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Why are so many businesses still avoiding Windows Vista?

written by: jeff•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/10/2009

Is now the time for Vista to be adopted into the corporate world? Considering that Vista's adoption has taken so long, and still is being avoided by many, we ask where did Microsoft go wrong? And was there an adequate cross-section of user input into the design of the Windows Vista OS?

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    Why are Businesses Still Avoiding Vista?

    Major Factors in Business Avoidance of Vista

    • * Cost. There certainly are multiple costs involved in upgrading to Vista
      • Cost for training users on the new operating system
      • Cost for any additional needed hardware upgrades to be Vista-capable/compatible - Memory, CPU, graphics, etc.
      • US and Worldwide Economic downturn now is hindering further adoption
      • XP ran fine in 512MB of memory and comfortably in 1GB of memory
      • Vista - to be comfortable, all workstations should have a minimum of 2GB of memory.
      • Cost of any difference in licensing

    • * Entrenched Loyal XP Base: Most admins just now have gotten used to standardizing on Windows XP Professional and, all things considered, XP has proven to be easy to use from the end-user standpoint and from the administrator standpoint; as well, it has proven to be very stable and contains all the major features needed in a workstation operating system. It also is moderately customizable, as far as "look and feel."

    • * Time: Any upgrade takes a certain amount of time. With the learning curve of having to re-learn the user and administrative interfaces, this adds on further time needed in upgrading from XP to Vista.

    • * Compatibility: Vista has proven to have issues with drivers not being as mature and thus not as stable as drivers for XP. Manufacturers followed the lead of consumers and businesses in taking a longer "wait-and-see" attitude, before developing compatible software and drivers for Vista.

    • * Workstation Version Confusion: Windows Vista comes in too many flavors: Vista Home Basic, Premium, Vista Business, Business Premium, and Ultimate. With Windows XP, there were primarily 2 workstation versions: XP Home and XP Professional. For most savvy businesses and consumers, this looked to be yet another Microsoft marketing ploy to try to squeeze out more money from corporate America and home users. In short, Microsoft's desire for revenue does not equal a consumer's need to pay good money just to upgrade to a slicker interface.

    • * Server Versions: Windows Server 2008 was to work in conjunction with Vista, but it also was delayed, and has been later in the adoption and upgrade phase, thus potentially causing concern about Vista's interoperability with Windows Server 2003 (and some still-existing implementations of Windows Server 2000).

    • * Learning Curve: Vista appears to have a steeper learning curve. Allegedly, much care was taken in designing the user interfaces and the related features, but in using Vista, it is evident that the unfamiliar location of many items that were easily-located and familiar in Windows XP is initially much more difficult to get a handle on. Microsoft would have done itself an invaluable service, if it had provided users with an interactive graphical-based XP to Vista Computer-Based-Training (CBT) feature.
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    • * Network Interoperability: Many of the familiar simplistic network and file sharing functions of XP are much more involved in Vista. The selling point is supposedly that this makes the operating system more secure and more granular regarding ability to allow or disallow certain operating system features. Yet, when it takes undue effort and trial-and-error to simply share a folder between Vista and an existing Windows XP network, with no clear indications as to the exact steps needed; nor adequate troubleshooting guides, this becomes an incredible hindrance to productivity.

    • * UAC - User Access Control: This allegedly makes Vista more secure, but is a huge annoyance and hindrance, in basically having to say "Yes, I meant it when I asked you [Vista] to run this command." UAC can be disabled and, granted, likely does provide yet another measure of 'defense in depth,' by not allowing an automated script to inadvertently run without explicitly getting the user's approval. Therefore, if UAC is enabled, it is unlikely that a mere hijacking script would be able to easily circumvent the controls of your workstation, since the process effectively would be running only in the 'user' context and not the elevated 'administrator' context.

    Conclusions

    This article points out that it is apparent that Microsoft made some erroneous and not-well-thought-out assumptions when it assumed that Vista would be quickly and readily adopted, no questions asked, by the private and business sectors. In short, Microsoft did not anticipate the thoroughly entrenched XP user base to be so fiercely loyal as to be resistant to upgrading to Vista. Microsoft also must have had some false assumptions in thinking that it had effectively "sold its case" for the need of businesses to upgrade to Vista. Clearly, a combination of existing happy XP users, cost-conscious IT managers, wary hardware and software manufactures, and shrewd consumers know better what they want than Microsoft thinks it knows.

    References

    On the steep learning curve, additional required hardware and too many Vista versions:

    Court Ruling Doesn't Change It: Vista Overpromised, Under-delivered

    ComputerworldUK article: Businesses Continue to Avoid Vista

    Coders Tell why they are Avoiding Vista