Hello again! It’s now been a week since I returned from maternity leave and I felt it was high time I posted to the blog. I want to thank Rick, Damir and Stephen for keeping things going while I was away. Stephen will be continuing, of course, to co-host this blog with me and I’m sure we’ll still hear from Rick and Damir from time to time as well, so not to worry.
To kick things off, I thought I’d share with you some of my opinions about the release candidate of Windows 7 which I’m now running on my main notebook, a nice little blue Dell Latitude E4300. I’ve never had a blue notebook before, so that in itself was a cool treat to come back to work to. Usually I lug around a utilitarian looking, powerhouse notebook that is some shade of black. But anyway, enough about how good I look toting my slick new laptop around and on to what makes me happy about Windows 7…
One of the things that makes me very happy is the location-aware printing feature. This feature allows you to have the default printer change automatically according to what network you’re attached to. Finally! How many times have you sent a document to the printer at the office and waited 10 minutes before realizing it's sitting idly in the queue because you’re at home? Probably not as many as I have. Or worse – how many personal documents have you sent to the office printer through the VPN? Yikes!
Windows Desktop Search
Even the smallest company can generate an awful lot of information. And one of the most frustrating things for many people, including myself, is trying to find the information that they need when they need it. Windows Vista already had Windows Desktop Search incorporated into it but the enhancements made in Windows Search 4 (which comes with Windows 7 and can be downloaded for Windows Vista) make this feature worth another look.
It may just be me, but the interface seems to be much more intuitive. Once I type in my query, I can quickly find what I’m looking for. The search is very accurate. For enterprise companies, search scopes can be added to user desktops using Group Policy. So in addition to searching the local desktop files, applications and email, network shares, SharePoint sites and other enterprise resources can be searched from a common interface.
Windows XP Mode
Here’s a feature that I don’t need, except when I’m demoing, but I’ve included it here because I know it’ll make IT departments that are supporting legacy Windows XP applications happy. Let’s face it – Windows XP a solid operating system that can still be effectively used in certain situations even 8 years after being released. However, there have been many improvements made in security and management that a Windows XP machine isn’t able to take advantage of.
Windows XP Mode running on Windows 7 allows you to have the best of both worlds. You can run your legacy point-of-sale application, voicemail software or other legacy product while being able to fully manage, patch and secure that system. If that doesn’t make you do just a little bit of a happy dance, I don’t know what will.
These are just some of the things in Windows 7 that makes it an exciting release. To learn more or download a copy of the Window 7 Release Candidate, go to http://www.microsoft.com/windows7 and be prepared to put on your happy dance shoes!