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Windows 7 – released on the 22nd October
October 2, 2009

The time is nearly upon us when Microsoft launch their latest operating system.  Windows 7 will hit the shops on the 22nd October.  After the mixed reaction to Windows Vista, Windows 7 promises a lot – it needs to capture the hearts and minds of businesses – something that Windows Vista never really achieved.

The release of Windows 7 doesn’t reflect badly on Vista.  It’s been three years since Windows Vista was released – and that’s Microsoft’s usual timescale for replacing products.  Windows 7 has appeared on plan and is not rushed out just because the public didn’t take to Windows Vista.  (Apple have released almost 3 versions of their Operating System during this time).

So – what will Windows 7 bring?  The headlines claim that Windows 7 is Faster, more Reliable, more Secure and Easier to Use than previous versions of Windows.  We’ve been using it for several months now, and I have to say that all four of these are true.

Faster…  When I open the lid on my laptop it is a matter of seconds (three at the most) before I’m able to work – I just swipe my finger along the sensor to login, and then watch as my inbox begins to synchronise. 

Reliability… It’s definitely more reliable – I’ve had to reboot it once in the last 3 months – and there’s been no issues at all (and this is running a late Beta copy of the code). It’s been pretty much bullet proof!

Secure… I haven’t had much of an opportunity to test how secure it is – but I have been using some of the features such as Encryption and Advanced Backup. 

Easy… And it’s certainly easier to use – just hovering above the Outlook icon the Task Bar shows all the Outlook windows that I have open.  Just clicking the ‘Start’ button and typing a word brings up all documents/programs/emails containing that word.

Win7
Win7

In the months that I’ve been using Windows 7, I have to say that it’s the best operating system I’ve used so far – better than my AppleMac at home too!

It really works well with the way I work.  I use both a laptop and a desktop for business.  Both stay nicely in sync (sharing simple things like email, data and Internet Favourites – so anything I do on one PC is replicated on the other).  My laptop is ready to use immediately and I can move between different networks without hiccup.  And, this is the best bit, the battery life is fantastic – I can easily use the laptop all evening, from the sofa, when I’ve got lots to catch up on.  Bear in mind that this is the same laptop that, under Windows Vista, would only last for an hour on Battery.

There’s a number of new features too.  I won’t bore you with all of them, but these are some of my personal favourites…

Location-Aware Printing – Windows 7 detects whether it as at Home or at Work, and automatically sends documents to the right printer.

Advanced Backup – recover lost/deleted files and even take ‘images’ of your PC so that you can easily rebuild it to any previous state.

Encryption – 1200 laptops are left at Los Angeles Airport EVERY WEEK.  If you lose yours, and the data is encrypted, no-one will be able to look at your important data.

Remote Desktop Host – Access documents and programs on a computer remotely from another computer.

Offline Files – Work Offline and automatically synchronise between PC and network content.

Windows XP Mode – so that you can run older programs and not have to worry about compatibility when upgrading.

So – Windows 7 is good.  But – is it right for you?  And should you consider switching?

That’s not a simple answer, unfortunately.  I often liken it to a car – if you own a reliable 10 year old Mercedes Benz;  If you don’t need to be seen with the latest car;  If the car does everything you need it to – then why pay good money to upgrade to a brand new Mercedes Benz?

However, if your 10 year old Mercedes is costing you in Servicing to get it through its MOT each year; If you would benefit from having the latest built-in SatNav and Bluetooth Handsfree kit; if fuel economy is important; or if you just want to be seen with the latest new Mercedes – then there’s a few good excuses for you to go down to the local dealers and hand over some hard-earned cash.

So – whether to upgrade or not will be different for each and every business.

But, if you needed another car, and I was to offer you a 10-year-old Mercedes or a Brand New Mercedes – both for the same price – then the choice becomes obvious! 

(hint – it’s the same choice for Windows XP and Windows 7).

back to October techbyte..

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