Why can’t I have Windows Vista?
One of the most frequent “hallway questions” that ITS employees are being asked these days is “Why can’t I have Windows Vista on my Health Science Center business desktop or laptop computer?” There are several reasons, ranging from testing issues to computer and software compatibility.
- Bleeding Edge vs. Cutting Edge – Large organizations and businesses try to be on the cutting edge of technology, not the bleeding edge. Most do not rush to install major software updates and upgrades because to do so may severely affect day-to-day functions, set back projects and cause a loss of productivity. The Health Science Center is no different. We want to let others work out the bugs and find fixes before we make our move to Vista. We have lots of critical business, teaching, medical and research applications, and if those stop working, it would definitely hinder our quest to be a Top 10 institution.
- Computer hardware – State policy states that we should refresh our computers at least every four years. Despite this, more than half the computers on campus are three years or older. Windows Vista will not run on older computers. So, when we do start using Vista, it will only be on new computers.
- Legacy software – Many departments are still using older software applications that will not run on Vista. In many cases, the departments would have to spend large amounts of money to buy new software that is compatible with Vista (and that’s only if the company still exists, and has a Vista-compatible version).
- Testing and training – Our staff needs time to test Vista on our network, how it interacts with other machines, and how it holds up to day-to-day clinical, research and administrative use. We need to test with all our common applications as well as legacy equipment to make sure, for instance, that drivers exist for some of our older HP printers. All of this takes time. Training is also important, both for the user community, and those who will have to support it.
- Service Pack 1 – We don’t want Vista until more bugs are fixed. This means waiting for Vista Service Pack 1 to be released. When will that happen? There have been several “leaked” dates from Microsoft, but no one really knows. Rumor has it that it will be sometime in Spring 2008.
- Novell Client – One of the absolute prerequisites for moving to Vista is having a working (not beta) Novell Client for Windows Vista. This client was just released in late August, and we will need time to test the full client in our environment.
ITS will continue testing and learning in preparation for Windows Vista. Look for more information and a plea for Vista testers in Spring 2008.
Still have questions about why we aren’t going to Vista yet? Contact the ITS Helpdesk.