Windows 7 And The SMB

September 3, 2010

I have been going through the process of upgrading the PC Workstations of our Software Development, Multimedia, and Program Development teams.

As these teams do fairly compute intensive tasks we chose to replace the old machines with new 64 bit engineering class workstations, with Microsoft Windows 7 pre-installed.

Overall, 64 bit Windows 7 has impressed us, with a few little caveats.Windows 7

Manipulating large graphics and other types of rich media is significantly faster. By faster I mean seconds, rather than minutes. That has been the major benefit – worth the price of admission right there.

I had minimal issues with some older software we use such as Microsoft Office 2003, and Visual Studio, but found that versions of Adobe Acrobat earlier than version 9 are not compatible. So we were forced to upgrade a few version 7 and 8 licenses.

An upgrade of my backup software is also being required.

My largest frustration is that we have many remote workers accessing our network via a Cisco Systems VPN (Virtual Private Network) device, and for that, a small piece of software has to be installed on each machine.

The older 32 bit versions of that client  software had a feature that we relied on very heavily, which was the ability for the remote client computer to log in directly to our Microsoft Windows Domain. This allowed login scripts to provide access to resources, automatic user authentication to our Microsoft Exchange Server etc.

The 64 bit version of the VPN client has lost this functionality (at least as of this writing) which forces extra training for remote users on how to manually access resources, and training on how to properly authenticate (the name and password) for resources such as e-mail.

If you are a smaller business using some ancient piece of home built software built circa the mid 1990’s, you will most likely find that it will no longer work.

The SMB Takeaway

Overall, for compute intensive tasks, I believe you will find an immediate benefit to Windows 7. Testing all your older applications is a mandatory chore first.

Have you found major applications that gave you grief with Windows 7?