Yes, IT managers are indeed eyeing upgrades to Windows 10. But they aren't doing so because it'll keep their companies more secure or because the Windows 10 technology stack is so compelling.
A newly released survey from VMware, sampling 575 customers and partners considering a Windows 10 move, indicates that while organizations want to make the jump, they're doing it because Windows 7 and Windows 8 are doomed, and Microsoft's licensing arrangements present a good bargain.
Moving on up
VMware's survey, assembled from data collected in June, found that moving to Windows 10 ranks as a high priority for 64 percent of those surveyed. Upgrading to Win10 beat out maintaining support for existing Windows 7/8 PCs (56 percent) and refreshing PC hardware (51 percent).
Aging PC hardware is considered a standard spur to upgrading Windows, although Microsoft and its hardware partners have tried to sweeten the pot with enticing new hardware features on Windows 10 PCs. And while "better support for new hardware" mattered for some 43 percent of those polled, that motivation was dwarfed by fear of "the eventual obsolescence of Windows 7 and Windows 8," which was cited by a whopping 74 percent.
Another motivator, "better security," showed up at 39 percent, although from a certain perspective, that response partly overlaps with the obsolescence issue. After all, an obsolete version of Windows is one that doesn't receive security updates unless you pay through the nose for custom support.
Windows 10's advanced feature set also figured as a sizable motivator (40 percent), but a far larger factor was the inclusion of the Windows 10 upgrade in the organization's licensing agreement (49 percent). In short, upgrades are mostly a matter of convenience and urgency, rather than a desire to make the best of the new platform.
Imperfect Windows 10
This relative disinterest in Windows 10's technology stack also showed in the responses to another question: "How will Windows 10 change Windows management?" The overwhelming answer was that it wouldn't (58 percent).
Another curious note was how the the biggest perceived blocker to upgrading to Windows 10 was application compatibility, as cited by 61 percent of the responded. That issue beat out security concerns, Windows 10's readiness for enterprise use, the cost of the upgrade, hardware compatibility, or the lack of any perceived need for Windows 10.
The OS has had its share of application compatibility gotchas, but the culprits are likely to be either custom-built enterprise apps that aren't guaranteed to work with later versions of Windows or apps that depend on legacy browser technology.
By and large, though, admins felt Windows 10 either met or exceeded expectations (73 percent/11 percent for VMware customers; 62 percent/24 percent for partners). And in what has to be the most tongue-in-cheek question seen in a survey like this in years, said folks ranked "working on a Windows 10 project" as a preferred use of time far above "helping a friend move," "cleaning the garage," or "getting a root canal" (50 percent, 15 percent, 26 percent, or 5 percent, respectively).
These days, that's progress.