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
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.