As I’ve shared on this blog before, we’re always eager to hear about our Windows 7 customer experiences and how we can improve our support and tools we offer them through their deployment. So today, I’d like to share some insightful findings from a February 2010 report from Forrester Research, written by Ben Gray, “Lessons Learned from Windows 7 Early Adopters
,” as well as feedback about our newly announced App-V 4.6
from several Microsoft Valued Professionals (MVPs) at our recent 2010 MVP Global Summit
. My hope is that sharing this feedback will better help our other customers during their deployment planning and rollout.
Forrester’s report asked 40 early Windows 7 adopters about their experiences to help IT managers develop their Windows 7 migration strategies. Overall, they found Windows 7 to be a “solid release,” with IT managers all over the world saying the benefits they’re seeing with productivity, security, management and green IT costs are well worth the effort. Customers are experiencing faster startup and shutdown times, more reliable sleep mode and overall stability of the OS, faster access to data and applications through improved search, and a superior mobile and branch office connectivity experience.
Here are a few of the lessons Gray touched on in his report:
- Don’t underestimate the application compatibility challenge: While we’ve done a better job preparing the hardware and software ecosystem for Windows 7, work still remains for IT managers responsible for application inventorying, testing, remediation, and packaging. We offer a number of free tools, such as ACT and MDT 2010, to automate many of these processes.
- Tie the OS upgrade to the natural PC refresh cycle to ensure hardware compatibility: Many IT managers look at hardware and OS upgrades as one in the same, meaning they purchased or leased new desktops, laptops, and netbooks from Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others with Windows 7 preinstalled. However, one-fifth of the firms with which Forrester spoke treated Windows 7 as an opportunity to extend the life of their existing hardware by another two to three years because it delivers a lighter and snappier user experience that utilizes resources more efficiently than both Windows XP and Vista.
- Invest in a client management suite to automate the deployment and ongoing management: With the emergence of netbooks and heterogeneous clients, along with the accelerating shift from physical to virtual clients, additional importance has been placed on having the right systems management tools in-house.
- Don’t overthink training, but shrink the delivery time and get creative: Even with all the enhancements and benefits that come along with Windows 7, the user experience hasn’t changed significantly from Windows XP and Windows Vista and shouldn’t require a large effort on training. Still, IT is encouraging users to attend training by shrinking the time required and embracing Web 2.0 delivery mechanisms such as collaboration portals, blogs, wikis, podcasts, and two-minute tips and tricks videos.
- Explore client virtualization as a means to accelerate Windows 7 deployment: Application and desktop virtualization provide a less expensive, less complex migration path to Windows 7. Application virtualization in particular helps to significantly reduce application regression testing cycles and the deployment process, and firms can package their applications in a matter of weeks or days rather than months, with little to no risk.
Along these lines, we asked several MVPs at the 2010 MVP Global Summit
, here on Microsoft campus, what they thought of App-V and what it means for IT Pros during their migration to Windows 7 – see the video below or read more about App-V 4.6
and MED-V 1.0 SP1 RC
on the MDOP blog
Forrester’s findings are in-line with our tips for Windows 7 adoption, particularly as tools like Windows Anytime Upgrade and Windows Easy Transfer make the upgrade process smoother while compatibility between Windows Vista and Windows 7 remains straightforward. For Windows XP users, the Windows Upgrade Advisor
is a valuable tool to determine system requirements before you perform a custom installation (you can find more detailed instructions here
on that process, along with an FAQ here
Looking for additional background?
As always, I welcome you feedback and look forward to hearing how your Windows 7 deployment goes.