Editor’s Note: Get the Max

The move to maximize the value of IT investments continues. When it comes to getting the most out of Windows 7, you have a handful of tools at your disposal.

Lafe Low

Do more with less—this phrase has evolved from an impassioned mantra to a full-on mandate. As budgets and staff levels remain stagnant or shrink, it’s more than ever incumbent upon IT to step up and get the absolute maximum value out of your IT investments.

While deploying a new OS might not seem like a way of optimizing existing investments, you can get more out of your infrastructure and get more out of Windows 7 itself than with earlier versions of the flagship OS. Windows 7 has some unique functionality that opens doors to easier implementation of a virtualized environment, enhanced compatibility with applications from earlier OSes and a simplified migration path.

Using Windows 7 in Windows XP Mode lets you run legacy business applications seamlessly within Windows 7. Your organization can benefit from the increased security, flexibility and stability of Windows 7, while continuing to use the older applications that drive your business. Check out “Run Windows Old and New” in this month’s issue for more on using Windows XP Mode in Windows 7.

There are some helpful tools you’ll want to get your hands on to get the most out of Windows 7, particularly the components of the Windows Automated Installation Kit. This kit includes a handful of tools that can help streamline the configuration, deployment and migration process.

That’s a good start when it comes to getting the most out of Windows 7. There are plenty of other free and fully capable resources as well. Besides the WAIK, Microsoft has produced a quiver of tools to expedite your move, including the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and the Application Compatibility Toolkit. You can read more about those handy tools in the November article, “Windows 7: A Modern Guide to Desktop Deployment.”

You can also customize Windows 7 to fulfill just about whichever function you need. Check out the list of Microsoft Management Console Snap-Ins in the October feature, “Windows 7: All About the Snap-Ins.” We’ve covered Windows 7 extensively, hoping to help you get the most out it. Here are a couple of other articles that you might find helpful: “Windows 7 Deployment in 7 Easy Steps” and “The 10 Things to Do First for Windows 7.”

2012: Bring It On

On behalf of the crew here at TechNet Magazine, I’d like to wish you and your family and friends a happy, healthy and prosperous holiday season and New Year. It has been a great year for us at TechNet Magazine, and I hope it’s been an inspiring and productive year for you and your organization. While it’s great to examine page view statistics and get a feel for what you’ve read the most, there’s no substitute for personal contact.

If you have any comments on what we’ve done and what we’re doing with TechNet Magazine, please check in and let me know. I want to make this an invaluable ally to you and your IT team. There are a lot of new solutions coming from Microsoft in 2012. What are your plans for optimizing your infrastructure and getting the most bang for your buck? Sign up for our LinkedIn group, send us an e-mail at tnmag@microsoft.com or e-mail me directly.

Lafe_Low

Lafe Low* is the editor in chief of TechNet Magazine. A veteran technology journalist, he’s also the former executive editor of 1105 Media’s Redmond magazine. Contact him at llow@1105media.com*