On Tuesday March 2, 2010 we received our first PC with Windows 7 installed. With considerable trepidation, the packing tape was removed from the top of the shipping box and the computer was extracted from the protective shipping material. After attaching the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and then plugging in the computer, the power button was pressed with crossed fingers. The PC hummed to life and judgment day began.
There was a lot of anticipation for this day; because today was the day we would get the answer to our biggest question: will our current JMC FabRight software work on Windows 7, or will we have to rewrite the code in one of the newer .Net languages. The latter being a very expensive and time consuming endeavor. We were expecting the worse after hearing about all the issues people have had with Windows Vista.
With the computer up and running, the jump drive was inserted into the USB port and the JMC FabRight install program was launched. After a few button clicks, the install program successfully completed its tasks. The program was installed on a Windows 7 PC. Now was the moment of truth. Will the program actually run on Windows 7?
With our fingers still crossed, the “JMCSaw” desktop shortcut was clicked. The Splash Screen with the Joseph Machine Company Logo appeared, and the progress bar started tracking the programs initialization progress. The Splash Screen then vanished and the “JMC FabRight” Main Menu Screen appeared. With a sigh of relief, we realized that there was hope that it might just work.
Then, the process of testing every function of the software began. The functionality of all the screens inside the Tech Menu was tested first. With a great deal of surprise, we discovered that everything worked as it was designed. The HMI had successfully connected to the PLC. The inputs and outputs of the PLC could be monitored and toggled, and the system settings had been successfully saved to and read from the PLC.
Now the testing began on the Cut File Editor Screen were the main operation of the machine occurs. Here is where a few problems did occur. The program seemed to have trouble creating a new CSV production file and displaying a Positions file. This issue had us stumped for a little bit, but we soon discovered that the program works correctly when it is set to run as administrator.
Now, with our program working correctly, we decided to move on and test our third party software to ensure that all of those programs worked correctly on Windows 7. After some thorough testing, we can confidently say that everything is working just fine.
So, with our spirits high, we are happy to say that we can give two thumbs up to the Windows 7 operating system, with regards to the functionality of our machine software here at JMC. With this potential obstacle out of the way, we look forward to shipping our PC controlled machines, in the near future, with Windows 7. Thinking about our past experiences with newer Microsoft operating systems, it may be okay for us not to hate Microsoft for Windows 7.
Charles Smith (Systems programmer @ JMC)