Two-thirds of companies shifting from XP to Windows 7 had issues, a study finds.
Thinking of shifting your business PCs from XP to Windows 7? You're likely to be in for a world of pain.
A preliminary assessment of early adopters of Windows 7 by Forrester Research draws some fairly painful conclusions for any companies considering making a generation-shifting switch from XP to 7.
"Microsoft has clearly done a better job preparing the hardware and software ecosystem for Windows 7 than it did for Windows Vista, but significant work still remains for IT managers responsible for application inventorying, testing, remediation, and packaging," Forrester analyst Benjamin Gray wrote in a report released last week. "While it’s still too early for benchmark testing results, based on Forrester’s discussions with early adopter customers, firms that are on Windows XP or earlier versions of Windows should anticipate approximately two-thirds of their applications to not be natively supported on Windows 7."
While Forrester stressed that the results were preliminary and only drawn from a small sample, the figure highlights one of the challenges Microsoft will have in pushing Windows 7 to a wider user base. Many corporations skipped Vista -- the release between XP and Windows 7 -- entirely because of hardware compatibility problems and general poor performance. Windows 7 uses the same basic code base as Vista but has been much better received. Customers shifting from Vista had far fewer problems, Forrester found, but that likely represents a smaller percentage of the typical enterprise user base.
Microsoft has sold 60 million copies of Windows 7 since it was launched in October 2009, but the majority of those purchases have been by individuals rather than organisations. Businesses typically don't update until 12 months or more after the release of a new OS, and often tie that upgrade in with the changeover of hardware.
While some of these transition issues can be resolved by using options such as Windows 7' "XP Mode", that process isn't necessarily straightforward. "A fairly consistent lesson we heard from early adopter customers is to ensure that you have enough human resources tackling these tasks initially, particularly for multinational organizations that support thousands of applications worldwide — many of which were likely developed in-house," Gray wrote.