by Ron Grattopp…..Windows 7 continues to be a big hit as it heads into into its second year (Windows 7 Earns High Marks from Businesses: Survey) and most of the stats seem to indicate that IT spending is rebounding but businesses still need to understand the business value and potential ROI of Windows 7 before they make that upgrade decision.  Nobody understands that better than most of you.

With that in mind, I wanted to highlight a major update to the Windows 7 Professional for Small Business site at www.microsoft.com/windows/business.  It sports not only a new look and feel, but also includes a number of changes to enhance the small business buyer experience, including monthly updates and some cool new interactive Silverlight applications that can be easily leveraged and embedded on other sites.  See the graphic below for a look at the before and after of the home page.

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As you may have noticed, there are now pages to highlight Productivity, Mobility and Security, each with targeted feature articles and videos that provide stronger alignment with what matters most to the small business audience.  Also check out the videos for a Photographer and a few scenes of his work life benefiting from using Windows 7 Professional.

Also, check out the Case Studies page , by clicking on the Case Studies navigation link below the Title (see below, the Case Studies video link below the Mobility tab shown above will not get you to the Case Studies page).   You can search for written and/or video case studies as well as filter by Region (e.g. US), Industry, or OEM.  And don’t forget to check out the Ignite Program whitepaper.

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Here’s a shot of the PRODUCTIVITY PAGE:

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Each of these pages (Productivity, Mobility and Security) incorporates links to Articles and Tips & Tricks (left side), as well as feature videos (right side).

Here’s a shot of the TEST DRIVE PAGE:

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You can download test drives and/or videos of key features such as Action Center, Windows XP Mode, Problem Step Recorder, HomeGroup, Location Aware Printing, Remote Desktop Connection, Advanced Backup, IE8 Security, and more.  The videos are usually a minute or less AND you have the option of downloading the WMV if you want to run it locally as part of your presentation or demo.

Unfortunately, the Windows 7 Professional is not a chat-based help line but rather a series of 20+ video “tips” that I didn’t find as useful as the test drive stuff, but for an end-user it might be handy.

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OF course, there’s LOTS of other Windows 7 resources out there that might be helpful as well, in fact, I’ll list a few of my favorites below, but I did want you to be aware of this Windows 7 Professional for Small Business specific site and I hope you’ll check it out.

Engineering Windows 7 Blog – some great tech info on Windows 7 (e.g. Media Streaming with Windows 7, Engineering Win7 Graphics Performance, Delivering a Quality Upgrade Experience, Support and Q&A for Solid-State Drives, and more)
Windows 7 Product Home Page on Microsoft.com – pretty much what you’d expect
Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows – this one is not Windows 7 specific but has great coverage of the Windows platform and, of course, is currently focused on Windows 7.  Great source for Windows 7 articles, tips, commentaries, reviews, and screenshot galleries.
Windows 7 on MPN Portal – of course this requires an MPN login, but it has new links to things like Jumpstart for Windows Optimized Desktop, Windows Intune info, and Expert Windows 7 Deployment Guidance, among other things.  Check it out if you haven’t been on the MPN site for a while.
Windows 7 Client TechCenter on TechNet (Springboard Series) – obviously a great source for technical info, including search for troubleshooting info such KB articles or EventLog errors, and links to Top Tasks such as Volume Activation and Desktop Virtualization.
Microsoft Answers - Windows 7 – this is basically a Windows 7 forum where lots of questions are or can be answered.

Cheers,

Ron