This is a question that some organizations are asking themselves. I just finished teaching a Vista update class to members of the support and deployment team for Vista. The question was asked, “What should we say when somebody asks us why we are not going to Windows 7 since that is better than Vista?” This is a great question and very legitimate in today’s client debates.
Vista did one great thing. It made IT organizations aware of what is to come. Windows 7 is continuing some of the same things that Vista did.
Things Have Moved
The user profile has changed in Vista. To find the .pst file for a user, we would normally go to Application Data folder. However Application Data folder has been replaced with AppData. Documents and Settings has been separated into Documents and Users. All Users is now Public and Default User is Default. These are few of the small changes in the folder structure that is also a part of Windows 7.
Some folder like My Documents, My Pictures, My Movies have been replaced with Documents, Pictures and Movies. These are having seen a change back to the old XP ways in Windows 7. My Documents, My Pictures, My Music are available currently in the 7000 build of Windows 7.
Virtualized for Legacy
Because of User Account Control (UAC), some legacy applications will not know how to get through the security. Virtualization of some of the system folders and registry keys help some applications to be able to run in a Vista environment. However this is only a temporary method to help as applications are updated to work with UAC.
UAC is still present in Windows 7, however the ability to choose which flavor of notices the user would like to have is available. However, as of right now Microsoft has chosen to include more security around UAC , possibly changing how these different flavors will be portrayed in future releases.
Vista introduced a new set of tools that help the IT support personnel with diagnosing what is going on with a client. The Reliability Monitor was a great tool to see exactly what has been happening on the machine. Specifically success and failures with associated with installation of applications and drivers and how these applications worked (or sometimes did not work). The use of the Reliability Index helped the support person understand how stable the client is over time. The Problem Viewer gave the support technician a tool to check on persistent problems on the computer and see if there are any updates. This also lists many of the issues the computer has been having, again helping troubleshooting of the client.
Windows 7 still has these tools; however they have changed. For the better. The Reliability Monitor is a separate entity (was part of Reliability and Performance Monitors in Vista) and it gives the IT support person the ability to find a solution of view technical details about an issue.
The Problem View has been incorporated in to the new Windows 7 Action Center. This center has information pertaining to Security and Maintenance. In the Maintenance section is the Check for solutions to problem reports. This allows you to check all problems on the computer for solutions.
So, Why Vista Now?
There are many more similarities between Vista and Windows 7. When I teach Vista classes many of my students are in awe of the major differences under the hood between Windows XP and Vista. So now those people have a huge head start when it comes to Windows 7. Because if history stays the course, adoption for Windows 7 may not happen until SP1 and that may take two years. By then those moving to Vista now, will be ready to take on Windows 7 with only small updates to their product knowledge.