Making a choice: Windows 7 or Windows 8?

In April 2011, Windows 7 surpassed Windows XP in the US, but adoption of the new operating system has been slow. Furthermore, it seems that Microsoft is aiming to release a new version of Windows every two to three years, and as such it has already showcased its latest OS to be released – Windows 8.

Windows 8 has been described as “surreal, the future of PC’s and mind-blowing.”  Therefore, if you are a decision maker for an enterprise or organization and still running on XP or Vista, you are faced with a dilemma. Should you upgrade to Windows 7 or wait until Windows 8 is officially released?

Is Windows 7 good enough and different enough for you to jump on the migration bandwagon from older OS versions? Which route should you go – upgrade to Windows 7 or wait for Windows 8?

We found the following points are key reasons most organizations upgrade to Windows 7:

  • The organization is not happy with the current version of Windows, most notably, Vista.
  • The newer operating systems are more stable, more powerful and faster improving productivity.
  • Better security: Windows 7 comes equipped with ASLR (address space layout randomization), and DEP (data execution prevention).
  • A lot of incompatibilities happened when upgrading from XP to Vista. Now Vista and Windows 7 are more compatible and the upgrade should take place more smoothly.
  • Keep on the technology train: XP was developed in 2001 – centuries ago in technology time.
  • XP is only available on 32 bits, while Windows 7 comes available in a 64-bit version, which allows for more space and better performance.
  • You have a Windows XP “mode” in the new Windows 7.
  • The user account control was confusing to users in Vista, and now it is less intrusive.
  • Search is much better.

Reasons to upgrade directly to Windows 8:

  • Windows 8 will offer a more cloud friendly environment.
  • The new hardware conserves power better, so if you think in eco terms, then this is the operating system for you.
  • Windows 8 works on tablets which are becoming more and more common.
  • It will introduce a Windows app store.

What could the potential problems be with upgrading to Windows 8:

  • According to Microsoft, It might take from a minimum one and a half to 20 hours per computer, to complete the upgrade if done manually.
  • Any enterprise-wide migration is costly.
  • XP still works and it is much loved, but Microsoft has committed to supporting XP with critical updates only until 2014.
  • The new Metro UI of Windows 8 will be radically different, so obviously there will be a difficult learning curve – especially for end users currently running Windows XP.

You can also check out this article regarding top concerns with migrations and how to overcome them.

No matter what version you go with, keep in mind that Windows XP is quickly becoming obsolete. Your company does not want to lose its competitive edge by not upgrading and leaving your employees working on outdated software.