CIOs, Prepare For Windows 7 End Of Support Now

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 13, 2014

windows 7

Even though the end of support for Windows 7 is set for January 2020, which seems far away, Gartner says, firms need to start planning for it now if they want to avoid similar situation that had happened with Windows XP.

In a recent blog post, Stephen Kleynhans, research VP at Gartner, says CIOs and endpoint computing managers should get ahead of the game and avoid the issues many organizations encountered last time. He believes while Windows XP’s end of support date was announced in 2007, many firms failed to completely remove all trace of the aging OS by the time the deadline arrived. Even today, a substantial number of PCs have XP running somewhere in their organizations.

As for the end of support for Windows 7, while this feels like it’s a long way from now, organizations must start planning now, so they can prevent a recurrence of what happened with Windows XP, says Kleynhans. 

“Organizations that have already deployed some Windows 8 PCs, or that decide that Windows 8.1 Update 1 provides an attractive platform, should not shy away from deploying new devices with the OS,” he says. “However, we expect that by the time an organization is ready for a broad rollout, Windows 8.1 Update 2 will have entered the market. Shifting deployment to Update 2 should be relatively straightforward for most organizations, and in that case, Windows 8.1 Update 1 should be seen as a pilot for that ultimate deployment”.

The biggest compatibility issues in terms of applications not working will continue to be those that require specific releases of Internet Explorer. Microsoft will improve the migration process — it will become easier and more reliable to upgrade PCs in place from an older to a newer version of Windows. However, Windows 8 may be the baseline required for more agile application management and upgrades, and improved processes and tools will not resolve the ISV support problem, says Kleynhans. 

Gartner recommends that organizations select one of the following three options for dealing with their PC OS platforms through the remainder of this decade: 

Deploy Windows 8 on new PCs as they arrive, thereby phasing Windows 7 out over time as PCs are replaced — this may make sense for many organizations.   

Skip Windows 8 and plan to deploy a future version of Windows (perhaps Windows Threshold or even a release after that) to replace Windows 7 — we believe most organizations will do this. With this strategy, many will not eliminate Windows 7 before support ends unless they budget extra funding to do so. 

Deploy Windows 8 on all PCs to eliminate Windows 7 — for most organizations, we see little value in doing this, and do not recommend it without a solid business case.