Microsoft have announced Windows 7 will be released on 22nd October 2009. With the release of beta versions to the general public, Microsoft have been able to promote this version of Windows quite successfully already. Especially with the predecessor, Microsoft Vista receiving such bad publicity and not being a suitable replacement for Windows XP.
For those small business users out there considering buying Windows 7, be weary of legacy hardware and software support. Windows 7 will feature a Windows XP mode for software compatibility, but recommended you are sure of compatibility (with in-depth testing) before a roll out of the system or have a suitable alternative plan.
I personally don’t recommend most small business rolling out a new operating system when it has been only recently released. Even with the availability of Windows 7 RC for testing, often it is wise to allow others to take the plunge, allow bug fixes and updates to become available and then assess whether you really need an update.
I am sure many technical support consultants will hear from colleagues that their systems are blotted slow and they want…..’need’ the latest operating system. Especially with many using Windows 7 RC at home and being quite familiar with it already. We all like the latest and greatest, but I’m sure this would be a good time be patient and perform maintenance to existing systems. Especially in light of tightening budgets during the recession. People should always evaluate why they are upgrading, be it security, features, performance etc and make sure it is meeting their requirements. Plus evaluating the alternative options.
As mentioned there is a release candidate of Windows 7 available freely from Microsoft for downloading and testing. Windows 7 should out perform Windows Vista on existing hardware and this could be very beneficial to laptop users for instance. Plus many other features and updates over Windows Vista and XP. This blog no doubt will continue to have Windows 7 RC coverage over the next few months to help answer questions and demonstrate features ( so best add us to your twitter or rss feeds).
For many desktop users a linux system such as Ubuntu may well prove a suitable alternative. Depending on what applications they use daily. With more of us logging into online services, using less software installed directly on our own hardware, but instead using ‘services’ through a browser. Meaning a reliance on a Windows based operating system has been reduced. Examples: Basecamp, Evernote, Google Mail, CRM’s etc. Not forgetting excellent software available for linux and other systems such as Open Office, Mozilla’s Firefox and Thunderbird etc.
So like most I look forward to Microsoft releasing their latest operating system for the PC platform. However after using Windows dos 5, dos 6, 3.1, NT4 (workstation & server), 95, 98, ME, 2000 (Pro & Server), XP, Vista and now the 7 RC, I am ‘painfully aware’ that ME and Vista could have been avoided by most and for many small businesses a linux system (or even an Apple Mac) here and there would of been more suitable than another Windows system.