Does everyone recall the train-wreck that occurred with Windows Vista? Plagued by software and hardware compatibility problems on a massive scale, all but the richest or newest corporates stayed away from Vista, unable or unwilling to junk masses of legacy hardware and enterprise applications software. The infrastructure replacement burden was to much to contemplate, whilst Vista itself benefitted them little…
Windows 7 by contrast, received excellent reviews, runs faster on ‘older’ hardware and now offers benefits in security, support and deployment that corporates are finding attractive. The minimum hardware requirements have stayed pegged to that of Vista, which, in the intervening three-year depreciation cycle, most companies have now purchased.
Now, enterprise features specially designed for corporates such
as Direct Access, BranchCache, federated search, BitLocker-to-go,
AppLocker and the ‘safety-net’ which is the Windows XP mode virtualisation tool, have made Windows 7 a massive best-seller.
Windows XP mode, specifially available in the top-end Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise/Ultimate editions, consists of the latest
version of Microsoft Virtual PC and a fully licensed copy of
Windows XP Professional SP3 included in the license fee. All your legacy
applications tied to XP libraries and frameworks can run applications installed on virtual XP, side by side with Windows 7 applications. They can be launched directly from the Windows 7 start menu without even starting VirtualPC.
Enterprises that rely on custom, in-house or third-party developed applications now have continuity until they choose to update or migrate to newer technology.
On the down-side this means a slew of Internet Explorer 6 installs and web-applications will perpetuate, possibly for several more years to come. Comme ce, comme sa.
If you have Windows 7 Enterpirse or Ultimate edtions, it is a simple matter to install Windows XP mode, by downloading the installers from Microsoft website, launching the executable, accepting the license terms and creating a default user id and password. XP then installs itself.
Bitlocker To Go offers encryption of removable (read ‘USB’) storage devices. It is a simple right-click option to turn it on for any portable device. You get the option to use a password or a security ‘smart card’ depending on your corporate security policy standards. Click “Start encrypting” and wait.
These two features by themselves can swing the decision to migrate from XP to Windows 7 and that’s before the maintenance and support features come into the equation. Given that only Windows XP Service Pack 3 is supported by Microsft now, very few enterprises are going to defer the upgrade without a very, very compelling reason. AJS