It says the OS, recently released to public beta, will also enhance security of externally stored data, and simplify company network access for mobile users.
Among the features is Branch Cache, which in combination with the second release of Windows Server 2008, allows a local copy of a file to be retrieved outside the corporate wide area network (WAN).
Windows business client manager Ben Green says Branch Cache can save direct bandwidth costs, and free bandwidth for other applications.
One of the aims in developing Windows 7 was to make workers more productive, regardless of their location, says Green.
DirectAccess, another new feature in the second release of Windows Server 2008, allows users of machines running Windows 7 to connect via IPv6, rather than by using a virtual private network (VPN).
“Some customers still steadfastly believe in firewalls and VPNs, but some have come to the conclusion that putting up a firewall is a barrier to getting things done. This will be very interesting as people move away from firewalls,” says Green. This feature also improves the ability to remotely manage IT, the vendor says.
The BitLocker feature, included in the Enterprise and Ultimate versions of Windows Vista, which provided drive encryption and integrity checking of early boot components for laptop PCs, has been extended in Windows 7. BitLocker To Go will now protect data on any removable drive including USB keys and external hard drives.
Organisations with virtual desktop infrastructure will also have an enhanced experience with Windows 7, says Green, as support for many monitors, and for microphones, is now built in.
In addition, the same image management tools can now be used for both virtual and physical machines. Users can boot from an OS image stored in virtual hard drive (VHD) format, so one master image can be used in virtual and traditional desktop environments.
Many of Microsoft’s OEM and enterprise partners are part of the beta programme for Windows 7, and the vendor aimed to get its user community involved in the OS from an early stage, says Green. Local partners will be told about opportunities around Windows 7 in coming months, he says.