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End of Windows XP Support What Now Windows 7 or 8

After a twelve-year run, the end of life for Windows XP is finally here. So what does this mean for those on XP still? Well in a nutshell support and updates will no longer be available, many machines will be unprotected, out of compliance and will open the door for vulnerabilities.
The big question going forward is do I make the big jump to Windows 8, and get the latest operating system or do I go with the small leap to Windows 7. Typically this comes down to company culture, strict business needs or are the architecture and deployment tools in place to make this all happen.
Jumping to a new Operating System is never easy or painless, there are many things to take into consideration hardware, application compatibility, deployment methods, training etc. Thankfully Microsoft has tools available to help aid in the process, ACT (Application Compatibility Tool Kit) MAP (Microsoft Assessment and Planning) SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) to name a few.
This is  all great, here I am stuck on Windows XP an Operating System that is no longer supported, what should I  do move to Windows 7 or go to Windows 8?
Let’s start with making the move to Windows 7. A lot of customers find this an easier pill to swallow for a few reasons.

  • Familiarity between Windows XP and windows 7
  • Windows 7 is a proven Operating System
  • Application compatibility with older apps
  • Most hardware that Windows XP is running on will support Windows 7
  • Deployment tools SCCM 2007 is optimized for Windows 7 deployments.
  • Extend support of Windows 7 until 2020

Moving to Windows 8 is not an easy jump to make from Windows XP. But there are some great features in Windows 8 to take into consideration for example.

  • Runs Application and Apps
  • Better touch Screen capabilities
  • Faster boot and shut downs
  • Better networking capabilities
  • Flexible hardware options
  • OneDrive Integration
  • Windows to Go
  • OMA-DM capabilities
  • Sideloading LOB Apps
  • Work Folders
  • Workplace Join
  • Drive encryption
  • Extended support of Windows 8 until 2023

Typically the largest deciding factor when moving from Windows XP to the next operating system, has been similarity in the interface between Windows XP and Windows 7. Allot of companies have found they get less push back from their users and more productivity by taking the step to Windows 7, this seems to be a more natural progression. That being said Windows 8 is an excellent Operating System, it’s just going to take some time or training to get the users comfortable. What really it all boils down to is company culture, how as a company do you treat your users are they hand held or do does the company have control.
One item that has been become a big rumor, and  aiding in the decisions for many companies, is the upcoming release of Windows 9, code-named Threshold – supposedly to launch in the spring of 2015. Some of the rumors state this will have a more Windows 7 ish look and feel. My guess is only time will tell.
All of this reminds me of when Windows XP was the Operating System of choice, then Vista came along and did not have a strong adoption. With the release of Windows 7 made companies skip Vista altogether.
Over all there is not right or wrong answer to whether to use Windows 7 or Windows 8, Just decisions. I feel like we are losing an old friend with the support for Windows XP upon us.

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Robert Kuchera

Lead Microsoft Infrastructure Consultant

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