Gartner: Get ready for Windows 7 now

Microsoft will continue to support Windows XP until 2014. But experts are warning IT departments not to wait that long to change operating systems.

The analysts at Gartner recently recommended that companies switch over to Windows 7 by the end of 2012. That’s when the new versions of many applications will stop working on XP, Gartner says.

Since most organizations require 12 to 18 months for planning, testing and piloting an OS upgrade, Gartner recommends they begin the process as soon as possible.

The experts recommend setting a target date for the upgrade to be completed, then using a two-tiered approaching to upgrading:

  1. First, figure out which machines will need to be replaced before the target date and replace those machines with Windows 7 systems, then
  2. Use a “forklift” approach for the rest of the machines, dividing them into groups and upgrading all machines in those groups simultaneously.

That will help IT by splitting the upgrade costs over several budget cycles.