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(21-May-10) In Internet time, with Web apps seemingly continuously updated, last fall’s release of Win7 seems eons ago. Although the new OS is an undeniable hit with consumers—its rate of initial adoption is twice that of much-maligned Vista’s—enterprises are inherently more cautious about jumping on Microsoft’s bandwagon. A recent survey of IT professionals by Dimensional Research found that only 16% had already deployed Win7, while 42% plan to do so this year. That still means that about one out of six IT departments have deployed Win7, so what might their experiences teach those still in the planning stage? Experts who have worked with some of these early adopters have distilled common lessons and advice for their cautious or procrastinating colleagues.

Application Compatibility Is Key

Despite Microsoft’s efforts to maintain application compatibility across OS versions, Win7 is still quite a departure from WinXP, and not all legacy apps successfully make the transition. Info-Tech Research Director Mark Tauschek says application testing and compatibility is the No. 1 issue it hears about from clients who have migrated to Win7.

Tauschek says most commercial, off-the-shelf software has been updated or patched to work on the new OS—a fact Microsoft makes it easy to check via its Windows 7 Compatibility Center Web site—however, homegrown apps can be another story. According to Forrester senior analyst Benjamin Gray’s survey of 40 enterprise early adopters, firms still on WinXP (or earlier) can expect that two-thirds of their applications aren’t natively supported on Win7—figures could be even higher for those moving to the 64-bit client, particularly because older peripherals likely won’t have 64-bit device drivers.

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Search Code: 37308
Published: May 21, 2010
Last Revised: November 26, 2010

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