Sunday, February 7, 2010

Windows 7

Have you used Windows 7 yet? Are you planning to soon?

I was hesitant to jump into Windows 7 early on. I didn’t want to get too involved with it if we were going to have another distribution like Vista. Early last fall I had seen some statistics that 80% of IT managers at large firms were planning on waiting for quite a while to see how the release of this OS was going to play out. I fell into that camp.

But I had some clients that wanted Windows 7 on some PCs right away, so I thought it would be a good start and get some experience on someone else’s dime. Thanks Renee. It went pretty well. It was a public surfing PC, actually four of them, and I was able to install it on two of the four. Here is how it went.

All four PCs were Dell Optiplexes. I forget the model numbers, but two a little newer and two a little older. I did a fresh install on one of the newer ones, then installed all the standard Public PC software, which for me is MS Office, Itunes/Quicktime, Google Earth, Adobe Reader/Flash/Shockwave, Java, Picasa, and probably some other things. I should also point out that Windows 7 recognized all the hardware in the PC. All of it. I didn’t have to go to Dell Support to get any drivers.

The first glitch was with Deep Freeze, which I use on all public PCs I manage. Windows 7 needed the most recent version which is 6.61. Our maintenance contract was still live so I just downloaded and upgraded Deep Freeze to 6.61.

Then I imaged the install on the first PC and copied that image to one of the two older Dells. This brought the second glitch. It did not recognize the audio hardware and Dell said they did not have a Windows 7 driver for that hardware yet, but she thought they would at some point. You need audio on public stations so I had to pass those two up. The other two have been working fine for a few months now.

I have done several other installs and, with one glaring exception, it has gone very well. I even have some staff members running Workflows on Windows 7 and have not heard any complaints yet. Keep in mind that Sirsi still does not support Windows 7.

The glaring exception is OCLC’s Connexion. Now this is not really a Windows 7 problem. It is a 64-bit OS problem. The latest version Connexion will not run natively on a 64-bit operating system. So when I bought a bunch of new “latest and greatest” hardware for our Tech Services department and started installing all the apps they need, I hit a roadblock with Connexion. They MUST have Connexion and I had already put a lot of effort into using the 64-bit version of Windows 7, so I had to accommodate somehow. Now Connexion would have worked fine (I’m told) if I had used the 32-but version of Windows 7, but that is the old and I’m bringing in the new.

I complained vociferously to a number of folks at OCLC but they have limited resources, and we all know about that, and they’ll get to it when they get to it. They have a solution which I won’t go into here, except to say that you have to install a guest operating system. So I will have Connexion and my 64-bit OS on these boxes.

The anticipated release date for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is this September. It looks like it’s not going to bring any big changes because Windows 7, so far, seems to be a pretty solid release. That is not to say that everyone is satisfied with all of it. Search on “Windows 7 annoyances” to see a sampling of current grumbling.

I think Windows XP released in October of 2001. I’m hoping I’ll be able to stick with Windows 7 as long as we have been using Windows XP. If I do, I’ll only have to go through one more OS upgrade before I retire. That sounds pretty good to me.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

As an early adopter, I put Win 7 on my netbook almost immediately. I had pre-ordered it on a special deal. This was an interesting challenge to do a fresh OS install on a device w/o a CD or DVD drive. Luckily, Microsoft had already created a toolkit for installing off a USB drive. The whole process took several hours but worked flawlessly. Since it's a netbook, I don't have a lot of drivers or software issues. Win 7 works great on a netbook and looks great too!