Gartner: Now is the time to prepare for Windows 7's end of life

Windows 7

Although Windows XP’s end of life date was set in 2007, many firms failed to completely remove all trace of the aging OS by the time the deadline arrived. In fact, it’s claimed that around 53 percent of businesses still have XP running somewhere in their organizations.

End of support for Windows 7 is set for January 2020 (some way off still, and Microsoft may push it back further), but Gartner says firms need to start planning for it now if they want to avoid finding themselves in a similar situation as many did with XP.

Stephen Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, is urging companies to start thinking about the future now.

"Organizations that have already deployed some Windows 8 PCs, or that decide that Windows 8.1 Update 1 provides an attractive platform, should not shy away from deploying new devices with the OS," he says. "However, we expect that by the time an organization is ready for a broad rollout, Windows 8.1 Update 2 will have entered the market. Shifting deployment to Update 2 should be relatively straightforward for most organizations, and in that case, Windows 8.1 Update 1 should be seen as a pilot for that ultimate deployment".

The interesting thing to note is the mention of Windows Update 2. Microsoft has said it has no plans for such an update. At least not at the moment.

Kleynhans recommends that organizations take one of the following actions in the run up to end of life:

  1. Deploy Windows 8 on new PCs as they arrive, thereby phasing Windows 7 out over time as PCs are replaced -- this may make sense for many organizations.
  2. Skip Windows 8 and plan to deploy a future version of Windows (perhaps Windows Threshold or even a release after that) to replace Windows 7 -- we believe most organizations will do this. With this strategy, many will not eliminate Windows 7 before support ends unless they budget extra funding to do so.
  3. Deploy Windows 8 on all PCs to eliminate Windows 7 -- for most organizations, we see little value in doing this, and do not recommend it without a solid business case.

So in other words, don’t go out of your way to install Windows 8.x, but do give proper thought to what you need to do in plenty of time.

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