPA or anything - it just would not connect.

    Also 800mb ram usage on a 1gb system? WTF?? I tweaked mine and got it down to just under 300mb usage, no load. In fact I ran a virtual machine through vmware and after a serious crash ram usage would go down to just under 200mb and STILL BE STABLE!!

  29. Rick Stockton

    For Admins, Hell-Desk Personnel and IT Directors alike...

    It truly is Windows-ME-II. Just as ME offered almost nothing over 98-SE, but introduced weird stability and 'gotcha' problems all over the place, investing a lot of effort into a Vista migration is just a mistake.

    As with WinME, if you let your vendor(s) force you into a stupid migration with excessive hardware costs, software migration costs, and training costs, with NO BENEFIT, you're not working smart. Just stay on XP, keep using the Enterprise-licensed security stuff you already have, and wait for Vista's replacement. A few extra years license cost of NIS is way cheaper than the migration, even it if WAS possible to perform a Vista migration without major headaches. (And it definitely isn't.) And you'll need those security tools anyway-- Although the OS is more secure, IE and Outlook are pretty much the same as they are on XP, needing protection if your network isn't locked down tightly.

    Just like the smart people stayed on W98 until their firms could actually enjoy ADVANTAGES by upgrading into W2K and/or XP. Vista has no advantages, not at this time; and, like ME, it's likely to be very short-lived. (You'll only be migrating again 3 years from now.) MS Developers are probably on a death march already, trying to create a product with actual VALUE.

  30. Tony Byers

    No need

    What is the business need for the upgrade? Before XP SP2 an upgrade always gave more stability so the driver for the upgrade was there. Now XP SP2 is stable enough and fit for purpose, can't see an need to move off it.

  31. Steven Hewittt

    @Levente Szileszky, @ Ed and @Richard tanswell

    @Levente Szileszky

    Other than discrediting a quote based on your own opinion, did you reply actually have any merit? Was there a point?

    I deployed Vista on a new HP laptop in December 2006 for a single user. This was a test.

    2 Months later after hearing nothing from him at all (yet his collegues were still calling the helpdesk as the usual intervals) I had a quick meeting. He loved it. The mobility, the performance improvements (yes that's right - it was quicker as we didn't need 100+ bits of a extra sys util crap installed as Vista does it all out of the box whereas XP needed drivers and 3rd party apps. Such as Bluetooth, finger print reader, wifi etc.)

    After a fantastic end-user response, and the helpdesk stats of 0 calls (with XP he had an average of 3 a month) it was sold. It cost us nothing as we had enterprise agreements with MS with software assurance, and we replace our hardware every three years.

    @ Richard tanswell

    You are showing your ignorance regarding how Vista works. As usual you look at a little chart in task manager to see how much ram is in use. Congrats.

    If you cared to actually look into the technology you are slagging off, Vista loads are much as possible into RAM. Free, unused RAM is pointless RAM.

    Vista will load as much as it can into RAM regarding bit of the OS internals that are likely to be used as RAM is faster than virtual memory on a HD. As soon as I fire up Photoshop CS3 XTD Vista drops what isn't needed / used / required from RAM and loads up Photoshop instead.

    It's a very efficient way of using memory. This feature is called SuperFetch:

    Watching SuperFetch

    After you’ve used a Windows Vista system a while, you’ll see a low number for the Free Physical Memory counter on Task Manager’s Performance page. That’s because SuperFetch and standard Windows caching make use of all available physical memory to cache disk data. For example, when you first boot, if you immediately run Task Manager you should notice the Free Memory value decreasing as Cached Memory number rises. Or, if you run a memory-hungry program and then exit it (any of the freeware “RAM optimizers” that allocate large amounts of memory and then release the memory will work), or just copy a very large file, the Free number will rise and the Physical Memory Usage graph will drop as the system reclaims the deallocated memory. Over time, however, SuperFetch repopulates the cache with the data that was forced out of memory, so the Cached number will rise and the Free number will decline.

    There's also the ReadyBoost and various other technologies used in Vista to reallocate memory allowances to improve perfomance and give RAM centric applications priority when required. It's essentially a RAM optimsation technology.

    I suggest you research the OS you are slagging off before simply pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL and assuming the worst.

    Oh, and the box I'm typing this up on now has the Mcx1 (media centre) user, my account and my sons all logged in at at the sametime. I'm using under 700Mb RAM. (I have 1.5Gb)

    @ Ed

    Out of the box Vista uses less power. This is due to the new sleep functionality, dynamic processor power management and a new system that prevent apps from stopping a system from entering sleep mode.

    Additionally, the new GPO's and Powercfg.exe utility allow admins to centrally manage the power settings of Vista machines on the network. This can be used in large networks to dramatically save power and thus money. This couldn't be done using GPO's in XP.

    Power consumption & Managemnt: Vista Vs. XP

  32. SpitefulGOD
    Gates Halo

    Vista's Fine

    We install Vista on all new machines going into our clients offices, there's no issue what so ever and the new Group policies are a dream, as long as it's on a dual core machine I would recommend it over XP for performance reasons (if it's single core or has less than 1GB then stick with XP), XP seems an awful lot more sluggish than vista on dual cores and starts up a hell of a lot slower.

    As for all the moaners here who can't get it working in a business environment I feel sorry for your clients as you are obviously incompetent, a good IT professional or developer will ALWAYS find an answer to a problem, someone who is shit i.e. you, will go for the simpler option of reformat, reinstall then blame MS for any lost work, I suggest you take a change of career you give us all a bad rep.

  33. marc

    @Levente Szileszky

    Maybe I take it for granted that I can use PCs without a second thought, I guess some people are just unlucky. Maybe ask your IT bloke (or pay BT) to help you out?

    Vista runs fine for me. Much nicer than XP to use, faster too. The new explorer saves me a lot of time, Rad Studio runs fine, a few glitches with Visual Studio, Netbeans is fine. Team Fortress 2, Flight Simulator X all running OK..

    The sleep and hibernate thing for laptops is great.... you sleep it... you wake it ... instant. But if you sleep it and then forgot about it, leaving it in the bag, it hibernates and you don't run down the battery... genius. Vista is the best OS change I had since going from OS9 to OS 10.2 (OSX 10.0 - 10.1 were slow and crap, 10.3 was it's peak I think too!)

    So I recommend people upgrade, mobile users especially.

  34. Brett Weaver

    @Steven Hewittt


    Obviously your experience is different from the rest of us. Hooray, its nice that someone has had a good time.

    1.. If you believe that any MS OS (including 2K3 server & Vista) releases RAM fast enough to justify the load-up process then you don't use the development, database or communications tools I do.

    2.. I still want someone to tell me what Vista gives me on a machine of double the spec of an XP box that I can't get just as fast on XP? Sorry, I know nothing about games so if thats the benefit I can't use it. I'm talking about a normal everyday business benefit - You know, Vista does THIS.. and XP can't.

    No one at MS seems to be able to answer that either.

  35. Joe Cincotta
    Dead Vulture

    The great leap...

    Due to the scale of the Microsoft business there has clearly been some crazy outcome whereby management by committee somehow found that the MSDN camp and the Raymond Chen camp had a brain orgy and the bastard son was Vista 32 bit.

    The reality is that Vista 32 really has some fundamental drawbacks and honestly, there is no reason for it to exist - in fact - the fact it does exist is why many users claim Vista 'sucks'. The key problem is that Vista 32 still supports a 20 year old driver model and - worse - one which has no external quality control.

    The approach Microsoft took with the 64 bit platform was to make it clean and perform for the enterprise - even with XP 64 bit. the problem is that this alone would have been a compelling argument for the enterprise to move to Vista, if the whole thing was not so convoluted.

    Microsoft have done their users a disservice by masking the reality of the shift to 64 bits - not just because it is 64 bit but becuase of the things it represents in the way of quality control over sloppy third party vendors.

    XP should have stayed 32 bit, and Vista only 64. Make it a big deal to move to the new operating system and make damned sure that the strategy for rigid control over the quality of drivers is paramount in your marketing effort.

    I just cannot fathom how Microsoft got their strategy so wrong.

  36. Tommy T

    I don't see the problem

    I was loath to buy Vista for ages, especially after reading all the posts on the Web about how bloated and rubbish it is.

    Around Xmas I was looking for a laptop, and ended up buying a Dell Inspiron for about £850, and ordered it with Vista Ultimate installed.

    The laptop was quite beefy, it came standard with a Windows Experience rating of 4.7.

    I began installing my apps and over the last couple of months have been using the machine in earnest on my home network.

    I'm sorry I just don't understand what all the moaning is about, the machine runs perfectly well, is easy to use, and needs very little tinkering with the OS to do anything, it just works, and well at that.

    I fired up my old XP machine the other week to install SP3 and it soon dawned on me after a few hours of using it, that it had aged. I couldn't exactly put my finger on why, but it just felt older and clunkier.

    In my experience Vista is not that bad, in fact, its a pretty good OS.

    A few laptops at work are now running Vista Business, and again they work perfectly well. Ok, they don't have all the flashy gizmo's of Home Edition or Ultimate, but they perform perfectly well as Business Laptops, and no-one in IT has complained about them.

  37. Ian Moran

    Working fine

    Vista Ultimate runs perfectly here on a Dell M90, Sony Vaio SZ2XP and a Chillblast Fusion Photo OC II - the latter 64bit. I also own a MacBook Pro & iMac 24" but spend the majority of my time in Vista. I don't understand what all the fuss is about either.

  38. Michael Jolly

    did i miss something?

    June last year i needed a new PC and yes it came loaded with VISTA, i never really had a problem with it after installing vista again to remove packard bells Crapware it runs like a charm and still does it only gets a ratting of 3.9 but thats mostly down to a crap video card and not much else.

    Is it ready? the answer is mostly for home and maybe not for business

    Just my two cents

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