Plan Now for End of Windows 7 Support

News Article - Wednesday, 20 August 2014 11:31

By: Kerry Butters Category: Hosting

Stephen Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, Inc., has warned that whilst the end of support for Windows 7 may seem like a long way off, organisations should begin planning now to ensure that they are ready for it.

CIOs and endpoint managers who "get ahead of the game” will avoid the issues that many businesses suffered when support for Windows XP was pulled, he says. Around a quarter of organisations that use PCs were still running XP when support ended, leaving many IT support managers looking for funding or alternative ways to secure the aging OS.

If plans continue to follow the current support lifecycle, it’s thought that support for Windows 7 will cease in January 2020. However, improvements to Windows 8 should help to enable adoption, as Microsoft has "moved to a more fluid approach to releasing and updating Windows.”

Mr Kleynhans suggests  that organisations which have already deployed Windows 8 PCs should not "shy away” from deploying new devices with the OS. Windows 8.1 Update can and should be used as test cases for the "ultimate deployment” as from there, it will be easier to shift to Windows 8.2 and even switch to the next version of the OS which is currently codenamed Windows Threshold.

It’s thought that the latest Microsoft OS will be released for tech preview  around the end of September. According to leaks, Windows Threshold will feature a mini Start Menu, Metro-style apps that run on the desktop and the elimination of the controversial charms bar.

Whilst it’s getting easier in general to upgrade Windows OSs, Mr Kleynhans says that it’s inevitable that some problems will persist, especially when it comes to organisations which are required to adhere to compliance regulations and app validation. By working with software provided, organisations can ensure that the new update model can be supported.

Those organisations which require applications to go through validation processes may find it to be the better option to skip Windows 8 for most devices, he said. The biggest issues surrounding software compatibility will be "those that require specific releases of Internet Explorer,” he added.

Gartner recommend that organisations follow one of three paths when it comes to dealing with PC OSs for the rest of the decade: deploy Windows 8 on new PCs as they arrive, skip Windows 8 and plan to deploy a future version of the OS, or deploy Windows 8 on all machines to eliminate Windows 7. However, the latter option is thought to have little value to the organisation and it’s not recommended that this action is taken without "a solid business case”.

For more information, see the Gartner report Plan Now to Avoid Windows XP Déjà vu With Windows 7.

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