Celebrate a Decade of Windows XP by Moving to Windows 7

Celebrate a Decade of Windows XP by Moving to Windows 7

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Shortly after the world entered the 21st century, we launched Windows XP. Now in just two weeks we’ll celebrate its 10-year anniversary.

A decade ago the majority of the PCs shipped were desktops and today they’re laptops. In fact, IDC has interesting stats that puts this into perspective. In 2001, about 80% of shipments worldwide were desktops compared to approximately 20% laptops. A 2011 forecast has shipments of desktops at roughly 40% desktop versus around 60% laptops worldwide.

As I think back 10 years, I had never watched a video or listened to music online and my camera still used film. Back then, we would have been pleasantly surprised to have internet access outside our office, and today we’re disappointed if wireless access isn’t free at our local coffee shop. Ten years ago, my son was still playing with toy cars and my daughter was still in diapers. Today he’s in high school and my daughter is in Jr. High, and they work and play on multiple PCs, MP3 players and smart phones. Usually all at the same time.


As it turns out, my kids are a lot like the rest of the United States. According to Forrester, more than half of the 177 million US online adults — 105 million — have two or more different types of devices connected to the Net, and one-third have at least four different types online. Although a relatively small percent of the population, there are nearly 4.5 million people who use at least nine different devices to stay connected (see Welcome To The Multidevice, Multiconnection World, Forrester Research, Inc., January 25, 2011). And, 66% of information workers in North America and Europe work remotely (see Demystifying The Mobile Workforce, Forrester Research, Inc., June 7, 2011). Times have changed.

Ten years ago, Windows XP was a big step forward – working on the PC got easier, faster and more fun. Windows XP offered a new user interface that helped people more easily find what they needed. One of the most notable advances was it democratized digital photography. Windows XP made it easy to get images from digital cameras, manage and print pictures from your PC, with broad support for a range of cameras and photo printers. Wireless also became the given with built-in support; plug and play became the standard. It was a great OS for its time.

But, the way we work has changed over the last decade and people need modern PCs that can keep up with the significant changes in the way people do their work. I recently experienced this on a trip back from Dallas to Seattle. I had an urgent project I needed to work on and by using the in-flight WIFI, I was able to securely access a folder on my corporate network, work on my presentation, and collaborate with a colleague of mine who happened to be traveling in India at the time – all from 30,000 feet thanks to DirectAccess in Windows 7 Enterprise, and Lync. There’s no way I could have done this 10 years ago.

Fortunately with recent advances in technology, IT can enable these flexible workstyles and a good place to start is with Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010.

Standing still is falling behind

While more than 90 percent of you have said you’re committed to Windows 7 and Office 2010, many of you have many of your PCs still running Windows XP and Office 2003. Moving to Windows 7 and Office 2010 today enables you to embrace the way we work today versus the way we worked 10 years ago.

Furthermore, Windows XP and Office 2003 will no longer be supported after April, 2014 which leaves little time for you to upgrade your PC fleet when accounting for the time it takes to prepare for the migration and complete the deployment.

Gartner underscores this in their September 19, 2011 FirstTake titled “Don't Change Your Windows 7 Plans Because of Windows 8” which states: “With support for Windows XP ending in April 2014, we believe it would be dangerous for organizations now running XP to attempt to skip Windows 7 and move directly to Windows 8.”  Gartner goes on to recommend: “Organizations running Windows XP and working on Windows 7 migrations: Continue as planned; do not switch to Windows 8.”

The tools and resources to get you there

We have a wide variety of resources and tools that to make your migration smooth:

  • The Springboard Series on TechNet includes a lot of great in-depth advice to help you with your deployments.
  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) is also very helpful to accelerate your deployments.
  • The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) products that we launched in August. Includes Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) to simplify BitLocker Drive Encryption provisioning and provides compliance reporting that can help you quickly determine the status of the entire organization.

You might also want to consider Windows Intune for PC management and security via the cloud, plus upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise. This is a great solution for companies that have groups of lightly managed or non-managed PCs. Next week we’ll make the next release of Windows Intune available, which includes new features like software distribution.

So, now is the time to accelerate your Windows 7 Enterprise deployments and consider an Office 2010 deployment at the same time. Moving to Windows 7 and Office 2010 will make your employees more productive and secure today and will get you ready for the future.

Look for more from my team and me on this blog in the coming months on deployment guidance and tips for getting the most out of Windows.

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  • Wow.......  My personal experiences with Windows may be a little different from everyone else however, here it goes.

    I realize that the blogger has to write about Windows with rose colored glasses but lets not sugar coat the pill.  Every incarnation of windows has it's thorns.  And my experience goes back to goes back to MS-DOS 2.1 in relation to Microsoft products.  

    Just going back to Windows XP it seems that the blogger fails to remember that XP was so craptastic that people were downgrading their new computers to Windows 98SE (doesn't that sound familiar) and most people totally bypassed Millenium for either 2000 or downgraded (again) to 98SE.  And in the end they were forced to upgrade when Microsoft quit supporting 98SE in 2006 AFTER extending support for something like four years (again folks, sound familiar?).  It wasn't till SP 2 that XP became the rock solid platform it is today, and still is for that matter.  Not that it is without it's issues, even after all this time.

    I agree with the blogger.  Windows XP is outdated and should be replaced where possible.  I agree with Gartner when he states “Organizations running Windows XP and working on Windows 7 migrations: Continue as planned; do not switch to Windows 8.”  As a matter of fact I plan on staying with 7 for an additional year while MS works out the launch jitters before upgrading everything to 8.  But lets fact the facts.  Until MS face planted with Vista, they have a history of screwing up.

  • DerryC
    1 Posts

    I'm not sure if you've tried, but with Windows XP I can join a wifi network, VPN into work and run lync.

    Instead of focussing on putting the most irritating frontend imaginable in front of what's practically the XP interface underneath, why not try and add some useful features to an OS if you want people to adopt it?

  • Windows 7 has better internals, but the XP interface is superior in many aspects. I've written long posts about just how badly Microsoft messed up the UI in Vista/Win7, but here's the short list:

    1) Removing the up-arrow in Windows Explorer. (Back is not the same at all.) Breadcrumbs fail in several situations. Open a folder on your desktop, now try to open the desktop folder from there. You can't in Win7, you can (easily) in WinXP by just clicking "up". They also fail inside of shortcuts. Back also takes a lot longer to back up in the folder directory if you've been poking around in multiple folder directories.

    2) Replacing the hierarchical program folders for a flat "all programs" list in the start menu. For example, a couple days ago I was trying to find the snipping tool which does screen grabs. Except I couldn't remember it was called the snipping tool. So I typed "screen" (...no, nothing) then "grab" (nothing), "capture", and so forth, until I finally caved in and starting hunting for it through the long long list of everything I have installed on that Win7 box. By contrast, in WinXP style hierarchical menus, I know exactly where it would be (Programs->Accessories, easy as pie). For some reason, Microsoft has forgotten that hierarchical nesting was proven to be a superior user interface for people back in the mid 80s.

    2.5) In fact, the new Win7 start menu entirely sucks, with menu items I never use, and common things I like to use missing or hidden.

    3) Making it search by default when you bring up the start menu, which disables keyboard shortcuts for the start menu. It should require (or give the option of) hitting tab to go to the search box.

    4) Vista and Win7 broke compatibility with MATLAB 2007, which is the only version of MATLAB I can use to run some code I've licensed, so XP it is for my work computer until the end of time.

    5) The control panel has lost the ability to be displayed in a view by details or list format, which was a sane feature of Windows since 95. (Seriously, MS... WHY?) The closest you come now is displaying it in small icons, which are arranged in a zigzag alphabetical fashion, making it take twice as long to find anything than in list (column sorted) or details mode. This is an amazingly stupid UI decision.

    The only reason I switched to Win7 at all was due to the fact that Classic Shell exists, which allows me to tweak the Win7 UI to fix a number of these stupid decisions by Microsoft.

    Windows Team, please send the Classic Shell team a lot of money - they've sold you guys a number of copies of Windows 7 by reversing a lot of the stupidity you baked into it.

  • - en.wikipedia.org/.../List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7

    - en.wikipedia.org/.../List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista

    This pretty much says it all right here.

    I'm a young guy in my twenties, and having things like Start Menu features removed, and Animated Gif support in Windows Photo viewer removed is just inexcusable.

    These were things that set Windows apart from Mac OS Crap.

    I'll be sticking to XP. I can even make my own custom visual style and icon set for it, unlike Windows 7.

    Windows 7 doesn't even have TweakUI, come on now Microsoft.

    Give us Windows XP+ along with Windows 8.

  • Just as a clarification, I meant that they were left out of the timeline above, but then this article is about moving people off of XP who didn't upgrade to Vista

  • Hmm you left out Vista and Office 2007. Believe it or not I actually like Vista and feel like it got an undeserved bad reputation. I ditched XP for Vista as soon as I could, starting my transition with Vista RC1. That's also around the same time I joined this blog (as evident by the user name I chose at the time)

  • 7flavor
    352 Posts

    I would certainly love to move to Windows 7 if Microsoft restore many useful features they removed or unintentionally broke:

    - en.wikipedia.org/.../List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7

    - en.wikipedia.org/.../List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista

    Maybe Windows 8 will fix them so I can upgrade to it happily. I hope fixing these is on Microsoft's internal agenda as it develops Windows 8.

  • Boy, Vista sure did leave some ripples in the Microsoft pond.

  • "Furthermore, Windows XP and Office 2003 will no longer be supported after April, 2014"

    Technically, Windows XP isn't even supported now!