A Must-Do List Before Upgrading to Windows 7

by CXOtoday Staff    Oct 15, 2009

Microsoft will officially launch Windows 7 on 22nd October. But even though Windows 7 has been reported to be a significant improvement from Windows Vista, analysts have been quick to point out that it is not a major architectural release. What this means is that Windows 7 is an evolution of Windows Vista — which includes changes and new features. For example, Windows 7 has improvements in memory management, which allow users to have a better experience than with Vista on PCs with similar or even slightly lower specifications.

Gartner has listed the issues enterprises must consider before moving to Windows 7. These are:
Plan to phase out Windows XP by the end of 2012
Microsoft will support Windows XP with security fixes till April, 2014 but independent software vendors (ISVs) will stop testing much earlier. New releases of critical business software will require Windows 7 long before Microsoft support for Windows XP ends. Gartner analysts feel that this migration timeline will help organisations potential problems in the future.
Start working on migration projects
According to Gartner, a typical organisation requires twelve to eighteen months to wait, test and plan before it starts deploying a new OS on employee PCs. Starting now will give companies enough time to prepare, iron out obstacles and delays — reducing migration hassles and last minute costs.

Do not wait until Windows 7 SP1
Gartner reported that many organisations intend to wait until Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is released. They plan to begin testing and deploying the new OS only after the first service pack release. The analysts have advised organisations to start planning for Windows 7 now, especially those who chose to avoid upgrading to Windows Vista.
Do not skip Windows 7
Windows Vista released with an architectural change. As stated earlier, Windows 7 is polished-up version of Windows Vista. Gartner has reasoned that such releases should not be skipped. They supported this statement with the releases of Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Those who skipped Windows 2000 for Windows XP faced less problems with migration. On the other hand, those who chose to migrate to Windows 2000, skip Windows XP (the polished-up version of Windows 2000) and waited for Windows Vista, felt greater migration pains.
Gartner estimates migration costs to be between U.S. $1,035 to U.S. $1,930 per user to move from Windows XP to Windows 7. It could cost U.S. $339 to U.S. $510 per user to move from Windows Vista to Windows 7 — depending on an organisation’s approach.

Since companies have been hesitant to upgrade to Windows Vista, Gartner analysts feel that it is about time to eventually upgrade to the latest operating system — which now happens to be Windows 7. But the adoption will not mean that PC sales will experience a significant boost. Even though Windows 7 will generate renewed interest in hardware upgrades, Gartner does not expect corporate demand to gain momentum until the end of 2010. An overdue PC hardware upgrade cycle and the economic environment have been pegged as the reasons behind the estimated slow pick-up. The demand for Windows 7 through the next year will be dependent on these two factors.