How we tested Vista

We tested Vista Ultimate Editions (32- and 64-bit) and examined security settings, applications and connectivity compatibility, as well as its operating-system features.

We tested Vista Ultimate Edition on two test beds in three variations: two OEM loads, bare-metal installations of the 32- and 64-bit versions, and in situ upgrades where we migrated all user settings and data from a Windows XP SP2 instance.

In one test bed, Microsoft provided the OEM loads on an HP Media Center PC (HP Pavilion m7660e with two Athlon Dual Core X2 5000+ 64-bit CPUs running at 2.6GHz, 2GB of DRAM, 400GB SATA drive, and audio/video, Wi-Fi, FireWire, USB 2.0, and Gigabit Ethernet interfaces) and an HP Entertainment notebook PC (HP PN EW680AV with an AMD Turion 64-bit CPU running at 2GHz, 2GB of DRAM, Gigabit Ethernet, AV, USB 2.0, 802.11 Wi-Fi). We also ran Vista Ultimate as both an XP upgrade and bare-metal upgrade on a Compaq Presario desktop (Intel Celeron 32-bit at 2.8GHz, 80GB hard drive, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0, 512MB DRAM).

In this test bed one used a Gigabit Ethernet switched environment with the following servers in place: Windows 2003 Enterprise Server Edition (as an Active Directory Controller), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10.1 and an Apple Xserve (Mac OS 10.3.9). A Linksys WRT54G running IPv6 firmware was used to test Wi-Fi connectivity. We tested Vista Ultimate Edition 32- and 64-bit editions (Build 6000) with Windows XP SP2, MacOS 10.3.9 and 10.4.7, Linux 2.6.16/17 kernels in several flavors, on desktop and notebooks.

On the second test bed, we loaded Vista Ultimate on two systems, a Shuttle-X (2-GHz Intel Celeron, 512MB RAM and an 18GB hard disk), and an IBM Thinkpad notebook (T40 with 512MB RAM and a 60GB hard disk). We used 10Mbps Ethernet and wireless network connections to test connectivity. In our network test bed we use Linux platforms with NMAP, Ethereal, DNS, and standard network tools to examine network traffic. We used an e-mail account from Google and conventional public Internet services to exercise the systems.

We tested various third-party applications on the systems that appeared to work correctly with no installation or postinstallation error messages. Those included Firefox 2, Skype 2.0 and Skype, Acrobat Reader 6.0, OpenOffice 2.0.2, AOL 8.0, Quicktime 6.1; MusicMatch Jukebox 7.00.0149, TightVNC viewer v1.2.9.0, PuTTY 0.58, HijackThis, AutoRuns 8.51 and Nero OEM v6.0.

Software that failed our tests included Descent II, DOS graphics game, HWInfo 1.5, Duke Nukem 3D, VNCserver, and, Cygwin 2.510.2.2.

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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