Classroom Setup on Windows 7

As of this writing (August, 2010), most Capstone courses are tested primarily on Windows XP, and most classrooms using our materials on on that operating system as well. But some customers are curious about the feasibility of delivering training on Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Since April, 2010, we've been using updated tools to build our lab installers which are Windows-7-savvy. Courses released since then will install to Windows XP, Vista or 7, with no difficulties. See any course's outline or setup guide for confirmation of the tested configuration.

For the rest, the short answer is that installing on Vista or Windows 7 should be fine, with a few quirks during the installation process. We cannot guarantee anything other than our tested configuration, but no significant problems with Windows Vista or 7 have been observed thus far.

Now, for the longer answer ... quirks, you say? Here's what we've seen so far:

  • Our lab installers just unzip files and run a DOS batch file that makes additional file copies. But the user will see the somewhat unsettling dialog box that says "are you sure you want to allow this program to make changes to your computer?" complete with the rest of the desktop going dark. The user must say yes here, or the installer won't run. Again, we don't actually do anything that merits that sort of warning -- such as changes to the Windows registry -- but it will come up.
  • After our installation is complete, the user will see a dialog saying, essentially ,"this installer may not have run correctly." We believe this is just a matter of the version of WinZIP Self Extractor that we use not saying something that Windows 7 expects it to say via the operating-system API. We have not seen any cases in which the installers actually fail. We recommend clicking the "yes, it did run correctly" option, upon which the dialog goes away.

Since the behavior of our lab installers on Windows 7 has thus far been merely "quirky" -- that is, we've not seen any functional problems -- for now we are recommending that, where Windows XP is not available, and Windows 7 is an option, customers proceed to run the installers as directed by our setup guides, understanding that they will encounter the distractions mentioned above.