Microsoft got it right with Windows 7, according to Michael Cherry, vice president of research on operating systems for Directions on Microsoft.
Cherry, along with colleagues Paul DeGroot and Matt Rosoff, have produced a research report aimed at helping senior IT decision makers evaluate Microsoft's latest client operating system. The 40-page report, "Windows 7: An OS for Business," will be available next month.
"It was really important for this version of Windows to overcome the barriers put up by Vista, and I think they successfully accomplished that," said Cherry in a telephone interview.
Those barriers, according to the report, include poor application compatibility, poor device driver support, and of course, the infamous user account control (UAC) security feature, among others.
Two years after Vista was released, more than 70 percent of business computers were still running XP, according Forrester Research.
Windows 7 is a somewhat slimmed-down "interim" OS release, according to Cherry. Like Vista, Windows 7 shares the same code base for server and client, allowing simplified testing for Microsoft and much-improved maintenance for customers. A single service pack can be used to update both server and client.
While the core components of Vista and Windows 7 are the same, the improved performance of the new OS may alter perceptions that had turned negative with Vista, according to the report.
"I think the biggest surprise for me was when I saw a Microsoft executive hold up a netbook at a recent conference saying that it was running Windows 7," said Cherry. "There is no way you could run Vista on a box like that."
Changes made with Windows 7 include improved driver support, a streamlined UAC, an updated Service Control Manager, a new power management system and a simplified BitLocker, according to the report (see Table).
Removing Windows Barriers
By Michael Cherry, Research Vice President, Directions On Microsoft
This chart lists some common perceptions that stopped organizations from deploying Windows Vista and shows how each perceived barrier has been addressed in Windows 7. Barrier to Windows Vista Windows 7 Improvement
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