Home' Border Enterprise : Enterprise Spring-Summer 2009 Contents 25
"The fundamental things business users want are
speed and reliability and Windows 7 lets them take
advantage of that on existing hardware."
While compatibility issues with hardware and
software proved the Achilles heel of Windows
Vista, Vaughan sees a very different outlook for the
revamped operating system.
"The hardware in the market today is Windows
7-compatible and when a small business refreshes
programs like MYOB or Quicken, for example,
those will run on Windows 7."
The ability to use existing software on Windows
7 is a vital factor in the decision to step up or stay
put with Vista or even XP, Vaughan says.
"The biggest thing a business has to address
is the number of essential applications that really
run their business --- and whether those apps are
compatible with Windows 7 is what will drive the
speed to upgrade."
With that in mind, Microsoft introduced a feature
called Windows XP Mode into the forthcoming
HOWEVER, the move won't be
based purely on the merits of
Windows 7, despite the operating
system winning praise for
advances in performance, stability
and ease of use compared with Windows Vista.
Sales of new desktops and laptops running
Windows 7 will be boosted by the Federal
Government's small business tax break, which
refunds 50 per cent of the cost of computers and
other IT gear bought before the end of this year.
"We expect that within one to two months of
the release of Windows 7, small businesses will
have started to upgrade their machines to the new
platform," says Lillian Tay, the principal research
analyst for Gartner.
The launch of Windows 7, on October 22, and
the expiry for the small business tax rebate, on
December 31, seem likely to bookend a substantial
sales spike for the PC industry.
Tay says upgrading a PC's operating system
from Windows Vista could provide enough of a
productivity gain to delay buying a new computer
"for six months to maybe a year".
"But upgrading just the OS can be a pain in the
neck. Small businesses normally upgrade their
OS when they upgrade their PC, so they buy a
machine with Windows 7 already installed," she
Microsoft Australia's Windows business
spokeswoman, Sarah Vaughan, believes people
will be surprised by how well Windows 7 will run on
their current PCs.
XP Mode uses virtualisation to ensure
applications designed for Windows XP can run
under Windows 7 through the creation of a
temporary "virtual PC" that mimics the eight-year-
old operating system.
"Users can install apps that run only on XP, click
the application's icon on the desktop and it runs as
usual," Vaughan says.
"You don't know it's running in XP mode. This
means businesses can take advantage of the
performance and security enhancements in
Windows and still use applications that only run
XP Mode is available only in the Professional,
Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Windows 7
and the PC must use a high-end processor that
supports virtualisation, such as Intel's VT-x or
"This gives them more time to continue using
those applications and think about moving to an
app that's fully compatible with Windows 7 in their
own time," Vaughan says.
Small businesses are expected to be among the first wave to adopt
Windows 7 following Microsoft's recent launch of the operating system
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