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Plans for Vista Deployment

February 11, 2007

Ideally, I would have upgraded all of our household PCs to Vista (all except the box running Windows Small Business Server 2003) to Vista on the consumer launch date of January 30. My That date has now been pushed back to mid-March for a variety of reasons that illustrate some of the problems with the twin perils of early adoption and letting hardware get too long in the tooth.

Here is a description of each PC and and its status vis a vis Vista:

Living Room Laptop. Newly purchased this week and running Vista. This is an HP Core2Duo with 2GB of RAM and a separate graphics card. It was purchased with Vista Business (for access to the SBS 2003 domain) installed. The normally arduous task of removing preinstalled crapware was less arduous this time by the fact that there was less of such flotsam installed. Perhaps this is a benefit of many of such applications not yet being fully Vista compatible. With the newly released SBS2003 update I hope to add this machine to our home domain shortly. BTW, how is it that it took until three months after the Vista Business launch to allow the SBS connect computer procedure/apps to run properly with Vista?

Family Room/Kitchen Laptop. This laptop is also and HP Core2Duo with 2GB of RAM and a separate graphics card. It was purchased a couple of months ago and is still running XP Pro. My intention had been to wait until the end of January and buy this laptop with Vista pre-installed, but the 4-5 year old Dell laptop we had previously was dog slow and running XP Home and we couldn’t stomach an extra few months of that, so we waiting until we could buy a laptop with a free Vista upgrade and did so. That upgrade has not arrived yet and may not for another 5 weeks or so.

Master Bedroom Laptop. This laptop is also and HP Core2Duo with 2GB of RAM and a separate graphics card. It was purchased about a month ago and is still running XP Pro. It is serving temporarily as the PC in my wife’s office. Her old PC was about 5 years old and didn’t take well to being part of a domain (appearing unresponsive for minutes at a time while doing memory paging). When adding an extra 512MB of memory and some other fixes didn’t do the trick, it was time for a new PC. The use of the laptop is only temporary– she’ll get our old Media Center Server with a clean install of Vista Business (received from MS for participating in a promotional program), when that gets replaced (see below) with a new Vista Media Center Server. This machine is also waiting for its free upgrade to Vista Business, which has not yet arrived.

My Office PC. Still a Dell 8300 running XP Pro. I’ve had this PC a little over 3 years and in that time have upgraded the graphics card to an nVidia 6600GT and the memory to 2GB, both to play Battlefield 2. I had planned to replace this with a new quad core box with an nVidia 8800 GTS, but as nVidia doesn’t yet have good Vista drivers for this card, I am going to wait until that happens. I plan to have this machine run Vista Ultimate because, well, because it’s mine!

Media Center Server. This is a Dell XPS with a Pentium D and 2GB of memory running Windows MCE 2005 that acts to serve media to the four Xbox 360’s we have around the house that act as extenders. I had planned to pay some premium and replace this with a Core2Duo, 2GB dual cablecard box running Vista on January 30, but alas such systems aren’t actually shipping yet. So I’ve ordered such a box from Velocity Micro and hope to get it set up by mid March. To join our SBS domain and use Vista Media Center this machine will have to run Vista Ultimate.

Why so many new PCs, two reasons: (i) we delayed replacing machines in anticipation of Vista and now are replacing many at one time (in fact, as note above, some didn’t quite make it to the Vista consumer launch); and (ii) we moved into our new, larger house about a little over a year ago and our decorator suggested adding some additional laptops at desks in the Living Room and Master Bedroom (I was easily persuaded that this was a good idea!).

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