Microsoft is urging business users to make the transition from Windows XP to Windows 7 before April 2014 when the firm will stop issuing patches and updates for the ageing operating system.
Stephen Rose, worldwide community and social media manager at Microsoft, explained in the Windows Blog that, although XP has had a good run, it is time for the widely used operating system to be retired.
"[What] it took to be the best 10 years ago just isn't enough for today's standards. Things get better, faster. And eventually, it's time to move from good enough to something much better," he said.
"Windows XP had an amazing run and millions of PC users are grateful for it. But it's time to move on. Two reasons: 1) Extended support for Windows XP is running out in less than 1,000 days, and 2) there's an OS out there that's much better than Windows XP."
Microsoft will no longer roll out security patches and hot fixes for all versions of Windows XP from 8 April 2014, so computers running the software will be vulnerable to security threats, Rose warned.
Additionally, many third-party software providers will stop supporting applications running on XP, which will increase security risks and add management costs for IT departments that choose to continue using the platform.
Rose mentioned a number of prominent organisations that have moved to Windows 7 and are experiencing benefits, including lower costs, enhanced security and increased productivity. These include Dell, Samsung, Royal Mail Group and BMW.
Businesses are advised to begin the migration as soon as possible to avoid additional costs, and Rose suggested a number of ways to get the ball rolling.
Firms are encouraged to use the Windows 7 ROI calculator to assess current PC total cost of ownership and see the potential benefits of Windows 7 in terms of savings and security.
IT admins can check the migration tools available on the Springboard Series. These help to streamline the planning, application compatibility, testing and deployment of Windows 7.
The Windows 7 Enterprise 90-day Trial, meanwhile, allows companies to see the key features of the operating system and test how it runs on hardware.
Richard Edwards, principal analyst at Ovum, argued that many firms are choosing to adopt Windows 7 at present, and those still on XP will be forced to upgrade before support is removed in 2014.
"Most businesses and institutions gave Windows Vista a wide berth because of technical and compatibility issues, and so Windows 7 has quickly become the operating system of choice for new PC deployments," he told V3.co.uk.
"Organisations will have to replace their Windows XP desktops with new PCs running Windows 7 (or even Windows 8). But, Ovum believes that by 2014 many organisations will also have decided to adopt alternative end user computing models."
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