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What's New in Windows 7

Updated: December 30, 2008

Users are becoming more and more computer-savvy, and expect more from the technology they use at work. They expect to be able to work from home, from branch offices, and on the road, without a drop-off in productivity. As the needs of users have changed, the demands on IT professionals have only increased. Today, IT professionals are being asked to provide more capabilities and support greater flexibility, while continuing to minimize cost and security risks. With Windows 7, IT professionals can meet the diverse needs of their users in a way that’s more manageable. Businesses can enable employees to work more productively at their desks, at home, on-the road, or in a branch office. Security and control are enhanced, reducing the risk associated with data on lost PCs or external hard drives. PC management is streamlined, so it takes less work to deploy Windows 7 and keep it running smoothly. And because Windows 7 is based on the Windows Vista foundation, companies that have already deployed Windows Vista will find that Windows 7 is highly compatible with existing hardware, software, and tools.

What Can IT Pros Do With Windows 7?

Windows 7 contains many new and changed features of interest to IT Pros. Below are some of the key management tasks that can be improved or enabled with Windows 7:

Make Users Productive Anywhere

Windows 7 enables end users to be productive no matter where they are, or where the data they need resides. They can work faster and with fewer interruptions because Windows 7 delivers improved performance and reliability. They won’t have to look in multiple places to find information because a single search can examine a SharePoint site on a company intranet as well as files on their PCs. With DirectAccess, mobile users will be able to simply and securely access corporate resources when out of the office. Users in branch offices with slow connections will be more productive as well because BranchCache™ in Windows 7 can be used to cache frequently accessed files and Web pages. For more information on DirectAccess and BranchCache, see What's New in Networking in Windows 7

Enhance Security and Control

Windows 7 builds on the security foundation of Windows Vista, delivering increased flexibility in securing PCs and data. Businesses won’t have to worry about sensitive data on lost laptops or USB drives because in addition to protecting internal PC hard disks, BitLocker can now encrypt external thumb drives and hard disks—and provide recovery keys so that the data is accessible when needed. For enterprises that demand the highest levels of compliance, IT professionals can use new application blocking tools to dictate which applications are allowed to run on user PCs, providing yet another way to limit the risk of malicious software.

Streamline PC Management Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack

Whether IT professionals manage and deploy desktops, laptops, or virtual environments, Windows 7 makes the job easier while enabling them to leverage the same tools and skills they use with Windows Vista. Advanced image management and deployment tools enable IT professionals to add, remove, and report on drivers, language packs, and updates—and push those system images out to user PCs using less network bandwidth. New scripting and automation capabilities based on Windows PowerShell™ 2.0 reduce the costs of managing and troubleshooting PCs. For IT professionals making the leap to client virtualization, Windows 7 helps them more easily maintain virtual machine images and provide a richer user experience over remote connections. The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, which is updated at least once a year, completes the enterprise experience. By using Windows 7 and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack together, enterprises can optimize their desktop infrastructure and gain the flexibility to address their unique business needs. Companies can prepare to deploy Windows 7 as soon as possible by deploying Windows Vista and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack today. Customers already running Windows Vista will find that Windows 7 delivers strong compatibility with Windows Vista software and devices, and that Windows 7 can be managed with many of the same tools they use to manage Windows Vista. Companies using the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack will have an even greater advantage when moving to Windows 7 because they can more easily migrate settings and applications.

Other New and Changed Features in Windows 7

What's New in Biometrics

What's New in Group Policy in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

What's New in Handwriting Recognition for Windows 7

What's New in Networking in Windows 7

What's New in Windows Search, Browse, and Organization

What's New in Service Accounts

What's New in Smart Cards

What's New in Windows PowerShell