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Vista Getting Acceptance Letters From Colleges

By Eric Lai
September 10, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Much of corporate America may be holding off on deploying Windows Vista, but many colleges and universities arent waiting.

Spurred on by the need to keep up with their prime constituency  students  schools both large and small began supporting or rolling out Vista in time for the new academic year. Moreover, many universities have negotiated campuswide licensing agreements that will enable students to get Vista upgrades for as little as $10.

Weve just kind of had to go with the flow, said Sue Workman, associate vice president of support at Indiana University. Workmans team handles 20 million help requests per year from the more than 115,000 students and employees at IUs eight campuses, and it began supporting Windows Vista last November.

Some professors and other workers are asking to stay with Windows XP, primarily for application compatibility reasons, Workman said. But she added that one-third of the PCs used by employees and in campus computer labs should be running Vista by years end as part of IUs rolling three-year system upgrade cycle.

The IT department at Temple University issued a memo last January recommending that users not move to Vista at that time. But the Philadelphia-based school plans to start a rollout of the operating system this fall for new as well as existing PCs.

Weve been testing and testing, said Sheri Stahler, associate vice president of computer services at Temple. In doing so, the university has encountered several courseware tools and other educational applications that wont work with Vista or the Internet Explorer 7 browser, Stahler said.

But, she added, the good news is that the vendors of those products are working to fix the incompatibility problems.

Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, also made an early move to support Vista. Thomas, which has 650 full-time students, began testing the operating system and Office 2007 last November and completed a campuswide upgrade of its school-owned PCs in June.

Students are demanding to get [Vista] as soon as possible, said Christopher Rhoda, the schools vice president of information services. If there is a better tool out there, why would we hold back?

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