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Doug's Mailbag: To Migrate or Not To Migrate

Here are two readers' wildly different opinions on Windows 8:

We've been looking at Win 8 in the enterprise as part of our ongoing research agenda and we are coming to conclusion that Windows 8 (Enterprise) has no real compelling advantages over Win 7 -- and a number of disadvantages and risks for enterprises. In fact, our current advice is for enterprises with XP fleets to immediately begin migration to Win 7 (real pressure points are starting to build on the 50-60 percent of enterprises still on XP SOEs) and ignore Win 8. For organizations that have already made to move to Win 7, we recommend not spending any more effort or resources on examining a Win 8 upgrade.

I am publishing a research paper next week on this very issue. I have offered Microsoft a little time to counter my arguments before publishing.

One of the sticking points in my research is Microsoft's official 'we can't comment' on Downgrade Rights for OEM Win8. If licensing terms stay as they are, this would mean no more deployments of XP (outside of Software Assurance). My guess (guess only) it that Microsoft will not grant N-3 OEM licensing to keep XP alive...and I would not blame the company. In fact, I think Microsoft would be mad not to return to N-1 licensing.

What? Me worry? Not a chance, Doug! Vista was NOT 'just a modest upgrade to XP,' and the extent to which that illusion was perpetrated by Microsoft led to Vista's apparent failure.

It wasn't really but it sure felt that way to a lot of people. Microsoft's blunders made a bad situation look much worse than it was, and Vista received an undeserved black eye.

Vista's 2007 public release represented the first Windows kernel re-write since Windows 2000. That is a long time.

Windows 7 and Windows 8 are still running on an enhanced version of that Vista kernel. That is why the transition to Windows 8 will be relatively painless. If an application ran under Vista, it will run on the Windows 8 desktop. Getting used to a Start Screen instead of a 'Start Menu' is not nearly as traumatic as the pundits have been predicted and, if you really do not want to upgrade from Windows 7, there is no need to. Windows 7 will be supported until 2020!

As for the absence of touch on existing notebooks, well that is just nonsense. I use a mouse with Windows 8 and I love it. I detest fingerprints on my screen so I would probably use a mouse on the Surface RT as well.
I couldn't be happier!

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Posted by Doug Barney on 08/22/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 Ed

There's so much made about the difference in platforms, where there is only minimal difference. And then there's nothing mentioned about portions of the platform where there are major differences. Windows 8 has a lot of innovations and improvement in it that make it well worth the effort to migrate to. No, there's not one huge difference, it's a lot of smaller ones. I've about gotten to the point where going back to Windows 7 becomes a little painful. Going to an XP workstation is really painful experience now. I've gotten used to opening a zip file by just clicking on it, opening an iso by just clicking on it. It's so nice to have a laptop that runs real Hyper-V. But people are comparing Win8 to previous version by the functionality of the start button. It's different, but it only represents a miniscule portion of my interaction with my computer.

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 Ted

Anyone who has been listening closly to Microsoft non-marketing types, Vista wasn't a simple upgrade and Windows 8 is not a simple upgrade. As history has shown us, Windows 98 ws the fix to the major changes that came with Windows 95. Windows XP was the fix to the major changes in Window 2000 Workstation. Windows 7 was the fix to the major changes in Vista. Windows 9 will be the fix to the major changes in Windows 8. Being a former software developer, I think Microsoft has done a good job in their initial releases. But no one person or group can anticipate the interactions of all the pieces that are in use in the real world of workstation operating systems thorughout the base that Microsoft serves.

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