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back to article Building Windows 7 skills - will we need another 10 years?

Ten years of Windows XP means that the whole world knows how to use it, from administrators to users. How much training does it take to migrate to Windows 7? The answer is that the training burden falls more on administrators than on end users. One area where Microsoft has a good track record is in application compatibility …

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FAIL

Ahh the the revamped event viewer

The old one worked very nicely. It was also lightweight.

Now? wtf? eh?

What happened to the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' school of software development.

Oh silly me. That is not on MS's agenda.

I'm sure that it has its uses but for me it is just a PITA. Why have they made it so goddam awful to use.

fail for obvious reasons.

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eh?

Looks fine to me... just had a rejig. I wouldn't say that I'm a heavy user of even viewer but popping it open in windows 7 didn't leave me scratching my head on how to use it.

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Virtual XP mode

A bit crap, really.

We have to maintain some old VS2003 applications and VS2003 won't run in Windows 7, so its installed as a virtual XP app. In order to launch it I have to shut down everything else on my PC or Windows 7 complains of insufficient memory (it has 4GB). It also doesn't play nice with multiple monitors. The "virtual XP" windows hop from screen to screen by themselves and sometimes appear on both screens at the same time.

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JC_
FAIL

Developing in XP Mode? Stupid.

You're using XP mode to develop in and you're surprised it doesn't work so well? It's a convenience intended for running legacy applications, not development environments. And why allocate 4GB of memory? It doesn't need it, and as XP mode only gets a single core to run on it won't be fast, anyway.

If you need to run VS2003 then install XP or VMWare Workstation or whatever so you can do it properly. You're not much of a developer if you couldn't figure this out for yourself...

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Really?

I am installing a printer in XP Mode right now on a Win7 machine with 3GB running lots of other stuff. The XP mode instance is running with 256MB of ram... (I have to install the printer software in XP mode as HP have decided that they aren't going to support the scanner feature under Windows 7 on printers that you can still buy).

I do find it amusing that the article suggests XP mode or application virtualisation requires training for administrators. Really? You need training to install an application in XP mode and then run it from Windows XP Mode Applications? If you are struggling with that then you are in the wrong job...

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VS2003 IS a leagcy application

How would you suggest I maintain a VS2003 project tied to MSDE on a Win 7 box *without* XP mode?

Yes, of course I can import the project into VS2005,8,10 and port to SQL Express. In fact this has been done for new releases, but the old versions still need to be maintained.

So, while it may be "stupid" to develop in XP mode, when the boss calls me in the field and says "fix it", telling him to fuck off because JC_ thinks its "stupid" isn't, actually, an option.

While it may be "stupid" to develop in XP mode, for the number of times I *have* to do this, it is the lesser of two evils compared to lugging another laptop around.

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JC_
FAIL

Yep, either stupid, cheap or both.

"How would you suggest I maintain a VS2003 project tied to MSDE on a Win 7 box *without* XP mode?"

Install VMWare Workstation. Create an XP VM. Whenever you need to work on the old application, run the XP VM. Problem solved, FFS.

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Pint

Hmm

To be fair he already told you how to do it in his previous post, and he's right, VMware's a better way to do it than XP mode.

If you don't have a VMWare Workstation license, then you can just use VMWare Player these days too, which is free.

http://www.vmware.com/products/player/

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I'm sure it is.....

But I ain't allowed it!

Anyway, we are getting into strawman territory here. My original point was that Virtual XP mode isn't terribly useful, not whether there were any better 3rd party solutions.

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Yes

And your original point is wrong. Virtual XP mode is useful, I even use it on occasion touse a vpn client which isn't otherwise supported on Windows 7. If you consider the complexity of two tcp/ip stacks being run simultaneously, it's a wonder it works at all, but it does.

It is not, however, useful or appropriate to run a development environment, which is what you're trying to do. You've been offered advice on how to do that better, after asking for advice. To then say that's "strawman territory" shows an inability to follow a conversation, and an unwillingness to be helped.

You ain't allowed it? Tell your boss you need it to do your job. You still ain't allowed it? Have fun!

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Groundhog day?

How old is this article?

If your user requires more than an hour of normal use to transition comfortably from XP to 7 then you need to chat to your HR dept. about employing people with inadequate basic skill sets.

The 'eject' requirement for USB sticks and SD cards should have been designed out by now. Cumbersome, unintuitive and badly implemented.

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safely remove?

I've not used the safely remove hardware utility for about 3 years now (XP and win7). All my USB sticks, external drives, 3G modem, mice and everything else are still working fine

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"Safely remove" makes sense

Well, it makes sense when you know why it is there. It's to make sure that all writes are complete and that you don't trash the file system by yanking the drive. This is why some devices (e.g. mice) can be safely yanked, there is no writing going on.

What pisses me off is when it says "I can't something is locking it" but never, ever tells you what that "something" is. Then you play a game of hunt the app/process in order to get your drive out safely; sometimes necessitating a reboot to get the friggin' lock removed. Win7 seems to be a bit better than XP, but not by much.

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ProcessExplorer

Download ProcessExplorer from www.sysinternal.com (part of microsoft now). Find Handle or DLL feature allows you to search for all or part of a path and see what apps have a handle to files on that drive. You can then force close the handle or the app if necessary. Works on XP - I'd guess it works on win7 but I've never used it.

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@Richard 22

I've had mixed success with "ProcessExplorer" in the past, but it is way better than what XP does by default!

Why they make it so hard beats me....

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WTF?

Erm...

Is there some reason why this question is being asked now, rather than back in mid 2009 when Win7 was released?

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why do we need training on the GUI

Why do we need training on the ease of use Windows 7 desktop computer?

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I was wondering that...

As we buy PCs as and when they are needed and we buy them with OEM licences we get what we are given and PCs have been coming with Win7 for the last 12 months (most with downgrade rights to XP) and for the last 6 months I have been deploying them with Win7 and no one has quizzed me on the UI yet.

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Anonymous Coward

It's simple

People are not actually trained on how to use computers. They are turned into little human parrots who can run "macros" based on very particular applications from one particular vendor.

Why? Because it is cheap, they can be churned out en masse and the costs of hiring functionally IT illiterate idiots is deferred for a few years and probably made someone else's problem.

Once there is some change you are boned and have to re-educate all your parrots, but rather than see this cost for what it is you enter a state of denial and spout the "efficiency gains" mantra of some other management twaddle.

[Obligatory car analogy]

If you hire a driver, you expect them to be able to change a tyre (within reason). You do not expect to get a phone call saying "I have a flat, but I can't change the type because the wheel nuts are the wrong colour." or something equally ridiculous. You expect them to get the handbook, read it, take care and IF there is a genuine problem (like some tit has fired the wheel nuts on with Thor's air-hammer) then ask for help.

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Flame

So...

...corporations can't use a Linux distro because the training costs too much, but it's OK to migrate to Win7 because all that's needed is a bit of training? And compatibility packs. And....

Get the back-end on a Linux, get some admins who know WTF they are doing and don't need a GUI to hold their delicate little hands.

Oh, your new admins will cost more, but they'll be able to manage more servers, bringing total costs down. Servers will have more up-time, bringing total costs down. Licensing fees will be less, support about the same, bringing total costs down. You may not even need to upgrade the hardware, bringing total costs down. If you like, you could install a themed Linux on the clients (this assumes the apps are portable/browser based) that looks almost identical to XP or run XP in a virtual image boot-strapped by a minimal Linux install, reducing training and bringing total costs down.

And you know what lower costs means? Yup, more profit.

Oh and as for UAC? It doesn't go nearly far enough (I can bet that most users run as part of the local admin group - stupid). Then again, once you've seen how real computer security should work you wouldn't go near a Windows implementation if you could possibly avoid it.

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Or ...

You could have spent corporate $$ re-training TheGreatUnwashed[tm] on how to use KDE, once, a decade ago.

But go ahead. Drink the MS coolaid. It's obvious that re-teaching your userbase how to do things the MS way every eighteen months or so[1] is somehow "better" ... Marketing told me so. It must be true.

[1] 6 months, for Apple products ...

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Gates Halo

re: event veiwer.

You beat me to the punch on how resource heavy the new event veiwer is, but getting teary eyed for the old one? Really?

Yes, the old event viewer loaded quickly. It also closed just as snappily after you discovered it had recorded bugger all that would give you a clue as to why the machine had suffered a major breakdown and rebooted.

Just last week we had one user who was suffering frequent crashes. At first we put it down to errant software. After all, the XP install on her machine was nearly 5 years old, and had been passed through many users, filling up with crapware. After trying various band-aids and little fixes we bit the bullet and remastered her machine.

This seemed to fix it, until a few days later, it crashed again. The BSOD indicated a memory problem this time, so roll out memtest and various other diags. There was NOTHING in the XP event viewer to even give me a hint, even with all the logs switched to full. It passed with flying colours. By this point, my slightly cynical nature started leading me to suspect it was somehow user instigated.

We put Win7 on her machine, as we've found in practice it's a lot more resiliant and idiot-proof than XP. Again fine for a few days, then I get another call. This time, it had only lost network connectivity. I look in the event viewer, and there it was. I can't remember the exact phasing, but it stated that the HAL had failed to retrieve information from RAM after resuming from sleep.

Bingo. A BIOS update to fix the *known* bug in the ACPI firmware, and we're all sorted. I suppose a lesson to be learnt would be slightly less cynical. When I asked her what she was doing at the time of crash and she said "nothing" I might have realised she litterally meant nothing, hence the machine went to sleep.

Whereas XP refused to even admit that the machine had even rebooted, Win7 just barely stopped short of whipping the side panel off the case and pointing at the chip!

Of course, this is known as self diagnosis and monitoring, or as my collegue amusingly refers, 'naval staring', and we're seeing it more commonly everywhere. Most modern cars will simply tell you exactly what's gone wrong when you plug a laptop in.

I was indulging in a bit of 'motherboard reading' the other day, and spotted a connector I didn't recognise. After some googling I found it was for a motherboard tester that checked every single pathway and chip. The controller chip for that connector had it's own internal bus bridge between the V1 and V2 extended diags.

Wait, what? even the motherboard self diagnostic chip is so advanced now it has multiple internal clock speeds? The self analysis systems within modern computers and the Windows OS are getting ever more advanced and resilliant, but the laws of physics dictate that that these diags have to use resources.

So, can I begrudge the event view taking a few seconds longer to open? Not really. If I'd had Win7 on that machine to start with, it would have save both me and the user a week and a half of mucking about, and I can easily foresee it saving me a lot more time in the future

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Re: event viewer

"You beat me to the punch on how resource heavy the new event veiwer is, but getting teary eyed for the old one? Really?"

Ever tried using the new event viewer in safe mode on a low-res display? (That is, when you *really* need a way of querying the event logs.) Even with all the pointless panes shut down, it wastes so much space that you end up with about 3 events on display plus the first 3 lines of one of them.

As with so much else on Win7, the UI presumes you have a huge display and beefy GPU to waste.

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Go

Win7 Skill Building or ...

... "clicking every frakking button and menu option to see what it does and damn well remembering what happens".

About one week.

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Happy

Huh?!

I thought the gist of the article is to highlight that actually there isn't really anything that needs to be done to educate end-users about Windows 7 - and it's more about educating your helpdesk about UAC and the new tools that CAN be used to help troubleshoot more effectivly...?

Moved from XP shop to Vista and now some Windows 7. Haven't had a single issue that was caused by the OS or lack of end user education.

Developers / IS team is a different story, but then again I have to send THEM links to MSDN so what do I expect...

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Event viewer is customizable

@Ken Hagen: Not sure I fully agree there. As you noted yourself you can customize the panes relatively easy; but even then you're left with a list of events and a larger screen below it which lists its details.

And just like with XP you can also simply double click to get the full description in a separate window and simply move on from there (to get to different entries). Personally I enjoy the new look (not by default); the preview pane can save time. With XP you had to double click every entry to see any details. Now you can just click and check. Even in lowres.

We've moved from Vista to WIn7 recently and quite frankly I think it really puts Vista to shame (which IMO also wasn't all that bad).

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Linux

Most MS tools that come in the box

Are rubbish, hence the need for the sysinternal tools among many, many others.

UAC is a confusing waste of time, IMHO users should be users and Admins admins, like on any other sane operating system. But no, MS had to invent the admin which is not a real admin, and the user which is also an admin.

Libraries is a solution in search of a problem, I know plenty of people who tried to use them but find it no different than knowing where the files are. At the end of the day libraries do not build themselves and you have to add content to them manually. Also Libraries they do not support network content from shared drives, so its usefulness is severely diminished. (DFS ringing???)

The new event viewer and everything else mmc is so bloated and slow now because it suffer from a new MS illness: .NETitification, MS always find a way to make your snappy computer slow under the latest release of Windows.

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UAC

I had UAC on Windows 98, and I didn't like it then.

I used UAC on Win98 until I moved the family to XP, then I used restricted login.

I've used UAC on Win 7 and Vista, and I still think it's more trouble than it's worth. I'm glad that it is OFF on all the workstations at my workplace.

For the disbelievers: yes, you could get UAC for Win98. Win98 made it much simpler to hook into every process, so it wasn't incredibly difficult to make UAC work on Win98. It was just as helpful in blocking rogue processes, and just as intrusive and disruptive. If you never used system software like that, well, that tells you how popular it was, doesn't it?

Generally, Win7 offers features I don't need (libraries), and makes features I do need more difficult (search) and more opaque (networks). I'm a programmer, developer, administrator, so I can see that I'm not the target market. But I'm not a (insert general insult here), so I'm even less impressed by the amateur-hour offerings from the Open Source side which I am also required to use.

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Thank you, Register, for yet another ...

handy reference piece to be filed away for use another day.

Meanwhile back to the trusted XP Professional!

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WTF?

WTF

"Ten years of Windows XP means that the whole world knows how to use it, from administrators to users."

Like ot know which world your users come from - I support three schools and 90% of the staff have trouble with email and word documents without going into "How to save a file to a different folder other than 'My Documents'.

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FAIL

Windows 7 is a gimmick

Windows 7 is just like Vista rehashed. Full of gimmicks and fancy tricks. Aero Snap? There's a far better version in XP called Tile Horizontally or Tile Vertically that isn't limited to arranging just two windows but any number you select. There are many good useful features of XP removed and broken in Windows 7. The file manager, Windows Explorer was utterly destroyed in Vista and becomes worse in Windows 7. Poor usability. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista . Unnecessary GUI changes. Vista was innonative but horrible usability wise and removed things. Windows 7 is Vista with few new features and again many features removed and fancy gimmicks and shiny graphics added. Sure it's more secure and XP is also *secure enough*.

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