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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Windows Vista Hardware Assessment 2.1

Windows Vista Hardware Assessment 2.1

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I first blogged about this tool back in February, when it had just been released into the wild, hot on the heels of the Vista launch, but, as with most things Microsoft, it's evolved, and a new release, with some cool new features, has recently been released.

So, as recap, what is the Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Tool, WVHA for short?

Well, the WVHA is an agent-less network inventory tool designed to help customers and partners quickly discover and assess the readiness of their workstations and laptops for Vista and Office 2007.  It provides in-depth hardware and device compatibility analysis and actionable upgrade recommendations for each PC discovered on the network for migration to Vista and Office 2007.  The key part of that statement is that this tool does not require any agent software to be deployed on machines inventoried thus alleviating potential customer concerns.  You can just run it, and the machines that are being 'surveyed' will not be impacted in any way.

So, being able to quickly inventory a complete site, (providing the machines are on the network), and accelerate the deployment of Vista and Office 2007 is a good thing, right?  Yes!  So you have to pay for this tool, right?  No!

This is a key tool to have in your arsenal, particularly if you are a partner, considering deploying Vista to your customers.  On many occasions, the customer will present the stopper of 'I've heard you need new hardware for Vista and Office' and in some cases, yes, you may need to add an extra stick of RAM to those 'older' machines, but a lot of the time, machines bought in the last few years will be fine.  This tool however, will give the customer the definitive answer.  You can go in and say, well, we've run the hardware assessment tool, and it turns out that out of all your machines, X just need a little more memory, and Y will be need a driver from the manufacturer.  This tool really can help to put minds at ease and ensure that the customer is not upgrading unnecessarily.

So, what will it give you?

  • It will inventory up to 25,000 computers
  • It collects and organizes system resource and device information, network wide and remotely, from a single networked computer
  • Does not require the deployment of any software agents on the individual computers
  • The wizard performs the readiness assessment on computers running the following operating systems:
    • Windows Vista (already migrated)
    • Windows XP Pro
    • Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 R2
    • Windows 2000 Pro or Windows 2000 Server
  • Analysis identifies which computers are already ready for Windows Vista migration and identifies the computers that could be ready for migration to Windows Vista after hardware upgrades
  • Analysis also determines which hardware devices have device drivers available on the Windows Vista installation DVD, which hardware drivers can be downloaded from Windows Update, and devices which require contacting the manufacturer to obtain a device driver
  • Generates custom reports containing both high-level and detailed assessment results in both Word and Excel formats.

What are some of the new features in this release?

  • 2007 Microsoft Office hardware assessment
  • Active Directory filtering via organisational units
  • Inventory by network subnet
  • SNMP discovery
  • Import list of computers to analyze from management products or text files
  • Localised versions available in French, German, Japanese, Korean, LATAM Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese
  • Scalable to environments with up to 25,000 computers

You can read the whole overview here, and you can download the tool here.



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