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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, here is PART TWO of our three parts.

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 2 of 3)

“Will Win 7 integrate well with XP in the environment until a full implementation is completed in the environment?”

Yes.. everything you might be doing as far as XP systems relating to one another is supported in a mixed XP/Windows7/Vista environment as well.

“Are there any thoughts going around to make XP Mode 64 bit to take advantage of more memory?”

Great question. And as we mentioned in the live chat, we’re not aware of any plans to create a XP-Mode 64-bit virtual machine. You can run XP-Mode on top of 64-bit Windows 7 (so you can have more memory on the host to work with), but the XP itself is 32- bit.

“The real time response of windows, xp, vista is very poor. Many seconds can elapse before a mouse click is recognized or a switch to another application is acknowledged. Has that changed significantly in W7?”

I don’t know if your particular situation is specifically related to XP or Vista, so I’m certainly not able to say for sure that your issue will be fixed with Windows 7. However, I do know that a lot of low-level optimizing has taken place in Windows 7, so that might improve things for you. Practically everyone I’ve talked to about their early experiences with Windows 7 have said that they noticed a dramatic improvement in responsiveness.

“I have just installed Win 7 Pro today. I was able to get it installed with no errors and it worked fine the first time. I was also able to get my HP k550dn printer setup and working without any software installation. That was very impressive.”

Cool! Thanks for sharing that.

“What versions of Windows 7 will run Virtual XP? Does it require special hardware?”

The free (no additional cost) XP OS is only for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. Yes, it does require that your CPU be the newer Intel or AMD ones that have built-in support for virtualization. And keep in mind that memory will also be important, because your virtualized XP is configured to use real memory while it’s running.

“Can you talk about the HighDPI feature in Win7?”

You can get more detail from the “Engineering Windows 7” blog.

“Do you have a list of search connectors available for download?”

I found this list (http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/742-windows-7-search-federation-providers.html ), but of course this is going to hopefully be an ever-expanding list.

“XP mode is amazing. i am running ms dyamics nav into xp mode and he works great !!!”

Excellent! Thanks for sharing that!

“We are currently running a Windows Server 2008 domain controller. What additional options will we see moving to the 2008 R2 (in regards to the Windows 7 clients)?”

As we discussed in the chat, there are a couple of new features/capabilities that do require both Windows 7 as the client and Windows Server 2008 R2 as the solution. Check out this good “better together” page: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/R2-Better-Together.aspx

“Is there a network equivalent of OneCare (that I have at home)?”
“Is the free anti virus tool from Microsoft will be installed by default? What is the memory limit? Will there be 64 of Windows 7?”

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

“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)”

I suppose this could be done. Taking an image and then installing the image into a virtual machine is one way to accomplish it. Or if you have System Center Virtual Machine Manager you could do a “P2V” (physical to virtual) migration in order to create the VHD (though the resulting machine will be built for Hyper-V).

Remember, though, that the “XP Mode” capability is not really supposed to be a backup of a previous machine. The main goal is to give people a platform as a last resort for application compatibility. The effort to build and maintain the old desktop within the new is, in my opinion, more work than it’s worth.

“Are there any differences between Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise?”

Functionally, with the exception of some features that are not enabled (but can be) by default (such as games in Enterprise), the two are the same. Where they differ is with regard to licensing benefits that you get with Enterprise, because it is only through Volume Licensing and with Software Assurance that you can have Enterprise Edition. Products such as MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack) become available to you to add to your license as well.

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

Yes. As we discussed in the live chat, we want to provide (because people want) a common platform to launch a search. Adding the ability to plug into other search services and launch them from within the Windows Explorer window (a feature called “Federated Search”) is how we make this happen.

“Is Windows Defender still available in Windows 7?”

Yes.

“Windows XP would often lock up and just wait for some internal time out on a resource. There was no straight forward way to release the resource or even know what application or resource was, that caused the lock up. This often led to restores to earlier working points, loosing desktop changes and other app changes: a lot of work was lost. What does windows 7 have that allows a user to know what is wrong with the OS and what to do about it without having a Systems Admin IT professional diagnose the system?”

Windows 7 has built-in Troubleshooting now that goes above and beyond even what we did in Windows Vista. I use Vista as the example all the time, because when it came to trying to solve networking issues, Vista really had the right idea. Instead of just tearing down and re-building the connection and hoping it works (ala XP), Vista had a top-down, decision-tree approach to trying to solve the problem. Sometimes the troubleshooter will solve the issue, and other times at the very least it will give the end-user better, more useful information that they can pass on to their administrator.

Windows 7 takes it several steps beyond that to not only let the end user troubleshoot networking, but also application compatibility issues or errors, hardware/device issues, display issues, and system and security issues.

Check out this Channel 9 video that goes into the details on how this new troubleshooting and diagnostics functionality works.

“What are the upgrade paths to Windows 7? Can you upgrade from XP?”

From XP, no, you cannot do an in-place upgrade. There are tools that can help with the migration of your files and settings. There are also tools that can automate the process for business IT people who need to do this for many machines.

Here’s a good “Upgrading to Windows 7” page: http://windows.microsoft.com/upgrade?os=other

And even a step-by-step tutorial here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/help/upgrading-from-windows-xp-to-windows-7

“Are you going to go over Windows 7 and Direct Access more?”

No, we really didn’t have time to go deep into any particular technology area in the live chat. However, here is a good “Executive Overview” of DirectAccess in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

And not too long ago I recorded a screencast demonstrating how to configure DirectAccess.

“Does Windows 7 require Windows Server 2008 R2 to effectively manage the desktop?”

No.

“What version of PowerShell comes with Windows 7?”

PowerShell 2.0 In fact, it’s installed by default now, rather than having to download or add it.

“How do I go about using Windows 7 Compatible logo for my application?”

Here is the Windows 7 Software Logo Program

“Would you briefly explain how Windows 7 will be easier to deploy? Create and manage images?”

That is a big topic. I recommend you start here: http://www.microsoft.com/deployment.

Look for information about and download tools such as the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK).

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Good stuff?  Hopefully you saw PART ONE also.