Gartner: Start Windows 7 migration now

CIOs must start preparing for the end of Windows 7 support now, to avoid the issue many faced when XP support ended earlier this year

CIOs must start preparing for the end of Microsoft Windows 7 support now, to avoid the issue many faced when support ended for Windows XP earlier this year.

Users have six years before the end of support day for Windows 7 arrives, but analyst Gartner has recommended that CIOs begin planning a migration strategy now.

As Computer Weekly has previously reported, while Windows 8 has been shipping for almost two years, the majority of organisations are deploying Windows 7 on new PCs, rather than the newer operating system (OS).

The main reason is that Windows 8 is optimised for touch and lacks the start menu many users like when working on laptop devices.

Some people have also found the inconsistent look and feel of the new Microsoft OS off-putting. While live tiles work well on a tablet device, Windows explorer, control panel and many of the more useful features in Windows are only available from the old-style (i.e. Windows 7) graphical user interface (GUI).

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In the report, Plan Now to Avoid Windows XP Deja Vu With Windows 7, Gartner said most organisations have standardised on Windows 7, and only deployed Windows 8 "by exception".

"We question the incremental benefit of Windows 8 for most Windows 7 users," Gartner analysts Stephen Kleynhans and Michael Silver wrote.

As with Windows XP, Gartner expected industries with compliance requirements would need applications to be officially supported by software providers. Or that they would need to go through a validation processes to ensure compatibility. 

"Organisations may find skipping Windows 8 for most devices makes sense. The biggest compatibility issues in terms of applications not working will continue to be those that require specific releases of Internet Explorer (IE)," according to Kleynhans and Silver.

However, Gartner said the new enterprise mode in IE supports strong backward compatibility with IE 8. "[This is] significantly better than that provided with previous compatibility modes. It should enable many applications that require IE 8 to run on IE 11 on a per-website basis by IT, through group policies," Gartner explained.

The enterprise mode should allow businesses with incompatible web applications to manage transitions, as these are upgraded for IE 11.

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