Endpoint managers and CIOs are being urged to get ahead of the curve this time and plan an exit route for their organisations off the next Microsoft operating system coming up for retirement: Windows 7.
Microsoft Windows 7’s 2020 end-of-life ought to be planned better for than the rather messy move off Windows XP', in other words: Microsoft finally cut off support for Windows XP in April - but many companies are still using the OS, despite the fact that the firm announced that termination date no less than seven years ago.
Gartner Research VP Stephen Kleynhams is urging companies to look at the withdrawal of Windows 7 support sooner rather than later and plan out a road map that means there is little to no reliance in their environments on the OS by that date.
“While  feels like it's a long way off, organisations must start planning now so they can prevent a recurrence of what happened with Windows XP,” Kleynhams explained.
There is some good news: the analyst firm is keen to point out that Windows 8 offers an easier path to adoption than the move over from Windows XP to one of the new incarnations, mainly due to the fact that updates are being released with greater regularity.
Nonetheless, there are still a litany of challenges that can need to be planned for when upgrading, he warns.
“Many organizations, especially those in industries with government oversight or compliance requirements, require applications to be officially supported by the independent software vendor (ISV) and/or go through validation processes to ensure compatibility. Such organizations may find skipping Windows 8 for most devices makes sense,” he added.
The researcher produced a list of three options that firms need to consider when dealing with the OS platform over the coming decade, and companies should select one of the trio.
These are: either load Windows 8 onto new PCs as they arrive to allow it to be phased out over time; skip Windows 8 and plan for a new higher version of Windows if the budget allows; or deploy Windows 8 on all PCs to eliminate Windows 7 - though Kleynhams sees little value in doing this.