Which Windows Vista Version Is Right For You?

Array Systems Inc. Windows Vista can be thought of as a family of operating systems for PCs which share the same primary name. Recall that with Windows XP, there was a version named “XP Home”, “XP Media Edition”, and also “XP Professional” (or XP Pro for short). After more than 5 years of refinement, Vista adopts a similar naming approach, which we’ll introduce briefly in this article.

For the US market, Windows Vista arrives in 4 consumer/retail editions, and a single corporate edition. They are:

Windows Vista – Home Basic.
Considered the entry-level option, this can be thought of as a marketing equivalent to the former XP Home product. Basic is fully Vista software, with Internet Explorer 7, Windows Mail (formerly Outlook Express), and Media Player 11 enhancements. You can produce CDs (not DVDs), and run most software that is Vista compatible. This version also includes added security in the form of Parental Controls directx 12 download windows 10 64 bit .

Windows Vista – Home Premium.
Incorporates of all Home Basic components and adds support for Tablet PCs, DVD authoring tools, and features similar to XP’s Media Center Edition. An enhanced graphical interface option (Aero) is also included for PCs with compatible video hardware.

Windows Vista – Business.
Workplace oriented, Vista Business supports connection to company domains, more Tablet PC integration, multiple physical CPU systems, and corporate-level system management options (such as remote desktop, image backups, file encryption, volume shadow, user profiles, etc.) and the Aero interface. Does not contain features of Home Premium, due to the business-focus, however this can be positioned similarly to the former XP Professional edition.

Windows Vista enterprise.
Corporate focused, this edition is only available to corporations and authorized institutions through Microsoft via non-retail licensing programs. Functionally very similar to Vista Business, this edition adds drive encryption (Windows Bit-Locker), the option of using alternate languages, and license structure permitting multiple concurrent copies of Vista to operate using Virtual PC 2007. UNIX-based application support is provided via a UNIX emulation module subsystem.

Windows Vista Ultimate.
Considered the top-shelf edition, Ultimate includes most of the features of all other Vista editions. Corporate supported, yet consumer (Media Center) enhanced, this edition can be thought of as the advanced/power-user edition, particularly on notebook/mobile systems which operate under multiple functional roles (though Microsoft positions this product as a consumer/retail edition). In addition, there are optional services and products (Ultimate Extras) available for this edition from a growing list of producers.

Separately from these 5 US 32-bit editions, Microsoft (worldwide) offers special editions to Europe and Asia with various component mixes, and a special pre-installed version known as Vista Starter Edition, again with varied feature sets. Also, there are 64-bit versions of Vista, though this is covered in another article.

From a pragmatic standpoint, Vista versions generally align with functional user intentions, from entry-level PC users to multi-site corporations, with variations in between. Array Systems’ views of the differences are as follows:

Larger organizations would likely adopt Vista Enterprise for the standardized features, licensing and uniformity afforded. Since Enterprise requires qualifications to adopt, this edition is not a consideration for retail implementation otherwise. However, on mobile devices, the features of Vista Ultimate might also be attractive for special user needs in certain situations. IT organizations in corporations would have the greatest influence on adoption policies and upgrade paths.

Entry-level PC users, on the opposite end of the business spectrum might select Vista Home Basic, an alternative for customers looking to adopt the new features of a Vista platform, and require basic support for Internet access. Also, Microsoft supports the option of in-place upgrading from XP Home, so this can be an attractive option for existing entry-level users who might do a home upgrade themselves.

Advanced PC users, or those needing to maximize the features of the former XP Home and XP Media Center editions might select Vista Home Premium. Most of the media capture, editing, and producing features are present, which makes this edition appeal to a wider audience of home PC users. Upgrade options can be performed directly on XP Home and XP Media Center versions without loss of data, further increasing its attractiveness.

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