I recently found a useful resource that Microsoft provides free of charge. It is a virtual lab that offers you the chance to test drive new features in each of their major technologies, including but not limited to:
- Windows 2008 R2
- Windows 7
Each of these labs offers you up to 90 minutes, you can request another 90 minute block, to complete each objective. Some objective examples include:
- Best Practices Analyzers, IIS, ASP.NET and Server Core
- Remote Desktop Services
- Active Directory and Server Manager Remoting
The only downside to these labs is that it requires IE w/ Silverlight and a Passport signon. However, these virtual labs provide a means for you to access and play around in a virtual environment free of charge. You should check these labs out if you are thinking of installing your control system software in a Windows 2008R2/7 environment.
It will prepare you for some of the changes such as the removal of NetDDE from Win7 and changes to service names to name a couple. Happy virtual labbing!