Windows XP to Windows 8: Don't go there

A majority of enterprises have migrated to Windows 7 or are planning to do so. But for Windows XP holdouts ready to side-step Windows 7 for the upcoming Windows 8 OS, you are risking a gap in support, stresses research firm Gartner in a new "first take" analysis of Windows 8 migration in the enterprise.

Gartner analysts Michael A. Silver, David W. Cearley and Stephen Kleynhans acknowledge that for organizations running late with Windows 7 it is tempting to forego the OS, but with support for Windows XP ending in April 2014, organizations would be cutting it close.

Microsoft has not announced a general release date for Windows 8, but Gartner believes the company may target back-to-school buyers in 2012 - in which case, the RTM (release to manufacturing) of Windows 8 would likely start around April 2012, a date that would allow general availability by midyear 2012.

"Even if Microsoft meets that very aggressive timeline, independent software vendors and enterprises will likely need nine to 18 months to obtain and test supported applications and plan deployments," the Gartner report states. "That means that most organizations would not be able to start deploying Windows 8 until the end of 2013."

And five or six months after that, Windows XP goes off life support.

At its BUILD developer conference this month, Microsoft unveiled the Developer Preview version of Windows 8, revealing details about the Metro "tile-based" UI, the compatibility with Windows 7 applications, the ease of building Windows 8 apps, and the different devices and form factors that Windows 8 will run on.

Microsoft has focused more on what Windows 8 means for developers and consumers than it has for IT departments. But in an interview, Rich Reynolds, GM for Windows Commercial Marketing, emphasized Windows 8 enterprise security and networking improvements over the well-received Windows 7. And then there is the tablet factor. Windows 8 will run on all the hardware that Windows 7 runs on, plus it will utilize ARM-based chips to run on lower-powered devices like tablet PCs, a market now dominated by the iPad and one that will become more important to enterprises as employees increasingly depend on personal devices for work purposes.

Some examples of new or enhanced enterprise features in Windows 8, according to Microsoft's Reynolds: More efficient use of Direct Access, a networking feature in Windows 7 that lets mobile workers connect to corporate networks without the use of a VPN; BitLocker encryption is streamlined in Windows 8 so that only sectors of the hard drive that contain data will be encrypted and will do the task while you are working; in addition, Windows 8 will introduce a feature called Secure Boot, which prevents malware from booting up before the OS boots up.

"Obviously we're excited about the new features in Windows 8, but our guidance for enterprise customers using Windows XP is to focus on accelerating Windows 7 deployments," says Reynolds. "End of XP extended support is in April 2014, which leaves little time for organizations to move to Windows 8. In fact, in most cases we think it wouldn't even be possible."

To that end, Gartner presents four recommendations for Windows XP enterprise holdouts that are at a crossroads in their deployment strategy.

  • Organizations running Windows XP and working on Windows 7 migrations: Continue as planned; do not switch to Windows 8.
  • Organizations that find it difficult to do "forklift" upgrades: Consider bringing in Windows 8 through attrition.
  • Organizations interested in new devices enabled by Windows 8: Consider Windows 8, even if you intend to skip Windows 8 for traditional PCs.
  • Enterprise developers: Become familiar with the Metro style of applications, which will likely be the preferred desktop metaphor in the future as the focus for Windows 8 applications.

Shane O'Neill covers Microsoft, Windows, Operating Systems, Productivity Apps and Online Services for CIO.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @smoneill. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Shane at soneill@cio.com

Read more about operating systems in CIO's Operating Systems Drilldown.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags WindowsTechnology Topics | Operating SystemsWindows 7softwareTechnology Topicsxpoperating systemsGartnerwindows xpWindows 8Microsoft WindowsMicrosoft

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Shane O'Neill

CIO (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?