Microsoft launches Windows 7

Launch day for Windows 7
Originally published in the Business Guardian for October 29, 2009

At the Microsoft Launch in New York City on October 22, the company’s CEO, Steve Ballmer invited the media to view a special display room where computers and televisions were running Windows 7. Photo by Cesar Sandoval Manjarrez/Microsoft.

Microsoft introduced the newest version of its operating system last Thursday in a low-keyed event compared to its launches for Windows XP and Windows Vista.
The day before the launch, Leonardo Ortiz-Villacorta, Regional Citizenship & Communications Lead, Microsoft Latin America spoke exclusively with the Business Guardian via teleconference from New York about the company’s expectations for the introduction of Windows 7.
“Despite an IT economy crunch and the decline of business shipments,” Ortiz-Villacorta said, “we’ve been receiving larger orders in the OEM channel for Windows 7 than we have had for the OS in the last twelve months.”
As of October 22, he promised, “Nobody in our partner system should be selling a system without Windows 7 on it.”

Microsoft has high hopes for the adoption of Windows 7 in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Of the 100 million PCs running Windows in the region, fully one quarter of them are running Vista and more than half are capable of running Windows 7.
The company further noted that 1.3 million people participated in the public beta and release candidate programmes which allowed users to download and use Windows 7 while it was still in development at no cost.
“We got a lot of good feedback from that,” said Ortiz-Villacorta.

The Redmond based software manufacturer could do with a hit right around now.
Earnings have been dropping steadily over the last few quarters with net income slumping by 18 percent in the last quarter. The company said that it deferred revenue from the last quarter to allow PC buyers over the last few months to access free upgrades to Windows 7, usually promised as part of purchase agreements during the last few months to stimulate sales of PCs with an operating system perceived to be on the verge of obsolescence.
Microsoft has been keen to tout the new features of Windows 7, which include basic virus protection and “Plays to” which improves multimedia centre handling, but the company must first vault the hurdles that Vista stumbled on.

Two big challenges remain for the new operating system, which has been programmed to have a lighter touch on hardware resources, allowing it to run better on systems on the margins of Microsoft’s system requirements.
First up is Windows 7 performance on netbooks, for which Microsoft has been forced to continue support for Windows XP.
According to Ortiz-Villacorta, the system runs “surprisingly well” on his own netbook and will deliver acceptable results on a netbook with an Atom processor and 1GB RAM. Expect optimal results on that platform to be on the upper end of the Atom processor range (currently 1.7 GHZ) and plan for an upgrade to 2GB of RAM if Microsoft’s traditionally hopeful system requirements hold true.

More complicated is the fate of PC users running capable systems on Windows XP who have no direct migration from their eight-year-old operating system.
For such users, backing up their data, erasing their hard disk, installing Windows 7 and reinstalling their software is the only course of action.
The first step for the XP user is to evaluate the hardware they are using for compatibility with Windows 7. Even if the computer’s motherboard is compatible, your printers, scanners, video card and other components may require software updates or outright replacement.

The Windows Upgrade Advisor is an 8MB application that such users can run before taking any upgrade action at all: .
The Windows Upgrade Matrix is to be found here: .
Upgrade and migration advice from the Redmond mothership are available here:
Some surprised upgraders may find that there’s no e-mail software available with the default installation of Windows 7. A number of applications have been removed and bundled as a free download called Live Essentials: .
System administrators may find the User State Migration Tool from Microsoft useful:

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