to Vista or not to Vista… That seems to be the question…

by on Mar.22, 2008, under Windows Info

You know, the only 2 problems that I have with Vista right now, is that certain features of hacking programs requiring raw open sockets don’t work. (for instance, Nmap cannot send a half-open SYN scan packet out through the Ethernet adapter because it’s stopped by the OS.) I’m sure that that’s considered a feature, it stops the bad guys from doing lots of undesirable things, but it also stops me from finding those holes. It could be argued that these features will no longer be needed due to improvements in the default security stance of their new OSs, but as long as there are 2000 and XP machines out there, I *need* this functionality. It may be possible to allow this behavior through registry-hack or otherwise, but it hasn’t been a pressing enough issue for me to worry about, yet.

The other problem that I have is the forced hardware forklift-upgrade. You really cannot just upgrade your existing machines to use with Vista. This seems to be consistently problematic, and that the best course of action for users would be to purchase new hardware specifically for running Vista.  On a recent implementation, all workstations were bought specifically with running Vista in mind, and all machines behaved perfectly during the migration to a new Active Directory running on SBS 2003 R2. The new “File and Settings Transfer Wizard” is called “Windows Easy transfer” and it works *PERFECTLY*. A HUGE improvement over FSTW.

I’m running 64-bit Vista Ultimate on a Lenovo T61 [T7100] 1.8gHz dual-core with 2Gb of RAM with a 74gb hard disk with Office 2007 Enterprise.It runs *significantly* faster than the 32-bit version on this same hardware. (Even though most programs installed run in 32-bit emulation mode, I don’t really notice)My Windows Experience Index is only a 3.5, but that’s just enough to enable all of the extra eye-candy (Aero and Glass), and run it well enough for an impatient user such as myself. I’ve learned to make shortcuts for myself so that connecting to a customer VPN is not so tedious.There is a hardware assessment tool for testing existing workstations for upgrade to Vista. It’s called the Vista Upgrade Advisor.You can download it here:http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=42B5AC83-C24F-4863-A389-3FFC194924F8&displaylang=en

Run it on your workstations, if you get a Windows Experience Index of 3.5 or better, I say do it.If you are an end-user, and you can’t run Aero and Glass, there’s no real reason to upgrade to it.If you are an administrator, you want *everyone* running Vista for the granular control it gives over your client workstations using Group Policy.. The newly added GPO templates and Local Security Policy settings are a *must-have* for any tightly controlled LAN environment.

So there.. I said it.. I like Vista (64-bit).. I’m still not gonna replace my OpenBSD+Postfix mail server with it. ;)

Brian

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