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As Windows 7 Rolls Out, 4 Things to Expect

Microsoft is set to roll out its much talked-about — and generally well-reviewed — Windows 7 operating system tomorrow, a day some are referring to as Redmond’s Day of Redemption. Because of the ubiquity of Windows, such a major upgrade will affect many technology sectors — from mobile to utility software to wireless and connectivity solutions and beyond. With that in mind, here are four things to expect as Microsoft’s new operating system arrives.

Not Too Many Fireworks — After All, For Some, It’s Already Arrived: In light of the debacle that Windows Vista has been for Microsoft, many people have been lulled into forgetting what happens when the company delivers a well-received version of Windows. But as IBM executive Savio Rodrigues has noted, Microsoft has since learned to practice “adoption-led marketing.” The company shrewdly opened up the beta and release candidate testing for Windows 7 to anyone — a far more open approach than it’s ever taken — and has both delivered the OS to its volume licensees and already released it in the UK. It appears to be working: Pre-orders for Windows 7 have set records, even outselling Amazon’s record for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

A Slew of Hardware Announcements: There will, of course, be countless new PCs, netbooks, notebooks and peripheral devices arriving in conjunction with Windows 7. (Acer today unveiled a version of its popular Aspire One netbook with Windows 7 and a 3-D display.) Touchscreen devices based on the OS will also arrive.

As eWeek notes: “Companies such as Dell and Intel could see their own revenues boosted substantially if Windows 7 proves a hit.” In fact, there are numerous hardware companies that stand to benefit. In some categories, such as netbooks, Windows 7 can’t escape the harsh new reality of razor-thin profit margins, but in others, both manufacturers and Microsoft stand to benefit from a rising Windows 7 tide.

Far Fewer Hardware Incompatibilities Than Vista Had: Partly through developing Windows 7 based on lots of user feedback, and partly due to the guts of the OS, it’s very unlikely that we’ll see a repeat of the many hardware incompatibilities that Vista had when it was first released. (Windows 7 uses the oft-patched and upgraded core code from Vista.) That said, some hardware incompatibilities are inevitable; there are already rumblings about problems syncing mobile phones with the OS.

Shifts In Connectivity, and Utilities: In the wake of previous Windows rollouts, connectivity and networking technologies have been heavily affected by what Microsoft builds into a new version; in some cases the company’s bundling of utilities and security enhancements has forced software players selling standalone utilities out of business. One very notable software layer in Windows 7 enables “virtual Wi-Fi,” which essentially allows a user to group multiple Wi-Fi connections together to boost coverage and speeds. It’s a convenience that will become even more useful when wireless broadband access technologies beyond Wi-Fi are included.

While previous Windows rollouts provide some guidance as to what to expect from Windows 7, it’s been many years since Vista first arrived, and both the hardware landscape and the connectivity landscape are vastly different now. To some extent, we are heading into uncharted territory.

12 Responses to “As Windows 7 Rolls Out, 4 Things to Expect”

  1. I started using Windows 7 Beta a few months ago and in my opinion it’s pretty good. It is much quicker and programs don’t lag when you have a lot of stuff working at once. There are some cool features that Microsoft introduced into Windows 7 and I think the overall user experience is much easier and simpler now. Microsoft took Windows 7 seriously, after Vista they really had no choice. I have written extensively about my own experience using Windows 7 and I hope you can find it helpful. Please comment and let us know.

    It is still too early to know what kind of problems may come up in the future using Windows 7, but on the whole I think it will be a cool operating system.

  2. Thanks for the resourceful review!

    I got my first look at Windows 7 this week and my initial reaction was “so far, so good.”

    “So far” being the key phrase of that statement.

    New operating systems are almost always an improvement, and will almost always generate some sort of enthusiasm or buzz within the first couple months.

    But until the user sits down and gets a feel for what a new OS is all about (outside the VirtualBox), you’re not going to understand the product’s deficiencies … or its notable improvements.

    The reality being you need at least 4-6 months under your belt before you can conclude how successful an OS is for you. And that’s the bottom line, how successful is this system to you and your work environment?
    Here are my Top 7 reasons Windows 7 could be a success, and Top 7 reasons it could be a failure:

  3. Ok, my adventure with Windows 7 (final release) has been disastrous! Atleast over 10 crashes and BSODs since I have been running it on 12th Oct (got myself the Ultimate signatured edition). Windows 7 RC on the otherhand was awesome! I can only recall 1 BSOD in 4 months of use. I really hope Microsoft and also my hardware manufacturers will release fixes as obviously something went wrong between the RC and final release. Atleast from my point of view and experience.

    Note, I have not changed my hardware (and used the latest drivers, and standard drivers through Windows update as part of troubleshooting).

    I will still stick with Windows 7 as it is getting there, having used Vista, XP, 2000, NT, 95, 3.1, DOS 6.2, DOS 6, DOS 5 on my PC in the past. And for the record, I think Vista was better than XP, just that you had to have a powerful system, which I fortunately did and do.

  4. Sebastian Rupley

    @Dan–yes consumers may show a lot of demand for Windows 7, and some of them have already demonstrated that through pre-orders. Microsoft does need business users to buy into the new OS, though. Windows, across all incarnations, is still on about 90 percent of business desktops. MS has its eye on that, for sure.

    @Jkrise — While Windows 7 shares core code and things like security updates with Vista, it’s very different in many ways in terms of its footprint, structure, added capabilities, and more. Part of Vista’s problem was that it had so many incompatibilities and other problems out of the gate–which became a PR problem in a way. MS sought to not have the same kinds of problems by releasing Windows 7 to a much larger audience in the beta stage–a kind of more improved openness than what we’ve seen from the company before. The fixes to Vista, and that testing from so many users, will reduce the HW incompatibilities, compared to Vista upon release.

  5. Seeing as the driver model hasn’t changed from Vista (which was a change from XP) I wonder how Windows 7 is going to reduce the hardware incompatibilities. Does it mean MS has gone back to the XP driver model, or will they allow unsigned drivers?

    Should be interesting in corporates…

  6. I was never aware of all the issues with vista, having moved well over 400 machines in our environment over 3 years ago we only had 2 printers that just would not work on vista, and they were 10 years old (time for some new hardware)…

    Win7 is great, IMO the best OS Microsoft has released. Many companies IMO have missed out on the great things windows vista can and still does do. Hardware agnostic imaging for one :) The amount of money some places are spending on imaging / maintaining their older equipment could easily be used to upgrade their hardware. Really there is no place for 10 year old machines anywhere… repair costs are to high, and their reliability is questionable.

    Fifth thing to expect is a HUGE demand for win7 by consumers… Amazon has already confirmed this with pre-orders for 7 overtaking the TOTAL number of vista copies sold in 3 years… This is a big deal, even though many consider vista a flop there are still millions of vista users out there, and I am sure amazon sold quite a few copies in 3 years! Now looking at the bigger picture, with HP/BestBuy offering package deals (Desktop, laptop, netbook) for under 1200$ all with win7, we will see others follow… In the end I look forward to a great launch, and some impressive sales numbers to follow, for acer, hp, lenovo and the likes…


  7. Sebastian Rupley

    @Tokwear–I’ve been using Windows 7, and I suspect you won’t run into hardware incompatibilities, although there are reports that some users are having trouble syncing various cell phones with it.