Windows 7: Corporate customers bullish on adoption plans

Many companies that eschewed Vista will go straight from XP to Windows 7

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The upgrade path from XP to Windows 7 will become clearer as larger numbers of customers roll out the new OS to more of their end users.

Wynn says that at Del Monte, Windows 7 was easily deployed on 45 machines that had been running XP.

"We used Configuration Manager, one of Microsoft's products," he says. "We've been using the desktop deployment process . . . so our techs could actually deploy it through a USB key. They plug the USB key into a laptop and boot up to that. Then they forklift [users'] documents up, lay the OS down and put the docs right back down. Then they put the applications back on top."

Wynn says in about 30 or 40 minutes users have a full-fidelity, ready-to-go laptop or desktop with all the applications and files they've been using and with all the new features of Windows 7.

Much better than Vista

That's a far cry from the sentiments expressed by users and analysts after the release of Windows Vista, Microsoft's last major operating-system upgrade, to business customers in November 2006. Users' problems with Vista ran the gamut from privacy to security to performance, and even drivers and product activation.

Inland Health's Chad Skidmore
Chad Skidmore, director of infrastructure operations at Inland Northwest Health Services, says he's impressed with Windows 7's stability, speed and out-of-the-box security.

But it appears that Microsoft has now fixed the major complaints about Vista, causing analysts and users to be fairly high on Windows 7.

"I've been pretty positive on Windows 7, so I would certainly say to most organizations that they ought to adopt it," says analyst Cherry. "You could make a list of all the things you didn't like about Vista and all the barriers Vista created to deployment. Microsoft . . . basically went down that list and fixed everything on it."

Kay agrees. Corporate customers may have some trepidation "in the run-up to 7 because they're been burned by Vista, but early adopters have been pleasantly surprised," he says. "Microsoft in this case wanted to under-promise and over-deliver, which is the opposite of what it did with Vista."

Most planning a slow move to Windows 7

Chad Skidmore, director of infrastructure operations at Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS) in Spokane, Wash., says his company will move most of its 10,000 desktops, the vast majority of which are currently running Windows XP, to Windows 7. He's particularly impressed with Windows 7's stability, its speed and its out-of-the-box security.

IT plans for Windows 7

A survey of 145 IT professionals showed many are planning to adopt Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 over the next two years.

Windows 7 on laptops/desktops - 51%
Windows 7 on netbooks - 38%
Windows Server 2008 R2 - 60%

Source: Chadwick Martin Bailey, Boston, Mass.

"When we did our early evaluation we felt that it is probably one of the best operating systems that we've seen come out of Microsoft in quite a while," Skidmore says.

One of the challenges faced by the health-care sector is the fact that it takes application developers a bit longer to completely validate a new OS than in some enterprise environments, he says. In part, that's because of regulatory oversight from entities like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for certain kinds of systems used in health care, including operating systems, according to Skidmore.

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