Users also don't always understand Windows 7 libraries, a setup that replaces the standard folder metaphor with a more sophisticated model that allows groupings of files that may be stored in different locations. What's more, File Explorer defaults to the local library -- even if you don't want users pointed there. Shane says that even administrators may find it annoying at first. "When you're rolling out a bunch of PCs on a network, it gets in the way," he says.
Shane says his users like Windows 7's interface improvements, such as those Sebastiano described, and more subtle changes, such as the way Windows automatically makes desktop icons bigger on larger screens with higher resolution. "That has helped users with poor eyesight," he says.
Users particularly like what he calls the "shake and bake" feature on the Aero desktop that lets the user minimize all open windows on-screen except for the currently selected one by simply grabbing and shaking that window from side to side.
Such features have been well received, "but users have to be told about them," he says.
Thomas warns that a migration from XP to Windows 7 will require some training. "Users haven't always gotten value from the tools we shove their way," he says. "This time we're spending more time upfront trying to understand where the values are and actually promoting that."
Given a choice between bringing in Windows 7 on new machines and upgrading old ones, most organizations prefer the former. Most (58 percent) of the survey respondents, however, said they will also upgrade at least some existing machines.
One way to avoid replacing PCs is to use virtualization technologies. Naglich plans to do exactly that at University HealthSystem Consortium. And he's not alone in considering the use of desktop virtualization to ease the transition to Windows 7. Nearly one in five (18 percent) of IT professionals surveyed said they plan to move at least some Windows XP users from traditional Windows PCs to hosted virtual desktops as they migrate to Windows 7.
For existing hardware that meets Windows 7 system requirements, the usual upgrade issues apply. "Fresh installs are quick," Sebastiano says. On the other hand, while a Vista upgrade to Windows 7 is fairly straightforward, getting user profiles and settings moved over from XP is more challenging. He's looking at using Laplink Software Inc.'s PCmover to handle that.
Application compatibility is another potential challenge, particularly for older software. That's something Axium Healthcare Pharmacy Inc. may have to deal with. The online specialty pharmacy uses several internally developed Visual Basic 6 applications that won't run on Windows 7, not even with the XP Mode software. "A lot of ActiveX controls don't play at all," says Norbert Cointepoix, director of IT at Lake Mary, Fla.-based Axium.
But Matt Okuma has found that some applications run better. Okuma, enterprise architect at Best Technology Services, a business unit of Pacific Coast Building Products Inc. in Rancho Cordova, Calif., says his Cisco Unified Communications software never worked properly on about 100 of the Vista machines he rolled out. Some of those, he says, had to be rolled back to Windows XP. With Windows 7, however, it runs just fine. "We love it. Everything just works," he says.