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Survey of 450K corporate computers finds majority use Windows XP

The launch of Windows 7 is only days away and Microsoft has big hopes for the new OS. Many computer makers are also hoping that the new OS will spur consumers and businesses to buy new machines. Despite the hopes of computer makers and Microsoft, Steve Ballmer is playing down the roll of Windows 7 in improving PC sales.

In the corporate world, the vast majority of firms never upgraded to Vista. One of the reasons few corporations upgraded to Vista was that at the time it launched only 50% of the computers in use were able to run the OS and meet Vista's minimum requirements.

Microsoft will be glad to hear that 65% of current PCs in the corporate world are able to run Windows 7 in its optimal configuration. A mere 6% of computers could run Vista in it optimal configuration when it launched. Those percentages were compiled by IT asset management company Softchoice. The firm goes on to say that 88% of corporate computers can run Windows 7 at minimum specifications.

Softchoice Services Development Manager Dean Williams wrote in a research note, "Since so few organizations made the switch to Vista, over 90 percent of PCs have remained on Windows XP—an operating system about to celebrate its 10th birthday—while close to 5 percent are running operating systems that Microsoft no longer supports. Given the added risks and costs of maintaining aging infrastructure, organizations would be well advised to begin planning their move to more current technology. The fact that so many organizations are already entitled to do so through Microsoft's Software Assurance should remove cost as a potential barrier."

Softchoice found in a survey of 450,000 corporate PCs more than nine out of ten have Windows XP installed. Nearly one in ten have a combination of Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4 -- Vista was only found on 3% of computers.

"We've seen a sea change compared to the landscape in which Vista was introduced," Williams said. "Organizations have some work to do to shore up a small percentage of their fleet, but the natural PC refresh cycle has more or less eliminated system requirements as a potential stumbling block to deploying Windows 7. The migration question is now about understanding the benefits of switching as well as implementing a plan to minimize any potential deployment headaches."

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Perfect Storm?
By 67STANG on 10/16/2009 12:18:48 PM , Rating: 5
I am beginning to think MS has a lot of things working for it as far as Windows 7 sales are concerned.

- Positive Press
- Good feature updates
- Mature drivers (since Vista has been around for a while)
- High ratio of upgradeable PC's (as the article mentions)
- XP is becoming quite dated
- Mac Sales are up, quite a few will be dual booting Windows 7

RE: Perfect Storm?
By stromgald30 on 10/16/2009 12:25:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yup, if this keeps up, Windows 7 will be the next XP as far as market penetration and longevity goes.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By peritusONE on 10/16/2009 12:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, I'm amazed at how much positive press and talk W7 has gotten. There's not really much you can say bad about it. Unfortunately for Vista, it started out slow and never recovered from the loud-mouthed idiots on the internet who never gave it a fair chance after those first few months. But Vista was the necessary stepping stone to an OS like W7. The seemingly great W7 couldn't have happened without Vista.

Barring any big problems like guest accounts deleting data, W7 will be hard to stop over the next 3 or 4 years.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By Omega215D on 10/16/2009 3:48:49 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately there are still a lot of loud mouthed idiots on the internet who'll bash Vista in favor of OSX or Linux due to someone they know having problems with Windows 7 RC, have the problems themselves, or just because it is made by MS that it's automatically buggy POS or a instant failure.

They forget that Vista introduced a new driver model and enhanced security that of course there'll be teething issues as with XP. nVidia should really be flogged for that one as well as others.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By Omega215D on 10/16/2009 3:49:38 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry meant Windows 7 but to those loud mouthed idiots they're the same thing just an expensive Service Pack.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By jonmcc33 on 10/16/2009 12:34:00 PM , Rating: 4
It just goes to show that a LOT of corporations keep old computers. Even a Pentium M and Pentium 4 can run Windows Vista without a problem, just make sure to have 2GB RAM minimum.

If you can't meet that as a minimum requirement you must be torturing your staff with Pentium III's or something. How do that effect productivity if it takes ages to open documents, etc even in Windows 2000/XP?

Faster computers + Windows 7 = increased productivity and lower TCO. That is what Microsoft should be selling the corporate world.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By kamel5547 on 10/16/2009 12:57:29 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder about that 12% of PC's that don't meet the minimum. I can see maybe 3 machiens in our location not meeting the spec, but they run DOS for some equipment they are plugged into, the staff might use them directly for 5 minutes a week.

That being said when I got hired on at this location 5 years ago the majority of people had Pentium I, II, and III's. There simply hadn't been anyone here to make purchasing recommendations/decisions so no one had done any purchasing.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By geddarkstorm on 10/16/2009 2:00:43 PM , Rating: 1
The fact Win7 can run optimally on 60+% of computers verses 6% for vista, also argues for how much more refined and gentle on hardware Win7 is. Especailly since only 3% of computers are running vista now, so there haven't really been many upgrades in the two or so years its been out. Unlike vista, Win7 and jump back and grab the vast majority of current hardware out there; that'll make people happy.

Win7 is just superior all around, and that built in xp virtualization ability should help hook in more businesses.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By bug77 on 10/16/2009 3:05:55 PM , Rating: 2
I beg to disagree.

Win7 is not "more refined and gentle on hardware" than Vista. Win7 is Vista. With DX11, a new interface and a lot of tweaking, nothing else. Of course it's leaner on the hardware, but that's because the hardware has changed, not Windows.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By damianrobertjones on 10/16/2009 3:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
But then people could and did say that Windows XP was only fluffy colours and a new Direct x. Think about it.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By gerf on 10/16/2009 4:28:41 PM , Rating: 2
Over Win2k, it really was. Plus the Picture/Image viewer, camera/scanner image management, and of course wireless control. The start menu was goofed up, the Start button green with a faux roundness to it, and things were blue instead of gray. Then they added SP2 and XP became somewhat more different than Win2k.

I used Win2k up until about 2005, and it was a great, stable, solid OS, and I would still be using it if wireless worked better, the camera connection program was there, and if battery life wasn't compromised.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By 0ldman on 10/17/2009 3:49:13 AM , Rating: 3
Try again. Clean install, Vista on a Dell Latitude D600, 1.5GB of RAM, Vista crawled, 7 is fast. Same for an Inspiron 8200, same RAM. I do this for a living, so my test machines were my laptops, daily use to be familiar with the new OS.

The way Windows uses prefetch has changed and made a big difference, as well as the overall footprint of the OS. 7 is a refinement of Vista, doing what Vista was promised to do in the first place.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By callmeroy on 10/19/2009 9:27:26 AM , Rating: 2
You can disagree until the proverbial cows come home it won't change that you are inaccurate (not that I personally give a crap if you are or not).

BUT to all the folks who dismiss Win7 as merely Vista+DirectX11 = Win 7, you are vastly over simplifying the equation.

The kernel as everyone on these kinds of forums at least should well know is the beating heart of an OS, was merely trimmed lightly for Win 7, it was overhauled.

The Kernel footprint was seriously reduced and in the process its efficiency was substantially improved.

I'm sure if anyone is interested -- you could google it and find the source article about it (I just recall the information but I forget the link) that was published by Microsoft. I believe it was a TechNet article. Note I read Computer World a lot too so there is a slight chance I'm getting confused and read it on their site as well.

In any case, the improvements to Win 7 aren't small...just because the looks didn't change that much from Vista don't be fooled, under the hood is a rebuilt engine.

Furthermore, the mere notion that folks go Win7 is Vista , is kind of stupid to me anyway. First everyone in IT or even just educated end users darn well knows Win7 is an evolution of Vista and Microsoft isn't trying to hide the fact or fool people in saying "Oh no Win 7 has nothing to do with Vista".....I don't know I guess its arguing for arguments sake or something...but its silly to me when someone points out something that everyone already knows. Its like someone pointing a huge pink elephant in a 10 x 10 room.......and everyone is thinking "Gee thanks for pointing that out to us Captain Obvious..."...

RE: Perfect Storm?
By bug77 on 10/19/2009 10:01:47 AM , Rating: 1
Oh yes. The sheer size of the Win7 only techs you listed showed how inaccurate I was...

Evolution, you say? Snow Leopard is an evolution over Leopard, but it is also priced as such.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By BZDTemp on 10/16/2009 2:51:12 PM , Rating: 2
All those PC's may be upgradeable but why would anyone want to?

I do not see 7 offering anything really needed for business. Sure if you build a new company it may be worth starting with 7 (or OS X) but not many companies will upgrade just for the sake of upgrading. A new OS means training, testing that ll software runs and all that - the process of upgrading is just the little part. And then there is the unknown - are there any bugs not yet found.

I think MS is trying their hardest to spin 7 as a success hoping it will make many jump on. But I'd be surprised to see anyone but us geeks and those home user buying new computer really getting on the wagon anytime soon.

XP may be old but it runs great (even on the latest hardware). Unless you need DX11 (or DX10 and currently run XP) then why upgrade when it means spending time & money. At home I'd recommend spending the money on anything but an OS.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By Omega215D on 10/16/2009 3:44:28 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 is more secure than XP and it has better networking capabilities than XP.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By damianrobertjones on 10/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: Perfect Storm?
By dgingeri on 10/16/2009 4:50:15 PM , Rating: 2
hey now, I'm not lazy. I like to work smart instead of hard.

I do agree that W7, as well as Vista, are far better, more secure, and easier to troubleshoot than XP. Really, no extra training is required, but it would be good for support personel to get some books on the changes. If they can't figure it out from some minor book info and actually using the OS, then they shouldn't be working as techs. I know that's the way I've always learned the new OSes that come out. I get them and play with them to learn them.

While I don't have any corporate experience with Vista, I have used it at home for a while. I also have the release candidate of W7 on my secondary machine, so I have experience with it. All support people should be doing exactly that. If they don't, they should be fired from support.

Just as I wouldn't trust a chef who wouldn't eat his own food or a mechanic with a broken down car, I wouldn't trust a tech with a crappy Windows XP system at home.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By damianrobertjones on 10/16/2009 3:54:34 PM , Rating: 1
P.s. ANy company that hasn't tested Win 7 and currently knows it's limitations is lazy. The RTM has been out long enough.

You're making it sound harder than it is!

RE: Perfect Storm?
By BZDTemp on 10/16/2009 6:28:00 PM , Rating: 2
Regardless of how much testing is done it is no match for the years of real use that is invested in XP. Also remember the OS is just the foundation on which the applications run and they will need testing also. Just something as IE8 now being the browser can cause problems.

Sure as admin it might be fun and exciting with a new OS but there is no need to rush out and upgrade. When you run hundreds or maybe thousands of PC's upgrading is not a trivial matter. Of course 7 is being looked at most forward looking responsible IT departments but so is OS X and Linux. With more and more moving into on-line apps (be it intranet or internet) then the OS means less and less and it really gets down to which browser it can run.

RE: Perfect Storm?
By probedb on 10/17/2009 3:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
I agree :) We're on XP at work and still IE6 FFS. Though I've heard rumours flying that we're going to be getting Windows 7 at some point in the next year.

Finally as a web dev I'll be able to test on IE8 at work ;)

RE: Perfect Storm?
By Cront on 10/19/2009 1:30:30 AM , Rating: 2
I'm betting the company I work for will still be using XP and IE6 for a long time.

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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