Michael Miller, author of "Microsoft Windows 7 Your Way" discusses the end user support issues that IT managers face with Windows 7, the potential productivity gains, and how the OS stacks up on security.
Michael Miller is a popular writer and commentator on technology and digital lifestyle topics. He has authored more than 75 non-fiction books. His best-selling titles include "Absolute Beginner's Guide to Computer Basics," "Tricks of the eBay Masters," and "Googlepedia: The Ultimate Google Resource."
In his latest book, "Microsoft Windows 7 Your Way: Speed Up and Customize Windows," he shares no-hassle steps for making the OS run faster, more reliably, and hassle free. Miller spoke with InformationWeek SMB about the support that end users will need as they negotiate the Windows 7 learning curve, how IT managers can take advantage of some features to simplify data backups and storage, and the compatibility of running Windows 7 with other Oses.
InformationWeek SMB: Some SMBs have been clinging to Windows XP because they didn't want to deal with Vista. What's the argument for making the move from XP to 7 versus hanging on with XP?
Michael Miller: Well, there are several ways to approach it. One, is you don't know how much longer would you have to wait for something else.. When is the next version of Windows? You could be waiting a while. Two, when is Microsoft gonna quit supporting XP; they already announced they were going to and then they extended it. But probably more important is the fact that it's worth while to upgrade to Windows 7. A lot of businesses shied away from upgrading to Vista because of some of the problems. I was lucky. I didn't have problems with Vista, but other people did.
You might want to think it this way: Windows 7 is like a really really good service pack for Windows Vista. It fixed the bugs. It runs faster. They threw in some additional features, and they are some nice features, but they're not dramatic new features. They are incremental, evolutionary type of changes. The main thing is that now most of the problems people were having with Vista have been fixed. If you had compatibility problems with Vista, you're going to have fewer of them with 7. If you had problems with a machine running slow with Vista, it's probably going to run faster on 7.
InformationWeek SMB: Those performance gains will benefit the desktop users, but how will moving to Windows 7 benefit IT administrators?
Miller: You know, IT administrators never wanna change - they'd all still be using Windows 95 if they could. Change of any sort is a hassle. An IT administrator has got to train users on some new stuff and there are new administrator things, but I think it's a relatively seamless move. Whereas moving from XP to Vista wasn't so seamless because there were a lot of compatibility issues. With Windows 7, the compatibility is much much better. In fact, if you use the Ultimate or one of the Enterprise Editions, you actually have a mode that allows you to run Windows XP virtually. So you can actually run your XP programs if you want. The main question is "what do I gain from moving to Windows 7?". You have faster performance, an interface improvement for end users, and some nice new features in it. I think it's just a better environment for the end user and I think the IT community should be supporting that.