Are your PCs Ready for Windows 7?

Come November 7, Microsoft will be launching Windows 7 here in the Philippines. A lot of PC users are waiting in anticipation to see what this new OS can really do for their PCs. For the consumers, its more of the features and functionalities. For business, its all about stability and business opportunities.

Unlike Vista where most PC manufacturers expressed their disappointments, Windows 7 provides them with a bigger opportunity – for the simple reason that the current PCs in the market today are ready to run Windows 7.

In a recent analysis made by Softchoice, 88% of more than 450,000 corporate PCs are able to meet the minimum hardware systems requirements to run Windows 7. This is in sharp contrast to the findings of an earlier Softchoice study which showed that at the time of release only 50 percent of PCs were able to support the minimum system requirements for Windows Vista.

While the high state of readiness bodes well for corporations, the study also found the continued use of much older operating systems, including Windows NT and Windows 2000 – a potential liability in terms of productivity, security risks and increased support costs.

“Since so few organizations made the switch to Vista, over ninety percent of PCs have remained on Windows XP – an operating system about to celebrate its tenth birthday – while close to five percent are running operating systems that Microsoft no longer supports,” said Dean Williams, Services Development Manager for Softchoice. “Given the added risks and costs of maintaining aging infrastructure, organizations would be well-advised to begin planning their move to more current technology. The fact that so many organizations are already entitled to do so through Microsoft’s Software Assurance should remove cost as a potential barrier.”

Softchoice’s analysis has also revealed that 65% of corporate computers are able to run Windows 7 in its optimal configuration compared to the six percent capable of capitalizing on the advanced features of Windows Vista at the time of release. Of those unable to meet the requirements to support Windows 7 in its optimal configuration, the majority would be able to do so with a basic RAM or hard disc upgrade. Only 5 percent would required outright replacement to run the new Microsoft OS compared to 16 percent for its predecessor.

“We’ve seen a sea change compared to the landscape in which Vista was introduced,” added Mr. Williams. “Organizations have some work to do to shore up a small percentage of their fleet, but the natural PC refresh cycle has more or less eliminated system requirements as a potential stumbling block to deploying Windows 7. The migration question is now about understanding the benefits of switching as well as implementing a plan to minimize any potential deployment headaches.”

The findings are based on actual inventory data collected from more than 450,000 corporate PCs between November 2008 and August 2009. The sample consists of a total of 248 individual organizations representing a wide range of industries from across the United States and Canada, including financial, health care, manufacturing and education.

What does it all mean? Money and more money. More PCs that can support Windows 7 means more people can upgrade to the new OS. Since most of the PC are still running XP, that means most of them are aging, and it would be a matter of time for companies to junk their old machines and buy new machines powered by Windows 7.

The success formula is already in place, the only remaining question is whether Windows 7 can really deliver. I don’t think the PC market can afford to have another Vista experience again. That would be really traumatic.

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