Saturday, 28 April 2007

Features not available in Vista Premium Part 2

Features not available in Vista Premium

IT professionals 2/2

  1. Policy-based quality of service for networking

    Nice little tool that will allow network administrators to prioritize network traffic by application, user, port, source and destination address. The requirements for this to work are:

  • The computers involved are running Windows Vista or Windows Server "Longhorn".
  • The computers involved are members of an Active Directory domain so that they can be controlled by using Group Policy.
  • TCP/IP networks are set up with routers configured for DSCP (RFC 2474).

The above means that the feature is useful only if

  • You VPN to work, to a server where this policy has been enabled
  • The policy has been configured on your home PC

And if you do use it, the policy will only apply on the enterprise side of the connection, and not to the connection between your home and the enterprise server.

So what happens if you don't have this on your home PC? Then your attempt to use the enterprise network will be prioritized following the rules for unclassified traffic (default is "best effort").

  1. System image–based backup and recovery

In its full implementation, this feature does 3 things

-image based backup

Pretty limited implementation: you can add other drives, but not exclude any that have to do with the OS; once you do a full backup to a HDD the subsequent backups are incremental only; no backup to a network share.

-shadow copy

It's system restore for your personal files: if system restore is turned on the drive where the file resides, if you modify a file and then want to recover the original or even delete a file and want to recover it, the previous version will be available in the "previous versions" tab of the file property. This tool can, obviously be very useful. The limitations are that you don't really control which versions of the file are saved:

  • You boot and start working right away on your Vista computer: a restore point might not be created, because in the Vista implementation automatic SR only creates backups during idle time. The "previous version" for the file will be the one from the last restore point.
  • You modify the file, save, change it some more, save. You will only be able to return to the original version, because shadow copies are, by default, only created once a day
  • You delete a file. If the file has been captured by a previous system restore, then you will be able to restore it, even if you have emptied the recycle bin. But then again so will anybody else, at least if they know in which folder it used to reside. The file will not be made unrecoverable unless the restore point that had captured it is also deleted.

-file based backup

This is also available in the Premium Version so I'll get back to it.

So do you need this feature or not? As a reliable backup solution it's flawed. On the other hand good backup solutions are commercial. The price for an Acronis True Image license is £50, less or far less than the price difference between a Vista Business/Premium and a Vista Ultimate edition. My personal choice was to go with Acronis TI.

  1. Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) Client

This is what gives the ability to configure security settings on a per document and per user basis. A group of users can be defined that are allowed to view the document, a subgroup might have additional permissions (modify, print, copy). The feature has been available since Winows server 2000, but a client application needed to be installed on the client computers.

In order for the RMS functionality to be enabled, you need a server that holds the rights and keys for the documents, the application on the client that holds the certificates and applications that work with RMS.

Once again, a feature clearly useful only to those that might need to VPN to work from their private machines.


For myself I am still at a maybe concerning the usefulness of Vista Ultimate. Business seems to be a no, as all the cool media features will be missing and I can't find any killer features I might miss. Still, one more set of features to go through, the ones MS classified "for business users".