Your Choices When Upgrading From Windows XP

Christopher Lentz | January 02, 2014 05:34 PM

Windows XP has long been a popular operating system for many systems administrators due to its familiarity, simplicity, and small footprint. However, the time is drawing near for the end of support for Windows XP from Microsoft. Luckily, the migration process is not terribly difficult...unless you are choosing what to upgrade to. This article hopes to clarify your options and give you a better understanding of what is involved for each of your options, Windows 7 or Windows 8.

The Case For Windows 7

After the dissappointment of Windows Vista, administrators were glad to see its successor Windows 7. The new operating system had a new architecture, a new look, and much fewer bugs. This led to a fairly wide deployment among businesses around the globe. In fact, nearly 50% off all users are running Windows 7. This has made it a strong choice in the running for your migrations from Windows XP. Perhaps one of the best parts about upgrading to Windows 7 is the ability to keep all your documents, settings, and most programs during the upgrade process. As always though, if you are planning a 32-bit to 64-bit upgrade you will need to perform a backup of all your data and installa clean copy of Windows 7. The only possible downside to going with Windows 7 is that one day it is likely to face the same fate as Windows XP, though we are guessing that won't happen for at least another decade.

So What About Windows 8?

Microsoft's latest brain child, Windows 8, has stormed the technology world through its high use on the tablet platform. That being said, its capabilites in the touch screen market are amazing. It performs with fluid motion, strong application support, and so much more. However, and this is the bad news, upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows XP will most certainly require a backup of your data and a clean install. Also, Windows 8 is only available in a 64-bit version, which we think is great but some users might find crippling. Another major disadvantage of Windows 8 is the new user interface design, it can be a bit of a learning curve even for the most savy of tech users. However, we think that its great new architecture, sleek design, and light footprint make it a great choice since most users of Windows XP will likely be in need of a hardware upgrade anyhow.

Survey Your Users

The choice really comes down to your users when it is all said and done. We think it is a great idea to set up a testing machine using Windows 8 so your users can get a feel for it. Then, have them complete a quick 10 question servey with a 1 to 10 rating system to tell you how easy they found it to work with the new Windows. After collecting that data, you should have a pretty good idea of which one is right for your users right now. The good news is that most hardware vendors are selling new machines with Windows 7 and a Windows 8 Anytime Upgrade option. This means you can start with Windows 7 and move to Windows 8 when your staff has been trained or becomes more familiar with the new Windows 8.

We know upgrading can be a pain in the neck, but it doesn't have to be. Let one of our certified engineers help you determine the best choice for your business, design a plan for implementation, and deploy your new choice. 


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