So Windows 7 is finally in stores, and while no one was waiting at midnight to buy a copy, it is worth a closer look by IT managers, particularly those that have to replace their aging XP laptop fleet. And while the marketing phrase "It doesn't suck as much as Vista" isn't probably top-of-mind in Redmond, it does have some things that are appealing, particularly in the mobile space. Here are my five faves:
- Easier wireless connection process. You know how in the Mac OS you can just click on the drop-down little wireless symbol on the top menu bar and immediately see which networks are broadcasting? How you can just click on one of them and you are connected? Windows 7 has that too. (More fodder for the John Hodgman Mac/PC Apple commercials) Trust me.
- Printers that follow your choices. Now when you switch between different wireless networks, your default selection of printers also switches, so you don't queue up documents for the wrong printer. Your firewall, file sharing and other networking preferences can follow you among different network settings as well.
- Better VPN features. There is a new feature called VPN Reconnect that allows Windows 7 to automatically reestablish active VPN connections when Internet connectivity is interrupted. This used to be annoying with older Windows OS's.
- Better remote control/assistance. Windows Remote Desktop has been improved so that you can actually watch hi-def video and listen to audio across the Internet from your remote PC. There is also a better Remote Assistance program that brings ease of use closer to the third-party GoToMyPC and LogMeIn services.
- Bitlocker to go. Windows had its own drive encryption software in Vista that was pretty much useless. Now in Win 7 you can encrypt an entire USB key and more importantly, IT managers can decrypt it when someone loses their password.