Rescuecom.com, a New York-based computer support company is asking users to delay their upgrade to the just-released Windows 7 operating system. President Josh Kaplan cited a litany of reasons to Computerworld on why users should hold off the upgrade, which ranges from a potential risk of losing data during an upgrade to the current "tough economic times."
I am not so sure about the advice to delay a Windows 7 rollout due to the state of the economy. However, it is certainly true that conventional wisdom pertaining to operating system releases from Microsoft is to wait until the first service pack before making the leap, a point mentioned by Kaplan. My own Windows 7 Enterprise RTM trial installed without a hitch and has performed flawlessly since.
Still, there are a couple of points that SMBs will want to take note of.
Upgrading From an Old PC
SMBs need to be aware of reports that some users upgrading to Windows 7 from Windows Vista have run into problems. For these users, the Windows 7 upgrade stalls two-thirds of the way through, then presents a message that the upgrade has been unsuccessful. Rather than restoring Vista as promised though, the Windows 7 setup process is triggered upon restarting, and the vicious cycle continues.
While a number of suggestions were offered on Microsoft's support forum, the instructions apparently do nothing for some users, who are effectively left with crippled machines. At the point of writing this post, there is no "fix-all" solution available from Microsoft yet.
Assuming a successful installation of Windows 7, another consideration for small and medium businesses would be testing to ensure that all requisite hardware is properly supported on Windows 7. This is especially crucial before rolling out a company-wide upgrade.
Personally, I installed the Vista drivers for my Sony VAIO laptop, which worked without a hitch on Windows 7 Enterprise. Your mileage might vary, and some administrators will want to wait for the official Windows 7-certified drivers to be released before making a switch.
My advice would be to avoid doing an upgrade from Microsoft Vista to Windows 7 for now. Indeed, the best solution would be to purchase a new computer with Windows 7 preinstalled. This will ensure the most seamless experience with updated and tested drivers already preinstalled by computer makers.
Unfortunately, your SMB might not be due for a scheduled hardware refresh yet. For this scenario, I would advocate doing a proper backup of user files followed by a clean install. Software drivers meant for Vista can be installed if those for Windows 7 are not yet available, but be sure to test first before doing a company-wide deployment, though.