Other Windows 7 Improvements

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print

From a solution provider's perspective, the beta of the much anticipated replacement for Window Vista is not a dramatic change, but it does make small improvements.


Aside from changes to the look and feel, Windows 7 offers some other enhancements. The operating system seems to be much snappier and a better performer all around, probably due to code enhancements and bloat reduction. Solution providers will appreciate the speed of installation; most systems can go from install disk boot to fully running the operating system in under a half hour. Boot times are also improved, as well as the shutdown process.

Some other obvious changes come from the addition of Internet Explorer 8 and a revamped media player that is a vast improvement over previous versions. Notepad and WordPad have been redesigned to look more like Office applications and now feature the ribbon interface.

The operating system's low-calorie diet becomes a little more evident when browsing through the included applications. Gone are Windows Mail, Movie Maker, Messenger and a bunch of other minor applications. Not to worry, though, if you really need any of that, it will be available via a Windows Live download.

Solution providers will find that the oft-maligned Vista UAC (User Access Control) feature has been redesigned to give more control over when and where UAC intercedes during software installations, Web browsing or many other functions. Support personnel will appreciate the inclusion of Windows Troubleshooter, an application that can automatically diagnose and fix problems and accomplishes that much better than anything offered in the past.

All things considered, Windows 7 is very much a step in the right direction so far, and one could argue that it is what Vista should have been.

For the channel, Windows 7's arrival could fuel upgrades (if not hardware replacements) for those businesses that have been sticking with Windows XP or older versions of Windows. On the flip side, the anticipated improvements offered by Windows 7 may make those considering a Vista upgrade think twice, perhaps sabotaging upgrade plans in the works. Solution providers caught in that situation are going to have to convince customers that it will be easier to move to Windows 7 from Vista than from any other operating system. Hopefully, Microsoft will recognize that dilemma and offer free or very low-cost upgrades to those who adopt Vista now and move to Windows 7 upon general availability.

With many expecting Windows 7 to arrive by November 2009 (unofficially, of course), Microsoft will need to act now to empower the channel to build interest and offer an upgrade path that makes sense to customers and solution providers alike.


Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com