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Buena Vista?

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 cometh. Is it time for your business to give it a try?

Growing businesses tend to be more conservative than consumers when adopting new OSes, so it's only natural to feel a little stressed at the prospect of upgrading to Vista. Still, Vista's Service Pack 1 is scheduled for release this quarter--traditionally the time businesses first consider upgrading.

The year-old OS has been praised for its new 3-D interface but has had its share of flaws. As is its habit, Microsoft released the much-delayed OS in semi-complete form in January; early adopters have been receiving frequent multi-megabyte system updates ever since. SP1 includes all these fixes along with changes based on customer feedback and long-planned tweaks, all rolled into a whopping 1GB package.

Most enhancements focus on security and performance, so only businesses with issues that can be fixed will notice much change using SP1, says Phil Bush, president of CMIT Solutions in Denver, an IT services and consulting provider. But it can also get you caught up on automatic updates you might have been hesitant to adopt at first.

It's OK to stick with XP, too. You shouldn't automatically move to Vista if you have applications that aren't yet compatible with the new OS, says Bush. He suggests a complete compatibility evaluation before changing over.

Despite the compatibility issues, Vista has seen a quicker uptake than XP. Online updates and the first service pack surfaced sooner as well. Shrink-wrapped box sales of Vista have been weak compared to those of XP, but Vista sales on new PCs are doing well, says Chris Swenson, director of software industry analysis for the NPD Group. He says, "That's because more PCs are being sold today than five years ago."

Most new PCs now ship with Vista. With the promise of regular updates and an improved version, Vista is safe enough for you to consider, too.

This story appears in the January 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »