Free Windows 7 Trial Will Cut Risks of Enterprise Upgrade

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-09-02

Free Windows 7 Trial Will Cut Risks of Enterprise Upgrade

Microsoft announced that it will allow IT professionals to download Windows 7 Enterprise for free from the company's TechNet Website. The trial period will last for 90 days, giving administrators the ability to determine if Windows 7 is right for them.

Why any company would decline the opportunity to use Microsoft's free trial is a mystery. It's a free way to find out if Windows 7 is what's needed in their operation.

Right now, far too many companies are working with Windows XP. Computers running that OS are in desperate need of a refresh. Of course, all that can be blamed on Windows Vista.

Rather than provide a robust, appealing service to companies, Windows Vista turned out to be a mess. Companies that didn't have the chance to try it out before purchasing it were shocked when it caused many of their software and hardware peripherals to stop working. The User Account Control, which attempts to safeguard users from malicious programs, popped up so often that it became an annoyance.

And even though Microsoft said when Vista launched that it would be the most reliable and secure operating system on the market, it wasn't necessarily true. It was a real problem for Microsoft. It was an even bigger problem for companies that knew a full refresh of their hardware would be required just to run what amounted to be a less capable operating system than the OS they were using at the moment.

So in an attempt to maintain productivity, several companies decided to stick with XP. It was a disaster for Microsoft.

Focused on ensuring that it doesn't make those same mistakes again, Microsoft set out to improve Windows Vista. Windows 7 has become the operating system that Vista should have been. It features less annoyances. It has extra features that make users more productive. And it offers some of the best compatibility features, on the market, thanks to Windows XP mode. But it's not available yet. And for many companies that didn't have the chance to use the release candidate, it's still very much a question mark. Will Windows 7 satisfy business needs? At this point, too many companies don't know.

That's precisely why those companies should be taking advantage of Microsoft's offer and downloading the Windows 7 Enterprise edition free trial right now. Instead of updating hardware and hoping that Windows 7 will address their needs, companies can try it out for themselves to determine if all their software, hardware, and legacy peripherals work with the OS. It's a head-start that companies didn't get when Vista was released. And it's one that they should capitalize on now. 

Eliminating the Guesswork

Switching to a new operating system is a daunting task for IT managers. They need to examine the operating system to determine if it will work with existing software. They need to know what kind of hardware requirements it has. They must determine which products around the office can be maintained.

At the same time, they need to figure out if the new operating system will add to the company's operation or detract from it. It's that last element that can be extremely difficult without buying all the necessary products first. Simply put, it's a gamble.

But Microsoft is taking the gamble out of the equation by allowing companies to download Windows 7 Enterprise edition prior to its commercial release. They can install the software on multiple "test" computers around the office to determine how reliable it is. They can see how employees interact with the software to determine the amount of training they will need to increase productivity.

They should also be able to figure out if there are some computers around the office that can be salvaged before they refresh the entire company's computers. As a result the free trial of Windows 7 will enable IT managers to eliminate the guesswork that has become such a dangerous part of  their jobs.

At this point, there's really no good reason for a company not to take Microsoft's offer and try Windows 7. What do they have to lose? If they don't like Windows 7, they can uninstall it and go back to XP (or Vista). If they like it, they know that it will be an ideal replacement for the current operating system they're using.

On Microsoft's side, it's an extremely savvy move. The company knows that the enterprise is gun shy when it comes to Windows. By making a free version of its software available, it can prove to those companies that Windows 7 really is a fine operating system.

Simply put, Microsoft's free Windows 7 trial is a victory for both Microsoft and the enterprise.


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