It’s been some time since Windows 10 overtook Windows 7 to become the most used PC operating system, but with the final end of Windows 7 support looming, there’s still much work to do.
With six months until Windows 7 goes out of extended support there’s quite a lot of data around to provide at least a rough picture of the current state of play.
- According to a survey by IT company Kollective of 200 UK and US decision makers, just under one in five large enterprises haven’t migrated to Windows 10, even though that’s a significant number that’s still down from 43% when the company ran similar research at the start of the year. This research suggests that the vast majority of organisations have started to migrate to Windows 10, and estimates that three quarters have actually completed the project already. But for the quarter still working, six months may not be enough time to get everything finished.
- Separate research from authentication company Duo found that Windows 10 now accounted for 66 percent of PCs its software interacts with, compared to 29 percent for Windows 7. In some sectors the situation is more worrying – Duo points to healthcare as a sector that is particularly wedded to Windows 7. Finding the time to do an upgrade in a busy hospital is always going to be hard, and some medical hardware just can’t be upgraded. It’s probably worth noting that there is even still a worrying amount of Windows XP still in use – the UK’s health service still has about 2,300 PCs running that 18 year-old operating system, although that actually only accounts for 0.16% of the NHS’s 1.4 million PCs.
- Data from NetMarketShare shows the gradual decline of the use of Windows 7 which now accounts for somewhere around 38% of PCs connecting to the internet; Windows 10 overtook it at the back end of last year and has about a 41% market share. It’s always wise to be aware of the caveats around figures such as these figures, but the broad trends are clear.
Whatever the precise figure for Windows 7 versus Windows 10 right now, what’s very clear is that, with less that six months before Windows 7 goes out of extended support on 14 January 2019 there’s still an lot of PCs out there using it.
There are options for companies that don’t get everything moved off Windows 7 before the middle of January, or who want to stick with it for whatever reason, in the form of extended support packages from Microsoft, although there is a significant cost attached to these.
But even if they get the move to Windows 10 completed in time, these companies then have to adjust to the new(ish) world of Windows as a service.
That means regular upgrades for new features and security fixes, not the giant lift-and-shift every few years that was the model previously. There’s plenty to admire in that model, and not just for Microsoft; companies can get access to new features and bug fixes almost as soon as they are ready, without waiting for them to be bundled up into in mega-releases.
The problem is that, as my colleague Ed Bott points out, even after four years of Windows as a Service, Microsoft is still struggling to get the upgrades process right, and he has some advice for what companies should do to manage that process.
The large businesses that have spent the time and effort to get to understand Windows 10 will be fine – but the issue could well be with those late adopters who are only now looking at Windows 10 as that Windows 7 deadline looms. They must prepare for more testing and more regular rollouts – not easy when many companies are already well behind with software updates and patching.
For many of these companies, their next Windows migration is the beginning, not the end of the changes.
ZDNET’S MONDAY MORNING OPENER
The Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. Since we run a global site, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6pm Eastern Time on Sunday in the US. It is written by a member of ZDNet’s global editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors across Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.
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