It’s that time! Microsoft is sunsetting Windows XP and Office 2003. Windows XP and Office 2003 will no longer be supported (and patched) after April 8, 2014. Having Windows XP machines in your office environment after this date is a security risk, especially for those businesses subject to HIPAA and financial regulations. Allowing them to remain is simply not an option for those businesses in those industries. The question then becomes which platform to replace those desktops and laptops with. The majority of businesses running Windows based applications, which constitutes 90% of the enterprise desktops, will be deciding between Windows 7 and Windows 8.
The first consideration is whether business critical applications are tested and supported on a Windows 8 platform. If business critical applications are not supported, your choice is to wait until they are, or proceed with Windows 7. Many businesses rightly want to maximize their dollars by choosing the platform that will give the longest life span for their dollar. While this is definitely an important consideration, it is not the only one. Each business must evaluate the business risk with migrating to another platform. Is there risk is migrating to Windows 8? That cost needs to be examined along with the lifespan of the product.
Another factor will be weighing the benefits of Windows 8 over Windows 7. Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8.1 (code named “Windows Blue”), which is rumored to fix some issues that users have complained about with the original release of Windows 8. The following link describes some of those potential (and hoped for) changes:
Windows 8.1 Fixes
Two rumored changes that will be welcome to businesses are the return of the Start menu (in exactly what form is a topic of some speculation) and the ability to boot straight to the traditional Windows desktop. Both of these features would significantly decrease the training burden that Windows 8 currently presents.
Windows 8 has not penetrated the business marketplace as effectively as previous versions of Windows, only garnering 3.82% according to recent study by Net Applications. Windows 8’s Metro interface is a departure from the interface that many long-time Windows users are used to seeing with previous versions of Windows. Perhaps businesses are worried that the interface change will lead to losses in productivity among its workforce who are not familiar with the stylistic changes. In order to truly benefit from all Windows 8 has to offer, new hardware is required (new form factors, touch screens, etc.), which of course increases business’ costs. These are valid concerns. Other businesses may see these changes and beneficial for mobile workforce users since Windows 8 was designed with mobile in mind. As Windows 8 penetrates the consumer market, users will become more comfortable with it, and this may be a valid reason for delaying the implementation of Windows 8 in your environment.
There is not one recommendation we can make that will be the right choice for every business. Here is what we can recommend:
- Each business must evaluate their environment and make their decision on which platform is best based on the pertinent information available.
- Start the process now. Planning allows for proper budgeting and less risk.
- Examine your Windows Vista machines as well and target them if economically feasible.
- Start slow – pilot Windows 7/8 on a few targeted employees who are more tech-savvy (or at least tech-tolerant) and work out the bugs before going with a wide deployment.
It’s time to clean the Windows, and having your environment on as consistent a platform as possible is a benefit for supportability and reduction of costs. The time to act is now. Make your plans now because one year after Microsoft retires Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 will be retired and that is yet another Window to clean!
Colden Company can help with your migration plans. Yes, Colden Company even cleans your windows! Contact us today at (888) 600-4560 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter and let us help you get the best of Windows in your business.