ANALYST FIRM Gartner has advised companies to start planning to move away from Windows 7 now, or maybe later.
The guidance isn't what you would call compelling. The top line is, if you want to drop Windows 7 you should think about dropping it, and you shouldn't wait too long to start doing so.
In a blog post Gartner research VP Stephen Kleynhans said that Windows 7 end of life might seem like a ways away, but it could soon sneak up on users. He explained that if enterprises want to avoid a drawn out move away from the operating system (OS) like what happened with Windows XP, they should fire up their IT team.
"Microsoft recently ended support for Windows XP` and even though the end date was set in 2007 based on a life cycle support policy Microsoft introduced in 2004, many organisations were not able to completely eliminate the OS by the deadline," he said.
"The end of support for Windows 7 will be January, 2020, assuming there are no changes to its current support life cycle. While this 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."
Gartner said that Microsoft has promoted firms' eventual migration away from Windows 7, but let's face it, it also did with Windows XP and that went like so much dust in the wind.
"Microsoft has moved to a more fluid approach to releasing and updating Windows. In the 18 months since its release, Windows 8 has had two significant updates, and we expect more during the next year," added the analyst.
"While upgrading Windows is getting easier, some problems will inevitably persist. Organisations where compliance and application validation are required, for example, will likely find that deploying new PCs with Windows 8 and keeping current may be beyond their abilities."
Firms could choose to bury their heads in the sand for five years, or they can take alternative approaches, according to Gartner. These are, deploy Windows 8 when you can, skip Windows 8 and wait for the next one, or just deploy Windows 8 now.
However, while the last option is mentioned, it doesn't particularly thrill Gartner, which said, "We see little value in doing this, and do not recommend it without a solid business case." µ