Likewise, wireless connectivity was simplified, and the ability to lock down your public and private (or home/work) networks through Advanced settings ensures better online safety. In addition, when combined with Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 takes advantage of features like BranchCache and Direct Access that provide for faster access to data and connectivity without a VPN.
4. The manageability through PowerShell
Being able to use PowerShell to manage systems -- especially with the remoting capabilities that come with Windows 7's Version 2 -- is incredibly helpful to IT admins. Because PowerShell Version 2 was designed for Windows 7, you get all the management hooks. Although PowerShell Version 2 is available for XP and Vista, they lack some of the hooks, so they can't exploit PowerShell completely as Windows 7 can.
5. The improved performance
Windows 7 boots incredibly fast compared to XP or Vista. On laptops, battery life is longer, and recovery from sleep and/or hibernation is improved. Windows 7 also offers features like ReadyBoost to use USB storage space to address low-memory issues, improved search results without tanking the system, and a variety of other under-the-hood improvements.
Windows 8 takes computing to a new level
As much as you've heard me complain about working with Windows 8 from the user perspective, you won't hear me complain about the features and improvements outside the UI. At heart, Windows 8 is Windows 7 taken to the next level. All the features I love in Windows 7 are still available in Windows 8. Some items, like Network Map, that I didn't love are gone. And many Windows 7 aspects are further enhanced in Windows 8: File History, secure boot, built-in antivirus protection, Hyper-V 3 on supported systems, and PowerShell Version 3 are all examples.
Still, those are enhancements to Windows 7 -- the Windows 7 your users know and love on their home PCs. Don't feel bad if you've decided to go with Windows 7 as you move from XP because you can't make that jump to Windows 8. Windows 7 is simply an awesome OS.
If you decide to take the plunge and go to Windows 8, you'll get the features everyone loves in Windows 7 and more. If you can get past the UI challenges, the rest of Windows 8 -- that is, the Windows 7 part -- is solid.
This story, "Windows 7 forever! Why Windows 7 is the next XP," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.