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I'm asking in terms of a small company, less than 20 employees, a mixture of developers and management.

At the moment, we're mostly on XP and I'm interested to know what features people would uninstall, if any, and what features they'd definitely keep to maintain a balance of usability and security when upgrading to Vista in an environment of moderately capable users.

Here are some things that might be up for grabs:

  • UAC
  • SuperFetch
  • ReadyBoost
  • Aero
  • Indexing
  • Any Default Startup Items?
  • Any Default Services?
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Do the users have local admin privs? –  Oskar Duveborn May 1 '09 at 18:18
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Indexing I guess is used by Outlook which if you use Outlook is something you do not want to turn off :) ...UAC shouldn't really matter as long as the user's are just users and have no admin privileges - except if you don't want the ability to enter admin credentials on the fly like for troubleshooting a user's station over his shoulder, then disable UAC to get rid of the creds dialog entirely.

Superfetch I guess was a part of XP as well although not as advanced, so I see no need to touch that. Aero or not is a user setting and really doesn't affect the security as far as I see...

...think my conclusion is that, no, nothing in particular comes to my mind - as long as the rest of the environment and group policies are sane and best practice - the default install is fine.

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SuperFetch was not in XP: edbott.com/weblog/archives/000863.html, bink.nu/news/inquirer-quot-superfetch-quot-story-is-crap.aspx I disabled SuperFetch on my laptop due to excessive HD usage (and noise) without a noticable gain in productivity. –  aharden May 14 '09 at 15:24
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I try to provide a clean install with no "trialware" or IE toolbars. Things like Google Desktop in particular are resource hogs.

I create the user accounts as standard user asnd leave UAC enabled. There's no excuse for turning off UAC, it is an important security feature. After the first day or two, the user will hardly ever get a UAC prompt unless they're trying to do something they really shouldn't.

Other than that, I leave everything enabled. A small business with 20 users will typically be running on Small Business Server, which has some group policies already in place by default that take care of configuring most of the important stuff (e.g. Windows Firewall configuration, automatic updates and so on).

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What's the concern here? Security, performance, or user happiness?

UAC is one of the key reasons to upgrade to Vista. I certainly wouldn't recommend disabling it, and especially not in an SME context. It improves security, doesn't really hamper performance, and in a SME context should - if anything - increase user happiness. (Explanation: UAC is annoying when your running as an admin user because it keeps asking you if you really wanted to do something trivial like change your IP address. In an SME environment you - of course - will have all your users as limited users, so they're already locked down. In this context UAC is helpful, not annoying.)

Turning off Superfetch and Readyboost...why? I don't see any security issues, and depending on your exact usage and configuration, they might provide a minor performance boost. As for user happiness...I don't see them even noticing.

Aero...not a security risk, and if your machines are relatively modern not a performance issue. It could well be a serious user happiness issue, but I'd be more inclined to distribute some simple instructions for toggling it on and off, and leave it at that.

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