Windows 7, Windows 7, Windows 7

Now that Windows Vista is a mature product I believe the compulsory education sector needs to get up to speed on the process of upgrading to it, as Windows XP support is soon to be phased out by Microsoft. Windows 7 is due to be released in about three months’ time, and I’ve taken the opportunity to test it out by installing it into a Hyper-V virtual machine on our Windows 2008 server. I hope that it will be released to schools as part of the next MOE deal in 2009, but I will be seeking a new computer to run it on because this desktop has only an E2140 CPU that doesn’t support Intel VT and thus won’t run the XP Virtual mode. Our Windows 2008×64 Server has plenty of memory and a Xeon quad core CPU so it will not be overtaxed by running 7 as a virtual machine at all.

The installation of Windows 7 Release Candidate on Hyper-V was straightforward once networking issues were sorted out. Hyper-V by default installs a virtual network, which must be properly configured in order to give VMs proper network access. Specifically, any virtual network adapter that you set up in the Hyper-V Virtual Network Manager must be specifically configured to give access to the external network and then each VM must be hooked onto the correct VNA. I got fooled by the fact that the VNA has the same name as the physical adapter in the machine and wrongly assumed that this VNA would automatically connect to the external network when it was set up by default for private connection only. Apart from that issue, which stopped all the VMs of different OSs that I tried from connecting to the network, installing W7RC was extremely straightforward from a blank VM.

Now that we have it running I guess we will play with it a bit. I prototyped Vista in our school by running it on my own desktop for the last year and I will be an early adopter of 7 once it becomes widely available. In the meantime we are considering options for transitioning our users to Vista, much as we moved everything to XP a few years ago. This time around, though, there seems to be a marked level of resistance in the sector to Vista, which may to some extent be a reflection of the wider community’s attitude. There is not such resistance in tertiary institutions where Vista is being taught, and I would expect them to be on the forefront of adopting 7 when it is released. However, Microsoft has cautioned against organisations trying to bypass Vista and it makes no sense to jump straight from XP to 7 until the latter is well matured.