Of every 100 North American corporate PCs, 88 are powerful enough to run Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 7 operating system, which is much higher than the 50% of PCs with the minimum specifications to run Windows Vista at its launch three years ago, according to a survey released Thursday.
Moreover, 65% of PCs are powerful enough to run most of Windows 7's advanced features, such as its Aero graphics, compared with just 6% of PCs at the time of Vista's release, according to the reseller Softchoice Corp.
PCs may be ripe for upgrades. Softchoice also found that 93% of corporate PCs are still running the 8-year-old Windows XP operating system. More business PCs are running the 10-year-old Windows 2000 operating system (4%) than are running Windows Vista (3%).
"It's pretty clear that hardware upgrade costs won't be the stumbling block for Windows 7 that they were for Vista," said Dean Williams, services development manager for Softchoice.
Softchoice collected data from 450,000 PCs between November 2008 and August 2009 at 284 North American organizations, for which it provides IT assessment services.
The greater readiness of corporate PCs to run Windows 7 reflects several things, Williams said. Despite a stalling of CPU clock speeds, PCs continued to get faster in the three years since Vista's release. And despite widespread reports that money-strapped companies have extended the lifetime of their PC hardware, "some PCs have been cycled out," Williams said.
Finally, Windows 7 is either only a little hungrier than Vista for system resources, or, if you trust many anecdotal accounts, actually less ravenous.