By Robert Vamosi (November 30, 2006)
Only the Ultimate Edition will include every feature possible within Windows Vista. The Business Edition includes only those features that Microsoft thinks small businesses need and want, such as Windows Meeting Space, Windows Sharing Wizard, and Windows Fax and Scan.
Like previous versions of Windows, Windows Vista will be sold in various editions: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate, along with a special Starter Edition for sale outside the United States. Only Windows Vista Ultimate Edition will include every feature possible within Vista; all other editions will include only those features that Microsoft has determined different user profiles will actually need. Some features are included across all the different SKUs, while specific features combine with only one or two other SKUs. For example, Windows Vista Business Edition will include Areo graphics, a feature common among all editions, but tablet PC support will be available only with the Windows Home Premium and Ultimate Editions. Features specific to the Business Edition of Windows Vista, as opposed to those found in the Home Premium Edition, are Windows Meeting Space, Windows Sharing Wizard, Windows Fax and Scan, offline access to files and folders, Roaming User Profiles, USB and smart-card authentication, wireless network provisioning, control of device drivers and group policy.
Microsoft released the Business Edition well in advance of its January 30, 2007 general release date. Small businesses that need five or more licenses can purchase Windows Vista Business Edition starting November 30, 2006. Some of the business features, such as Fax and Scan and Remote Access, work now, but their full feature set implementation will be dependent upon new releases of the Windows Exchange Server, and the next version of the Windows server (code-named Longhorn), is expected at the end of 2007 or early 2008.
Gone from Windows Vista is the traditional file path of folders and files separated by slashes. And instead of remembering within which folder a particular document, image, or media files was saved, something called Windows Vista Instant Search will point to the correct document or program. And, unlike many desktop search applets from Google and others, Windows Vista indexes your hard drive without much of a performance hit.
Organizations can now preconfigure laptops to directly access applications and data remotely.
Windows Fax and Scan
Enhancements to this feature make it an experience that's more like using Outlook.
A grab bag of little extras that only an IT department could love.