Windows Vista: Hit or Miss with Small Business - Page 2

By Jamie Bsales
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Experiencing the Benefits
While some business owners have taken a similar wait-and-see attitude, others that tried Vista have liked what they found. For example, Keith Martelli is the CAD Manager for Martelli Architects, a six-person architecture firm based in Red Bank, New Jersey The company’s computer fleet consists of seven desktop PCs and two notebooks plus a server running Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003.

A Windows XP shop, Martelli started doing research in 2006 on how Vista might help the firm run more efficiently. Martelli contacted Silicon East, an IT and network solutions company specializing in small to medium businesses in the New York-New Jersey area. Silicon East was able to get Martelli Architects into Microsoft’s early-adopter program for Windows Vista.

The company deployed Windows Vista Business on one desktop computer and one laptop computer in late 2006—months before it was originally released by PC manufacturers, and more than a year before the operating system’s retail launch. “We had a few issues with hardware drivers at the beginning, but we were able to resolve those fairly quickly,” says Martelli. “We were only using Windows Vista for a few weeks before I was convinced we should be rolling it out across the entire company.”

Why the enthusiasm? Martelli points to Vista’ Aero interface as one of his favorite enhancements over XP. “The interface is a great innovation. It’s remarkably easy to navigate my computer’s desktop and our network resources,” he says. Martelli especially likes the Windows Flip 3D feature, which shows a preview of what’s running in each open application, instead of just a program icon. “I can search my open applications quickly without having to minimize any of them.”

Martelli also appreciates Vista’s integrated search capability, which can find any file or folder on the network by simply entering a keyword contained therein. As the person who provides IT support for the organization, Martelli also likes Vista’s improved connectivity and remote-management features.

He plans to have all of the firm’s PCs switched to Vista by the middle of this year, and he’s already thinking about how the OS might improve the way people in the firm work. “We are going to have at least one tablet computer that will be running Windows Vista Ultimate,” says Martelli. “We want to take advantage of the Windows Vista Business functionality, plus advanced media capabilities to make high-resolution media presentations to clients.”

But for those of you still sitting on the fence, the mid-March release of Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) should allay some concerns. In addition to previously released Windows updates, Microsoft reports that SP1 will contain changes focused on specific reliability and performance issues (including improved file copy operations), add support for new types of hardware (such as 802.11n Wi-Fi), and enhance support for several emerging standards (namely the exFAT file system). Fortunately for buyers, most PC makers continue to offer both XP and Vista on their business PCs. So if you are ready to switch, go ahead. If not, XP is still a viable option.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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This article was originally published on February 20, 2008
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