Windows Vista launched with five versions right to target at varying business and home environments.
Windows Vista Business
Windows Vista Business Edition is targeted at all sizes of businesses. Microsoft has designed it to offer smoother and more secure operation over previous Windows versions. For small businesses, this reduces the reliance on dedicated IT staff to manage and support the OS. Larger organizations will benefit from new infrastructure features that allow IT staff to spend less time maintaining workstations. In addition, business functions are enhanced through new ways to organize, locate, and share information.
Although not without controversy, Microsoft has included built-in protection against malware. While a debate continues about how it’s been implemented, we see it as an important step in keeping business PCs safe and secure. Other key features include Vista’s ability to warn users of impending hardware failure before important data is lost or compromised. If the unthinkable does happen, new backup technologies promise to make data retrieval easier and more reliable.
Larger organizations will benefit from Windows Vista Business Edition’s deployment and management features. A new, streamlined, image-based deployment system reduces the number of images required for deployment in an organization. That means it’ll be a faster, less headache-inducing rollout.
For organizations that do not have a dedicated IT staff, Windows Vista Business Edition includes Small Business Resources. This is a built-in guide that walks the user through everyday tasks and troubleshooting jobs in non technical language. For users on the move, Windows Vista Business Edition allows them to connect through a WiFi connection, or even using a cellular telephone to connect to the Internet.
Windows Vista Enterprise
The next step up in the business world of Windows Vista is Windows Vista Enterprise Edition. This version is targeted at large organizations and those with complex IT infrastructures.
In addition to all the features included in Windows Vista Business, this version includes technology for higher levels of data protection, tools to improve application compatibility, and ease of deployment by again using a single deployment image.
Windows Vista Enterprise also improves application compatibility with earlier versions of Windows, as well as with UNIX applications. One of the tools—Virtual PC Express— allows you to run an application in a legacy Windows environment from the Windows Vista Enterprise desktop.
Windows Vista Enterprise is only sold to Microsoft Volume License Customers who have PCs covered by Microsoft Software Assurance or a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.
Windows Vista Enterprise protects data with its Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption technology. This helps secure data if the computer is lost or stolen. BitLocker uses hardware-based data encryption to encrypt the entire hard drive.
Windows Vista Home Premium
Microsoft created a Vista version aimed at home users as well. Windows Vista Home
Premium Edition is the top-shelf version of Vista for the home. The organization capabilities of Windows Vista make it ideal for home entertainment needs, such as categorizing photos, music, and video. In addition, laptop and tablet users will benefit from Vista’s ability to easily access WiFi hotspots.
While Windows Vista Home Premium Edition contains all the features that mark an improved version of Windows (security, data organization, and so forth), what really sets this edition apart from other versions is its emphasis on digital entertainment, including photo sharing, video, TV, movies, music, and games. Users can even record HDTV on their Windows Vista Home Premium systems. Windows Vista Home Premium systems can also be connected to an Xbox 360 to extend its media capabilities to other rooms of the house.
Windows Vista Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Basic Edition is for homes that need basic computing functions. It boasts easy setup, improved security, and enhanced reliability. One of the features that all versions of Windows Vista include is a Parental Controls feature that allows you to monitor your family’s use of games, the Internet, and instant messaging.
In essence, Windows Vista Home Basic provides exactly what the name describes: basic features. That’s not to say, however, that what Microsoft calls “basic” is less of an improvement over earlier versions of Windows.
Windows Vista Ultimate
Last, but not least, is the Windows Vista Ultimate Edition. This version combines all the features that we’ve mentioned in this section. It mixes business-based needs with mobility features and throws in the digital entertainment features of the home edition.
This OS is targeted at the person who wants to do it all: they want to bring their computer to work, use it on the road, and then use it for entertainment. It could also be used by someone who wants the home entertainment features of the home edition, but also wants to connect to their corporate network from home.
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