Vista-ready PCs? Dream on, firm says

Researcher claims many desktops aren't ready for new OS

The majority of desktop PCs in larger companies won’t be ready for a Vista upgrade, at least not without quite a bit of work.

That’s the verdict of a recent survey conducted by SaaS (software-as-a-service) desktop management vendor Everdream.

The survey was conducted by running reports on existing system attributes against Microsoft’s recommended system requirements across 145,000 desktops in 1,000 of Everdream’s installed base of customers. The results showed that about 80% of machines did not meet at least one of Microsoft’s four criteria for optimal systems targeted for Vista upgrades.

“The cost of getting computers into compliance with Microsoft’s requirements will likely be a huge obstacle to Vista adoption,” says Everdream’s chief marketing officer, Ed Mueller.

“IT managers will need to plan the work that needs to be done before they can upgrade to Vista,” he says. “Understanding the requirements they aren’t meeting yet will be instrumental in making a move to Vista.”

Microsoft has defined recommended requirements for “Vista-ready PCs” as 1GB of RAM, 1 GHz processor, 40GB hard drive and 15GB free hard-drive space. Microsoft also defines minimum requirements against which Everdream also tested the desktops. Microsoft requires machines to have a minimum of 512MB of RAM, 800 Mhz microprocessor, 20GB hard drive and 15GB of free hard-drive space.

Among the challenges Everdream notes in future Vista upgrades are evaluating and identifying which machines don’t meet the recommended hardware requirements, fixing software incompatibilities and backing up data from machines before the upgrade.

The survey shows the biggest hurdle companies will face in upgrading to Vista is the amount of RAM on desktops. While Microsoft requires a baseline of 512MB of RAM, the company recommends 1GB — a requirement met by just 30% of the desktops at organisations surveyed.

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