Sticking with Windows XP

Doug Barney has safely deplaned from his trip to Redmond and will be back for Wednesday's Redmond Report. I'm covering for him today, in the meantime. Here we go:

Most IT pros (84 percent) don't plan to move to Windows 7 in the next year, so says a March survey sponsored by system management appliance vendor KACE.

That result from a survey of 1,142 participants isn't really surprising. Microsoft has suggested that Windows 7 will be released some time in 2010, although rumors have suggested a release to manufacturing some time this fall.

However, Windows 7's timing is just part of the issue. The survey indicated that 53 percent of those who plan to move to Windows 7 want to do so to skip Vista. Ouch! It seems there's still some lingering resentment out there about Vista. Vista's problems stemmed from early software incompatibilities, as well as hardware requirements that meant upgrading equipment for many IT departments. However, that's all in the past, right?

Maybe not. Despite what Microsoft has been saying -- that applications working on Vista will work on Windows 7 -- the respondents didn't seem to accept that premise. The top concern with moving to Windows 7 was software compatibility (88 percent). 

Perhaps that result reflects the general inexperience with Windows 7, as just 17 percent of the participants had installed the Windows 7 beta. It also suggests that IT shops haven't forgotten the pain of Vista.

Free mainstream support for XP will run out tomorrow on April 14. Microsoft also says that extended (paid) support for XP will be available until April 8, 2014. Given that timeline, is your IT shop feeling any pressure to move from XP? Let Doug know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Desktop Virtualization: Who Uses It?
Speaking of migrations, Microsoft rolled out a new tool to help tide over IT shops as they migrate from one operating system to another. Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization Version (MED-V) 1.0 was released this month.

The MED-V tool lets you run those XP "legacy" apps on Vista (if you're using that OS). However, there's a catch: You've got to have Software Assurance licensing to use MED-V.

Are you using MED-V? Is it the solution to your OS migration problems (assuming that you're moving off Windows XP)? Send your thoughts to Doug at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

As the Worm Turns
No one can stop talking about the Conficker worm. We were told it was going to update itself and expand its domains on April 1. Now CERT (the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team) tells us that a new variant of the worm is trying to update previously infected machines.

Microsoft had originally issued a patch (MS08-067) for the Windows vulnerability back in October. Apparently, the worm continued to proliferate, and company officials complained that many IT organizations were lax in applying the patch. There's even a bounty out for the virus-maker, but no word back on whether that worked.

Anti-virus companies -- including Symantec, Microsoft and McAafee -- have responded by offering free Conficker (also knows as Downadup) removal tools. Shavlik Technologies is also extending its offer of a free scan to check the network's patch status and the configurations of devices connected to it. This "Health Assessment" scan tool is free to use through May 1.

Do you know of any IT shops that have experienced a Conficker infection or does this all just seem overhyped? Sound off at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: Windows 7 Worth It?
Last week, Kurt asked readers what -- if anything -- would make them upgrade to Windows 7. Here are just some of your responses (more to come Wednesday):

To address this question with some validity is a somewhat daunting task. My competitive nature says, "Make it compete with Mac OS X and kick the megabytes out of them." The other side of me is saying, "Can we just simply come up with a product that is valued from the inside out? Starting with the nagging idea of spyware, viruses, hackers, networks and beyond."

I believe the switch is going to be worth it. The footprint seems smaller and less clunky than Vista. The much-needed security elevates the pressure looming in the air, and the new features give it an ability to compete. Way to go, Microsoft!
-Jeremy

I run a relatively small IT consultancy out of Melbourne, Australia and I have to say that although Windows 7 appears to be faster than Vista, I do not think it's faster than XP (probably about the same, overall). The driver base seems better than Vista but that alone is not enough for me to see Windows 7 as a compelling upgrade.

I really think that as per usual, Microsoft has been carried away with trying to look like it's inventing something new. In the process it has overlooked what a lot of people want from an OS. What I wanted from Windows 7 was the old, classic Start menu; the old repair and restore feature; and, yes, an option to upgrade from XP. Now all of those features that I wanted/needed/valued and would have paid for have been removed, and to that extent my immediate reaction is: You can go to hell, Microsoft. I will decide what I want and need from an OS, not you.
-Ken

We intend to move from XP to Windows 7, particularly with the good reviews the beta is getting. So, if we had the money to buy some new PCs and they came with Windows 7, we would keep them Windows 7.
-Jim

Check in on Wednesday to read more letters, including readers' thoughts XP-to-Windows 7 upgrade paths. Meanwhile, tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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