Windows Vista - Which Edition Should I Choose?

The choice of whether to choose Windows Vista Home or Business, or any other edition, or any similar edition of Windows XP, varies - and not always strictly according to network environment, or to intended use. Some business people claim to be using Vista Home (Basic, in some cases), in their operations.

Based on help requests, I'd guess that the most relevant distinctions, between the various editions of Vista (and XP), are:

  • Backup solutions. Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate include integrated "Complete PC Backup". Vista Home only allows for data backup.
  • Choice of file sharing. A computer running XP Home will only use Simple File Sharing. All editions of Vista will let you select Password Protected Sharing On, or Off. This was a significant issue in XP, that isn't relevant in Vista.
  • Domain membership. A computer running Vista Home (Basic or Premium), cannot join a domain.
  • Number of simultaneous incoming connections. Vista Home Basic limits you to 5 simultaneous incoming connections, while Vista Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate will limit you to 10.
  • Remote access to the desktop. Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate, provide Remote Desktop, which integrates tightly into the Windows structure. For Vista Home, and for other operating systems, you will need VNC, or a similar product.
  • Remote access to the operating system. A computer running XP or Vista Home can't be managed remotely, nor can its problems be diagnosed remotely.
  • Token based access. A computer running Vista Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate, will use token based access. You'll authenticate once (possibly automatically) to a server, the client will setup a token, and use that token in the future. With Vista Home (Basic or Premium), you'll authenticate each time that you create a connection to a server.

As always, Your Mileage May Vary.

Identify Your Edition Of Windows Vista
Windows Vista has 5 significant editions. The 5 are not directly comparable to the 5 editions of Windows XP. A sixth edition, Vista Starter, is available only in developing countries, and has rather limited networking capabilities.
  • Vista Home Basic.
  • Vista Home Premium.
  • Vista Business.
  • Vista Enterprise.
  • Vista Ultimate.

If you want to make a detailed comparison, and look at other decision making possibilities, you may want to read additional articles:

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