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This is the start of another series of blog posts – this time around managing desktops and laptops – and what will happen in the future with Windows Vista.

In the words of Microsoft’s own marketing – we’ll try and “Bring Clarity to your World”

Written at: Draper, UT

First to the basics – the versions of Vista and hardware requirements.

There will be at least five versions of Windows Vista – although only two of these really seem suitable for businesses: Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise.

It seems that the proliferation of choice will be confusing at best. Will most customers choose the Business edition? Enterprise?

The next piece of the puzzle is hardware requirements. As always – take the ‘minimum requirements’ as just that. Analysts and beta testers alike are giving the following recommendations:

  • general knowledge worker – Pentium 4 class machine, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, 1Gbit ethernet, accelerated graphics capability
  • ‘power worker’ – Pentium 4 class machine; dual core and 64 bit ideal, 2GB RAM, 100GB HDD, 1Gbit ethernet, accelerated graphics capability

Now I have talked to enough of you to know that this is a tall order. Most organisations are currently working to a three year replacement program for laptops and a four, five or six year replacement cycle for tethered desktop machines. One other factor in this equation is that almost every IT team did a refresh of hardware and OS in 1999. (Remember that!)

This has led to the “Y2K + 5″ phenomenon – hardware was replaced on the desktop in 2004/2005 – and will next be replaced in 2008/2009/2010. Laptops are due for replacement this year – following a first round of replacement in 2003.

These two factors combined are significant:

  • confusion on choice of Vista desktop
  • massive costs (replacement and just churn costs) of desktop hardware

Already enough to make you think twice.

In the next post I will talk about another area to consider – application support. I’ll dive into some of the murky details of getting applications supported on Vista and why this may be another roadblock for some customers.

As always – comments are welcomed.

Written at: Draper, UT