Windows Vista or Windows XP? Which is right? or How about both?

Now that Windows Vista SP1 is peeking out from around the e-corner, many “pre-SP1 adverse” organizations will probably begin the process of evaluting Vista in their organizations. However, for the foreseeable future, there will be those that swear by Windows XP and its stability and performance. So, who’s right? Why not both? As much as […]

Now that Windows Vista SP1 is peeking out from around the e-corner, many “pre-SP1 adverse” organizations will probably begin the process of evaluting Vista in their organizations. However, for the foreseeable future, there will be those that swear by Windows XP and its stability and performance. So, who’s right? Why not both?

As much as it will pain some to admit it, Vista does have some redeeming qualities. And, for others, Windows XP continues–and will continue–to serve a very useful purpose in the enterprise. So, what are some of the situations in which it might make sense to run both Windows Vista and Windows XP in the organization? And, what are the challenges involved in doing so?

In my organization, a private liberal arts college, we are considering deploying Vista on any new staff and faculty laptop computers we add to our inventory.  Desktop computers would remain on Windows XP.  Here is our reasoning:

  • Driving factor: With BitLocker drive encryption, potentially sensitive information is better protected in the event of the loss or theft of a laptop.  As such, for our initial rollout, desktop computers would not be given the Vista treatment and would stick with XP.
  • Supporting two operating systems isn’t that out of the ordinary and happens often when a transition is made between OS platforms.
  • Only new laptops would get the Vista treatment and they will be outfitted with a minimum of 2GB of RAM.
  • At some point, the Vista vs. XP decision won’t be a decision at all.  Eventually Vista, like Windows XP before it, will supplant its predecessor to a point at which running the legacy OS simply doesn’t make sense.  If we can begin to deploy Vista on a small number of machines now, we can gauge the support impact a larger Vista migration will have without affecting users en masse.  We’d treat the laptop Vista rollout as a pilot project.
  • Our students are already coming to campus with Vista preloaded on their machines and we have to support them.  So, even though Vista isn’t deployed on institutional machines outside of IT, we’re, for all intents and purposes, already supporting it.

There are, of course, a number of considerations and potential challenges to overcome, including:

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Microsoft, Windows Vista, Vista SP1, Windows XP, Operating System, Performance, Comparission, Article