Bits for the Administrator

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2005-08-22 Print this article Print

While Vistas user-oriented features have grabbed much of the attention surrounding the upcoming release, the new Windows client will bring benefits for administrators as well.

Vista has a new event viewer that provides access to a great deal of information about the system. We could create event views through which we could query multiple system logs at once and save those views for future reference.

We also found promising the event viewers capacity for attaching actions to particular events—for instance, to notify an administrator of a system error or to trigger a cleanup script when a disk becomes too full. However, in tests, the event viewer was one of the most poorly performing parts of Vista. The viewer ran sluggishly, and we had to force it to close more than once.

The event viewer hang-ups we experienced were one of the spots where we ran into Vistas expanded diagnostic tools. These tools collect information about Vista failures, offer to transmit the data to Microsoft and, ideally, make a suggestion about a solution. In tests, however, the closest thing we got to a suggested solution was a notice that the driver issue that apparently was responsible for blue-screening our test machine was being addressed in Vista Beta 2. Were looking forward to seeing how the new diagnostic features in Vista develop in future releases.

XImage, the image-based deployment tool that will ship with Vista, will be of definite interest to system administrators. Administrators will be able to use XImage to create an image by capturing a volume and to update an image simply by mounting it, making changes and then unmounting it. As a result, Vistas installation process will be image-based and should be very fast. However, it doesnt appear that the Vista beta installation is similarly image-based—the process took at least an hour to complete on all three of our test systems.

Aside from speed, the new Vista installation/upgrade process should deliver better results than in the past because it involves blowing away the existing Windows installation and, for upgrade cases, migrating existing files, applications and settings.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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