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Windows 7 & Server 2008 SP1

Windows LogoIn the week that Microsoft released the first service pack for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, we take a look at the features contained in this update and what it means for your business.

History

There’s no doubt that Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 are very polished products, even on their release dates. It’s unusual for us as IT professionals to recommend any operating system for business use until at least service pack 1 but we have been shipping Windows 7 machines since the very first days of it’s release. Microsoft learnt from their mistakes with Vista and produced a stable, secure operating system bursting with surprises (of the good kind) and capable of confidently taking the PC market forward as both a business and consumer platform.

Server 2008 R2 uses the same technology as Windows 7 and again we were pleasantly surprised to find the clunky, bloated workings of server 2008 had been replaced with a sleek, efficient server platform that was a joy to install and support and an easy recommendation to clients.

Service Pack 1

With the positive launch and glowing praise from techs and consumers alike it may come as no surprise to hear that SP1 for Windows 7 contains few headline grabbing features as they were all in the initial release. As with all service packs it contains a roll-up of all previous incremental updates along with minor performance enhancements.

The two areas that do warrant some attention really only come in to play when businesses are running server 2008 R2 – these being dynamic memory for virtual servers and RemoteFX.

Dynamic Memory

OK, so this is not a blog for techies so I won’t bore you with the technicalities of this technology. In a nutshell dynamic memory enables virtual servers to use exactly the amount of memory they require at any given moment. This means that memory usage in virtualised environments is much more efficient, meaning less RAM is needed, meaning cheaper hardware is required for any given set of servers. Even our smallest clients are starting to take advantage of virtualisation and this will enable us to configure more cost effective systems with no loss in performance.

Remote FX

Remote FX is a new technology designed to improve the experience of users accessing remote desktops. Previously the slow redraw rate of any remote desktop has restricted their use to business applications that don’t use make full use of multimedia. High fidelity audio, video and fast animation were out of the question so generally terminal servers were restricted to hosting business applications such as office, Sage and the like. Again, I won’t bore you with the details but remote FX enables users to use a remote desktop and have access to the same rich, multimedia experience as when they are sat directly in front of an actual multimedia PC. This really does pave the way for the ultimate cloud based desktop and opens up these technologies to a much wider audience.

Conclusion

So this service pack was never going to stop traffic, but let’s face it, that’s only because Microsoft got it right the first time around. However, a bundle of security updates along with the addition of two very promising technologies is certainly enough to keep this current generation fresh and Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 top of our business OS list!

Posted on by Tim
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