Companies face operational problems if they try to upgrade to Windows 7 straight from Windows XP, Microsoft has warned.
Many firms have stuck with Windows XP instead of upgrading to Windows Vista, on grounds of costs and unwanted Vista features.
However, warns Microsoft, those firms that have stuck with XP may face problems if they leapfrog Vista and go straight to Windows 7, expected to be fully released early next year.
Gavriella Schuster, a senior director of Windows product management, said, "Make sure you take into consideration the risk of skipping Windows Vista. Deploying Windows Vista now will make the future transition to Windows 7 easier.
"If you are on Windows XP now and are waiting for Windows 7, plan on starting an early evaluation of Windows 7 for your company using the beta that is available now. Testing and remediating applications on Windows Vista will ease your Windows 7 deployment due to the high degree of compatibility."
Those that do not follow Redmond's advice on deploying Vista first, face the problem of some applications no longer being supported on Windows XP, and not being initially supported on Windows 7, said Microsoft.