Performance matters. Every second saved on an automated manufacturing floor saves money, and every function that runs faster produces one less bottleneck.
To see how Windows 7 features affect applications written in the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment and automated test sequences written in NI TestStand test management software, we ran several performance benchmarks including the following on different versions of Windows OSs.
On the benchmarking tests that we ran, we saw minor performance gains using Windows 7, particularly in multithreaded LabVIEW applications and NI TestStand.
When moving to a new OS, it’s important to consider the impact of any performance gains versus the potential cost of migration.
|Installation: Windows 7 installs much faster than Windows XP. In fact, the entire installation process has been simplified with only five pre-install and seven post-install screens. In addition to the increased speed, Windows 7 also comes pre-loaded with most drivers that you would need to get started.|
For a more in-depth look at performance and the benchmarks used to assess Windows 7, refer to Test-Driving Windows 7: Performance.
According to Microsoft, the majority of applications that work on Windows Vista should continue to work in Windows 7.
Microsoft TechNet created a website dedicated to application compatibility, including the Application Compatibility Toolkit Technical Reference, migration walkthroughs, and many webcasts. To take a look, see the Microsoft TechNet Application Compatibility page.
In addition, the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 (ACT) – a free download from Microsoft – will contain tools and documentation to evaluate and mitigate compatibility issues before migrating your current applications to Windows 7. ACT 5.5 will scan your applications, hardware, and even detect potential Website issues with Internet Explorer 8 and then report any compatibility issues.
Creating and connecting to networks are two common tasks that have been modified in Windows 7.
|Windows 7 greatly simplifies creating and connecting to a network. In fact, you can connect to a wireless network right from the taskbar without having to launch a single dialog window.|
For more information on networking in Windows 7, refer to Windows 7: Networking and Security.
Engineering applications are using increasingly large datasets and sharing test results and reports, which benefit from having simple and easy ways to share files across a network.
You can designate a network as a HomeGroup to easily and securely share files with other computers and devices on this network.
Windows 7 builds on the concept of My Documents with the Library, which is a virtual repository of files on your machine. Library files are easily searchable and accessible over the network.
To learn more about file sharing in Windows 7, refer to Windows 7: Networking and Security.
Security is always a priority. There's not much worse than losing months of development time because of a malware attack. Especially in a corporate or research environment, you want to prevent your sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
Windows 7 features a more usable version of the security tool – User Account Control (UAC). The new UAC in Windows 7 is smarter and less obtrusive than the Windows Vista version.
Windows 7 also includes a new version of the drive encryption tool – BitLocker. The new BitLocker is simpler to use and extends its functionality to USB drives.
Note: BitLocker and BitLocker To Go only come with Windows 7 Ultimate and Windows 7 Enterprise.
For a more in-depth look at security in Windows 7, refer to Windows 7: Networking and Security.
Windows 7 features a new and improved taskbar and makes device management and configuration much simpler.
The new taskbar doubles as a Quick Launch bar, allowing you to pin applications to it, open new instances of applications, and switch between open windows.
With a new feature called Jump Lists, you can gain quick access to each application’s most common tasks simply by right-clicking.
|You can now manage all of your peripherals and devices connected to your computer from a single window.|
For more information on productivity features in Windows 7, refer to Windows 7: Usability and Applications.
Many of the common applications that are shipped with Windows have been revamped.
The Calculator features additional modes including scientific, programmer, and statistical modes.
New and improved versions of Paint and WordPad now have an MS Office-like ribbon.
Windows 7 is shipping with the newest iteration of the Microsoft Web browser, Internet Explorer 8, which features the following:
Web Slices help you keep tabs on selected portions of your favorite Web sites.
Suggested Sites links you to a list of sites that are similar to your current Web site.
To learn more about improved applications in Windows 7, refer to Windows 7: Usability and Applications.
Windows 7 Community
Share your ideas and keep up to date with the latest Windows 7 news in the Windows 7 Community Group.
Here you can find blogs, wikis, and discussion forums about Windows 7 that written specifically for Engineers and Scientists.