Windows 7 Information for Providers
Important note: this document is designed for Local Support Providers (LSPs). This page was last modified on Tuesday, 31-Jan-2012 14:21:29 EST.
General Windows 7 Statement
Retail versions of Windows 7 became available in stores (including the University's Computer Connection) on October 22, 2009. In the United States, Windows 7 is available in five different versions: Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate, Home Premium, and Starter.
Information Systems & Computing (ISC) will initially support Windows 7 for its clients, including off-campus students, only on new systems that ship with Windows 7 pre-installed. ISC strongly recommends that all other University users adopt a "wait and see" approach, continuing to use previous versions of Windows (including Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista SP1/SP2) until the initial bugs in Windows 7 are identified and fixed.
When ISC recommends this upgrade, it will be for systems that have at least 1.0 GB of RAM (2.0 GB or more of RAM will yield a substantially better experience). The clean installation of Windows 7 uses at least 9.0 GB of disk space, depending on the type of system and choices made during the installation.
Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions) will be supported. ISC does not recommend, but will support the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Home Premium. Home Premium is missing important networking, security, and compatibility features, such as domain-based authentication, that are essential to many Schools and Centers in the University. Note that, unlike in Windows Vista's Business edition, Windows 7 Professional includes all the multimedia features present in Windows 7 Home Premium.
ISC does not recommend and will not support any version of Windows 7 Starter or Windows 7 Home Basic. Starter and Home Basic are missing many important networking, maintenance, and security features that are critical to many Schools and Centers at the University.
Provider note: Windows 7 Home Basic is only sold in emerging markets while Windows 7 Starter is extremely limited in feature set (in many cases Windows XP Home SP3 is more capable).
There are a number of known issues with Windows 7, several of which are especially relevant to Penn's Windows users:
Provider note: Symantec Endpoint Protection 11.0.5 has not yet been widely deployed at the University under Windows XP or Windows Vista, though Symantec lists it as compatible with these operating systems.
Changes in Windows 7
Though mostly an optimization release, Windows 7 does have some new or substantially enhanced features. Below are some changes that may be of interest to the Penn community:
1) Speed, Speed, Speed
Windows 7 has a host of speed improvements compared to Windows Vista. In ISC testing, Windows 7 installs more quickly, boots rapidly, and performs various operating system functions more quickly.
2) Decreased Resource Requirements
Compared to Windows Vista, Windows 7's resource requirements are notably decreased. In particular, aging or inexpensive systems (such as netbooks) that performed marginally or were unusable under Windows Vista are usable under Windows 7.
3) Interface Enhancements
A host of interface enhancements are included in Windows 7. Action Center lets the user decide which Windows 7 alerts they see and which they don't. Improvements to the new Windows 7 taskbar include thumbnail previews of webpages and documents. Gadgets no longer have to reside on the Sidebar (eliminated in Windows 7) - they can now be anywhere on the desktop.
4) Windows XP Mode
Windows XP Mode, which allows a user to run older Windows XP software, comes as a separate download and works only with Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise. Additionally, Windows XP Mode also requires virtualization software such as Windows Virtual PC. Both are available free on the Microsoft website.
5) Windows Touch
With Windows Touch (only available in the Professional, Ultimate, Enterprise, and Home Premium editions of Windows 7) and a touch-sensitive screen, users can perform many interface tasks with their fingers. Touch technology has been available in Windows from third parties for several years, but Windows 7 integrates it into the operating system. The Start menu and taskbar now include larger icons and some Windows 7 programs are also touch-ready.
6) BitLocker Improvements
Microsoft's BitLocker encryption (only available in the Ultimate and Enterprise editions of Windows 7) is improved in Windows 7. Integration with other operating system functions is enhanced and the BitLocker To Go function allows encryption of external media such as flash drives.
University-Centric Windows 7-Related Documents and Resources
The Provider Notes Wiki article on University-Centric Windows 7 Compatibility is an alphabetical list of Windows applications in use at the University and their compatibility status with Windows 7.
The Supported Products for Providers site offers application-specific information on Windows 7.
ISC has the release version of Windows 7 Ultimate available in the Standards Lab. Support providers can contact the Provider Desk to reserve time in the Standards Lab for Windows 7 compatibility testing.
ISC Technology Training Services will have Windows 7 training available as soon as possible.
For further information
Microsoft's Windows 7 Home Page
Microsoft's Windows 7 Support, Deployment, and Resources page.
Dell's Windows 7 Center page.
Lenovo's Lenovo and Windows 7 Information page.
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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