Microsoft

What Windows 7 means for support professionals

Does Windows 7 totally flip support upside down? Not entirely, according to IT pro Rick Vanover, who presents these Windows 7 support decision points for organizations considering an upgrade.

Does Windows 7 totally flip support upside down? Not entirely, according to IT pro Rick Vanover, who presents these Windows 7 support decision points for organizations considering an upgrade.

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Believe it or not, Windows 7 is not a beta any longer! How about supporting the new OS? There are a lot of considerations that support staff needs to take into consideration, and now is the time to rethink the overall support strategies in place.

Time to dump the old tools

When Windows 7 makes it way into your support footprint, it may be the right time to remove obsolete support tools. This includes remote console mechanisms such as VNC, DameWare, or RAdmin. Sure, these tools made sense in the Windows 2000 era and were a passable carryover to Windows XP. But should these tools be rolled onto Windows 7?

The upgrade to Windows 7 may be the prime time to roll in a newer console-based support strategy. This can include Remote Desktop or newer-concept products as a service such as LogMeIn Pro. Today, connectivity is a mixed bag of wired, wireless, and remote (VPN) connections. Products such as LogMeIn can support on all of those bands, including situations where the PC is not connected to the network.

Reinstallation process refined

It is a good time now to refine desktop protection and troubleshooting practices if they just waste time. Would it be better to give 20 minutes to fixing a problem, and if it is not resolved launch an automated re-installation process? You may want to consider if an automated tool like Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 is a good solution for client systems. This can save a lot of time with a fully automated solution to deploy new systems as well as re-deploy existing systems in case a rebuild requirement exists.

UAC can make or break the experience

Vista's User Account Control (UAC) feature was one of the most disliked elements of the default configuration; Windows 7's implementation of UAC is improved with more options. Be careful, however, to give thought to UAC for Windows 7 and how it will be used. The new configuration levels for UAC in Windows 7 allow for a custom configuration, which will ease the frustrations for users new to UAC. For organizations that are skipping Vista and going directly to Windows 7, there is also an additional training component to this new feature if administrative permissions are assigned to certain users.

The support burden won't go away with Windows 7; so, what new tools are you considering adding to your support arsenal to align better with Windows 7? Share your comments below.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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