Windows

What Windows 7 means for network administrators

Windows systems specialist Brad Bird lists his top ten items in Windows 7 that will have the most effect on network administrators.

1.       You get all of the benefits of the new operating system but can call upon Windows XP if absolutely needed. Network administrators can leverage Windows XP mode, which is essentially a virtual instance of your local PC in Windows XP with most of the XP driver support if you have some legacy hardware to get working or can't find Windows 7 drivers yet.

2.       With pre-patch, automatic restore-point creation, a back door is built-in if patches cause system functionality loss. When applying Microsoft Update patches using the integrated update utility, a restore point automatically gets created before the patch gets applied.

3.       Backups are a snap with the complete PC Image Backup. Using the integrated Backup utility, you can create a complete image PC Backup of your system while it is running. This technology leverages VSS or the Volume Snapshot service.

4.       Network administrators can leverage the power of virtualization more easily. You can have several operating system instances on VHD files and boot from any of them by merely editing the startup using Boot from VHD. This saves a lot of space from having multiple operating systems installed within the same partition or even multiple partitions. VHD files are far more flexible.

5.       Attaching a VHD file as if it were a local drive allows the ultimate in portability and flexibility with backup and restores. Administrators can either attach or detach the VHD directly using the integrated Disk Management console.

6.       BitLocker provided military caliber encryption strength for hard disks in Windows Vista. It is back in Windows 7 but with the new addition of BitLocker To Go, it allows BitLocker encryption on USB removable drives.

7.       Integrated PowerShell v2.0 allows administrators to easily create commonly used tasks. (Okay, so you could download and install it before, but now it's included.) It's a nice touch now to have it pre-installed and available under Accessories.

8.       Network Administrators will appreciate the "pinning" functionality which enables commonly used programs to be pinned either to the start menu or task bar for fast and easy access when you need them.

9.       Libraries will help administrators with those users who need to access data from more than one system at a time -- work computer, home computer, desktop, or laptop. Libraries are an aggregated view of specific document types (music, photos, documents) but you can add folder locations from completely different systems.

10.   Lastly, network administrators will appreciate the more positive user experience and acceptance factor of Windows 7. This will undo the previously common perspective of "Vista Bad" and replace it with "Windows 7 Good!"

About

Brad Bird is a lead technical consultant and MCT certified trainer based in Ottawa, ON. He works with large organizations, helping them architect, implement, configure, and customize System Center technologies, integrating them into their business pr...

19 comments
robertbrown
robertbrown

Is the Windows 7 administrator account ***REALLY*** and honest-to-goodness administrator or still dumbed-down as in Vista?

BlazingEagle
BlazingEagle

When I migrate to a new OS, I want a full installation not an upgrade. Migrating to a new OS can be finicky enough as is, so I?d assume a full installation has the potential to be less finicky.

PeterM42
PeterM42

Having used "Windows 7" R.C. (which in reality is Vista 6.1 - check the Help > About in Win explorer), I think LIBRARIES are a pain and don't actually seem to work very well with networked drives. Drive mapping at least worked! XP USERS will probably not like it much. Have Microsoft sorted out joining a domain without having to make regedits and policy changes yet? One or two nice features, like pinning, but I suspect we need to wait for a service pack or 2 before it might even approach useability (so I guess that'll be Vista 6.2 or 6.3)?

mikemeek
mikemeek

Article is mistitled. "Features in Windows 7" would be a better description. What did any of this have to do with networking?

darcy.walker
darcy.walker

As both an MCSE and a Cisco CCNP I find it quite frustrating when I see people use "Network Administrator" as a description for a "Systems Administrator" or some position not directly related to network infrastructure (i.e. switches, routers, cabeling, etc). I would have expected a technical publication to a little more literal in it's writings. Regards, D

bookkeeper
bookkeeper

First of all i agree with premature article most of my users don't have never seen it yet so i think a better statement would be "lets wait and see and let the users decide if it is good or bad". Just remember it's harder to erase a bad mark then it is to make a good mark to begin with. Signed Just an opinion

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Lastly, network administrators will appreciate the more positive user experience and acceptance factor of Windows 7." Isn't that a bit speculative? Since no 'real world' user has seen it yet, how do you know their experience will be positive or that they'll be more accepting of W7? I can't speak for anyone else, but none of my users ever saw Vista in the work place. They'll make comparisons to XP. Regardless of what they compare to, something new and strange often gets criticized when compared to the comfortable and familiar.

acook
acook

Great if you have a processor that supports it.

scratchfury
scratchfury

I totally agree. None of these features stand out as something only a Network Administrator would care about. If you mentioned IPv6 or the new wireless features, maybe.

darpoke
darpoke

job roles are a little less specific - it's a smaller company - so while I'm the network administrator in the sense that I maintain our router, switch, fileserver, DNS, DHCP, and all the rest, and liaise with our ISP and PBX supplier, I am also responsible for maintaining all the machines in that network. All hardware and software issues as well as networking. I suppose technically this mean I wear two hats (I actually wear many more than that but these are the only relevant ones) but for the sake of the discussion I found the terminology perfectly relevant.

NoisePollution
NoisePollution

I agree with you, in that change is almost always resisted and when forced is almost always criticized. I can't speak to changing from Vista, because I haven't used it and it hasn't been used at any of the places I have worked (which has only been two companies in the last 9 years). But, I can speak to the change from XP. I have beta tested Win7 for about 6 months, and in my opinion the normal user will be impressed with Win7. If you are comfortable with XP (especially if you like or love XP), becoming comfortable with Win7 will be a very short leap. The very basic feel and functionality is similar to XP. So the average user will have very little dificulty adjusting to performing the same functions in Win7. Once that short adjustment period has passed, they will start to explore. Then they will find some of the cool little bells and whistles (the ones that probably won't really improve job performance). Which will change their perception a little more. If they were happy, they will be impressed. If they were on the fence, it will probably help sway them. If they weren't happy in the first place, they probably will continue to be unhappy (and probably would be no matter what). Once they discover the bells and whistles (fluff), they will explore some more. Maybe they will ask questions or use their own initiative and do some browsing/research. Now they will find ways that it can improve their productivity, by making things easier or allowing them to do things they couldn't do before (either because they didn't know how or because it couldn't be done before). In any case, it all adds to the experience. I am not a psychic, but I don't think it's a stretch to believe that Win7 will be accepted as much as XP is. I don't think it is a stretch to believe that it will be liked better than XP is/was. You will always have resisters to change, and some of them will go to any lengths to fight it. But those individuals, for the most part, probably do that with everything and it is part of their nature. In this field (of technology) you either embrace change, burn out or become non-productive. It is going to change whether you like it or not. Some changes don't turn out to be beneficial, and sometimes you don't see that until after the fact. *** Does anyone believe this is going to be one of those cases? If so, have you actually used Windows 7 for any length of time (beta/RC)? I have, and I can't imagine that it will not be better liked than XP by average users or support personnel. But I guess only time will tell if I am right or wrong. But time will tell, because it is coming (or rather, is here).

ghughes
ghughes

Exactly. AND the required additional RAM.

jonathan.wayman
jonathan.wayman

I agree as well, this is more of a list of server/desktop administrator duties. If your role is strictly network administration I don't see how most of this applies.

john.light
john.light

Even though none of the points had anything to do with networking?

emcbridea
emcbridea

Mhaneyit speaks a lot of sense. Microsoft have probably spent as much time and effort on what went wrong with Vista user acceptance as they have on anything else over the last year or so. They have come up with a product that is appealing to the user as well as the IT personel and that must be good. I have used it since first Beta and have grown to really like it. I am one of those resisters opposed to change at the best of times, but this one stole past me!

techrepublic
techrepublic

and of course - assuming that the feature hasn't been removed from the BIOS by the manufacturer on the grounds that "there's not a lot of call for it"

darpoke
darpoke

I was really just defending the use of 'network administrator' to refer to me personally as I take maintaining our network to include all the machines in it. On reflection I must admit that 'system administrator' is really the appropriate name for this specific role and clearly the intended audience of the article. [sheepish grin]

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