Are you ready to deploy Vista 64-bit?

Recently, a friend of mine (name will be with held for certain reasons) went on a tirade over the pain and suffering he endured while attempting to deploy Vista 64-bit. He was very passionate in the account of his deployment effort and conclusion that Vista 64-bit was "currently" not a deployable version of Windows. So, because he felt so strongly about this conclusion and had suffered so greatly from his encounter, I offered to immortalize his tale provided he wrote up a summary.

As promised, he did, and as promised the following is his write-up (minus any curse words and references to things best not said). Bear in mind, this is straight from an IT'er attempting to deploy Vista 64-bit which has been RTM November 8, 2006. I for once will not be providing much of an opinion.

"Where do I start - how about Vista 64-bit is not supported by Microsoft. That's a confusing statement, hold-on to your keystrokes and let me explain. Some of the companies (legal in nature) wanted to refresh their workstations and went with their Gateway contracts to purchase Windows Vista 64-bit (whatever flavor of Vista you like... there's too many to keep track). During their venture they discovered that Vista 64-bit or even Vista is not supported by their legal software applications (BTW - it is the most common and top 5 legal software companies). They stated it can work, but it will not be supported us. Well, we ventured to go that route regardless of vendor support, a huge mistake and here is why:

  1. The legal software requires the Adobe generic postscript driver, which anyone can tell you is not currently available for Vista 64-bit. Even a hacked version and installation of Adobe Professional 8 may meet your requirements but once again the software is looking for certain parameters which are not available. This was escalated to senior engineer at Adobe stating that they cannot support 64-bit and please downgrade to XP. Yes, we tried to run in compatibility mode.
  2. Microsoft's Answer: Run Virtual PC with XP. Wow great idea, however you need to purchase a separate license for XP. Also Microsoft does not support Windows Vista 64-bit with Virtual PC. Isn't that a b$%G# you can't go over 3GB due to OS limitation and now you want to go with 64-bit to hurdle > 3GB with Virtual PC and it is not supported.
  3. What is really brilliant is one of the most popular Dell/Gateway models used for migration from Vista to XP does not support Virtual PC. Virtual PC has its own problems like incredible slowness and instability. That should be a different blog.
  4. Lastly, Dell and/or any other computer retailers are not selling XP. I do not know how many vendors are in bed with each other but we all should say is thank you and we are going elsewhere (easier said than done).

Checklist to go with Vista 64-bit:
  1. Is there really a need, can you run XP 64-bit which has more drivers support?
  2. Inventory all applications (include iTunes, Adobe, etc) and verify if they support Vista (do not look at their marketing e-mails or web pages. How do they support it and if they support 64-bit (most vendors do not support 64-bit, let alone Vista 64-bit)?
  3. Are you a contractor (if yes, go ahead and encourage management that this is the right direction)? If no, then figure out a way to justify Vista without impacting your employability.
  4. Microsoft is already working on next version of client OS to surpass Vista. Can you wait one - two more years and go with that headache. They'll get it right eventually.

By the way - Boot Camp or Parallels runs XP better in a virtual environment than Vista. So get a Mac and run XP. This has been an unpaid unsolicited advertisement for Mac products. Thank you and have a good day."

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