I have a TechNet Plus subscription so on occasion I go snoop around in the download area to see what new nuggets I uncover.  Much to my surprise, I spy a download for Windows Vista Enterprise. 

The reason I was surprised is because I know this edition must be activated using Volume License keys.  So I poke the product keys area to see if they are also supplying a key for me to use.  Viola!!!  Sure enough, there's a VL key with 15 activations.

Ladies and gentlemen, think carefully about your job and how you work.  I bring this up because there is a pretty significant difference on one particular feature that I really like about Enterprise.  In fact, I flattened my ThinkPad T60p and switched from Ultimate to Enterprise for the feature. 

What feature am I talking about?

Activation!!!  Huh?  Dude, you been smokin some weed? Activation is a hassle, right?

When you backup and restore a machine using the Windows Vista CompletePC tool, you have 3 days to activate the restored image.  Now the assumption here is that you are restoring to a different hard drive which is actually what trips the activation.

With Windows Vista Enterprise, you have 30 days for activation.

So?

This is important to me because when I go on the road, I carry four laptop hard drives.  Two are containers for the virtual machines and decks (primary and backup), and two are the OS, applications and my personal data (primary and CompletePC backup).  With those four drives, I can lose either primary drive and switch to the backup fast so I don't have to cancel an event.  Considering the shows we are doing right now have 500+ people, this is important.

If I'm running Ultimate, by the time I get to an event on Thursday, the CompletePC restored image has expired and REQUIRES activation.  At many of our events we do not have internet connectivity so that's out.  I could call in via phone, but that takes 15 minutes plus boot time, plus VM start time.  We're talking a minimum of 30 minutes.

If I am using Enterprise, I have the luxury of knowing my CompletePC restored drive is ready if I need it, for 30 days.  Helps a presenter sleep at night. 

Sure I have to give up some Ultimate goodies like the MCE shell, Texas Hold Em, and soon the DreamScene desktop video enhancement, but hey, that's why I have more than one machine.  One for work, and one for play.

Speaking of machines, Lenovo ordered me a new ThinkPad T60p Widescreen.  I can't wait to try it out.  It's probably the best business machine on the market.  Heck, it may be my next personal purchase.  I'll do a blog post on the unwrapping of the naked T60p soon.