Print 43 comment(s) - last by Mitch101.. on Dec 17 at 9:52 AM

Windows XP EOL will be factor

Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system launched nearly two months ago to great fanfare. Consumer adoption rates have been much faster than Windows Vista, and Windows 7 has already grabbed more than 4 percent marketshare. 4GB of RAM is the standard for new systems,  and the majority of consumer installations by OEMs are currently 64-bit versions in order to fully address the memory.

The situation is different for corporate PCs, as corporate IT departments are much more conservative. It is not uncommon for corporations to wait for the first Service Pack to be released before adopting a new OS. However, a Gartner Research paper recommends considering a 64-bit version when they make the upgrade.

"On the surface, it would appear that the most obvious time to perform a move from 32-bit to 64-bit would be during an operating system migration (such as from Windows XP to Windows 7). Many companies feel that, if they don't make the move now, they may have to wait until Windows 8 or potentially Windows 9 before another opportunity arises. They point to the complexity involved in supporting an additional set of images as a reason to make an all-or-nothing move".

The same Gartner paper seen by DailyTech predicts that 75 percent of corporate PCs will be running a 64-bit version of Windows by 2014. Many businesses are choosing 4GB or more of RAM when specifying new systems, as the cost of upgrading and downtime can sometimes be more costly than the hardware itself.  Windows 7 will be the last OS to provide a 32-bit option, and Gartner thinks that companies should start preparing now.

Large corporations have tremendous amounts of legacy hardware and software that takes years to upgrade or replace. Most peripherals made since 2007 come with 64-bit drivers, but many older devices will need to be tested for compatibility or replaced. Microsoft requires 64-bit driver support as a requirement for WHQL driver certification.

Most software applications are still compiled and optimized for 32-bit execution, but will run without any problems in a 64-bit environment. The exceptions are with administration and security applications like antivirus programs, software firewalls, and virtual private networks. Some browser-based applications such as Adobe's Flash Player are also not 64-bit compatible, which means that a 32-bit browser must be used.

Things are already changing though. Microsoft's Office 2010 is expected to launch in the middle of 2010, and will include 64-bit versions of several applications. The most prominent are Excel, PowerPoint and Access, which will all be updated to support the larger memory models available to improve performance and functionality. Gartner expects that this move on Microsoft's part will cause increasing numbers of software vendors to consider creating 64-bit versions of applications.

Most companies are currently running Windows XP, although some are still running Windows 2000. Both are currently in the Extended Support Phase of Microsoft's Support Lifecycle Policy. Microsoft will continue to provide monthly security updates, but free technical support, warranty claims and design changes are no longer accepted.

Extended Support for Windows 2000 will end on July 13, 2010, at which time new security updates and hotfixes will no longer be offered. Extended Support for Windows XP Service Pack 3 ends on April 8, 2014, forcing companies to upgrade or face security flaws alone.

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One would hope
By sxr7171 on 12/15/2009 2:04:41 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sick and tired of using old XP PCs at work. We even have some running 2000. It's 2014 for crying out loud.

RE: One would hope
By tastyratz on 12/15/2009 2:20:08 PM , Rating: 1
for a reason.
Rolling out a new OS is a massive undertaking for a corporation. Everything from testing, the actual rollout, support time, training... and when vista was launched it had a very bad image and was not the same vista we have today. The people who make the decisions are the people vulnerable to the bad PR.
With windows 7 right around the corner justification was difficult as well.

Upgrading at home, and upgrading hundreds if not thousands of machines is certainly very strategically different (if not a totally different cost justification)

Don't forget that the new architecture takes more system to take advantage of so that includes replacing older machines simply to stay just as fast as they were before to the end user.

As far as 2000 goes - well that's just getting lazy and cheap at that point.

RE: One would hope
By sxr7171 on 12/15/2009 2:22:50 PM , Rating: 1
Yes I realize XP is probably the safe on to stick with. I bet by 2014 all legacy programs will be supported with transparent emulation or transparent VMing. By then I would hope at least 75% of corporate PCs have switched to 64 bit. I don't think they need to be the then latest OS but at least Win 7 64 bit in 2014.

RE: One would hope
By JarredWalton on 12/15/2009 3:31:04 PM , Rating: 5
In related news, 25% of corporate PCs are garbage that should have been thrown out five years ago.

RE: One would hope
By Mitch101 on 12/16/2009 9:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
If your in IT you realize how outdated the equipment is.

I find the problem is that almost all companies dont provide adequate training on the equipment/software they are given. For a lot of users its a meltdown and tons of phone calls for support when something changes. Sometimes its better if they aren't upgraded. If the person gets their job done and doesn't have to ask me 50 questions on how to print an e-mail I could care less what they have. For a very long time now computer hardware has exceeded what a corporate user needs to do. All of IT should get the latest stuff because were usually the power users who need it and know how to use it.

RE: One would hope
By bhieb on 12/16/2009 11:19:12 AM , Rating: 3
For a very long time now computer hardware has exceeded what a corporate user needs to do.

Especially when you are running a hybrid shop with say an iSeries (or other server side application that has a light client). A 5250 emulator takes nothing to run. So the only other apps a user has are Office. Even 7+ year old XP machines on single core Athlons runs that just fine. We have lots of 3000+ Althons and they have no issues.

RE: One would hope
By quiksilvr on 12/16/2009 12:32:35 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly. Why replace entire systems when you can simply upgrade the ones you have for a lot less?

For instance: I had a friend with a computer running XP but incredibly slow and there wasn't enough space. When I opened it up, I saw that it was running off of PATA when it clearly had support for SATA. I changed the HDD from 80 GB to 320 GB, bought a SATA cable, and changed the sad 512 MB RAM to 2 GB of RAM, all for a grand total of ~$100. After a complete reboot and overhaul (and a couple hours finding the proper drivers) the computer was blazingly fast.

If companies just spent a little money to upgrade their outdated computers, it would make a world of difference without having to change the software.

RE: One would hope
By Mitch101 on 12/17/2009 9:52:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yes even a cheap $35.00 video card so that Onboard Memory isnt being shared with the Video can provide a good bump in performance.

RE: One would hope
By GaryJohnson on 12/15/2009 4:18:00 PM , Rating: 5
Rolling out a new OS is a massive undertaking for a corporation. Everything from testing, the actual rollout, support time, training...

Maybe corporations in make-believe-fantasy-land do that, but in reality:
1. management tells IT they need to roll out new software
2. IT tells management they need a budget for the testing, support, and training for the new software either:
a) because testing, trainig and support is really necessary
b) because IT is lazy and doesn't want to do the extra work
3. management tells IT there's no money so all that never happens
- years pass -
4. software vendor tells the company that their software is EOL and no longer supported
5. company has no choice but to roll out the new software

RE: One would hope
By jajig on 12/15/2009 8:09:38 PM , Rating: 2
That really is how my company works. We just upgraded from IE6 to IE8 because half our programs would not work in IE6 any more.

RE: One would hope
By ImSpartacus on 12/16/2009 10:01:18 AM , Rating: 2
My father's company is just the opposite. They have a bunch of proprietary web sites that only work with IE6. My dad has Chrome and FF on his laptop for actual browsing and only uses IE6 when absolutely necessary.

RE: One would hope
By lco45 on 12/15/2009 5:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
An even simpler reason is that IT people (such as myself) absolutely LOATHE testing, and will do anything to avoid it. There is nothing more tedious, uncreative and unrewarding than testing.

Added to that is the fact that IT management are so afraid of getting burned by rolling out a new OS. The old saying "no-one ever got fired for buying IBM" is equally true that "no-one ever got fired for not upgrading an OS".


RE: One would hope
By Gzus666 on 12/15/2009 8:56:28 PM , Rating: 2
An even simpler reason is that IT people (such as myself) absolutely LOATHE testing, and will do anything to avoid it. There is nothing more tedious, uncreative and unrewarding than testing.

This is why IT people suck, so lazy. Beyond being lazy, at least 80% of them I encounter are stupid to boot (not directed at yourself, I have no idea your intellect as I have never worked with you) with a desire to do nothing and learn nothing.

Every time I have to come in and engineer a network for someone, it is like talking to a brick wall most of the time. Ask them simple questions, glazed look comes over them. Ask them to do something, they just try to get you to do it. I'm the engineer, not the cable runner. Whenever I see an MCSE, I cringe cause I know that it is going to be a horrible experience. I don't know what the test is like, but apparently any retard can pass it cause every single person I have met with one was a moron. I have had them literally ask me basic routing questions and they don't understand basic DHCP leasing and bindings. Another one doesn't understand that our server is read only on AD and doesn't write changes. This is a guy that is supposed to be in charge of an entire company's IT department. Where is he when we need to test for cut over of the new network and phone system? Home of course, where lazy IT people love to be.

To clarify things, I love my job and get excited at each job, but I hate most IT people.

RE: One would hope
By Devo2007 on 12/15/2009 11:26:54 PM , Rating: 3
As a friend once (jokingly) told me: MCSE = Must Consult Someone Else.

Bottom line is that a lot of people will just go through all the quick sample tests online, and manage to actually pass the test. There's no "required" training to get the MCSE or anything like that.

RE: One would hope
By damianrobertjones on 12/16/2009 5:23:52 AM , Rating: 2

That's not always the case. I'm currently going for my MCSE cert and I'm NOT taking the easy way. I'm reading the damn boring as heck MS Press book, trying things out, actually doing the work and THEN going through the test questions.

Any other way ends up in a person missing and not truly grasping subjects. As far as I'm concerned, I'll alwyas be proud of finally getting my certificate :)

...However, the people that DO cheat can burn in hella nd play with ZX spectrums forever

RE: One would hope
By Yawgm0th on 12/16/2009 11:36:38 AM , Rating: 2
That absolutely works for a couple of the tests. But the MCSE consists several tests, depending on how you go about getting it. Several of the required exams cannot be taken based on pseudo-knowledge gleamed from free practice exams.

Anyone who manages to pass all of the tests without cheating might not have quite the level of expertise the cert would indicate, but will definitely have some real knowledge at that point. Anyone who mixes serious, in-depth study with experience and/or training is going to know their stuff by the end.

This isn't the A+, which generally consists of mildly-relevant trivia a teenager could easily learn through free self-study with virtually no actual experience or expertise.

RE: One would hope
By evident on 12/15/2009 5:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
I have a C2D at work, 2.26GHZ and 2 gigs of ram. it has windows XP and runs like a hog. I dont even know half of the crud that's on this computer. I just want them to dump windows xp and be better w/ admin software.

RE: One would hope
By Xplorer4x4 on 12/15/2009 6:27:19 PM , Rating: 2
I am to but could your work PCs run Win 7 smoothly? I dont think my work PCs could. They run Server 2000, and need only 2 Applications. Internet explorer for the e-Time Card system, and Touchstar Agent to connect to the dialing PC. I work in a telemarketing like environment so the PC dont need to run much but none of the PCs match. Looks like they collect old PCs from Good Will or something. Even when I worked for a contactor for Direct TV, the PCs looked like they had been pulled from Good will when no one wanted them anymore.

RE: One would hope
By Targon on 12/16/2009 6:46:50 AM , Rating: 2
The problem that many companies have is the custom software they have is poorly written, and this causes no end to headaches. Networking code in many of these applications(client-server type) will often make use of "shortcuts" the developers decided to use, and those shortcuts stopped working under Vista.

Then, you get the stupid program installers which will properly install to the right places, but then place shortcuts pointing to the default location. Under 64 bit Windows, most applications are installed under c:\program files(x32), but many older applications point the shortcuts to go to c:\program files. It isn't all that hard to just update the shortcuts to point to the proper location, but in a business, where you may have hundreds or thousands of systems, that is a LOT of updating of shortcuts for lazy programming mistakes.

And, on top of this, the move from XP to Windows 7 itself runs the risk of some things breaking, but then going to 64 bit will also increase the risk of problems. In general, everything SHOULD work as long as the drivers are of decent quality, but ask anyone with a Creative Labs sound card why you can't assume that drivers will work properly.

RE: One would hope
By kufeifies on 12/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: One would hope
By kufeifies on 12/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: One would hope
By kufeifies on 12/16/09, Rating: 0
How most businesses make their decisions..
By StraightCashHomey on 12/15/2009 3:04:36 PM , Rating: 5
For those of you that are not involved in the IT decision-making of a company, let me tell you that executives and businessmen do not accept a recommendation of "Windows 7 is better than Windows XP". They want to see data, studies, or statistics that show clearly what the benefits (in terms of cost savings or productivity) would be for the company.

Obviously, as an IT admin, we all want the latest and greatest technology. Executives, however, don't see it that way. They want the most bang for the buck. Spending $0 on software that you already own is cheaper than spending $X per license for Windows 7, HOWEVER, they will start to listen to you if you say "Windows 7 will save us $X per year in IT maintenance." You're going to look like an idiot if you say "uhhh.. it's better...huh huh.."

You also have to figure out how many man-hours it's going to take to convert to a new corporate operating system. I work for a school district, so we would have 2,250 machines to upgrade with 5 people. Not to mention we support about 100 different educational applications - which is another pain in the ass in itself.

By kattanna on 12/15/2009 5:29:45 PM , Rating: 4
Obviously, as an IT admin, we all want the latest and greatest technology. Executives, however, don't see it that way

oddly though.. they do see it that way when its for themselves ;>)

By darklight0tr on 12/15/2009 6:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
For those of you that are not involved in the IT decision-making of a company, let me tell you that executives and businessmen do not accept a recommendation of "Windows 7 is better than Windows XP". They want to see data, studies, or statistics that they never understand because they are a bunch of penny pinching PHBs, unless they are the ones that want the new hardware/software. In that case they have the budget and want it RIGHT NOW .

Using the my experience with the executives in my company I fixed that for you.

By bigdawg1988 on 12/16/2009 1:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
+1 to you.
In the heavy manufacturing world the upper execs don't really use computers much so they don't care if the 30 plants use 30 different mainframes and that every plant has about a dozen emulators, and that it would take too long to test all the dozens of legacy applications (some running since the 60's!) to find out if they will run on a new OS. So it takes so long to finally implement an OS that it is almost obsolete by the time it gets fully implemented. Case in point, the last company i worked for was just implementing win2k in 2006. And there were still plenty running win98. We were recently acquired so we were cutting edge winxp users. Some plants i visited had different printers at every single desk instead of network printers (not supported). I'd walk by and see about a half dozen printers in one department alone. And they were all inkjet printers. Imagine how much they would have saved with a networked laser printer? Problem is the corporate bureaucracy (they had a centralized IT) just didn't allow for that. 75% of companies using 64-bit by 2014? Ha! I think maybe you meant 75% will no longer be using xp by 2014.

We changed
By Gungel on 12/15/2009 3:46:25 PM , Rating: 3
Our company made the decision to switch over to Windows 7/64. Main reason for this switch was not the OS but an SSD upgrade for all of our PC's. Time that was wasted on waiting for computers to start or wake up from sleep/hibernation has cost us thousands of hours every year. The first month alone we'd estimated to have saved over 100 hours with this upgrade. We expect to recover the upgrade to Windows 7 and the additional cost for all the SSD's in the first 6-9 month.

RE: We changed
By darklight0tr on 12/15/2009 6:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
SSD Upgrade for all PCs!?! That is one hell of a budget you've got there. Due to budget constraints I can barely get rid of some of the 7 year old PCs we have. Of course the home office gets a refresh budget that is 20x more than ours, but interestingly enough they don't have 20x the PCs/Macs.

RE: We changed
By jconan on 12/15/2009 8:23:22 PM , Rating: 1
maybe you guys can inherit the not so old pcs to salvage the super old pcs, it's env friendly and doesn't poison the poor in emerging economies

RE: We changed
By Gungel on 12/15/2009 9:12:44 PM , Rating: 3
It was about $80 more per system compared to a conventional disk drive. We where able to cut a special deal with our supplier for OCZ 30GB Vertex drives. This drive fits nicely for our configurations. Programs and OS take up about 18GB everything else is on servers.

RE: We changed
By piroroadkill on 12/17/2009 4:14:22 AM , Rating: 2
I hope wherever I get to work next has the same budget/enthusiasm for IT as your company does

By jonmcc33 on 12/15/2009 3:42:41 PM , Rating: 2
They are trying to predict business trends 5 years into the future. Who knows what will be on the market at that point. The IT world evolves so quickly that 64-bit isn't exactly far fetched.

RE: Amazing...
By lco45 on 12/15/2009 5:46:48 PM , Rating: 3
That's the business Gartner is in. Trying to predict the future to give IT managers a better chance of being prepared.

To be fair, they always qualify their predictions with a percentage certainty.

Headlines like "Gartner: 75% of companies will..." make it look like they're cockier than they really are.


By sapiens74 on 12/15/2009 5:34:02 PM , Rating: 3
however all our servers are 64 bit and run great as we don't run legacy server apps. Our desktops by this time next year will be able to run 64 bit, though we will take years to migrate

2014 seems a fair bet

By PrazVT on 12/16/2009 9:54:53 AM , Rating: 2
Here at Cisco, our Windows 7 pilot program has been using Win 7 Enterprise x64. Aside from maybe a few minor issues (current antivirus version, webex plugins in outlook x64, 64 bit vpn client availability (that's in alpha stage)), most of the pilot folks haven't had any real issues. Even the mac users are switching from the XP vm image to a Win 7 vm image.. so I can see 64 bit Windows being used in the future in companies.

32 bit option
By hellokeith on 12/15/2009 7:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 will be the last OS to provide a 32-bit option

Can you provide a link/source for that? I would be overjoyed if Microsoft was really killing 32 bit this soon.

RE: 32 bit option
By kmmatney on 12/16/2009 4:40:13 AM , Rating: 2
I would think that if the WinXP emulation works out, I don't see any reason to keep 32-bit.

95% of business PCs run Windows now...
By iFX on 12/15/2009 2:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
... so the 64 bit hump seems believable to me.

By kontorotsui on 12/15/2009 2:31:39 PM , Rating: 2
You assume too much.

When I read...
By Souka on 12/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: When I read...
By Souka on 12/16/2009 2:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
Wow... down rated? Are you kidding?

Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed....

Migration is key!
By CornellWins on 12/16/2009 7:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
It's obvious both from the article and from the comments that the key factor in this whole thing is migrating the veteran XP systems to the sleek 64bit Win7's.

And it's hard, hard, hard!

We are now checking several solutions - they are all pretty problematic.
It seems that any migration solution can be at most two out of three:
1. Working
2. Easy
3. Free

Actually, since we need legacy apps working without investing a year in a very, very painful per-app QA, we're down to XP Mode, some kind of VDI or Zinstall XP7.

And we can't ever find enough budget to do a complete re-structuring for VDI.
And XP Mode is free but doesn't do migration - only compatibility. So it's manual labor all around with it.
And Zinstall isn't free as well (though pretty cheap in the long run), though does a cool job.

So right now we seem to be going with Zinstall, will need to test-run on a few more machines though.

Oh, Microsoft, why do you do this...

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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