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.