Windows 7 is on a (slow) roll

Enterprise IT wants Windows 7. It's just not in a hurry to get it.

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Pella has also started enabling BitLocker. The non-BitLocker product the company was using before required a dual-authentication process that caused problems when passwords got out of synch. "That is our number one support issue," Thomas says. In contrast, BitLocker is "almost transparent" to users, he says. Almost one third of readers say they are most interested the enterprise-specific features of Windows 7.

Other IT executives say that it's embarrassing to keep users on a 10-year old operating system when they have been running newer technology at home for years -- all consumers who have purchased new Windows computers since the Windows 7 launch in October 2009 are using the new operating system.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the respondents to Computerworld's survey said Windows XP is getting too old, and 50% cited the need to get up to date as a key reason to upgrade. "We want to create a better user-base perception of IT by giving users something more current," says Calvert.

Upgrading applications

Perhaps the biggest motivator for upgrading has been the desire to modernize client-side applications. At WorleyParsons, a move to Microsoft Office 10 has been the "driving force" behind machine refreshes, Calvert says. Caesar's plans to implement Office 10, as well as Exchange Server, in tandem with its Windows 7 deployment.

Another attraction is the level of integration between Windows 7 and other Windows Server offerings, such as Exchange Server, SharePoint and Lync Server (formerly Live Communications Server). "There's a lot more synergy between Windows 7 and these application suites," ModusLink's Sebastiano says.

But as with some Windows 7 migrations, back-end infrastructure projects that leverage new features in Windows 7 have taken a back seat. "Organizations are using BitLocker in large numbers, but other components [such as DirectAccess, BranchCache, and so on] aren't as popular yet," says Gartner's Silver.

IT executives say they look forward to taking full advantage of the tighter integration with other Microsoft products, as well as enhancements such as BranchCache and DirectAccess -- eventually.

"We are deliberately moving at a relatively conservative pace," Caesar's Wilby says. And while he's aware of the looming XP support deadline, he's not worried. "Many companies skipped Vista, and there are a lot of people in our boat," he says.

But if more companies are pushing the deadline out as far out as they can this time around, most say they won't go beyond April 2014, when all support ends. "I would expect 90% to be off of [XP] by then," says Silver.

"But not all."

Next: Survey results: Economy delays Windows 7 implementation.

Robert L. Mitchell is a national correspondent for Computerworld. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rmitch, or e-mail him at rmitchell@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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