Click to listen to the recorded chat session. Attention IT Managers!

The other day we had a fantastic chat with Venky Chandrasekharan, and nearly 200 live attendees, all about Windows 7 and what it provides you in your IT organization and for your business. 

(You can listen to that recorded chat session HERE.)

As I like to do with these, I promised that I would take the Q&A log from the event and expand upon the answers we gave, as well as answer the more technical questions that we didn’t have a chance to get to.  And we had so many wonderful questions that I is taking me quite some time to get through them all.

So.. I’m going to post these in 3 parts.  Here is part 1 of 3.

My apologies if you don’t see your question here.   It’s either coming in a later post, or it simply was too technical (or off-topic) to be worth addressing here.

I hope you find these question, answers, and resources useful!

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Questions and Answers (Part 1 of 3)

“How can I change the default keyboard for all running applications in Win7? When I try it, I change only for current Application.”

Enter “keyboard language” in the Start menu’s searchbox and hit return. You should see “Change keyboards or other input methods”. Click it.

“Are the ‘Win7 64bits’ faster than 32bits? How much in percentage?”

64 bits are twice as fast as 32. (I’M JUST KIDDING!!!)

I really don’t know the answer in actual percentage. It’s going to be faster when you have more memory than a 32-bit OS and the 32-bit address space can support, of course.

I “binged it”. There are some good comparisons and data here: http://www.bing.com/search?q=64-bit+vs.+32-bit+performance+comparison&src=IE-SearchBox&FORM=IE8SRC

“How will Windows 7 improve my user's ability to search for files on our network?”

In the chat we discussed this one. Basically you’re going to want to look at how Search Federation in Windows 7 can be used to unify the search experience (and so improve their ability) on the desktop.

And if you’re curious, I found a list of Search Federation providers here:
http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/742-windows-7-search-federation-providers.html

“What is MS recommending in terms of adoption of the 32-bit or 64-bit version? Is future development going to focus on 64-bit?”

On the Server side it’s all going 64-bit. Most new server products (and even our latest OS, Server 2008 R2) are 64-bit only. And that’s because server-class hardware is all 64-bit for the past several years now.

The same can’t be true for desktops and laptops. 32-bit will still be an option for awhile. So we’ll have 32-bit and 64-bit versions at least for the near-term. I can’t predict when the switch to all 64-bit will happen on the desktop side.

“How is Win7 compatible with older servers and Group policy and security settings?”

As we discussed in the live chat, there isn’t really anything special about Active Directory or how Group Policy objects are replicated to and supported by Domain Controllers that Windows 7 requires that is any different than any other AD joined client operating system. And if a policy is set that configures new functionality in Windows 7, or for that many ANY operating system that is newer than the one where a policy is being applied, it will just be ignored.

“I noticed that also in Windows 7, sometimes drivemappings are been lost, and only the red cross is been displayed. The names are lost of the mappings, but!!! the drives are still there and accessable....according supportsites from msft this already should have been solved in Vista..but also in my Win7 syst. x64 its still a problem...”

That’s a bit more of a technical support issue than we usually attempt to address in these IT Manager Community Chats, I’m afraid. But you might want to see if you have some kind of a networking issue.. where unexpected latency is causing these “connections” to time out. The documentation you saw on a fix might not relate to the problem you’re having, so it’s hard to say that this was the fix you were expecting.

“Is there a view of the presentation that shows windows 7, all I see is a cover page of the presenters?”

Did you join late? (smile) As I explain up at the front of all of these sessions, the idea here is to make it a live, interactive session. We only put a few resources up there for your use… but we really want the end result to be something you can get value from by simply listening to it – not having to focus on slides or demos. And it gives us the opportunity to keep it interactive, too.. much more fluid than having to follow a slide deck or script.

“How will anti-virus work with the resources? Will anti-viruses slow down the computer like it did in Windows XP?”

I don’t know of anything special about Windows 7 that will make Antivirus perform any slower or faster than it does on our older operating systems. If your AV solution is a memory/resource hog or duplicates existing functionality already in XP SP2 and beyond, then it’s going to do the same thing in Windows 7.

Related note: Microsoft just recently released a free antivirus product for home users called Microsoft Security Essentials. http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials

For AV in business, you should consider the solutions in the Microsoft ForeFront set of products. http://www.microsoft.com/forefront/en/us/default.aspx

“What are the settings for configuration on UAC?”

Here’s a great TechNet Magazine article by Mark Russinovich on User Account Control that, among other things, shows off the new User Interface: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.07.uac.aspx

For changing the settings using Group Policy: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-IN/windows7/How-do-I-change-the-behavior-of-User-Account-Control-by-using-Group-Policy

For a great whys-and-wherefores discussion of UAC, check out the “Engineering Windows 7” blog post here: http://blogs.msdn.com/e7/archive/2008/10/08/user-account-control.aspx

“Will networking be enabled in xp mode?”

The thing to remember about “XP Mode” in Windows 7 is that at the heart of it, it is another running operating system (XP SP3), running as what it thinks is it’s own machine. And as such, yes, you can network it. Applications running there can (and will be default) have access to the same network that your host Windows 7 machine has.

Remember: Issues of security such as antivirus, antispyware, firewall, etc.. all apply to this other “machine” also. Keep it up-to-date!

“With the virtual options in Win7, can I make a virtual machine of a user's old computer and then run it on their new Win7 computer? (A sort of backup feature)”

It’s an interesting idea.. and I suppose it’s doable if you have some way to capture their machine as an image that you then could deploy to the virtual machine. Seems like a lot of work, though, to give them an old operating system on top of the new one.

“Windows 7 will support booting from VHD files at a software level?”

Not sure what exactly you’re looking for when you say “software level”. As we discussed in the chat around this question, it really is a combined hardware/software solution as it exists. It’s all software, after all, but it is at a lower level. You boot to a VHD using the new bootloader, which is able to see and launch/run an operating system from within that .vhd file as if it were just another disk partition. And once it’s running, the OS itself has full access to the hardware. Heck, you can even see your own OS disk, and along side it (probably your D: drive) is the actual physical disk that contains your .vhd file.

Now.. if you’re looking for running a .vhd file from within a currently running OS, there’s still Windows Virtual PC (the Virtual PC software that supports XP-mode can run other Operating Systems, too) as running virtual machines. That’s probably the more “software” level idea you’re thinking of.

“Can you please email updates to your blog to sort of an email list who are here?”

Sorry, I can’t. I don’t have access to the names/addresses of the people attending the webcast.

“In Windows 7, can you create virtual machines ? and are you capable of saving VM's to a USB flash drive?”

Yes, and yes.

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Watch this blog for parts 2 and 3!