Evaluate Weigh the pros and cons of technologies, products and projects you are considering.

Windows 7 migration ahead? What a CIO should know

Operating system upgrades are not easy. But as IT shops consider moving away from XP, find out what makes a Windows 7 migration worth it (and how to plan for it).

For many organizations -- especially those that skipped Windows Vista -- a Windows 7 migration is inevitable. After living a long life, Windows XP is on the way out. Microsoft and third-party application vendors are focusing on Windows 7 and putting earlier editions of Windows behind them -- something many IT shops will have to do, too.

But what do CIOs and IT managers need to know about migrating to Windows 7? It will be time-consuming, costly and resource-intensive (much like all desktop operating system deployments), but what makes Windows 7 worth the effort? Learn more about the right time to move away from XP, what you should include in your migration strategy and what your peers are doing to get started in this Windows 7 strategic overview. Plus, find out how Windows 7 can help you take advantage of other new technologies.

This guide is part of SearchCIO-Midmarket.com's Midmarket CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the Midmarket CIO Briefings section.

Table of contents

  Expert advice on Windows 7 migrations
  Table of Contents

Like many midmarket IT executives this year, CIO Ivan Imana is wrestling with how best to make the move from Windows XP to Windows 7. In the mix at Milwaukee-based Adelman Travel Group: 250 desktops with 1 GB of memory, a workforce that does most of its work on a Web-enabled online application, and zero appetite for running an operating system on unsupported software.

With $350 million in revenue, a total IT budget of $1.5 million and another potentially tough year on the horizon, Adelman Travel also doesn't have much margin for error. The cost of migration is important. Imana considered desktop virtualization, but a quick analysis appeared to yield a lower ROI than a traditional forklift migration, scary as that is.

As Burton Group Inc. analyst Simon Bramfitt noted, companies have been running XP for as long as eight years, and now, because of the current financial uncertainty, don't have an easy way to migrate.

Learn more in "Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7: The experts weigh in." Also:

  • How and why XP users should consider a Vista or Windows 7 migration
    Skipping a major Microsoft OS release like Vista could leave businesses in the lurch as Windows XP support tapers off. Here's how to approach a Vista or Windows 7 migration.
  • Checklist for upgrading from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7
    While there's no single method for all enterprises to upgrade machines to Windows 7, these steps can help if you choose to migrate from Windows XP to Vista, and then to Windows 7.
  • Windows 7 migration roadmap for Indian CIOs
    With Microsoft withdrawing Windows XP support, migration to Windows XP is an inevitable choice. Here are some tips for successful Windows 7 migration.
  Windows 7 business benefits
  Table of Contents

Windows 7 features stand in stark contrast to those of its precursor, Windows Vista. By carefully managing changes, ensuring application and driver compatibility with Vista and working to improve the resource utilization and performance of the OS, Microsoft has a version of Windows that many businesses will be willing to deploy -- particularly now that Windows XP is in extended support.

In this Windows 7 review, learn about upgrade obstacles and features that benefit the business, including:

  • Barriers to adoption, including architectural changes and user account control.
  • Security upgrades.
  • Licensing concerns.
  • Direct access into branch cache.

Learn more in "Windows 7 review: A closer look at this operating system for business." Also:

  • Upgrading to Windows 7: Tips, resources and best features for business
    Windows XP is in extended support, Vista is ready to be left in the past and organizations are considering upgrading to Windows 7. Learn more with these tips and resources.
  • Windows 7 improvements driving enterprise adoption
    Windows 7 offers new features and improvements that will drive enterprise desktop adoption.
  When to move from Windows XP to Windows 7
  Table of Contents

Microsoft's Windows 7 is a nimble operating system poised to replace the beloved XP. But after a difficult economic year, many IT shops will be debating when the costly operating system migration makes the most sense.

Why upgrade to Windows 7 now, rather than extend the life of XP just a bit longer? Companies have been doing it for years already, avoiding Windows Vista -- and the plague of performance problems, compatibility issues and general user malaise it brought -- in favor of sticking with XP.

One CIO started planning to move from Windows XP to Windows 7 shortly after its release. The benefits of moving away from the aging operating system and toward a single, reliable platform were enough to push him forward early on.

Learn more in "One CIO shares why he is moving to Windows 7 now." Also:

  • Windows XP users weigh dwindling support vs. Windows 7 migration
    Windows 7 migration appears a long way off for Windows XP users who skipped Vista, even though Windows XP support has waned.
  • When to move off XP, onto Windows 7
    IT shops that skipped Vista may want to get at least some desktops on the newer OS. Otherwise, upgrading to Windows 7 could get a little crazy.
  • Hold on to Windows XP at your peril
    Enterprises running Windows XP are budget conscious and will put off Windows 7 upgrades for as long as they can. But running an 8-year-old OS comes at a cost.
  • Migrating from XP to Windows 7: When, why and how?
    For the most part, midmarket IT shops currently running XP are in no rush to upgrade to Windows 7. But when is it time to let go of XP?
  Options for migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7
  Table of Contents

Windows 7 is poised to save organizations from the quirky Vista and an aging XP, but there are strategic options to consider before you make the move to the newest operating system. For those who skipped Vista, a Windows 7 migration will have a few more challenges and risks -- including increased risk of data loss -- but it will also alleviate potential problems associated with the security flaws in XP.

While many organizations won't migrate to Windows 7 until early 2011, after the 12- to 18-month period it takes to traditionally prepare for a new operating system deployment, it's important to understand where you are now as you plan ahead.

Learn more in "Windows XP to Windows 7: Planning your upgrade strategy." Also:

  • Migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7: Weighing the options
    How best to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7? It's a hard choice between desktop virtualization and new PCs. But CIOs have to decide.
  • Migrating from XP to Windows 7 with the User State Migration Tool
    Learn how to use the User State Migration Tool to migrate user files and settings from Windows XP to Windows 7.
  • How to install a clean version of Windows 7
    Installing a clean version of Windows 7 on your desktops may be easier than upgrading from Windows XP or Vista. Migrate to Microsoft's newest OS with these steps.
  Windows 7 and the future of desktop computing
  Table of Contents

Many organizations were able to put off the pain of moving to a new operating system by riding out Windows XP for as long as possible. Now that XP's end of life is creeping up, you might be considering a Windows 7migration. If done correctly, Windows 7 could be your last desktop operating system installation.

With a lifetime of more than nine years, Windows XP has proven to be the longest-lasting OS Microsoft has released -- offering the best ROI, out of all editions of Windows. Windows 7 appears to be positioned to replace the long-standing OS, but new technologies focused on Web services and virtualization are changing the traditional PC management model. While many of these technologies are in their infancy, in 10 years they're expected to be full-fledged service offerings that may eliminate the PC as we know it, from our desktops.

Learn more in "Windows 7: Your last desktop operating system deployment?." Also:

  • Desktop computing predictions for 2010
    Which desktop technologies will be important to enterprises next year? Learn about the virtualization, Windows 7 and cloud computing developments to watch for.
  More resources
  Table of Contents

Dig Deeper on Small-business infrastructure and operations

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.