Enterprises preparing for move to Windows 7

A report issued on Wednesday by Forrester Research chronicles the declining use of Windows XP, as well as Internet Explorer 6, as staples of the corporate desktop.

According to the report, this decline will start happening as aging PCs running XP begin to be replaced with new ones running Windows 7. This PC refresh cycle with Windows 7 may begin as early as mid-2010 in the enterprise segment. Organizations are currently determining their upgrade strategies and looking at client virtualization solutions as they prepare for a new operating system and browser, according to the report.

Windows 7 is tied to Internet Explorer 8 as the recommended Microsoft browser. Consequently, Forrester suggests that organizations ensure that their Web apps designed for older browsers, such as IE 6, be updated to support IE 8. Alternatively, organization should consider using application virtualization to help these older Web apps run on Windows 7 without conflicts with other applications.

IT organizations should be off XP and IE 6 by the end of 2012, according to Forrester. However, the report warns that software vendors probably will stop supporting these products long before Microsoft ends its support. Microsoft has indicated that it will end support for Windows XP Service Pack 3 on April 8, 2014.

The report also recommends that organizations using Windows Vista should move to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 when it is released later this year. Such organizations will gain "three more years of free support from Microsoft" by doing so, according to Forrester.

Forrester's report — "Corporate Desktop Operating System and Browser Trends, Q2 2009 to Q2 2010" — surveyed traffic on Forrester's Web sites over a year's time, including samples from 90,000 client PCs. The survey found positive results for Windows 7 adoption.

In the second quarter of this year, Windows 7 now powers about 7.4 percent of corporate PCs, representing a better adoption rate than Vista. Meanwhile, Vista's use on corporate PCs has peaked at 12.6 percent. XP still dominates at 74.8 percent in the survey, but XP use showed an overall declining trend year over year in Forrester's report.

Internet Explorer still holds a strong grip on the corporate PC market. In the second quarter of this year, IE was used by 72.5 percent in Forrester's survey. The survey found Mozilla Firefox use at 20 percent and Google Chrome use at 6.9 percent. However, Firefox and Chrome have shown overall gains year over year.

The report also surveyed Apple and Linux operating system use, which still lags with corporate users.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


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