Search, Drive Encryption Changes
Also of note in Windows 7 is Search Federation, a feature that enables IT departments to add search engines, document repositories (such as SharePoint sites), Web applications and proprietary data stores to the list of search providers in Windows 7. IT administrators can push down new search locations through Group Policy. I was pleased to see the enhancements that Microsoft has brought to the BitLocker drive encryption functionality introduced in Vista. In Windows 7, BitLocker sports some UI improvements, including the option to right-click on a drive to enable BitLocker protection, support for automatic creation of the hidden boot partition required for enabling BitLocker on an already-installed system, and support for encrypting multiple machines with the same key (a big manageability improvement).Windows 7 sports a new DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool that offers IT administrators more flexibility in building their Windows images and helps administrators limit the number of different images they maintain. DISM enables IT administrators to update their operating system images with software updates, to add optional components and third-party device drivers. Compared with Windows Vista, Microsoft is promising more speed; more battery life; shorter startup, shutdown and suspend times; and compatibility with all the applications and drivers built to work with Vista. In addition, Microsoft is indicating that Windows 7 performance is enough improved over Vista to enable the new OS to run on low-powered netbook-class machines. In Windows 7, System Restore now provides a list of programs that will be removed or added as a result of a system restore rollback operation, which can help determine which restore point to choose, and make clear the effects of the rollback. eWEEK Labs Executive Editor Jason Brooks can be reached at email@example.com.
Also, BitLocker in Windows 7 can now protect removable devices as well, and administrators can mandate encryption for removable devices, making them read-only unless encryption is enabled. If a user inserts an unencrypted drive, Windows will step the user through the drive encryption process.