Visual Tour: 20 Things You Won't Like About Windows Vista

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Page 12
Page 12 of 13

Version confusion could be a very real issue for retail buyers. Microsoft confirmed to me recently that Vista Business will be sold in stores, which means that potentially you could see four separate versions of Vista on store shelves, as well as both upgrade and full-install variations. That's a lot of SKUs for bricks-and-mortar retailers to stock; don't expect to find them all in many places besides online stores.

The chart that follows, Comparison of Selected Features in Windows Vista Versions, may help to clarify some of the trade-offs between Vista versions.

The Home Basic version lacks Media Center, Tablet PC, Windows Aero support, Windows DVD Maker, Windows Fax and Scan, Windows Movie Maker for HD, and other features for corporate settings and backup. The plain truth is this: Don't buy a new PC or notebook with Home Basic. And if your existing hardware won't support anything but Home Basic, there's little reason to upgrade -- especially in a business setting. But even home users stand to gain very little from a Home Basic upgrade.

Home Premium is a perfectly reasonable version of Vista for home users. It's not the power user's version, but it's more than serviceable for advanced digital media and gaming pursuits.

The Business and Enterprise versions of Vista lack Media Center support and many of the digital media features. Most of what they add in is aimed at IT manageability, but a few features -- such as Fax and Scan, scheduled user data backup, Windows Shadow Copy, system image-based backup and recovery, and the ability to host Remote Desktop sessions -- probably belong in all the Vista versions. To get those features while also keeping Media Center and digital media features, you have to move all the way up to the top of the list and spring for Windows Vista Ultimate.

It'll probably come as no surprise that while Vista Business will be perfectly fine in enterprise settings, home and small business users who possess the latest and greatest hardware with media features will gravitate to the most expensive version of Vista.

Comparison of Selected Features in Windows Vista Versions

Home
Basic

Home Premium

Business

Enterprise

Ultimate

 Supports Aero user interface

 
X
X
X
X

 Windows Anytime Upgrade

X
X
X
   

 Remote Desktop

X

client only

X

client only

X

host & client

X

host & client

X

host & client

 Parental Controls

X
X
   
X

 Media Center functionality

 
X
   
X

 Windows DVD Maker

 
X
   
X

 Tablet PC functionality

 
X
X
X
X

 Scheduled user data backup

 
X
X
X
X

 Fax and Scan

   
X
X
X

 Wireless network provisioning

   
X
X
X

 Windows Shadow Copy

   
X
X
X

 System image-based backup and recovery

   
X
X
X

 Policy-based QoS for networking

   
X
X
X

 Rights Management Services

   
X
X
X

 Policy-based device driver control

   
X
X
X

 Network access protection

   
X
X
X

 Integrated smart card management

   
X
X
X

 Domain join for Windows Server

   
X
X
X

 Group Policy Support

   
X
X
X

 Off-line files and folders

   
X
X
X

 Roaming user profiles

   
X
X
X

 Internet Information Server

   
X
X
X

 Support for two CPU sockets

   
X
X
X

 Virtual PC Express

     
X
X

 BitLocker drive encryption

     
X
X
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Page 12
Page 12 of 13
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon