Windows 7 is now officially available, and many businesses will soon be considering when they should plan for a migration to the new platform, if they have not already begun to do so. However, it may not turn out to be as simple a process as Microsoft would have customers believe.
The advice from analysts and other experts for organisations that have largely avoided Windows Vista is to plan to migrate off Windows XP as early as possible, while firms using Vista are likely to find their deployment runs more smoothly. Those still using XP also need to be wary of some compatibility issues.
Analyst firm Gartner said shortly before Windows 7's 22 October launch that organisations should plan to be off Windows XP entirely by the end of 2012, as it expects software vendors to soon stop testing applications against the older platform.
Gartner also advised firms to start working on a migration project now as, with all the testing and preparation, this might turn out to be a 12- to 18-month process.
One of the first issues companies will face is whether the applications they are using will run under Windows 7, or whether they will need replacing or updating as part of the migration process.
UK firm ChangeBase has said that between 20 and 40 per cent of software typically used by enterprises is ready for Windows 7, but the majority of applications - between 60 and 80 per cent - may need some changes to run reliably on the new platform.
ChangeBase specialises in assisting firms with operating system migrations, and has already conducted over 20 Windows 7 compatibility assessments for global organisations.
The good news is that only minor changes are needed to make most software work, the company said. It has found that only a small percentage of applications require the customer to purchase an upgraded release from the vendor, or for a developer to have to rework in-house applications.
"We've found that all but about five per cent of applications can be made to work by changing the installation," said ChangeBase managing director John Tate. The changes alter the registry keys and file locations used by the application.
The company's AOK suite can audit applications and automate many of the changes that might be required, creating a Windows Installer transform (.mst) file to customise the way the application installs under Windows 7.
While many problem applications turn out to be those that were developed in-house, Tate said that even software from the major vendors can have little glitches that need remediation to work on Windows 7.
Generally speaking, however, there are likely to be fewer problems with applications written for Vista rather than earlier Windows releases.
Other common issues are likely to involve legacy device drivers, old format help files, and legacy control panel applets, Tate said.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago