Air Force bounces Windows XP, goes all-in for Windows 7

The US Air Force said it has begun a service-wide upgrade of operating systems to Windows 7, the plan to complete the upgrade across the service by December 2011.

For those average users currently using Vista, which is a majority of the Air Force the upgrade will be nearly transparent. The biggest changes will be seen by those changing from Windows XP.

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"The change from Vista to Windows 7 will not be very drastic, but for those moving from the XP systems, we anticipate a need for a higher level of support, due to the big differences in the software." said Lt. Col. Todd Glanzer, 24th Air Force director of communications.

The reaction from a few Air Force users to the upgrade on one Air Force Web site was, well, varied.

"AWESOME.... Just got vista two months ago wooo hoo."

"How about a service-wide upgrade to Mac"

"Ohhh can we please get that NOW Vista is KILLing these computers. When it takes 15 minutes to log into a computer you know there are issues. Windows 7 would hopefully help remedy that. I hope its sooner to now and not Dec 2011 before we see this."

It was unclear whether Microsoft would or even need to develop a special, more secure version of Windows 7 for the service. You may recall that the Air Force had been running a super-secure version of Windows XP only available to the service.

According to a Wired story from 2009: "The Air Force, on the verge of renegotiating its desktop-software contract with Microsoft, met with [Microsoft CEO Steve] Ballmer and asked the company to deliver a secure configuration of Windows XP out of the box. That way, Air Force administrators wouldn't have to spend time re-configuring, and the department would have uniform software across the board, making it easier to control and maintain patches. Surprisingly, Microsoft quickly agreed to the plan, and Ballmer got personally involved in the project. The NSA got together with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Center for Internet Security to decide what to lock down in the Air Force special edition."

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