by November 7, 2009 0 comments

This is perhaps the hottest question making rounds in most businesses today,
especially after Vista debacle. This question can be answered by looking at a
mix of technical and business aspects.
From a technical point of view, the biggest news about Windows 7 is that it
performs really well even on outdated hardware. We tried it on a P4 with 1 GB
RAM as well as on a netbook in our lab, and it worked very well on both,
outperforming many other Operating Systems. So performance wise, Windows 7
certainly gives enough reason for you to upgrade. This was not the case with
Windows Vista, which had raised the bar on hardware requirements considerably.

From a features point of view, you need to first list down the key ones, and
then find out which ones are available standalone and which ones would work only
if you have Windows Server 2008 R2 running at the back-end. If the standalone
features fit your business needs, then that’s another point in favor of the new
OS. The BitLocker feature for instance, might be good for laptop users from a
data security point of view, while AppLocker would be good for better control
over what can and can’t be run on each system.

Let’s now look at the business aspects. The launch of Windows 7 has been very
well timed. We’re now gradually coming out of the economic recession, and
businesses are slowly getting back on track. During the slowdown, most
organizations had slashed their IT budgets, and put all their hardware refreshes
on hold. Now that the worst of the slowdown is over, a lot of organizations
would be looking at refreshing their hardware. So it would make logical sense to
get all new machines with Windows 7, and ensure that your OEM gives you the best
deal on the licenses. We are seeing many organizations already preparing to move
to the new OS because their hardware refresh has now been long overdue. Whether
your OEM is ready to support the new OS or not is a different question
altogether, in which case you’ll have no other option but to wait.

For existing users of Windows XP or even Vista who don’t plan to replace
their hardware, this may not be the right time to upgrade to Windows 7. Win XP
users will have to format their machines because they can’t directly upgrade to
Windows 7. Vista offers that luxury. In either case, you would still have to
check for application compatibility, and ensure that all your existing drivers
work on the new OS.

This testing would be a time consuming and a fairly rigorous process, because
you’ll have to check with your existing application vendors on whether they’re
ready with Windows 7 ready versions of their applications, or whether the
existing versions would work with a patch.

Overall, as of now, there are more positives than negatives for Windows 7,
which would have to be matched with getting it at the right price and rigorous
testing to ensure proper integration within the system. I welcome your thoughts
on this on the PCQuest online forum’s discussion thread on “everything you
wanted to know about Windows 7”.

Anil Chopra, Editor

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