IT Heads: Vista Business Best Practices on a Domain?
July 16, 2008 4:03 PM   Subscribe

IT Heads: Vista Business Best Practices on a Domain?

We're just about to replace about 30 machines on our small corporate network with new Dell Optiplex and Precision desktops. Despite my advice, people higher up than me have decided to buy these machines with Vista Business SP1 installed. I get the short end of the stick because I'm the one in charge of this roll out.

We're not doing anything fancy:
* Setting up machines on an existing Windows 2003 domain
* Setting up email in Outlook 2007 (upgrading from 97-2000 PSTs)
* On 9 systems, we're installing CAD software (Autocad Inventor 11, Mastercam X2)
* Set up network printers (mostly LaserJets)
* Windows Vista Business SP1 and Office 2007 Professional is already installed

I figured that since everything is on new hardware, issues will be minimized. However, I haven't had the extensive first hand experience with Vista that I've had with XP... and that's why I'm before you now.

What best practices would you recommend for setting up these machines (referenced with less opinion and more fact)? Are there still common major issues with Vista SP1 that I should be warned about? For example, I heard some horror stories about Vista congesting the local network. Lastly, are there any good resources where I can keep up with the latest Vista news?

Thanks for any advice... I'll need it!
posted by colecovizion to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if you've seen these.

According to this page, Vista does not support Autocad Inventor 11.

And apparently Mastercam X2 has some graphics issues with Vista if you're using nVidia drivers. Here's a workaround until updated drivers are released.

I'm afraid I don't have any domain management tips for Vista, as our primary directory service is not AD.
posted by JaredSeth at 4:31 PM on July 16, 2008

I always disable indexing/searching - but, I am a power user/developer-type. Being able to search for files they have missplaced may be a feature the average user likes...

I have found that with enough RAM (4gb+) and x64 on a known hardware configuration (Dell laptop) that Vista SP1 is actually very nice.
posted by jkaczor at 4:50 PM on July 16, 2008

Vista only indexes when the machine is idle, and turning it off removes one of Vista's best features. I would recommend leaving it on. I don't have any experience at all with Autocad Inventor, but the fact that it's not supported doesn't mean it won't work. Test it before deployment.

Adding a Vista machine to a domain is no different than adding an XP machine. I have somewhat limited experience with Vista machines on domains, but I've seen no failures, loss of connectivity to domains, logon problems etc. with Vista on a Windows 2003 AD domain.

I haven't seen any unusual traffic coming from Vista machines, and frankly that sounds like an application problem that should be easy to resolve. Office 2007 will work fine and you shouldn't have any driver problems with your LaserJets. If you're using any plotters, it's possible that you may have driver issues, especially if the plotters are old.

I think the biggest thing is to test first. Don't blindly roll out 30 machines and then find out they all have the same problem. Get a few representative volunteers and set them up for a few weeks, paying special attention to any issues they have. There is no reason to dismiss Vista because of (mostly wrong) things you've read in the media, but you also shouldn't implement any new system without testing it first.

I've been using Vista for going on 18 months, and I have no more problems with it than I did with XP, and I like Vista's functionality and user interface better.

Ed Bott puts out good Vista news and articles and the How to Geek has good tips. Paul Thurrott's Winsupersite is also a good resource. Windows IT Pro and TechNet magazine are both useful.
posted by cnc at 6:47 PM on July 16, 2008

Thanks for all the feedback guys!

Just a note, I meant Inventor 2009 (which is Vista compatible), not Inventor 11.

I use Spotlight all the time on my Mac. I know it is similar to the indexing Vista does (although I heard not as quick). So, I think I'll keep indexing on. I used to turn it off with XP because I used programs like copernic.

CNC: thanks... I'll check those sites out. Good idea to test machines first!
posted by colecovizion at 8:12 PM on July 16, 2008

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