Windows Vista Editions
Important Note: this document is designed to help you select the version of Microsoft Vista that will best meet your needs. Many departments on campus will standardize on specific versions of Vista, usually Business or Enterprise, for desktops and laptops on campus. Please consult with your LSP to insure that the version you choose for your personal/home system will work well with any departmental resources you may use.
Windows Vista is available in five different editions in the United States: Business, Enterprise, Ultimate, Home Premium, and Home Basic. This document compares the various editions and offers advice on which editions are appropriate for various users.
ISC will support the 32-bit versions of Business, Enterprise, Ultimate, and Home Premium editions of Windows Vista for its clients, including off-campus students.
Comparable to Windows XP Professional, this edition supports features which both Home Basic and Home Premium lack, such as domain-based authentication (which is required in some Schools and Centers) and Encrypting File System (EFS). Business also includes support for Tablet PC functionality and scheduled backup. The Business and Enterprise editions do not include many of Home Premium's higher-end media features, such as Windows Media Center. $300 full retail price/$200 upgrade retail price from the Computer Connection (upgrade requires a copy of Windows 2000 or Windows XP)
This edition is an enhanced version of the Business edition. It adds a technology called BitLocker that supports full encryption of the system volume and also includes support for simultaneous installation of multiple languages. This edition is not available through retail or hardware vendors. Enterprise is only available for institutional purchase and requires Software Assurance (two licensing options - Select Licenses with Software Assurance or Campus Agreement, both of which can be purchased through the Computer Connection)
This edition includes both the multimedia features that come with the Home Premium edition and the business-class features that come with the Enterprise edition and adds "Ultimate Extras", a replacement for Microsoft Plus! $400 full retail price/$260 upgrade retail price from the Computer Connection (upgrade requires a copy of Windows 2000 or Windows XP)
This edition is comparable to Windows XP Home and includes features such as Windows Media Center (which includes HDTV recording capability), and DVD authoring, burning, and playback. It also adds other features such as support for Tablet PC functionality and scheduled backup. Information Systems & Computing (ISC) does not recommend, but will support Home Premium. Home Premium is missing important networking and security features, such as domain-based authentication, that are essential to many Schools and Centers in the University. ISC does believe that Home Premium is a reasonable choice for users whose computers do not need to log into departmental file servers or other network resources. $240 full retail price/$80 upgrade academic price from the Computer Connection (upgrade requires a copy of Windows 2000 or Windows XP)
ISC will not support Home Basic. Home Basic is missing many important networking, maintenance, and security features that are critical to many Schools and Centers at the University. ISC strongly suggests that users who are thinking of upgrading to Home Basic will be better served by remaining with Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Home Premium and Home Basic will ship on many consumer-oriented desktops and laptops that will be purchased by University-affiliated individuals. ISC believes that Home Basic devices should be upgraded to at least Home Premium and to Ultimate if domain-based authentication is required - this can be done using Microsoft's Anytime Upgrade capability, though pricing for these upgrades is not yet clear.
For More Information
The Windows Vista page offers an overview of the various issues surrounding Windows Vista along with links to related documents.
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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