Microsoft’s new Windows Vista is available in Australia from midnight tonight. Should you upgrade your business? No, not yet.

Business computers are tools, not toys. By all means “experiment” at home. But at work, upgrading straight away is dangerous:

  • Every previous version of Windows had problems when first released—including major security holes. Why will Vista be any different?
  • If you run into a problem, it’ll take longer to fix (and be more expensive!) because your computer support people won’t have as much experience to draw upon.
  • Are your computers fast enough run Vista effectively, or will you need to upgrade?
  • Is all of your current hardware and software compatible, or will that need to be upgraded too? Are Vista versions of your key software even available yet?
  • Does Vista actually add any must-have tools for your business? Then why are you wasting your time and money?

Major organisations have already said they see little value in upgrading to Vista, including the NSW government and the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency.

Windows XP will become obsolete eventually—at least two years from now and probably seven. So you’ll need to upgrade before then. Or move to Mac OS X or Linux or whatever else turns up.

But don’t rush. Make the change in a controlled way, with a clear understanding of the benefits, costs and risks—just like any other major change to your business.