Why did Microsoft make Windows 7? Did they just need to correct things that people complained about with Windows Vista? Why would an organization upgrade to Vista right now instead of Windows 7?
Microsoft waited too long to make Windows Vista and as a result people expected it to be something that would move the sun, moon, and stars with it’s awesomeness. When it was just an operating system, and a normal one at that, people were disappointed and only purchased it when it came with a new computer.
What the average consumer fails to realize is that Windows 7 is Windows Vista but with a modified shell (explorer.exe) and a few tweaks under the hood. Some of those tweaks included a loosening security settings (User Account Control etc.) and adding more eye-candy.
Those of you that keep up on the latest operating system news have read about how the U.S. Army is going to be upgrading to Windows Vista and NOT Windows 7. Most people’s gut reaction is simply to ask “Why not Windows 7?”. This comes from all of the hype around Windows 7 and how much better it is compared to Vista but when it comes down to it the U.S. military is making the correct choice.
For any operating system to be rolled out to a large organization it takes a lot of time to plan and upgrade older hardware. If they delay and wait for Windows 7 it will add another year to the process and possibly cause even more delays once it was approved. Windows Vista however is so similar that by them choosing to go with it first it will drastically reduce costs in the long run when they do upgrade to Windows 7 or even 8.
Long Zeng posted a while ago about the change with UAC in Windows 7 that essentially makes it less secure than Windows Vista. Rafael of Within Windows then posted about applications that have been White Listed and are automatically elevated to the highest UAC level. Windows 7 is new and there are bound to be flaws found in it. Vista however has now been out for 3 years and has been highly criticized for being overly secure.
If you were in charge of the military’s operating system choice would you choose “overly secure” or “new and untested”? Personally I think they are making the correct decision to go with Vista first. It might not be the greatest consumer level operating system but then again, neither is Windows 7.
Thankfully the two operating systems are very similar and if your organization is using Windows Vista there is very little that you will need to make the move to Windows 7. In the long run this means that financially there will be less impact and there will fewer growing pains after the initial transition.
Microsoft does have a good product in Windows 7 but they still do not understand the concept of simplicity. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) is a very foreign thing to the Redmond team and is something they will have to confront sooner rather than later.