OK, so here it comes. Windows 7 General Availability will occur in just three more days, on Thursday, October 22. I’m starting to see advertisements from HP, Dell, and others that indicate that machines with Windows pre-installed are available for order (a sample e-mail subject line for a message from HP dated yesterday, 10/18/2009, reads “Windows 7 is here”; lots of similar verbiage is popping up from other PC players as well).
What does this mean for the average corporate/enterprise PC buyer or installer? Not much, actually. In most cases, contracts for such purchases will have to amended, and that will probably happen only after some pilot units have been purchased off-contract and put through their paces in a test lab, and perhaps even run through a limited pilot program for certain groups of key users (sales, field reps, high-level help desk or tech support staff, and so forth).
What will be happening in the next few weeks, however, is the follow-on release of production versions of lots of tools and utilities. The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor should be released in production form, probably on 10/22 along with the OS. I’d also expect lots of follow-on products (such as Internet security suites, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and so forth) that might still be in beta or limited release to likewise go into final, production releases as well. For example, I found an update to the PerfectDisk 10 disk defragmenter utility waiting for me as I logged in this morning, and right there in the release notes I see the notation “Analyze statistics does not list pagefile on system drive on Windows 7″ (Build 124 fixes this). Software companies all over the application landscape are no doubt also gearing up for GA this coming Thursday in similar fashion as well.
If your company hasn’t yet made the decision to upgrade to Windows 7, rest assured that topic will be gaining some urgency with the forthcoming release. Although it will be a lot of work to get ready for a new OS, take some heart from my experiences and those of many other Windows heavies over the last year: Windows 7 is more robust, more stable, and better equipped with drivers than Vista was when it was first released (and many argue that it’s still better than Vista in its current state — a view that I happen to share myself).