According to Vaughan, feedback from CIOs and enterprises had largely been around two themes -- reducing costs, and supporting tele/flexible work arrangements to reduce overheads and promote work-life balance.
To address these needs Windows 7 includes a direct access feature, which allows remote access to files and applications behind the organisational firewall without having to log in and out of remote VPNs.
Using this feature the IT department can also connect to the remote Windows 7 device and check it for policy and security compliance, creating greater efficiency for user access and IT maintenance, Vaughan said.
Windows 7 also makes use of the Open Search standard to incorporate federated search. With the addition of an XML connector, the IT department can use Internet Explorer to search the desktop, internal repositories and the Internet.
“Today if you go to external search sites you have one search experience, if you search within the organisation you get another with a SharePoint or records management system and on the desktop it is different again,” Vaughan said.
“Federated search gives a unified way for the user to search regardless of the endpoint where they are searching. It takes away the need for the user to learn different search approaches and they gain efficiencies from a single, unified experience.”
CIOs will find that upgrade path for XP to Vista is similar to that of XP to Windows 7, Vaughan said, in that they will still have to be mindful of application compatibility. On the hardware side, so long as a machine is compatible with Vista it should be able to move from XP straight to Windows 7.
“To date, we have been working to ensure that if the hardware you were using ran Vista, then it would work equally as well on 7,” Vaughan said.
She said that Microsoft was conscious that its release timeframe from Windows 7 wasn’t necessarily complementary for many enterprise customers.
“Enterprises will take from 12-18 months to look at their desktop upgrade, so the point is that if organisations have begun testing with Vista then that won’t be time wasted, as our design tenant is to make sure that Windows 7 will run just as well on the same hardware.”
Vaughan said there were a number of options for customers to be licensed for Windows 7. XP mode, allows for organisations to move to windows 7 but still run XP-only applications via a virtual XP mode within Windows 7 desktop. Volume licensing customers can maintain their systems but have rights to Windows 7.
Downgrade rights from Windows 7 to XP will be available for 18 months from general availability or Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Vaughan said.
Minimum specifications of 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage for Windows 7 was consistent from Starter through to the Ultimate versions, she said.
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