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The Army has decided to upgrade all of its computers, like those shown here (at the NCO Academy's Warrior Leaders Course) to Windows Vista. It says the adoption will increase its security and improve standardization. It also plans to upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 2007. As many soldiers have never used Vista or Office '07, it will be providing special training to bring them up to speed.  (Source: U.S. Army)
Army will upgrade all its computers to Vista by December

For those critics who bill Microsoft's Windows Vista a commercial failure for failing to surpass Windows XP in sales, and inability to capitalize in the netbook market, perhaps they should reserve judgment a bit longer.  Just as Windows 7 hype is reaching full swing in preparation for a October release, the U.S. Army announced that like many large organizations, it will wait on upgrading to Windows 7.  However, unlike some, it is planning a major upgrade -- to Windows Vista.

The U.S. Army currently has 744,000 desktop computers, most of which run Windows XP.  Currently only 13 percent of the computers have upgraded to Windows Vista, according Dr. Army Harding, director of Enterprise Information Technology Services.

It announced in a press release that it will be upgrading all of the remaining systems to Windows Vista by December 31st.  The upgrade was mandated by a Fragmentary Order published Nov. 22, 2008.

In addition to Windows Vista, the Army's version of Microsoft's Office will also be upgraded.  As with Windows, the Army is forgoing the upcoming new version -- Office 2010 -- in favor to an upgrade to Office 2007.  Currently about half of the Army's computers run Office 2003 and half run Office 2007.

The upgrade will affect both classified and unclassified networks.  Only standalone weapons systems (such as those used by nuclear depots) will remain unchanged.  Dr. Harding states, "It's for all desktop computers on the SIPR and NIPRNET."

Army officials cite the need to bolster Internet security and standardize its information systems as key factors in selecting a Windows Vista upgrade.  Likewise, they believe that an upgrade to Office 2007 will bring better document security, and easier interfacing to other programs, despite the steeper learning curve associate with the program (which is partially due to the new interface, according to reviewers).

Sharon Reed, chief of IT at the Soldier Support Institute, says the Army will provide resources to help soldiers learn the ropes of Windows Vista.  She states, "During this process, we are offering several in-house training sessions, helpful quick-tip handouts and free Army online training."

The U.S. Army will perhaps be the largest deployment of Windows Vista in the U.S.  Most large corporations keep quiet about how many Windows Vista systems versus Windows XP systems they've deployed.  However, past surveys and reports indicate that most major businesses have declined to fully adopt Windows Vista.  Likewise, U.S. public schools and other large government organizations have only, at best, partially adopted of Vista.


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RE: Missing the point
By RamarC on 5/23/2009 6:17:38 PM , Rating: 2
we're not talking about the "average PC user."

we're talking about the equivalent of a major corporation deciding what their OS of choice will be for the next decade (and where they're going to spend $20M). i think they have different rationale/motivations than the "average PC user."


RE: Missing the point
By Samus on 5/23/2009 6:44:18 PM , Rating: 3
the 'average' pc user will have a reason to need 64-bit eventually. when the majority of the market is 64-bit, innovation will leap forward in 64-bit software developement. sometimes things have to happen before others can.

take for example, everytime a new version of windows is released, memory prices drop, because with a new version of windows comes the need for more memory. one affects the other, and now that people have more ram, they can run newer software that can take advantage of it.

office 2007 is an improvement over 2003 (not that 2003 was bad, but it was lacking some modern day security features and save-to-pdf support) so its good to hear the military is pushing that.


RE: Missing the point
By Cypherdude1 on 5/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: Missing the point
By Locutus465 on 5/25/2009 11:06:59 AM , Rating: 1
Wow, talk about arguing from a position of ignorance...

1). 1GB was enough back in the day because all the rest of the hardware in your system wasn't fast enough to take advantage of more data intensive apps. Think games for starters, you couldn't even run Crysis on a 2001 era PC! More advanced CAD applicatinos available now on 64bit windows systems wouldn't run, basically today's more data instansive apps just wouldn't be practical on the kind of machine you're talking about. The world is moving on, 64bit is where it's heading, XP doesn't have a satisfactory 64bit implementation (if you ever thought vista was bad, XP64 is worse).

2). XP is just inherently less secure than vista, worse yet it's extremely well understood to those looking to attack systems. On the other hand Microsoft has had a real success with security with vista. UAC even works far better than I originally thought, the auto-elevate feature has proven to not yet be as problematic as I thought it would. Though I still wish you could simply disable autoelevate some how, at the very least optionally.

3). Believe it or not, the Vista UI is more efficient to work with than the XP UI. Having search available everywhere has proven to be extremely handy, the search box in the start button is awesome, you can use it as a psudo command prompt. It's the small stuff like being able to press windows key, just type 'trillian', press enter and trillian loads. It saves me time! I hate not being able to do that on XP!

4) Give Vista adiquate resources, a decent dual core CPU at least (or better quad, they're CHEAP) and 4GB memory which is also cheap, in fact cheaper than 1GB used to cost in '01 back when it was a lot of memory and a vista PC will respond faster than any XP system.


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