Microsoft

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...

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