October 10, 2011 8:01 am

Celebrate a Decade of Windows XP by Moving to Windows 7

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.

Updated November 8, 2014 1:27 am