The Windows 7 Week Wrap-up

Although this is only the fourth day, it is Friday today so it is the last day of the week. The old 915 bit the dust and got binned, the “new” 915 got a fresh Vista installation on its second 80 GB HDD after all attempts to restore the original installation were unsuccessful. Obviously I should have just ghosted the original image from the start, an easy thing to do here where we ghost PCs all the time. However it is only fair to say that the problems I experienced were completely unpredictable, as hardware failure often is; the old 915 must have corrupted the hard disk so that it couldn’t be made to boot. I breathed a sigh of relief when that new Vista installation came up for the first time on that PC. It has a good XP installation so there won’t be any more issues with it. Four year old PCs with board problems are not worth repairing; the Foxconn TS-001 chassis and its Windows sticker are together worth about $250, and if form factors are still the same, they will come in handy when the time comes next year to rebuild either or both of my secondary work PC or my home PC with new parts as referred in a recent blog.

And now back to Windows 7. This PC running the Release Candidate has rapidly become my main work computer much as I expected. Being both Windows 7 and x64, there are going to be a few hiccups, but these haven’t been especially major. The general experience worldwide is that this RC is so good that many people are running it as a primary PC. I expect the production version will become my primary just as Vista did before it, but I need that secondary for the times when 7 doesn’t stack up, until the first SP comes out. As yet I haven’t done much experimentation with the new features like libraries, or tried any additional hardware on it; the card reader is going to stay on the secondary for now. Integris, which has been pretty patchy at our site on Vista, seems to be OK on this 7 installation for now. I haven’t really noticed any issues with other applications except the printer drivers which seem to take two or three goes to install. There are a couple of other PCs here at site running 7 and I expect I will get some feedback on them, and what will come out eventually and predictably is that we will offer the release 7 version to staff users as an option. Rolling out Vista has been a terrible disappointment. As an OS it is only any good for home PCs, in a domain environment there are massive challenges and only now do I fully understand why people have chosen not to deploy it.

Next week I plan on being back to the more humdrum, or in this case, ISA 2006 and making Outlook Web Access, Outlook RPC over HTTP and Terminal Services Gateway work through it. All three of those services running on the same server make use of SSL, and ISA, which will be brought into production as a firewall on our site at that time, will filter and route all of the SSL traffic to those three applications. Having all of them on SSL reduces the number of ports we have to have open on the firewall down to just two for incoming traffic, a few more for outgoing traffic. All of the rules for these have to be set up in ISA. It is pretty much the final stage of a big year long project with setting up the two servers, the mail/terminal server gateway and the firewall. And I’d hope that in future it would be viable to have Exchange hosted offsite so that when the two oldest servers come up for replacement at the end of next year, we can downsize.