It's been a fantastic ride: Windows 7 has hit the GA milestone.  That's General Availability for the acronym-challenged, so go forth and upgrade! As of now, you'll find Windows 7 readily available from retailers as well as hardware manufacturers and business solution providers. The new operating system has lots to admire for desktop users, but it also sports the closest relationship with Windows Server since Windows 2000. Put Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 on the same set of network cables and all kinds of new abilities are suddenly yours to command, including uber-flexible desktop and application virtualization with Remote Desktop Services, seamless remote productivity with DirectAccess, smiling branch office workers with BranchCache and happier desktop administrators who get loads of new options for managing desktops right down to the bare metal on each and every desk.

For our part, Windows Server 2008 R2 has been available through partners and OEMs, like Dell and Fujitsu, for several weeks. Our server experts have done a great job of describing Windows Server 2008 R2's many new and improved features over the past several months, but with the full availability of Windows 7 now upon us, customers and partners will be able to see all the power that a desktop-to-server Microsoft solution can have in the enterprise. You can experience much of this new functionality via online demos and presentations at our New Efficiency Virtual Launch Event (VLE) site.

Here, you can get a first-hand look at Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7's new enterprise synergies, including new management features, productivity enhancers and virtualization capabilities, via online training and info sessions, demo recordings and customer descriptions of their early adoption experiences with the new platform. Enterprise IT administrators will find lots of valuable information here, but we'd also like to remind SMB customers that both Windows Server and Windows 7 contain features specifically aimed at them. There are several New Efficiency VLE content sessions aimed at SMB scenarios currently available, and we'll be adding more in the coming weeks, so check out what's there and stay tuned for more. Again, congratulations to Windows 7 on achieving this important milestone, and look for more content on our virtual launch site as well as new events highlighting these products in the near future, including TechEd Europe and PDC in just a few weeks.

Oliver Rist

Technical Product Manager

Windows Server 20008 R2