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Blue Skies Thread, Windows 7 - Primaries in General; Originally Posted by chrbb Also just looked at microsoft schools agreement, realised with our recent purchases we now have reached ...
  1. #31

    LeMarchand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrbb View Post
    Also just looked at microsoft schools agreement, realised with our recent purchases we now have reached the min quantity required, unable to find a price though, is it expensive?
    The agreements were in place when I started (and the heads tend to be v. good at getting "deals"), but the one time I got a quote I couldn't see that the cost was justifiable for the school. i'll try to remember to check it on Monday.

    @Si: Surely as new machines are bought to replace aging/dead ones they will come with W7 and drivers for XP are going to be increasingly difficult to find? My schools have managed to "bypass" Vista, but it's going to be difficult to get XP downgradeable machines soon. (Maybe I'm lucky/our LEA is a bit more progressive, but all my primary schools have domains).
    Last edited by LeMarchand; 30th January 2010 at 04:16 PM. Reason: Typo

  2. #32

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    @SimpleSi - You are entitled to your opinion of course. It would be nice if you had actually bothered to state that you wanted a list of features that did not include any domain envolvement at all and completely dismissing my opinion and powers of observation is more than a little rude despite the smielys.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    doesn't apply to non-domain machines - all files just stay on laptops
    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Only if you've got a VPN which most primaries without domains wouldn't have
    As above, ask the question you want the answer to.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Is it possible to quantify such a thing or is this just a feeling/marketing feature - no way to prove wither way I suspect
    Thankyou for dismissing my several years of experience with Vista and almost year with versions of 7 as a feeling. It did make me 'feel' good when it continuously repaired its core system files as a hard drive failed from under it, propmted the user that the HD was failing and kept working with just a bit of a slow down. The drive in question would not even format when I tried and was loosing large chunks of space each time it was booted but each time Vista restored fresh copies to safer locations and rebuilt the system to it could boot. It was also a fantastic ad for it when it rebuilt the system registry chunk from the system restore backups seamlessly on boot after a nasty GPU crash incident. The same typep of incident that took at least half an hour to do manually with XP.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Would you really mix a Win2000 sever and win7 clients - really? (and doesn't apply to non-domain use anyway )
    I see no reason not to, they would still talk just fine and with SP4 installed on the 2000 server and Windows 7 RSAT you would still have full group policy managment ability. File serving, DHCP, DNS AD have been made more secure and faster but have not changed so much that they will not work just fine with a 2000 server. If I had to make the choice of newer client OSs or newer server OSs I would go for the clients as they are closer to the user and push management more effectivly than downlevel clients.

    You did not adress the other features listed like driver support, power managment and super easy projector setup so I guess that you consead these points.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    stopping now

    Non of these come close to being justification to spend loads of dosh on old machines

    to restate - is there anything in Win7 ITSELF - i think not - the defence (or prosecution) rests their case millord
    Your original post did not ask for features that justified spending on old stations as such this was not covered. If your school does not have an MS agreement and if all of your hardware is over 7 years old then probably not. As I don't know what your exact criteria are for a killer feature that would impress you it would seem more efficient to point you at the microsoft page that outlines what is actually included. As you seem to have already made up your mind on the issue either through logical analasys or fixed opinions (I will not speculate as to which) it seems pointless attempting to defend or prosecute in a case that has already been decided.

    One final thought that comes to me featurewise is bitlocker encryption for staff laptops for data protection. I know that is likely to yeild cries of truecrypt is free etc, but it is not built into Windows XP, not as easy to configure and recover and slightly less secure and less transparent to the user.


    /rant - sorry that this turned out a little more combative than I had intended but I am loosing patience with the XP is the epitomy of computing crowd as the retoric is getting close to the OS X is the best thing in the world crowd which winds me up.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 30th January 2010 at 04:24 PM.

  3. #33

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    As an experiment, we tried installing Windows 7 on one of the old machines from the primary we're about to re-vamp. The box was a Celeron 2.4GHz, around 7 years old. Once we scrounged 1GB of RAM, it was surprisingly usable. That's even after installing all updates, Office 2007 and AVG Anti-Virus Business Edition. Of course, it's never going to cope with anything heavy by way of multimedia (in fact, I suspect even flash-based websites are going to be an issue).

    Whether it's worth spending around 75 per machine to get them running 7 (that's for a memory upgrade and the OS licence) is another matter, seeing as the boxes are mostly on their last legs.

    Stephen

  4. Thanks to SteveMC from:

    SimpleSi (30th January 2010)

  5. #34

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    @SYNACK - no rudeness intended that's why I plastered the posts with smileys

    I thought I had stated the non-domain enviroment as per
    Ignoring W2k8+Win7 clients arrangement (cause I imagine there's all sort of goodies in that arrangement for you domain control freaks
    but I can see that its ambigous but I'd thought by now that everyone around here knows that I don't use any domain features in any of my networks (mainly because I'm too simple minded to understand them )

    I only moved onto using W2k3 as file servers from Win98 in the past 2 years

    I'm just trying to demonstrate (and others are doing this much more eloqeuntly than me) that spending money on changing an OS on old machines isn't value for money in my opinion

    Sorry again to have upset you as I have greatly appreciated your advice over the years



    regards

    Simon

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    I'm just trying to demonstrate (and others are doing this much more eloqeuntly than me) that spending money on changing an OS on old machines isn't value for money in my opinion
    One thing I forgot to mention above, - it can be very tricky (if not downright impossible sometimes) to locate Windows 7 drivers for old hardware. Our test machine used an old SIS chipset, which isn't officially supported - although newer drivers seemed to work, despite not mentioning the model.

    Stephen

  7. #36

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    but I am loosing patience with the XP is the epitomy of computing crowd as the retoric is getting close to the OS X is the best thing in the world crowd which winds me up.
    Heh - I'm with you - IMO there is and never has been and currently not in forseeable future (and looking forward to day when its true and we are all out of jobs because they just work ) any OS that actually does for a computer what a hammer does for nails

    Maybe GoogleOS will be it? - Turn it on and 7 secs later its on the net and the choc mountain controls all your apps and settings


    regards

    Simon

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMC View Post
    Whether it's worth spending around 75 per machine to get them running 7 (that's for a memory upgrade and the OS licence) is another matter, seeing as the boxes are mostly on their last legs.

    Stephen
    This would be our main problem, along with the software that doesnt work issue: we went up to Server 2008 in the summer and lost several bits that the teachers used a lot - despite someone VERY knowledgeable giving me a hand, we couldnt get some of the stuff working and I suspect that would be the same with W7. (no way could we afford a new server AND upgrading to windows 7)

    As chrrb said, it is hard enough in a primary to get money for new machines, never mind upgrades.
    I suspect that what will happen will be that new machines will be bought with W7 on, and slowly the whole system will be upgraded

    I would be very interested to see how it goes in a primary as well

  9. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianG View Post
    We haven't yet but we will in the next phase of computer upgrades. I support 6 primaries and myself and the technician for our neighbouring cluster have decided now is the time to make the move.

    We've already got a couple of staff laptops lurking around with 7 on. They've been no problem what so ever. In my opinion they are a great improvement on Vista, which we had no plans to upgrade to.
    Only just up the road from you and would love to see the upgrade when you do it. I'm surprised the schools can afford it - mine certainly couldnt.
    As others have said, the cost is prohibitive - even for a middle-deemed-secondary like mine. ATM we need new machines first and I think when we get them I will push for a mixed W7 XP environment (presumably this is OK) rather than downgrading to XP as we do now.

  10. #39

    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    I'm just trying to demonstrate (and others are doing this much more eloqeuntly than me) that spending money on changing an OS on old machines isn't value for money in my opinion

    Sorry again to have upset you as I have greatly appreciated your advice over the years
    All good, sorry that I went off at you about it, in hinsight the smileys do defuse it much more, appologie accepted and I hope to continue being helpful in future.

    I do agree with you about the upgrade cost as it must be cost effective to make sense doing it which for older machines it is usually not unless you happen to be under volume licensing.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMC View Post
    One thing I forgot to mention above, - it can be very tricky (if not downright impossible sometimes) to locate Windows 7 drivers for old hardware. Our test machine used an old SIS chipset, which isn't officially supported - although newer drivers seemed to work, despite not mentioning the model.
    You are right about the drivers, they can end up taking time, a couple of days in my case. With the older systems if it has built in drivers these are often much better for stability than manufacturer ones, if there are no included drivers quite often the XP ones will actually work depending on how their OS string was written in the inf file as long as you are on 32bit. I had this a lot with Dells and old intel GPUs which work fine off the XP driver. There is also the option of finding newer products from the same manufacturer with the same hardware in it. We had an issue with the integrated sound in hp d330m uT computers not using the internal speaker. Found the driver for Vista/7 but it only worked with external speakers as hp had moded the hardware. As it turned out a later model hp we had used the exact same modded chip and came with drivers which worked perfectly and re-enabled the internal speakers.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleSi View Post
    Heh - I'm with you - IMO there is and never has been and currently not in forseeable future (and looking forward to day when its true and we are all out of jobs because they just work ) any OS that actually does for a computer what a hammer does for nails

    Maybe GoogleOS will be it? - Turn it on and 7 secs later its on the net and the choc mountain controls all your apps and settings
    I fully agree, there is no OS that does the job perfectly and there probably never will be

    Quote Originally Posted by witch View Post
    ATM we need new machines first and I think when we get them I will push for a mixed W7 XP environment (presumably this is OK) rather than downgrading to XP as we do now.
    Running XP and 7 side by side is fine but it does require a bit of tweaking with regards to profiles, favorites and GPs though as Vista and XP store these in different ways meaning any roaming users end up with two profiles. Its not too bad though when you get it sorted out and I am sure that there will be plenty of people on here who will have done it as well to help out.

  11. #40
    TechSupp's Avatar
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    I think I will be in a meeting next week looking at where we will be going with out system, (its a primary as well) and there has been talk of why don't we move the PC' to 7 although I think this will be for new PC's, to replace older ones. We have mandatory profiles, anyone any experience of issues with a 2003 server xp/7, I know its been stated there are issues/tweaks with roaming profiles so does that mean with mandatory we would be OK? Only teachers have roaming but don't mind putting them on mandatory :-)

  12. #41

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    With regards to software compatibility on W7 I'm sure a lot of primary schools will use Photostory + Moive Maker 2.1 quite heavily for their photo / movie / animation needs due to their easy to use nature and the the fact they are free. Both are unavailable for W7. Photostory can be made to run with some effort after obtaining the 3.1 version. Also MM Live is available for W7 but is so cut down compared to 2.1

    Also SYNACK

    Way better offline files for teacher laptops
    Useful 'if' laptops are Domained. Again like Si Staff laptops here are not domained and all docs are locally stored.

    Much better self repair ability (system files, reg etc)
    Again useful, but in the times I have had to use the W7s repair tools. they have not fixed the issue and have still gone the reimage route.

    Way better over VPN/remote links due to a much faster network stack
    Again not a feature required by most pirmary schools. VLEs / MLEs are more than likely the route they will be going.

    More managability via GP even if you only have a Windows 2000 server as DC
    But how much of that extra manageability is relevant to primary schools?

    Better power managment, suspend for powersave etc.
    When in school Computers and on when in use and off when they are not they are switched off. Also from experience W7 has not given any increase in battery life on laptops.

    Easier install with support for non cretatious era hardware ie SATA drives
    Humm as long as you research before you be there are plent;y of business grade machines that still support XP.

    Automated multipass defragmentation
    Useful

    Fully integrated .net 3.5 framework and windows installer modules makeing .net stuff run faster and stuff install faster. This is important when pushing managed MSIs.
    Again useful

    Automated presentation mode that detects projectors when attached and offers a wizard to help
    Nice fature but nothing that can't currently be achieved by Fn+Fx or a simple script and something like setres

    Built in codecs for lots of different formats avoiding the need for DVD software or Quicktime/xvid etc
    PCs come supplied the DVD player software and quicktime/xvid are free downloads, simple to include on an initial build.

    These are just my thoughts and as said above if buying new equipment with W7 installed then go for it, but I wouldn't rush to upgrade just for the sake of it.

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    Don't want to go totally offtopic, but I admit I am somewhat confused at the lack of any sort of Windows Domain in alot of primary schools. Even an el cheapo server (say... 200) could easily run a full on domain/file/Printer/WSUS server for an environment the size of a primary school. It would make managing even a small amount of PC's a billion times easier.

    Within a school tho I'd want it for auditing alone, it's kinda hard to track who was logged on to what system if just using workgrouped machines and if a member of staff is involved in a child protection issue I'm pretty sure the police would want to know the complete history of a user.

    As for Windows upgrades, there usually isn't an overarching reason to upgrade from an end user point of view given that end user experience doesn't really change considering that most users just use Office and surf the web, but if you went on that we'd still be sitting on Windows NT4, which would be "good enough" for 95% of tasks.

    On a unrelated note, those schools that aren't on SA and looking to buy Office 2007 should consider holding back for Office 2010 which is due for release in April/June. If your going to retrain users you are better off using the latest version so you don't have to worry about upgrading again for a few years.
    Last edited by DrCheese; 30th January 2010 at 10:24 PM.

  14. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrCheese View Post
    Don't want to go totally offtopic, but I admit I am somewhat confused at the lack of any sort of Windows Domain in alot of primary schools. Even an el cheapo server (say... 200) could easily run a full on domain/file/Printer/WSUS server for an environment the size of a primary school. It would make managing even a small amount of PC's a billion times easier.
    My comments regarding Domained laptops is only relevant to staff laptops. All other PCs / laptops are domained, and staff laptops have access to all these resources just without being on the Domain themselfs.

  15. #44

    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Ah - fresh meat

    Please note rules of this thread - i'm effectively a troll - but a well meaning one that's a little bit simple and just needs a pat on the head and a there there

    I admit I am somewhat confused at the lack of any sort of Windows Domain in alot of primary schools. ... It would make managing even a small amount of PC's a billion times easier.
    Well - if you don't control anything - then there isn't anything to manage is there?
    And zero x lots of effort = zero?

    Obviously thats simplifying it a bit much but if your use teacher/TA control and monitoring as opposed to computer control and monitoring you can you one logon with full admin rights and auto windows update and jobs done

    Within a school tho I'd want it for auditing alone, it's kinda hard to track who was logged on to what system if just using workgrouped machines and if a member of staff is involved in a child protection issue I'm pretty sure the police would want to know the complete history of a user
    cant argue with that so that's a downside and if we ever had such an incident then it would need looking at.

    but if you went on that we'd still be sitting on Windows NT4, which would be "good enough" for 95% of tasks.
    You see - your starting to come round to the proper way to look at ICT in primaries (Although no need to move beyond W98SE IMHO - most of the software works better in it )

    On a unrelated note, those schools that aren't on SA and looking to buy Office 2007 should consider holding back for Office 2010 which is due for release in April/June. If your going to retrain users you are better off using the latest version so you don't have to worry about upgrading again for a few years.
    :cough: Openoffice mate - why spend ANY money you don't have too

  16. #45

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    Crikey - I seem to have kicked off a bit of a debate!

    I think the overall benefits in general outweigh the flaws and this thread was just to ask what everyone else thought really. I'm certainly not going to just upgrade straight away and be done with it.

    As something like this could be quite a major change then I'll need to check it properly.

    I've got a spare box I can set up - so I'll do that and throw software at it (not literally mind!) to see what does/doesn't work. I'll be posting a list so we all know for the future.

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