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Study: Windows 7 Migrations Mostly 'Smooth' for Businesses

Software security provider Symantec commissioned a study on Windows 7 migration experiences that was published this month.

Based on a survey conducted in August by Applied Research for Symantec, the study describes views from businesses around the world that successfully moved to Windows 7. Results from 1,360 respondents in total were included in the study. It tapped opinions from companies of all sizes (median between 1,000 and 2,499 employees).

According to the study, respondents carried out their Windows 7 upgrades mostly to gain performance improvements (69 percent). Other reasons were "increased reliability (59 percent) and a better end-user experience (51 percent)." Those expectations largely were met, according to the report. For instance, it cites 80 percent of respondents as saying that the "performance somewhat to significantly increased" with Windows 7.

The move to Windows 7 went well for most businesses surveyed, with 78 percent of respondents indicating that "the actual migration process was somewhat or extremely smooth." Just 11 percent said it was more difficult than the last Windows migration. However, despite planning by the IT pros concerned, there were delays with Windows 7 upgrades. The delays were associated with "application incompatibility (53 percent), hardware incompatibility (44 percent) and budget constraints (40 percent)," according to the report.

Most respondents (71 percent) preferred to replace applications that were incompatible with Windows 7. Application virtualization was considered to be a solution for app compatibility problems according to 69 percent of respondents, although the study doesn't explain if the respondents actually used app virtualization for that purpose.

The respondents had planned for their moves to Windows 7. Top-tier companies spent "a median of 20 IT man-hours in preparation for the migration," according to the report. Bottom-tier companies spent just "nine IT man-hours" for the move.

Most companies (54 percent) automated the upgrade process, although the report doesn't specify how that was done. The only tool described by respondents in the report is the Windows Experience Index, which was used by 52 percent as a guide to check if a PC's processor was capable of running Windows 7.

Microsoft provides a number of tools (some free) for Windows 7 deployment. The company opened up a Windows 7 deployment learning portal last month that's designed for IT pros to assess their upgrade skills.

The hardware consideration deemed most important by respondents when moving to Windows 7 was RAM (75 percent), followed by processor speed (74 percent), PC age (73 percent) and budget (71 percent). Respondents expected to use 2 GB of RAM minimum in a PC upgraded to Windows 7.

The study, "Symantec 2010 Windows 7 Migration Study: Global Results," arrives just in time for Windows 7's one-year release "birthday," which happens on Friday, Oct. 22. And while that may call for a party in Redmond, most businesses still overwhelmingly use Windows XP and will face expiring support for that operating system in April 2012.

IT pros that skipped the Windows Vista upgrade may not have faced such a major desktop OS forklift since the last time that happened -- about eight years ago with Windows XP's release.

About the Author

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

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