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Making the Experience Better Together with Windows 7

Windows Server 2008 R2 has many features that are designed specifically to work with client computers running Windows 7. Windows 7 is the next version of the Windows operating system from Microsoft.

Features that are only available when running Windows 7 client computers with server computers running Windows Server 2008 R2 include:

  • Simplified remote connectivity for corporate computers by using the DirectAccess feature

    One common problem facing most organizations is remote connectivity for their mobile users. One of the most widely used solutions for connecting remote users is a virtual private network (VPN) connection. Depending on the type of VPN, users may need to install VPN client software on their mobile computer and then establish the VPN connection over the Internet. The DirectAccess feature in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 allows Windows 7 client computers to directly connect to intranet-based resources without the complexity of establishing a VPN connection. The user has the same connectivity experience both in and outside of the office. The following figure contrasts the current VPN-based solutions with the DirectAccess solution.

VPN and Direct Access Scenarios
  • Secured remote connectivity for private and public computers

    Another common problem for remote users is the ability to access intranet-based resources from computers that are not owned by the user’s organization, such as public computers or Internet kiosks. Without a mobile computer provided by their organization, most users are unable to access intranet-based resources. A combination of the Remote Workspace, Presentation Virtualization, and Remote Desktop Gateway features allows users on Windows 7 clients to remotely access their intranet-based resources without requiring any additional software to be installed on the Windows 7 client. This allows your users to remotely access their desktop as though they were working from their computer on the intranet. From the user’s perspective, the desktop on the remote Windows 7 client transforms to look like the user’s desktop on the intranet, including icons, Start menu items, and installed applications that are identical to the user’s experience on his or her own computer. When the remote user closes the remote session, the remote Windows 7 client desktop environment reverts to the previous configuration.

  • Improved performance for branch offices

    Driven by challenges of reducing cost and complexity of Branch IT, organizations are seeking to centralize applications. However, as organizations centralize applications the dependency on the availability and quality of the WAN link increases. A direct result of centralization is the increased utilization of the WAN link, and the degradation of application performance. Recent studies have shown that despite the reduction of costs associated with WAN links, WAN costs are still a major component of enterprises’ operational expenses.

  • Improved security for branch offices

    Windows Server 2008 introduced the read-only domain controller feature, which allows a read-only copy of Active Directory to be placed in less secure environments such as branch offices. Windows Server 2008 R2 introduces support for read-only copies of information stored in Distributed File System (DFS) replicas. Read-only DFS replicas helps protect your digital assets by allowing branch offices read-only access to information that you replicate to the offices by using DFS. Because the information is read-only, users are unable to modify the content stored in read-only DFS replicated content and thereby protects data in DFS replicas from accidental deletion at branch office locations.

  • More efficient power management

    Windows 7 includes a number of power-management features that allow you to control power utilization in your organization with a finer degree of granularity than in previous operating systems. Windows 7 allows you to take advantage of the latest hardware developments for reducing power consumption in desktop and laptop computers. Windows Server 2008 R2 includes a number of Group Policy settings that allow you to centrally manage the power consumption of computers running Windows 7.

  • Improved virtualized desktop integration

    Windows 7 introduces the RemoteApp & Desktop (RAD) feeds feature, which helps integrate desktops and applications virtualized by using Remote Desktop Services with the Windows 7 user interface. This integration makes the user experience for running virtualized applications or desktops the same as running the applications locally.

  • Higher fault tolerance for connectivity between sites

    One of the most common scenarios facing organizations today is connectivity between sites and locations. Many organizations connect their sites and locations by using VPN tunnels over public networks, such as the Internet.  One problem with existing VPN solutions is that they are not resilient to connection failures or device outages. When any outage occurs, the VPN tunnel is terminated and the VPN tunnel must be reestablished, resulting in momentary connectivity outages. The Agile VPN feature in Windows Server 2008 R2 allows a VPN to have multiple network paths between points in the VPN tunnel. In the event of a failure, Agile VPN automatically uses another network path to maintain the existing VPN tunnel, with no interruption of connectivity.

  • Increased protection for removable drives

    In Windows Server 2008 and prior operating systems primarily used BitLocker Drive Encryption (BitLocker) to protect the operating system volume. Information stored on other volumes, including removable media, was encrypted by using Encrypted File System (EFS). In Windows 7, you can use BitLocker to encrypt removable drives, such as eSATA hard disks, USB hard disks, USB thumb drives, or CompactFlash drives. This allows you to protect information stored on removable media with the same level of protection as the operating system volume. BitLocker requires the use of a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) device or physical key to access information encrypted by BitLocker. You can also require a personal identification number (PIN) in addition to the TPM device or physical key.

  • Improved prevention of data loss for mobile users

    The Offline Files feature allows you to designate files and folders stored on network shared folders for use even when the network shared folders are unavailable (offline); for example, when a mobile user disconnects a laptop computer from your intranet and works from a remote location. In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, the Offline Files feature was configured for online mode by default. In Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, the Offline Files feature supports transitioning to offline mode when on a slow network by default. This helps reduce network traffic while connected to your intranet because the users are modifying locally cached copies of the information stored in the Offline Files local cache. However, the information stored in the Offline Files local cache is still protected from loss because the information is synchronized with the network shared folder.