Add ‘business’ features to XP or Vista

Scott dunn By Scott Dunn

Do you want the features of Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, or Ultimate — even though you’re running Windows XP or Vista Home Premium?

I’ll show you how to use free or inexpensive add-ons to get virtually the same high-end features without paying Microsoft’s upgrade fees.

Add just the capabilities you want

If you’re using Windows 2000, XP, or Vista Home Premium, you may not need to shell out the extra bucks for Vista Business — let alone the more-expensive Vista Enterprise or Vista Ultimate. Many of the distinctive features of Vista Business can be found in third-party add-ons for $100 or less. And, in many cases, you can easily get the extra features for free.

I did a little digging around and found some serious tools for improving the Windows you already have. I haven’t extensively tested these products personally, but instead analyzed reviews from reliable publications and Web sites to bring you a consensus view of the best that’s available.

In part 1 of this story, I’ll show you how to add Vista Business features to Windows XP and Vista Home Premium. Next week, in part 2, I’ll explain how to get attributes of Vista Home Premium and Vista Enterprise that are lacking in Windows XP and Vista Business.

Business features give you superior backups

Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate include features you won’t find in Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, or Windows XP. These include Vista’s “shadow copy” feature, image-based backups, and faxing. Here are some ways to add those features to your own Windows system.

Shadow copy. Vista’s Shadow Copy applet is a file versioning tool that automatically makes backups of older and newer versions of your files while you work. This makes it simple to go back to a previous version of a file.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2007-07-12: