OK – here’s the scenario. You work for company that has a few thousand employees. The standard desktop currently has Windows XP on it. And you wonder – should I start migrating to Vista now, or should I just wait until Windows 7 is released and deploy that? After all, Vista got slated in the press but Windows 7 is getting rave reviews – surely that is a better move?
For my money no. The short answer I give customers today is to ensure that they are buying Software Assurance so they are licensed for Windows 7 when it releases, but start deploying Vista where it adds value today.
There are two may reasons advice.
- There are features in Vista that some of your users would benefit from today. Starting your deployment with these low hanging fruit adds immediate value.
- Your transition to Windows 7 will be eased significantly if you have already rolled out at least some Vista machines.
Lets look at those in more detail.
Add Value for the Low Hanging Fruit
Firstly – let me be clear. Being a low hanging fruit is in no way a bad thing. In our company I’m one! What I mean by this is that there are some features in Vista that add immediate value to some users in most organisations. For example I am a highly mobile tablet user with some commercially sensitive data on my machine. As such the improved power management, fast sleep and resume, much improve handwriting recognition and BitLocker are quick wins for users like me in most organisations.
Easing Your Transition to Windows 7
The transition to Windows 7 will be easier from Vista than for Windows XP. Under the hood there was a significant change between Windows XP and Windows Vista. The change between Windows Vista and Windows 7, however is relatively minor.
Architectural changes in the operating system lead to driver and application issues. As the architectural changes are cumulative the jump from XP to Windows 7 is slightly larger than from XP to Vista. But if you start the transition to Windows Vista now, you can address the application compatibility, driver and hardware issues you will probably have now. If you get all your applications running on Windows Vista then for the most part they will also run on Windows 7. With a few exceptions if there is a Vista driver for your hardware it will work on Windows 7. If your hardware will run Windows Vista it will run Windows 7.
The last point to note is that if you are planning for a Windows 7 deployment you can put in place Microsoft Deployment Toolkit environment based on the MDT 2010 beta to deploy Vista and use this same infrastructure to deploy Windows 7 when it releases. This would allow you to build the skills to create, maintain and deploy standard builds and these skills would be transferable to your Windows 7 deployment
Don’t wait. If you are on Windows XP now, start deploying Vista to those who will benefit most. This will add immediate value to your business and ease your transition to Windows 7 when it is released.