IT Pro Momentum Combining the Power of Windows 7 and Netbooks for a Classroom

This was a great project and if you have ever had to setup a training classroom, you will appreciate the story.  Check out Windows 7 really helped solve the problem.

momentum Objectives of the project:  Setup training environment at a non-profit organization for their users that travel across the globe.  The training environment would use low-cost netbooks and need a low-cost dependable OS along with Office Suite in order for the users to do their required work.  The OS would also need to run some custom applications.  Due to being a non-profit organization the training room needs to not have high costs involved in its setup.

Are you piloting or deploying the products: Piloting.  Deployment is planned for future date.

Products used in the project: Windows 7 Home Premium and Office 2007 Standard

Project description: The project involved setting up a training room with 10 Dell Netbooks (Dell Mini 10v) with Windows 7 Home Premium installed.  An additional Netbook with similar software would be used as an instructor pc for the class.  Microsoft Office 2007 Standard, additional 3rd party apps like Google Picasa along with other custom applications needed to be installed as well.  The purpose was to setup a training room where users could come in and be trained on the OS along with other applications that would prepare them for real world experience for their organization. 

For the pilot the entire classroom was not setup.  The instructor netbook along with a classroom netbook were setup for a proof of concept.  The install of Windows 7 was probably the best install of any Windows OS I've done to date.  It was extremely fast (roughly 12-15 minutes) and straight forward.  The only issue was that the synaptic touchpad was not detected.  Instead a basic mouse driver was installed.  Dell did not have a Windows 7 touchpad driver however, it just involved downloading and using the Windows XP driver for the touchpad.  It worked great.  All installs of software went straight forward, were put through various tests of use and encountered no problems.  The performance on the netbooks was excellent, no software problems at all and the overall experience on the netbook with Windows 7 was very enjoyable.  The preview of windows in the taskbar was greatly appreciated.  No printer driver problems to the classroom printer were encountered either.  I think the only software issue encountered was IE8 hung a couple of times however, there were several tabs (roughly 10) open in the browser window when it hung. 

The organization appreciated the aesthetics of Windows 7 and it running without errors or issues during the testing.  The plan for the future is to move forward from this proof of concept to actually implementing the remaining 9 classroom netbooks and put the training room into production.

Did you solve the problem:  The previously stated objectives were met.  A low cost netbook along with reliable OS and associated applications ran extremely well.  The non-profit organization gets a discount from Microsoft for being a non-profit organization for Office 2007.  This gives them an affordable and stable training room and also affordable and stable netbooks that can be used in the field.   

Are you going to save money: The organization should save money over the next 3 years and beyond.  With the performance and stability of Windows 7 on the netbooks they can be used for years to come to ensure ROI.

What do you think about the IT Pro Momentum program:  I think the IT Pro momentum program is excellent.  It makes doing prototype and proof of concept testing extremely easy.  It allows easy access to Microsoft operating systems and applications so organizations can easily test implementing Microsoft products.  I would not have done this project without the IT Pro momentum program.

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