Jim Thomas, director of IT operations at Pella Corp., expected to be wrapping up his Windows 7 deployment by now. The window and door maker, an early adopter of Microsoft's latest Windows PC operating system, began deployment in February 2009, just four months after the product shipped. Plans called for half of Pella's 5,000 desktop and laptop users to transition by the end of 2010, with the rest following by this December.
"We are not going to get there," Thomas concedes. Today, Pella has 1,800 machines running Windows 7. The rest remain on Windows XP, which celebrated its 10th birthday in August.
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Pella has plenty of company. Nearly two years after Windows 7 was released in October 2009, users in most enterprises remain on Windows XP, this despite Microsoft's ending mainstream support for XP over two years ago. (Most skipped Vista, XP's unpopular successor.)
In a September survey of Computerworld readers, 88 percent of respondents said they have begun or are planning a move to Windows 7. Of those who said they have already moved to Windows 7, or will, some 82 percent say their organizations are still running XP -- down from 93 percent in our January 2010 survey -- and 73 percent say they're running Windows 7.
But 55 percent of those still running XP expect to fully transition to Windows 7 by the end of 2012, and 34 percent said they would transition some time before Microsoft ends extended support for XP in April, 2014. And 11 percent said they would continue to run XP after that date. (During extended support, no-charge incident support ends, warranty claims won't be honored and design changes and feature requests aren't available.)
According to Microsoft, about one in four enterprise machines runs Windows 7 today. Erwin Visser, senior director of the Microsoft Client Commercial Group, says enterprise adoption is growing fast. But as Computerworld's survey shows, many large IT organizations are taking their time.
Most mid-sized and large organizations are at least planning for the migration, says Gartner Inc. analyst Michael Silver, and many mainstream deployments got under way either late last year or in the first half of this year.
Organizations that aren't well into testing at this point are late to the party, he says, and may face hardware and software compatibility issues as third party software and hardware support for XP phases out over the next 2-plus years. "They are the ones that will be in danger when a new app comes in that requires Windows 7, or when new machines with XP drivers start to dry up."