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Windows Client Migration

The Windows XP 'Deathwatch?'

April 8, 2012, marked the start of a two-year countdown to the end of support for Windows XP. And it brought out the best in melodrama from the press.

    April 8, 2012, passed quietly for most people, but for corporations who still base their desktop computing on Windows XP, it was an important date.  In the Windows Blog, Microsoft Windows marketing director Stella Chernyak marked the start of a two-year countdown to the end of support for this now-venerable desktop operating system.

    Interestingly, the many news services that cover Microsoft have all replaced the word “countdown” with the more malevolent “Deathwatch.” Molly Klinefelter writing for MSNBC (where the MS stands for Microsoft) begins her article “Death watch: Microsoft to end support for Windows XP in 2 years,” saying “The end is coming. Repent!” 

    Barry Levine in his article “Set Your Clocks – Two Year Deathwatch for XP” in CIO Today begins with, “The Clock of Doom is now reading two years and counting for Microsoft's XP operating system.” 

    Greg Kaiser in ComputerWorld: “Microsoft yesterday kicked off what it called a "two-year countdown" to the death of Windows XP, its longest-lived operating system.” 

    Paul McDougall posted “Microsoft Starts Windows XP Deathwatch” in InformationWeek.

    For something that we’ve all known has been coming for some time, this all seems like a lot of drama.What I find amazing is that there have been three new versions announced since the introduction of Windows XP 11 long years ago. Vista was released because Microsoft felt it was time to introduce a new version. Windows 7 was released, well, because of Vista. Now Windows 8 is on the horizon to move the user interface to an entirely new paradigm.

    Chernyak’s blog post really focuses on the core concern and question Microsoft and many of its partners and customers will now face: Should customers upgrade from Windows XP (and Office 2003, which also loses support on April 8, 2014) or should they wait for the next version? Chernyak’s answer is definitively don’t wait. She emphatically states, “If you haven’t yet already, we do hope that you take this end of support countdown as an opportunity to migrate your PCs to Windows 7 and Office 2010 so that your business and employees are more productive and secure.”

    The “right” answer, as always, will depend upon each organization’s priorities and situation.The term “deathwatch” is pretty overblown when you come down to it. It’s more like Microsoft is taking Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 off life support come April 8, 2014, but most doctors agree that these solid performers will definitely continue to breathe on their own. Some IT providers will likely seize the opportunity and provide XP support on their own, for a handsome fee.

    It’s almost impossible to give cogent advice about which way to choose from this vantage point.  There will definitely be a smooth upgrade path from Windows 7 to the next version and from Office 2003 to Office 2010, so the software costs won’t be much of an issue. The cost of migrating twice is the major cost to consider, but early reports suggest that this too will be vastly simplified over previous version upgrades.

    The MOST cogent advice right now is to start this decision-making process immediately if you haven’t already. Two years is a lot less time than you think, especially in “IT years.” Consult your trusted technology advisors. Talk to your user community managers. Keep reading here in the Migration Expert Zone as more and more commentary comes out regarding how to make this important decision and create your best migration plan.



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