It’s still almost incredible that an OS launched 13 years ago continues to influence the software world of today so heavily. Windows XP was still used by more than a quarter of the world’s PCs in April. Microsoft announced way ahead that official support will cease in April, but apparently not so many companies took Microsoft’s warnings seriously. To avoid a Windows XP deja vu, Gartner warns that administrators should plan ahead, as Windows 7 will not receive support from 2020.
There are a couple of explanations for why Windows XP produced such a hassle. However, the most important one is connected to the tremendous costs implied by the transition to another OS. Entire ecosystems were built around the Windows XP platform, so moving to another OS brings changes almost every device and wire in a company.
The madness is not over, yet Gartner warns that companies using Windows 7 should already start planning a transition to the next OS, as Windows 7 will not be supported by Microsoft in a relatively short while.
Microsoft has decided the fate of Internet Explorer as well. The company announced that starting with 2016, it will only support the latest version of the browser to avoid fragmentation.
The Windows XP deja vu may be avoided, but Windows 9 must be released first
“The end of support for Windows 7 will be January, 2020, assuming there are no changes to its current support life cycle,” Stephen Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner said in a blog post on Tuesday. “While this feels like it’s a long way off, organizations must start planning now, so they can prevent a recurrence of what happened with Windows XP.”
The next Windows version is expected to launch in 2015. According to rumors, it will be named Windows Threshold, but most people call it simply Windows 9.
Despite the fact that Gartner recommends to plan ahead an OS upgrade, they do not advocate a transition to Windows 8. Waiting to see when exactly the next Windows version will be released is necessary before taking final decisions.
In the meantime, each newly acquired PC should be equipped with Windows 8, to make the transition easier. Windows 8 has a life cycle ending in 2023, when Microsoft will stop offering extended support. But mainstream support ends in 2018, three years after Windows 7 will receive the same treatment. Gartner praises Microsoft’s updating system for Windows 8, as it translates into a “fluid approach”.
Companies which deploy software requiring the highest degree of compatibility may find that skipping Windows 8 is a more convenient option, according to Gartner, as a solution to avoid a Windows XP deja vu.