«

»

Jan 15

Windows 7 Scores a 9 on the Richter scale…In other word it rocks!!!

For many IT Managers making the leap to a new OS can be very daunting. Planning, testing and eventually deploying can take weeks or even months.  It’s also not surprising that with the amount of bad press that has accompanied Windows Vista, IT managers have not been keen to part with their beloved XP boxes.  Now that Windows 7 Beta 1 has officially been launched what can we expect. Well one thing’s for sure, is those nice guys’s in Redmond often don’t make the same mistakes twice.

For me it’s the little things that count. Take performance for example. Windows Vista looks great but it comes with a high price tag in terms of memory usage. Finally it seems that MS have got it right, yesterday I followed Steve Ballmer’s example and installed “7” on an Asus Eee. Wow it actually installed. Ok a little tweaking had to be done with drivers, but the point here is actually works. Ok so far so good I hear you say. Next comes the clean uncluttered look of the desktop, Windows explorer with no more My Documents etc, definitely an improvement. The rigid sidebar is gone leaving free floating gadgets (nice). Also the improved taskbar is simple but effective. In terms of bundled software it feels a little light but Microsoft is quick to point out the Windows Live team have been producing some very cool add-ons which will be available to download in due course.   One issue that always nagged me was the Networking Centre, it seemed clunky and awkward. Well I am delighted to say that this has been addressed. Gone is the workgroup concept and in comes the Homegroups. This is kind of a cut down feature set of Windows Home server which provides the facility for home users to easily share pictures, music, videos and so on. Now when I think of Security one word comes to mind! Arghhhhhhhhh! Which I am sure in French for User account Control (UAC). I am sure it seemed a good idea at the the time, this feature caused a lot of headaches for customers.  Now using the feature is a lot less painful. In a nutshell, more relaxed and customizable. Ahhh I hear you say. On the subject of security the Windows Firewall has gone through an upgrade and is more granular and allow cusomization based on the firewall profile. Administrators will also welcome the enhancements in Group Policy for this feature.  One thing you will notice in the 7000 build is that it now comes with Hyper-V. Huh! I hear you say. It’s now no secret that Microsoft are switching it’s deployment strategy away form it’s traditional WIM format to take advantage of the more flexible VHD format. Another cool feature is the upgrade to the disk management console. You can now mount VHD files as drives and even boot from one. Cool, I hear you say. I am going to do a review of this feature so watch out for more details.  

Further welcomed additions include the ability for users to burn Blue Ray DVDs as well watching their favourite movies on a nice to shiny version of Windows Media Centre & Player. So with Microsoft publicly saying that the Beta is feature complete and after playing with the software and getting used to all the new features one has to wonder when the final version will ship. Well as many readers of my blog will know MS traditionally ship products is what we call “show season”, i.e. In June (TechEd – May this year) or October / November PDC and TechEd Europe. With rumours aplenty for November, I now put my money on an earlier date, being that the beta is in such an advanced state.

 So in terms of a score out of 10, I would give Windows 7 a 9 on the Richter scale, in other words it rocks!! If you are interested in testing Windows 7 then why not take a look at the TechNet Springboard site it has tons of resources to help you plan, test and ultimately deploy theis worthy addition to the Windows family.  For more details check out http://blogs.technet.com/springboard/archive/2009/01/07/windows-7-beta-has-officially-launched.aspx you can also join the beta program here http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dd361745.aspx?ITPID=sprblog