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12/2/2010
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Air Force Upgrading To Windows 7

A base will migrate from Microsoft Vista due to concerns about security, complaints from users.

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Slideshow: Windows 7 Revealed

The Air Force is about to embark on the fastest operating system upgrade in its history as it moves PCs at Peterson Air Force Base from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

The military service last updated its PCs from Windows XP to Vista a year-and-a-half ago, and usually doesn't turn over OSes so quickly, it said.

However, the Air Force, like many other companies and organizations that used Vista, experienced myriad issues with that version of Windows, and decided to upgrade the Colorado base's 6,400 computers based on demand from its own users.

"When we went to Vista, there was a lot of grumbling," Rich Romesburg, 21st communications squadron client service center chief, said in a statement.

Romesburg cited incompatibility with existing programs as one of the problems Air Force users had with the system. Reports of this and other issues with Vista were widespread; overall, many saw the OS as both a financial and technical failure for Microsoft.

Windows 7, however, has been viewed much more favorably; overall it's more stable and secure, and many believe it's the OS Microsoft should have delivered when it released Vista. Security in particular is a key reason the Air Force decided to upgrade early, it said.

The military branch said it's had positive results with tests it's performed since August using Windows 7 on its network. "With Windows 7, I haven't heard one negative thing," according to Romesburg.

Switching to Windows 7 also should save the Air Force manpower hours in desktop administration, since officials said they're not expecting the amount of problems users had with Vista.

The Air Force is using an automatic update service to convert about 50 computers overnight. Users will be greeted with a desktop shortcut called "Windows 7 Enterprise Resource Kit" to help them navigate the new OS after the upgrade, the Air Force said.

Officials said they don't expect people to have much trouble working with Windows 7, even though it has a different look and feel than Vista. If they do, the resource kit will help them navigate some of the changes -- like a feature called "snap" for working with multiple windows open at once, according to the Air Force.

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