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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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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.

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