Vista UPDATE, Feb. 1, 2007: Vista: The Answer to the Technology Fear Factor?

Vista UPDATE, Feb.1, 2007

Vista: The Answer to the Technology Fear Factor? ============================================

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- Vista: The Answer to the Technology Fear Factor? by Karen Forster
- Vista Window Closed for Small Business Market, by David Chernicoff

- February Reader Challenge Contest
- January Reader Challenge Winners

- Have Fun Purchasing Windows Vista

- Tip: Adding an icon to the Quick Launch toolbar
- Thread: What's going on in the Windows XP forum today?
- Thread: Check out the Windows Vista forum!
- Featured white paper, Web & live events, announcements

- A few Windows Vista deployment products
- Get a Best Buy Gift Card


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==== COMMENTARY: Vista: The Answer to the Technology Fear Factor? ====
by Karen Forster, [email protected]

Last night I was returning to my hotel room in New York City after the big Windows Vista launch event ("The WOW starts now!"). Just before the elevator arrived at my floor, I realized that I was standing next to one of the "Vista Families" who had been showcased during the festivities. Two years ago, Microsoft selected 50 volunteer families for a "Life with Vista" program to test the product under the close supervision of the Vista development team. According to Microsoft, these families identified more than 800 bugs during the test period and gave feedback that resulted in several new features (although the inclusion of the "Burn to CD" feature for photos was the only concrete example ever given of the fruits of that feedback).

Anyway, I had about 15 seconds to ask a question of the Life-with-Vista mother and daughter who were sharing my elevator ride. During the launch demonstrations showing how easy it is to take advantage of Vista's cool features, I kept thinking of my sister, a professional who uses computers like I would use a Formula One race car: very carefully. Would my sister ever try to figure out how to use a feature such as Flip 3D, even if it would make her more productive digging through stacks of immunization records, for example? No way!

So with that thought in mind, I asked the Life-with-Vista mother whether she had found that Vista really made computers easier for non-techies to understand and use. The mother hesitated. Then she nodded toward her preteen daughter and said, "She's been using the computer a lot more." Hmmm... After two years of using Vista under Microsoft's direct tutelage, the mom didn't say, "Oh, yes! I do all sorts of great things with Vista!"

I didn't have a chance to ask more. So I'm left wondering what the mom's indirect answer implies for people who will be using, deploying, and supporting Vista. Although I find Vista beautiful, helpful in my work, and fun to use, I can't imagine it will inspire users such as my sister to explore its new features. How will my sister's IT department ease her transition and encourage her to find the ways Vista could make her more productive? What tips could empower users and help the IT pros who support them?

Those are the types of questions we want to discuss in Vista UPDATE, and I'd love to hear from you on this subject. Either as a user or as an IT person, what are your Vista experiences, plans, tips, and concerns? I'll get answers to your questions and share information from Microsoft and other sources.

Let me start the discussion by pointing out a resource I think is an absolute must for anyone rolling out Vista. Then I'll tell you about a feature I'm excited about.

If you aren't aware of Microsoft's Business Desktop Deployment (BDD) Solution Accelerator, start by going to the following URL: . BDD is a huge collection of guides and tools that weren't widely available when Windows XP launched.

According to Microsoft, BDD enables IT pros to: "create a software and hardware inventory to assist in deployment planning; test applications for compatibility and mitigate the compatibility issues discovered during the process; set up an initial lab environment with deployment and imaging servers; customize and package applications; automate desktop image creation and deployment; ensure that the desktop is hardened to improve security within the environment; and manage processes and technologies to produce a comprehensive and integrated deployment."

That's a lot of capability, but it's also a lot to wade through, so be prepared for a big download. For information about how to perform specific deployment tasks with Vista's new tools, see John Savill's FAQs on this topic at:

As an end user, my current favorite feature is ReadyBoost. You just stick a USB drive into your computer, and ReadyBoost can use its storage as extra RAM, like a cache for files and applications you frequently use. It's a cheap and easy way to speed up your Vista computer. Is ReadyBoost a functionality you'll encourage end users to try?

Finally, here are some links to other recent Vista articles:

Paul Thurrott, "Which Windows Vista Are You? A buying guide for consumers,"

Paul Thurrott, "Microsoft Confirms Vista Upgrade Limitations (Updated with Workaround),"


==== COMMENTARY: Vista Window Closed for Small Business Market ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

We’ve got a new title, but this newsletter will continue to deliver the tips, tricks, and rants that you've come to expect. If you have comments or suggestions about our new direction, please feel free to email me.

With the official release of Windows Vista this week, I'd like to add my comments to the fray. Personally, I like Vista and will be migrating my primary workstation to it in the next few weeks. However, my clients' interest in the new OS and the release of Microsoft Office 2007 has been almost nil. The only questions I've been getting about Vista are from those who recently purchased new client computers, and they go something like, "What does Vista-ready mean, and why should I care?" I give them my standard answer about Vista readiness and add that there's no reason to be concerned, because a Vista-capable PC will still run Windows XP very well. Not one of the three dozen or so clients who asked the question asked the logical follow-up--namely, "Should I upgrade?"

And I’m glad they haven’t asked, because I don’t have a good answer. These folks aren't technophiles who need the latest and greatest, and all are currently running stable XP environments. For a small business, this stability is crucial. In the eyes of these small-business owners, any kind of change to their computing environment is bad, requiring extra effort with little return. I’m sure that in the future they'll attempt to buy XP with new computers, and if they can’t get the OS preinstalled, I’ll be getting a lot of phone calls to install XP and configure the new system to be just like the one it replaced.

Many of these businesses face a common problem if they do want to run Vista: The computer that they bought three years ago still works great, yet it won’t run Vista. I’m not talking about an inexpensive low-end computer that lacks horsepower--during the last few months, I've run the Vista Upgrade Advisor on a lot of my clients' computers, and I’ve found that the average desktop computer that reports problems upgrading to Vista is a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 with Hyper-Threading, or HT, technology with at least 1GB of RAM and a low-end graphics card. These computers weren’t purchased to run games, and many use the on-board or slightly better graphics adapters that the Upgrade Advisor reports as problematic for Vista. One thing I can pretty much guarantee is that none of my clients are interested in buying a new graphics adapter for a computer that's running just fine. I’m sure my clients' interest in using Vista will increase during the next year, but at this point, I just don’t see Vista taking the small-business market by storm.

Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor



by Kathy Ivens, [email protected]

January 2007 Reader Challenge Winners Congratulations to the winners of our January 2007 Reader Challenge. First prize, a copy of "Windows XP Cookbook," goes to Piet van Dijk, of The Netherlands. Second prize, a copy of "Windows Vista in a Nutshell," goes to Dennis Winter, of California. Both books are from O’Reilly Media.

I offered an additional prize for the best answer to the extra credit question, but the readers who sent responses that described an easy and efficient method (many of which were also clever and funny) didn't include their addresses, so no additional prize is awarded. (I didn't think solutions that required multiple, complicated steps, as well as a script, were "efficient" enough to deserve a prize.)

You can find last month's reader challenge and answers at the Windows IT Pro Web site, InstantDoc ID 94784( )

February 2007 Reader Challenge Solve this month's Vista UPDATE challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by February 12, 2007. You MUST include your full name, and street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes). Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct.

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an e-mail receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at 95075 on February 13, 2007.

February 2007 Challenge: A reader wrote to tell me about a lunchtime discussion with several members of the IT department. The majority of the participants (and the majority of his IT department) grew up in Windows, but a few started with DOS. The company is planning to upgrade some departments that have important security concerns (i.e., accounting, HR) to Windows Vista. The IT Pros who work in the test lab were commenting that, by default, Vista didn’t present the typical Ctrl+Alt+Del dialog box when Windows boots. The older folks said they remembered when the "three-finger salute" could only be read by the BIOS and caused the computer to reboot. A conversation about Ctrl+Alt+Del ensued, and our correspondent said he was amazed at how little people knew about this powerful key combination. How much do you know about the C-A-D secure attention sequence?

Question 1: The C-A-D secure attention sequence produced the Task Manager, not a logon dialog box, until which of the following versions of Windows:

A. Windows 98 Second Edition
B. Windows NT
C. Windows XP

Question 2: In versions of Windows where the C-A-D sequence results in a logon dialog box, which of the following events is correct?

A. The sequence talks to the BIOS, which has been instructed by Windows to turn control over to Windows instead of rebooting.
B. The sequence is intercepted by Windows and is never read by the BIOS.

Question 3. When Windows responds to the sequence, which of the following is the only Windows process that can respond?

A. NT Loader (NTLDR)
B. winlogon.exe
D. boot.ini
E. winload.exe


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==== NEWS & VIEWS: Have Fun Purchasing Windows Vista ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

When I learned that Microsoft would sell an unprecedented number of Windows Vista product versions, I questioned the reasoning behind the company's decision. I felt that consumers would be confused by the myriad of options available and that the diversification of the Windows product line would cause support headaches.

Clearly, I suffer from a lack of imagination; the situation is much worse than I ever thought it could be now that Vista is widely available. Simply counting the number of Vista versions Microsoft is currently selling is futile. There's Vista Starter, Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Enterprise, and Vista Ultimate. But there are also the so-called N versions of Vista Home Premium and Vista Business in the European Union (where, I believe, N stands for "no one is interested"). There are separate Upgrade and full versions of Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium (and Vista Home Premium N), Vista Business (and Vista Business N), and Vista Ultimate. And although Vista Ultimate includes both 32-bit and 64-bit media in the retail box, Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, and Vista Business all ship in separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Are there separate 32-bit and 64-bit Upgrade and full versions of these products? You know, I'm not sure.

Businesses, by the way, qualify for volume licensing. There are numerous prices, and it's always cheaper if Microsoft can convince you to buy Vista right away. Volume-license customers qualify for their own versions of Vista Home Basic, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Enterprise, and Vista Ultimate. Vista Enterprise has one almost assuredly useless but unique feature: You can install as many as four more copies of Vista Enterprise on virtual machines. There's just one hitch . ...

See Paul's WinInfo UPDATE column at the Windows IT Pro Web site

(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro: )

Learn how to combine consolidation with selected technology updates to build an infrastructure that can handle change effectively. Take the necessary steps for application management, from conversion of legacy applications to MSI to customizing applications to fit corporate standards. Don't overlook an important component of an OS migration--join us for this free on-demand Web seminar.

Join Karen Forster, Windows IT Pro editorial and strategy director, in a lively interview with Josue Fontanez, senior product manager at Microsoft, as they discuss product planning, future versions of Microsoft Forefront Client, and what customers are looking for in this product. Download this free podcast now.

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Tip--Adding an icon to the Quick Launch toolbar

A common question I hear about Windows XP is how to add an icon to the Quick Launch toolbar. Just drag the icon of the application you're interested in (pulled from the Start menu, for example) and drop it in the Quick Launch area of the toolbar. In the spirit of making the user experience simpler, Vista lets users simply right-click an application's icon, then select Add to Quick Launch from the drop-down menu. Doing so adds the application to the Quick Launch toolbar. Let me anticipate the next logical question: To remove an icon from the Vista or XP Quick Launch toolbar, just right-click the icon at the Start menu or in the folder where you've put it, and select Delete.

Thread--What's going on in the Windows XP forum today?
How to keep users from surfing certain sites

Thread--Check out the Windows Vista forum!
A lost password for a Vista logon



Core Security

The Inside Story on Forefront Client Security
Join Karen Forster, Windows IT Pro Group Editorial and Strategy Director, in a lively interview with Josue Fontanez, senior product manager at Microsoft, as they discuss product planning, future versions of Forefront Client, and what customers are looking for in this product. Download this free podcast now.



(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

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by Caroline Marwitz, [email protected]

You can find numerous products to help you deploy Windows Vista across your business. Here are just a few we've come across:

Business Desktop Deployment Plus automates each stage of deploying Windows Vista , from planning to process management to reporting.

Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment lets you create an image for multiple machines and modify it for specific end users.

ManageSoft Vista Management bundle includes ManageSoft's Compliance Manager, Deployment Manager, and Windows Deployment, which combined offer control before, during, and after migration.

Paragon Software Group
Paragon Deployment Manager 8.5 lets you roll out a preconfigured image of an OS and applications and offers remote PC booting, disk imaging technology, and multicast client and console.

Desktop Authority 7.6 lets you selectively migrate users to Vista and offers patch management and inventory, and remote management.

Tell Us About a Product and Get a Best Buy Gift Card!
Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Best Buy Gift Card if we write about the product in a future Windows IT Pro What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to [email protected]



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