Windows 7 Migrations: Tips for Getting the Timing Right

When is the best time to roll out Windows 7 to your enterprise? Consider this expert advice.

Seventy-five percent of commercial PCs are still running Windows XP, says a recent Windows 7 Adoption Outlook report by Forrester Research analysts Benjamin Gray and Christian Kane. That's not only a sign of XP's impressive longevity, but also a sign of how stagnant the PC market has been for years.

But finally, the times are changing, as noted by the report's survey that includes nearly 800 IT decision-makers: 46 percent of firms expect to migrate to Windows 7 within the next 12 months and 42 percent expect to do it in more than 12 months.

Now that Windows 7 is a proven commodity and its security, networking and virtualization features are better known, the reasons for deploying Windows 7 are moving beyond the general need (computers are old, XP is old) to the desire to use more specific Windows 7 enterprise features such as BranchCache, DirectAcess and BitLocker to Go, according to the Forrester report.

Also, Microsoft's virtualization tools such as XP Mode, and its desktop virtualization (Med-V) and application virtualization (App-V) tools for Software Assurance customers are helping businesses migrate applications not compatible with Windows 7.

But whether you are deploying Windows 7 as part of a PC refresh cycle or doing a company-wide migration all at once, it's important to keep in mind the timing of your Windows 7 migration, the timing of Windows XP's slow death and the application testing involved, writes Forrester.

Here are three recommendations about timing a Windows 7 deployment.

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