I Am Liking Windows 7

In a month or so—October 2009 as far as I know—Microsoft will be making Windows 7 available to us regular people. I understand that Windows 7 is already available to enterprise customers in its RTM version (Release to Manufacturing) via the various corporate licensing programmes and through TechNet Plus.

I am an IT Consultant in the Windows infrastructure, design, and applications space, and Windows XP is still the operating system on my three production computers. I am one of the many that elected to bypass Windows Vista: partially because when I tried it I found it felt heavy and slow; and partially because none of my customers planned to upgrade to Vista. I am currently part of a project team deploying a new operating environment to 3,000 PCs for BHP Billiton and it is based on Windows XP Professional. BHP Billiton will be deploying the new Windows XP-based GOE (Global Operating Environment) to an estimated 20,000 PCs (assuming the project runs to completion in these troubling financial times). BHP Billiton made a strategic decision to base their new GOE on a tried and proven operating system, and wait for Windows 7 and Office 14 to arrive to build the future GOE (GOE v2) on—thereby leapfrogging Windows Vista.

But back to Windows 7I have Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) installed on one of my test PCs and I have to say I am enjoying it. I use it whenever I can. Even the RC1 release feels smooth and fast. Presumably the final release will be marginally better as the very last of any debugging or forensics collection code will have been removed. To quote Paul Thurrott (who runs the Windows Super Site): "Windows 7 is the sum of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tiny tweaks, none of which would be particularly interesting in isolation. But taken as a whole, the result is astonishing".

For anyone interested in a comprehensive run down on Windows 7 I recommend a visit to Paul's Windows Super Site. If you want to get a brief summary of what's new in Windows 7 then go to the Microsoft Windows 7 "What's new in Windows 7" page. If you are an IT professional then Microsoft's TechNet pages featuring Windows 7 might be more interesting.

As far as I can work out there are going to be five editions (packages) of Windows 7 that will be available in Australia. These are:

  • Starter Edition.
    • This is a trimmed build of Windows 7 for Netbook computers.

    • Only sold with Netbook computers; cannot be purchased separately.

    • Can join Homegroups but cannot create them.

    • Cannot join a domain.

  • Home Premium Edition.

    • Available as retail.

    • Targeted at home use laptop and desktop PCs.

    • Can create and join Homegroups.

    • Cannot join a domain.

  • Professional Edition.

    • Available as retail.

    • Targeted at businesses and IT professionals.

    • Can create and join Homegroups.

    • Can join a domain and participate in Group Policy.

    • Supports offline folders.

  • Enterprise Edition.

    • Special license only available to enterprises through volume licensing.

    • Basically the same as Ultimate Edition.

  • Ultimate Edition.

    • Available as retail.

    • Contains everything Windows 7 has to offer.

As soon as Windows 7 becomes available I will be upgrading one of my production PCs and if that goes well with no issues (drivers, or applications that won't run) then I will upgrade another, just leaving one of the three production PCs running Windows XP.