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Is a Windows 7 migration inevitable for XP users?

So Windows 7 is out in beta. My colleague Mark Schlack took it for a test drive and wasn’t impressed (see Windows 7migration: First thoughts). Yet at some point, if you’re still a Windows XP user, you’re probably going to have to plan a Windows 7 migration, unless you decide to start now and go for Vista (Win7 won’t be out before the end of the year, at the soonest). Windows XP support starts to wane in April, and by 2014 it ends entirely. Gartner recommends you make your switch by 2012.

Now some XP users told our reporter Christina Torode that they’re sitting tight (see Windows XP users weigh dwindling support vs. Windows 7 migration). Some expect Microsoft will extend those Windows XP support deadlines due to customer pressure. I’ve certainly met many more midmarket CIOs who remain with XP than those who have gone through a Vista migration. Very few see anything worth migrating for.

Yet if Microsoft sunsets XP as planned, they’ll all have some re-engineering to do. Windows 7 is built on the same kernel as Vista, so if your apps won’t work on Vista, you’ve only bought yourself some time, not a pass on re-engineering. Unless, of course, you are going to explore some Microsoft alternatives.

So XP users, unite: Are you going to clamor for extended support? Plan for a Windows 7 migration now? Start to work in Vista machines as you upgrade your hardware, as one analyst recommends in our article on migration tips? Go Linux? Let’s discuss.

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We migrated our servers to Linux a few years ago to avoid artificially short retirements. We trialled Vista and found it useless in a business environment. Given the lack of compatibility with our core business software it is an ideal time to migrate to either desktop Linux or Mac OSX.