Editor's Note: 25 Years and Still Getting Better

As IT pros near their silver anniversary with the computing platform of the ages, we celebrate with a collection of resources to simplify their deployment of the latest and greatest version of Windows.

By Mitch Irsfeld

Windows 7 turned a year old last month, just in time for the announcement of the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate (RC). And while Windows 7 was celebrating its first year with more than 240 million licenses, another big milestone looms:

It was 25 years ago this month that Microsoft unveiled its first operating system with a graphical user interface, called Windows. And (gulp!) I was there, as a member of the press, properly impressed by how it looked on those monochrome CRT displays. Heck, you didn’t even need a mouse to use it.

Windows, you wear it well. How many computer products have been around for 25 years?

Yes, there have been a few refinements to Windows since then. Moore’s Law ensured a constant cycle of compute-power gains for software developers to exploit, and innovation continued to snowball. Windows soon became much more than just a product. Descriptions like ecosystem, community, and yes, the Borg have emerged to characterize the phenomenon. But I prefer the simple yet apt moniker: platform.

Windows the Rock Star

Without a doubt, Windows is the computing platform of our age and beyond. And today, Windows is still the platform for technical innovation. I chuckle when I hear pundits proclaim that innovation and Microsoft have since parted ways. As a platform, Windows continues to foster innovation, much like the vacuum tube amplifier drove innovation in music. And in both cases, the innovation continues in leaps and bounds throughout their communities, across more types of devices than ever before.

One of the ways Microsoft, and the community, continues to improve is in making Windows easier to deploy, and you’ve no doubt heard by now that enterprise deployments of Windows 7 are more streamlined than ever before. I have to believe that is due, at least in part, to the advanced, task-specific tools and resources from Microsoft, not to mention the guidance and best practices which have surfaced in the greater Windows community.

In this edition of TechNet ON, we’ve compiled a number of great articles that explain the use of these resources and tools. For a quick run-through of the resources, check out Jeremy Chapman’s Best of compilation of Windows 7 deployment resources.

To familiarize yourself with the new tools and techniques, TechNet Magazine has several new articles, including Joshua Hoffman’s Modern Guide to Desktop Deployment and his Windows Deployment Resource Guide, which explains the differences among the various deployment tools. And for a great how-to piece, Greg Shield’s “Geek of All Trades” column takes you through Windows 7 Deployment in 7 Easy Steps.

There is a wealth of great guidance in this edition and, of course, links to the tools themselves with specific how-to content for each tool.

And finally, we brought back a fan-favorite, the free eBook Deploying Windows 7 Essential Guidance from the Windows 7 Resource Kit and TechNet Magazine.

We know that many of you are still working toward your enterprise deployment of Windows 7 and hope this package serves as a one-stop resource.

Here’s to the next 25 years of innovation.

Mitch Irsfeld

Mitch Irsfeld*, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, including* InformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek*. He is also an editor for* TechNet Magazineand managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.