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Guide to Windows Vista Editions

Posted February 17, 2008 Windows

Did you know that Windows Vista is available in five different versions? Which one is the best for you, and what are they all designed to do?

Microsoft have always released variations of their most popular operating systems, Windows Millennium for home users, and Windows 2000 for business, then Windows XP Professional and Home Edition, now they’ve consolidated their product range to the name Vista, however Vista has five different flavours depending on what you need Windows to do (if anything).

Although the operating system will be the same, what are varying features and extra packages that can be used.

Windows Vista Business

First up, Windows Vista Business. It should be pretty obvious which audience this release is targeted at, and Microsoft promise it will forfill the needs of your organisation regardless of it’s size.

This release has the IT department in mind. It boasts image installation by default, regardless of the hardware it’s being pushed onto, (this must be accomplished by using a massive device driver database, though we think most IT technies will probably want to replace the drivers with real ones). Vista Business Edition also comes with the new Aero theme, a new technology which is more then just a pretty background. It allows you to manipulate the Windows you have, and organise your desktop better then before.

No Business operating system would be complete without boasting about it’s mobile communications abilities. Vista Business promises support for all the major ISP’s and mobile providers around the globe, making sure your connected to the office where ever you go.

Extra’s include some sort of SlideShow software for your files, and the ability to access them even when it’s off… Don’t believe us? Check out Microsoft’s site:

Computers that include Windows Vista Business and an auxiliary Windows SideShow display will also allow you to access critical business information even when your computer is turned off.

Yes, we aren’t quite sure how that works either.

Suggested retail price for full package product, $299.00 USD. Suggested upgrade retail price, $199.00 USD.

Windows Vista Enterprise

This one sounds interesting. In addition to having all then benefits of Windows Vista Business Edition, Windows Vista Enterprise is gear towards the multinational, the creme-da-la-creme of computing needs on large scales. Enterprise Edition sports Window BitLocker, a strong encryption software designed to protect the entire hard drive, some serious emulation software which enables the user to run any older software designed for previous versions of Windows (hopefully better then that crappy ‘compatibility mode’), and get this… it can also emulate UNIX - meaning us UNIX administrators won’t need two machines anymore! I can’t see that happening though.

As well as the usual multi-language support all bundled into one release of Vista, Enterprise edition should lower costs of decommissioning older machines thanks to the fact that any data on the machine can take advantage of hardware encryption, however there is a draw back:

Windows Vista Enterprise will only be available to customers who have PCs covered by Microsoft Software Assurance or a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.

The Windows Vista Enterprise edition is only available to Microsoft Volume License customers, it is not available for retail purchase.

Windows Vista Home Premium

Now onto the stuff us regular Jo’s are most likely able to afford. Home Premium Edition is exactly that - a fancy home version. Home Premium gives you the promise of all the usual fancy home features, such as advanced support for digital\audio equipment, better home networking support, and mobility to move around the house\wifi spots, but it does throw in a few extras for you.

Home Premium includes the new Aero theme, making your desktop 3 Dimensional, and includes all of the Windows Media Center components, allowing it to work smoothly with your Xbox 360 and HDTV. Basically, this is your toy boy’s operating system.

Suggested retail price for full package product, $239.00 USD. Suggested upgrade retail price, $159.00 USD.

Windows Vista Home Basic

Now we come to the budget operating system. This is the cut down version of Home Premium. Like all versions, this one includes parental controls to prevent kids from playing GTA or using MySpace should their over bearing, christian parents think that’s the best thing to do, but it’s also designed to be the safest version of Windows. So basically it won’t allow you to do anything.

It’s not mentioned by Microsoft, but rumor has it that this release will not include the nice Aero theme which most people will fall in love with.

There’s not really a lot to say about this version.

Suggested retail price for full package product, $199.00 USD. Suggested upgrade retail price, $99.95 USD.

Windows Vista Ultimate

Now we come to the final version. The one most people will probably settle for. Probably the closest to Windows XP Professional, Ultimate Edition comes with all the usual stuff that has been promised on the Home Editions, and business released, and is mostly aimed at those people who just want everything.

Our bet is that this is the release that will fly off the shelves, and quite rightly. It comes with all the features we need, and probably a tonne we don’t, but if you want the whole Vista experience without getting a Microsoft Volume License, or Home Edition version telling you that your data just got stolen, then this is probably the one for you.

Suggested retail price for full package product, $399.00 USD. Suggested upgrade retail price, $259.00 USD.

Guide to Windows Vista Editions
Posted February 17, 2008
Written by John Payne