Vista is alive and kicking

Despite what the obituaries might say, Vista is faring well -- and it still soundly beats XP

Microsoft has kindly extended its XP "downgrade" program for OEMs by another six months. Rather than appreciating the extension, some people have chosen to mock Microsoft and call for the curtain to close on Windows Vista once and for all.

Even my esteemed colleague Randall C. Kennedy wrote that for him, "Vista's demise was a foregone conclusion". Personally, I get so much hate mail whenever I write something positive about Vista that I shy away from the subject. Well, in the words of Michael Corleone from The Godfather: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

Allow me to share with you some numbers that come from a Vista Tracking Poll conducted by CDW through Walker Information. They used an online survey, and participants included 772 IT decision makers who identified themselves as being familiar with Windows Vista. Here were some of their key findings:

  • 48 percent of respondents indicate that their organization is evaluating, testing, or implementing Vista. That doesn't sound dead to me.
  • 30 percent of respondents have organizations that are currently implementing or have already implemented Vista.
  • 50 percent of the respondents said Vista is performing "above expectation" on key features.

Given that most of what we read is how worthless Vista is, one must wonder: What could they possibly about this wretched OS that is doomed to retirement at such an early age? Most of the respondents pointed to security enhancements as the No. 1 feature that attracts them to Vista. Performance improvements, search enhancements, improved networking, and patch management -- these were all high in people's list of features they liked about Vista.

It still boggles my mind that people berate Vista, even after SP1. Mr. Kennedy called it a "pretender to the desktop throne." I'll agree that it may not be all that it was initially hyped up to be, and hopefully Windows 7 can meet the expectations we've been watching and waiting for nearly a decade to see. But how can some of its finest features simply be ignored by critics?

Among them, there are enhancements to Group Policy settings (more than 800 new settings in Vista) that allow for a greater level of administrative control over such items as power use. These days, we are all about going green, and here Vista is an OS that can help us thanks to the added ability to adjust the amount of power your system uses. Other enhancements allow for greater security control within the enterprise, preventing users from plugging in USB devices and other removable media, User Account Control, and more.

Vista also introduces BitLocker protection, which is great for encrypting your entire system. Hundreds of thousands of laptops with confidential company data on them are lost or stolen each year. Without encryption of the drive, it is just a matter of time before a thief can access the contents. With BitLocker, that worry is removed. As a business person -- perhaps one who has had their laptop stolen -- would you mock that level of protection? Most likely not. Can you get it with XP? No. So, even if you didn't receive a feature you wanted in Vista like WinFS (which nobody really understood anyway; it just sounded cool) but did receive peace of mind in the event your laptop was stolen, wouldn't you say that it's worth having?

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J. Peter Bruzzese

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