by Daniel P. Dern - Moving to Windows 7 isn't just about migrating the OS and applications, or buying new machines. You also have to migrate your users -- and Windows 7 looks and behaves very differently from Windows XP or Vista -- there's changes, and there's new stuff.
Your IT help desk will, inevitably, have to field a fair number of calls. Plus, the less self-sufficient users will, equally inevitably, timesink whoever else is slightly more up to speed (or confident in their Googling and problem-solving skills) and not able to duck or dodge fast enough.
The new stuff to master (some of which may be familiar to Vista users) falls into two main categories:
- Changes to the user interface -- what you see, how to use it. For example, "Aero Shake," Pin Lists, Jump Lists.
- New features and tools like the Snipping Tool (for window/screen captures) and "Sticky Notes."
And see InfiniteSkills' segments on Notification Area and on Gadgets.
Fortunately, there's a lot of information and training available on what's new in Windows 7, and how (and why) to use it. The videos are generally short -- mostly two to three minutes long, rarely more than five or six minutes -- and topic-focused.
Even better, a substantial amount of stuff is available at no cost.
Below some of what I turned up recently in the process of writing a comparative review of Windows 7 training videos.
There's no guarantee you can find free video training for everything in Windows 7. But there're more than enough to cover the basics, and once your users master those, they should be more able, and hopefully confident enough, to self-teach from built-in and online help text. (I've even put together a short starter syllabus, in the Sidebar.)
Note, the information these videos contain is pretty much the same... but as I discovered, there are differences in usability, organization, and, of course, price.
Freebies from Microsoft
Windows 7 includes built-in help, not surprisingly, under WINDOWS SUPPORT AND HELP/What's new in Windows 7.
Microsoft's web site also has several dozen video training segments, scattered across several locations.
"Getting Around The Desktop" is a good place to start. This page's videos provide good explanations and demonstrations for using the TaskBar, Peek, Shake, Pin Lists, and JumpLists.
There are aslo a few videos here: "Windows for Small Business".
Free samples from video training vendors
Many of the companies that sell video training (online and CD/DVD) make some of their segments available free, as samples. Here are the ones that I checked out (for that comparative review):
- CBTClips's Power Up to Windows 7 includes free 30-day demo access.
- Dream Force, LLC offers one or two sessions free for each level of its Windows 7 Levels 1 & 2 Training Video.
- Infinite Skills Inc. makes the first three chapters -- about 15 out of 91 total of Microsoft Windows 7 Training available free.
- Lynda.com offers about 10% of its video content for free, including from their two Windows 7 courses: Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 and Windows 7 Essential Training.
- Train Signal Inc. offers free online training videos, including -- last time I checked -- two dozen or so for Windows 7.
Other places for Windows 7 training videos include YouTube... and, of course, Googling "windows 7 training video" to see what else you may be able to find.