Gartner: Ignore Vista until 2008

There is no compelling reason to rush into upgrading to the next version of Windows, the research firm says.

Companies shouldn't rush to upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista, according to analysts at Gartner, who believe most could safely hold back until 2008.

The majority of improvements in Vista, the update scheduled to arrive in 2006, will be security-related and most of this functionality "is available via third-party products today," Gartner analysts said in a research note published on Friday.

While Vista will "offer incremental, evolutionary improvements" over its predecessors, Windows XP users should "pursue a strategy of managed diversity," the analysts recommended. That means they should only bring in Vista on new machines and that not until 2008.

In its research note titled "Ten reasons you should and shouldn't care about Microsoft's Windows Vista client," Gartner highlighted some of the weaknesses in Microsoft's platform strategy.

Internet Explorer 7 will have many security improvements "to stem defections from IE to Firefox" and "has been accelerated" to be delivered in early 2006. But the "important ability to restrict some browser activities to a lower privileged process" will not be available because it requires Vista functionality," Gartner cautioned.

The analysts acknowledged that companies that use IE 7 and Vista will have fewer points of weakness.

Also on the security issue, the Windows Vista personal firewall is better than the one included in XP Service Pack 2, Gartner said, and will, crucially, improve security on inbound and outbound traffic--a particular issue with laptops. But, the analysts said, people should already have "a more than capable" firewall on their laptops anyway.

Another Vista feature that Microsoft is emphasizing is its search capabilities. "Search is slow in Windows XP, and files, e-mail and calendar objects cannot be found with a single search," according to the research paper. Though Microsoft has tried to remedy this in Vista, "competent third-party desktop tools are already available" from companies like Google, Gartner pointed out.

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