Perhaps more futuristic is the notion of running Windows 7 directly on a hypervisor, which could let you run Windows 7 on computers not designed for the Windows OS -- or any specific OS. If the computer can run a supported hypervisor, you can run Windows 7 on that hypervisor. Through management tools, you could quickly deploy an OS to multiple systems. There are already tools on the market (such as Virtual Computer's NxTop) that let you manage virtual systems, encrypt the drives (note that BitLocker will not work with VHD-based OSes), and wipe the OS if the system is lost or stolen and booted up.
This hypervisor approach could be very helpful in migrating your users if they are already running in a Windows XP environment with client virtualization. In that case, they can be moved over to a new OS and their computer's "personality" comes right along with them. Just remember that this is leading-edge stuff, so it's something you're more likely to experiment with than deploy companywide in the near term.
Good-bye nightmare, hello sweet dreams
For many, the transition to Vista was a nightmare best avoided. But the transition to Windows 7 will be a much sweeter sleep.
It will take work to make that migration happen, but by assessing your tools you have, your equipment, and the needs of your organization going forward, you can do it. And when you're done, the only system running Windows XP is the one in the company museum with a sign that says, "We ran our company on this OS for 10 years before moving over to Windows 7."
- InfoWorld Windows 7 Deep Dive PDF report
- Find out if your PC can run Windows 7
- Windows 7 may mean fewer bargain netbooks
- Windows 7 drives RAM capacity explosion
- Windows 7 touch: Dead on arrival
- Windows 7 RTM: The revenge of Windows Vista
- Hands-on video guide to Windows 7
- XP users: How to upgrade Windows 7
This story, "Ready for Windows 7? Here's how to deploy it right," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in Windows 7, Windows in general, and virtualization at InfoWorld.com.