Windows 7: A game changer in education

I will try not to date myself too much, but I started my career at Microsoft when Windows 3.1 wasclip_image001 released. With every operating system since, we’ve been not only driving innovation on the software side, but also hardware. We’ve been pushing the envelope as Moore’s Law has occurred, as processing power and memory capacity has accelerated.

I think Windows 7 is unique because it’s not only pushing innovation with things like 64-bit and multi-touch…but the new OS also embraces older technology, both with the optimization of Windows XP via the virtualized desktop and the ability to run on older generation hardware. This is really valuable for schools because they don’t have to replace their existing systems or Windows XP systems to take advantage of Windows 7.

We are really excited to announce that Windows 7 has been released to manufacturing today. This means our partners can now start loading new PCs for retail sales and software developers can test their new Windows 7 applications and get them ready to go to market. For our customers with volume licensing agreements, you can get your hands on the final Windows 7 code starting August 7th and work to upgrade your systems potentially before students are back in class.

The reactions I hear from most people who have tried Windows 7 say it runs smoothly; it’s more responsive; the user interface is more intuitive; it’s a logical layout in terms of the way the OS works; and it just simplifies things for teachers, students and staff. We built Windows 7 to make everyday tasks easier and to make students, teachers and staff more productive no matter where they are located or what device they are using. Windows 7 is a much more reliable and secure environment… your machine will boot faster and your battery life will be longer.

One of my favorite new features is BitLocker To Go. Teachers and students take data home from school on USB thumb drives all the time, and sometimes it’s sensitive data like grades. BitLocker was a great way to secure devices in Vista, and we’ve taken it a step further in Windows 7. With BitLocker To Go, USB keys can be provisioned with security measures and users will be prompted for a password in order to access the content on the USB.

We know schools are often downloading large videos from the web for classroom discussions or documents from a district office. BranchCache will increase network responsiveness of applications, so downloads will happen more quickly and even schools with low bandwidth can take advantage. These features will be very powerful and will help school IT departments not only make people more productive, but also enhance security and control to control risk and streamline PC manageability to reduce costs. Check out this website here for demos on these features and more. The Windows Team blog and the Springboard Series blog are also good resources for IT professionals. If you want to evaluate Windows 7 for yourself, be sure to download the Release Candidate (RC) by August 20th here.

In the months to come, we’ll share more about how our customers in K12 and higher education are deploying Windows 7 and the benefits they are realizing. In the meantime, check out the video below where our own Scott Thompson shows you the new client features in Windows 7 that will bring new experiences to your schools.

Comments (3)

  1. Anthony Salcito says:

    Congrats to the Server team as well. Windows Server 2008 R2 also hit the RTM milestone today. Combined with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 delivers new innovations such as new virtualization tools, Web resources, management enhancements and more.

    Clearly, lots of new Microsoft products launching this year. Join the dialogue and tell me what you want to read about.

  2. Myra Deister says:

    I have been a Beta Tester and now am using the RC.  It has been running on my netbook without any problems.  My only question is will it be made afordable to public schools.  In CA, we have so many budget problems that I can’t even purchase new textbooks for my computer classes – I don’t see how the district an upgrade all of their OS’s.

  3. Anthony Salcito says:

    Hi Myra,

    We hear your pain and understand the tough economic times and that is why we are working to create special pricing options for schools. We have always offered an aggressive discount for schools through our institution volume licensing programs, and we are continuing to work with our hardware partners to provide affordable laptop solutions and discounted pricing for upgrades. Fortunately, many schools do have upgrade rights to Windows 7.

    With Windows 7, we’ve really worked to listen and incorporate feedback from our customers and partners, and we certainly recognize that we have to prioritize issues our customers are raising. And that includes making sure Windows 7 runs on a wide variety of affordable computers and leverages existing computers like never before. In addition to flexibility on devices, maximization of old hardware, security of data and privacy…the biggest concern is cost and making sure our software is cost effective is a priority for us.

    Regarding not being able to purchase new textbooks for your computer classes, I’m sure you have been looking online and I encourage you to check out some of Microsoft’s free resources. The Expressions Web and XNA Gaming curriculum are available on our Faculty Connection website and might be most relevant for you. Faculty Connection is a resource center with customizable lesson plans, training materials, sample projects and more.

    Our Digital Literacy Curriculum can also help you teach your students the fundamentals of computer technology.

    Thanks for the comment and question.

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