The Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) has begun deploying Windows 7 to its large campus PC population in advance of the general release of the new Microsoft operating system.
Wintec has established a reputation as an early adopter of new technology, says IT services director Ramon Scurrah, and it wants to continue this policy.
The deployment, done in cooperation with Microsoft, has presented no issues so far, he says. After testing within the IT department, Windows 7 has been deployed to the 120 PCs in the student commons area, where students gather to work and socialise. It will be spread over the rest of the campus in the next several weeks.
Wintec is a predominantly Windows-using organisation and most PCs on campus have been running Vista. On some of the less powerful machines, this has been a struggle, Scurrah acknowledges and only a minimal Vista implementation has been possible. A few were still running XP.
One of the advantages of deploying Windows 7, with its noticeably lighter footprint, is that the full power of the operating system can be provided on these older machines without having to upgrade. The life of the PC fleet as a whole is therefore extended, he says.
Early deployment gives Wintec students a chance to become experienced in the Windows 7 environment before it becomes “the system you get with every new PC”, Scurrah says.
It is clearly of benefit to them to get this experience well before they are asked to exercise it in a workplace and in their daily lives.
A comprehensive survey of student reaction has not been done yet, he says, but initial reception appears favourable. Students have said it’s easier to find what they’re looking for in terms of applications and files on the Windows 7 systems than it was under Vista.
They have also remarked positively on some of the new features of the user interface, such as the ability to split the screen easily to view two documents alongside each other, rather than having to click and drag to position several windows.
Wintec also has a small fleet of Apple Macs, but decided some years ago not to use open-source environments in its teaching.
“We want our students to have experience of the systems that are still used by the vast majority of the workforce,” Scurrah says.
Windows 7 is scheduled for general release on October 22.