To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the question most of us will pose when Vista hits the market towards the end of 2006. Which of the seven proposed editions to buy, on the other hand, is probably not something you’ve considered?
After all does the Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Small Business, Enterprise or Ultimate edition meet your needs most completely? Oh brother…
Let’s run through them. Starter – like the awful XP Starter – will be the pathetic stripped down version of Vista which Microsoft hopes to sell to third world areas (like Sunderland). It features only basic TCP/IP networking and limits users to running only three simultaneous applications. Pointless.
Next Home Basic is akin to the XP Home, but will lack support for HDTV, DVD authoring and even DVD burning. Also pointless. Home Premium restores these glaring omissions and will likely be the flavour of choice for many.
Moving up a notch we come to the Profession edition. Naturally, it won’t match up with XP Professional as that would be too logical. Instead it is squarely focused on the business sector meaning it lacks the same media capabilities as Home Basic, but throws in compatibility with non-Microsoft networking protocols and Domain support. Reasonably pointless.
More appealing to companies are likely to be Small Business and Enterprise editions. The former adds fundamental functionality such a networked backup solution, while the latter bundles Virtual PC integration and volume encryption.
Finishing us off is Ultimate Edition. This is likely to be the P2P downloader’s flavour of choice. It combines the abilities of Home Premium and Professional versions with a “Game Performance Tweaker” and online Microsoft “Club” membership (access to music, movies, downloadable themes and preferred customer care). A Podcast creation tool has also been mooted, but not yet officially confirmed.
Interestingly, whilst volume licensing will still be used for the business orientated editions it will be scrapped for both the Home and Ultimate editions meaning hackers are finally going to have to crack that pesky Product Activation software. I’m sure they’ll knock their heads together and come up with something, aren’t you?
Random thought: Could their actually end up being 14 versions if the courts have their say? After all, doesn’t Evil Lord Redmond need to offer editions without MediaPlayer built in too…
So who's got the upgrade bug now?!