NOTE: Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) is the only currently supported version of Windows Vista at the University as of Fiscal Year 2011. The below information pertains to Windows Vista SP1; a subsequent document was never produced for SP2.
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) was made available through Windows Update and Microsoft Update on March 18th, 2008 and began to be pushed out via Automatic Update on April 23, 2008. SP1 is the first significant update to Microsoft's newest operating system.
Information Systems & Computing (ISC) supports Windows Vista Service Pack 1 for its clients, including off-campus students, for systems that meet or exceed ISC's recommended hardware specifications for Vista, which are for systems with dual-core or hyperthreading processors that have at least 1.5 GB of RAM.
-- John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services
The full installation of any version of Windows Vista uses at least 5.0 GB of hard disk space, depending on the type of computer and choices made during the installation. The upgrade to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 uses between 500 MB and 1.0 GB of additional space.
Current Vista Incompatibilities
A handful of the most important remaining Vista incompatibilities are listed below. Be sure to check the Windows Vista Compatibility Chart for compatibility information for a larger subset of applications commonly used at the University. In addition, if you are considering Vista for a new system, check to confirm that all other applications in use locally are compatible with Vista.
General Windows Vista Incompatibilities
Office XP: This version of Office does not install under Vista. Users should upgrade to Office 2003 or Office 2007, though Office 2007 introduces a different set of issues (see the Office 2007 article).
Before You Install
- Run Windows Update/Microsoft Update: Run Windows Update/Microsoft Update and make sure that you have installed all critical and suggested updates.
- Update Your BIOS, Drivers, and Vendor-Specific Middleware: Make sure your BIOS firmware, device drivers, and vendor-specific middleware (backup utilities, etc.) are up-to-date. For Dell systems, visit support.dell.com and click the Search for Drivers button. For IBM or Lenovo systems, run System Update in the ThinkVantage folder.
- Reserve Some Time and Get a Fast Connection: Updating to Service Pack 1 rarely takes less than an hour and sometimes can take up to four hours. The update process will be quicker if you use a fast wired network connection.
How to Get It
Microsoft is making Windows Vista Service Pack 1 available at the University in three different ways:
- For users who have Automatic Update installed and set to automatically download and install, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 started to become available on April 23, 2008. The timing for users to receive SP1 through Automatic Update depends on a number of factors, including the user's Internet usage, location, language, and level of Internet demand for SP1.
- For users with Penn's Windows Automatic Update Service (WAUS) activated, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 became available in early June 2008.
- For users who run Windows Update or Microsoft Update manually, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is available as a critical update as of March 18th, 2008.
What's New in Windows Vista Service Pack 1
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 does not add many new features to Windows Vista. Like Windows XP Service Pack 1, it is mostly a compatibility, reliability, and performance upgrade.
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 has a few new features:
- Performance and Power Consumption Improvements: Windows Vista Service Pack 1's performance improvements significantly increase responsiveness, which is how many users perceive the speed of their systems. Power consumption in notebooks also drops slightly due to better implementation of hard disk spin down and sleep modes.
- Support for New Technologies and Standards: Windows Vista Service Pack 1 adds additional support for Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) and adds support for Direct3D 10.1. It is also able to map more RAM in many modern notebooks.
General Windows Vista Statement
On January 30, 2007 Microsoft released Vista, a new version of its Windows operating system. Windows Vista is available in five different versions in the United States: Business, Enterprise, Ultimate, Home Premium, and Home Basic. See the Windows Vista Editions: Information For Providers document for more information.
Information Systems & Computing (ISC) supports the 32-bit versions of Business, Enterprise, Ultimate, and Home Premium editions of Windows Vista for its clients, including off-campus students
ISC recommends an upgrade only for systems with dual-core or hyperthreading processors that have at least:
1.5 GB of RAM and a discrete video card with at least 128 MB of VRAM
Windows Vista will run respectably on a current-generation desktop or notebook with a dual-core processor (Pentium D, Core Duo, Core 2 Duo, or Athlon X2), integrated graphics, and 1.5 GB of RAM.
The full installation of any version of Windows Vista uses at least 5.0 GB of hard disk space, depending on the type of computer and choices made during the installation.
ISC does not recommend, but will support Windows Vista Home Premium. Home Premium is missing important networking and security features, such as domain-based authentication, that are critical to many Schools and Centers in the University. In addition, Microsoft will not support Home Premium for the same extended period that it will support Business and Enterprise.
ISC will not support Windows Vista 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 installing Home Basic will be better served by remaining with Windows XP Service Pack 2.
Windows Vista-Related Documents
Provider Notes University-centric article on Windows Vista includes specific issues with University applications.
Provider Notes general article on Windows Vista, includes short descriptions of the various editions of Vista along with new features. The Windows Vista Editions: Information For Providers document has more specific edition-related information.
Provider Notes article on University-Centric Windows Vista Compatibility is an alphabetical list of Windows applications in use at the University and their compatibility status with Windows Vista.
Windows Vista Preview (PDF) is the 11/16/2006 overview presentation to PCNet.
Windows Vista Licensing Preview (PPT) as of 11/13/2006 and is subject to change.
Provider Information: Supported Computing Products offers product-specific information on Windows Vista.
For further information
Microsoft's Windows Vista Home Page
Microsoft's Windows Vista: Resources For IT Professionals page.
Dell's Windows Vista Center page.
Lenovo's Lenovo and Windows Vista page.
Windows Vista is available in five different editions in the United States: Business, Enterprise, Ultimate, Home Premium, and Home Basic. This University-centric document compares the various editions and offers contextual advice on which editions are appropriate for various University-affiliated user populations.
Comparable to Windows XP Professional, and aimed at the business market, this edition supports domain-based authentication, Encrypting File System (EFS), and control over the installation of device drivers, all features which both Home Basic and Home Premium lack. It also includes features such as support for Tablet PC functionality, scheduled backup, and full support for Windows Meeting Space. 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
This edition is aimed at the enterprise segment of the market, and is an enhanced version of the Business edition. It adds a technology called BitLocker that supports 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. Requires Software Assurance (two licensing options - Select Licenses with Software Assurance or Campus Agreement)
This edition includes both the multimedia features that come with Home Premium edition and the business-class features that come with the Enterprise edition and adds "Ultimate Extras", a replacement for Microsoft Plus! that includes special online services for downloadable media. The Ultimate edition is targeted at high-end PC users and enthusiasts, gamers, and media professionals. Note that Microsoft will not support Ultimate for the same extended period that it will support Business and Enterprise. $400 full retail price/$260 upgrade retail price
Based on Home Basic, this edition is comparable to Windows XP Home and includes features aimed at the home market, such as Windows Media Center (which includes HDTV recording capability), and DVD authoring, burning, and playback. It also adds some infrastructure-related features such as support for Tablet PC functionality, scheduled backup, and full support for Windows Meeting Space. 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 critical to many Schools and Centers in the University. In addition, Microsoft will not support Home Premium for the same extended period that it will support Business and Enterprise. $240 full retail price/$160 upgrade retail price
This edition is an extremely limited version of Windows and is intended for budget users. The Windows Aero visual style is not included with this version. 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 installing Home Basic will be better served by remaining with Windows XP Service Pack 2. $200 full retail price/$160 upgrade retail price
Advice For Providers
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, only on new workstations that ship with Windows Vista pre-installed. ISC strongly recommends that all other users adopt a "wait and see" approach, continuing to use previous versions of Windows (including Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home, and Windows 2000 Professional) until the initial bugs in Windows Vista are identified and fixed.
ISC believes that most Schools and Centers will be best served by deploying the Business or Enterprise editions (depending on whether or not they are Campus Agreement participants).
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.