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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Vista: Under Starter's Orders...

Vista: Under Starter's Orders...

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Many of you out there will pretty much know the 5 Vista versions that will be available.  On the consumer side of things, you have Home Basic and Home Premium, and on the business side of things, you have Vista Business, and Enterprise.  Then we have Vista Ultimate, which, I see is abit of a blurred boundary.  I say that because, think about it - not only does it have the funky consumer bits, like Vista Media Center, all the cool games, and obviously things like Ultimate Extras, but it also has the otherwise Enterprise-only feature known as BitLocker; our full-system drive encryption system.  It can also be used within a corporate environment.  That is why, in my eyes, Ultimate blurs the boundary between being used in the business environment, and being used in the home.

If you think about this from a small business point of view however, it's great in a way, because you could have a home office, and Vista Ultimate would not only serve your business needs, protecting your machine with BitLocker etc, but come 5:00pm, (or 7:00pm if you work as hard as me :-p) off goes the work side of Ultimate, and on comes the Media Center, which can now power your living room and home entertainment.  It also has the benefits of parental controls, so you can let the other members of your family use your Ultimate machine, knowing that you can control and monitor access to everything, protecting them, whilst also protecting your own business data.  Makes sense to me anyway :-)

So, the point of the post - those 5 versions of Vista aren't alone - there is another - namely, Windows Vista Starter Edition, which is being aimed purely at developing countries, and aims to impact impact education, communication, productivity and entertainment.

This concept isn't new - it happened with XP back in 2003, but the fact that people across the globe, who can't afford hardware that would run the other 5 versions of Vista, will get the chance to experience many of the features of Vista, I believe is a fantastic move.  It will also come in numerous languages, and will come with many more tutorials, primarily aimed at people who may never have used a PC before.

Windows XP Starter Edition was released in 24 languages and was sold in more than 130 countries, but with the launch of Vista Starter Edition, were are expanding our initiative to make our products accessible to lower-income families in developing countries. It will therefore be available in 70 languages, and also feature an option that allows use of the operating system in different languages so, if, for example, a parent wants to use the computer in his or her native language but the household's children want to use it in English.  Personally, I think that is an absolutely belting feature.  As far as I'm aware, this is possible in the other versions too - I have the Spanish Language Pack installed on my machine too - and because I'm currently learning Spanish, it really is a useful thing to have, and best of all, it costs nothing more!

What kind of spec can you expect Vista Starter to run on?  Well, get this: Vista will be able to run on a wider variety of processors than its XP predecessor, ranging from Intel's Celerons and older Pentiums to AMD's Duron!  Retro or what!  That means that Vista will run on a recommended minimum of 300mhz, but it is thought that it will even run on a 233MHz!  It will run on a standard SVGA graphics card, and will require a great deal less RAM than the other versions.  Now that's crazy!

Taken from CNet: "Also expanded in Vista is the suite of support tools designed to provide answers to even the most basic questions. "In a developed market, we're used to having a lot of high-end users, a lot of technology enthusiasts; and these are definitely not technology enthusiasts," Wickstrand said. "A lot of these customers had never used a mouse before." With Vista Starter Edition, people will have the option of tutorials in their native languages or of watching a demonstration of the mouse clicking its way through the task in question."

Some people would say that this is Microsoft's attempt at really taking over the whole world, but for me, giving people in developing countries the ability to use a product, however stripped down this version may be, like Vista, is a fantastic move for Microsoft and can only go to benefit the end users.

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