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With Windows 7, there's never been a better time to be a PC. 

Posted By:  Yung Chou
Publish Date: 11/26/2009


This is it! We had waited and waited, and it's finally here. Windows 7 is now generally available. There are new technologies, new solutions, and a new dimension of capabilities for IT. With Windows 7, there's never been a better time to be a PC. There's never been a better time to be a Windows user. For all you IT Professionals out there, let me highlight the 3 key deliveries:

       
  • Making people productive anywhere
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  • Managing risks through enhanced security and control
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  • Reducing cost by streamlining PC management

and  innovations introduced in Windows 7, and making pertinent information readily available for you here.

Making people productive anywhere

Making people productive is not that hard. In your office plugged into the company’s network with a laptop loaded with apps, you can be productive. Making people productive “anywhere”, on the other hand, is a very challenging effort for IT, while facing the massive amount of mobile devices, in an increasingly complex network computing environment. The growing number of people in the mobile workforce and branch offices are simultaneously demanding corporate resources to be seamlessly available, regardless of infrastructure requirements and organizational boundaries. Two Windows 7 solutions which facilitate remote access are BranchCache and DirectAccess.



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Managing risks through enhanced security and control

Security is nothing we need to justify the need for in today’s network computing environment. It is critical, imperative, and all too often costly. From Windows Vista, Windows Vista SP1, to Windows 7, BitLocker has been expanded from a single drive, to multiple drives, and now to portable media. Windows 7 offers security enhancements enabling a user to secure data from unauthorized access very easily with BitLocker-to-Go, for example. In Windows 7 Explorer, highlight a portable drive, right-click to turn on BitLocker-to-Go. It is that readily available, easy to do, and readable with Windows XP. There is really no reason not to do it since there is so little to do, yet with so much control and so strong protection on data. As a memory stick is now available with 32 GB and more capacity, BitLocker-to-Go is one, very cost-effective way to protect data from unauthorized access. For a large company, BitLocker technology with group policies offers a software-based enterprise solution of hard disk encryption. You don’t need to look for a solution and end up with a second-class solution. It is in Microsoft Vista and it is greatly enhanced in Microsoft Windows 7. 

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In an enterprise environment, software restriction is one of the most difficult enforcements. It not only requires a mature infrastructure to provide software inventories, metering, and on-going monitoring, but it requires the skills to develop, test, and manage those software restriction policies. These are hard to find, take years to develop, and come at very high costs. Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 together present  AppLocker as a vehicle with which a system administrator can provision a policy to deny/allow execution, installation, or usage of a target application. This is based on the application's digital signature, by deriving a publisher rule defined and enforced with a Group Policy Object, and without programming. A complex requirement, for instance, which allows task workers to access Office 2007 and later, but not PowerPoint when accessed by contractors, can be implemented with AppLocker in a few mouse clicks, without any scripting.



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Reducing cost by streamlining PC management

Many thought that without a direct migration path, (i.e. in-place upgrade), from Windows XP to Windows 7, the deployment of Windows 7 must be tedious and tricky. In fact, Windows 7 offers a number of vehicles making the migration an intuitive and straightforward process. For consumers and small businesses, Easy Transfer makes migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 absolutely “easy” and, in my view, fun actually. Scanstate and Loadstate, two key utilities in USMT (User State Migration Tools) make the migration process very logical and easy to understand. Hard-Link Migration leaves and remaps data in place, and significantly reduces the time needed to place a large amount of user data in a typical PC refresh scenario.

In the past two years, with Microsoft’s introduction of virtualization strategies and