Microsoft Urging Businesses to Move to Windows 7 As XP SP2 Approaches End-of-Life

Windows XP has lived longer than anyone, including Microsoft, ever expected, but the software giant is preparing to EOL (end-of-life) the nearly decade-old operating system. On July 13, 2010, MS will cease to support XP SP2, although critical security updates will still be provided free of charge through April 8, 2014. XP SP2 isn't the only OS Microsoft plans to phase out in the next seven months—the company will also stop supporting Windows 2000 Server/Client on the same date.

Microsoft is recommending that any company still using one of the above plan to transition to Windows 7 and has assembled a "how-to" kit of instructions for migrating user data from either XP to Win 7, or from Windows Server 2000 to Windows Server 2008 R2. Redmond's fresh set of recommendations have been reported alongside a heaping spoonful of data on how businesses are "leery" of Windows 7, but despite the hand-wringing, this is business as usual. Every time a new OS or major service pack drops, Microsoft recommends businesses begin adopting it. Every time Microsoft recommends businesses begin migrating to a new OS, we see survey results detailing how most IT managers have no plans to deploy the new version for at least a year (or until the first service pack).

The music of the spheres. Or something.

Miraculously, the gap between Microsoft's recommended timetable and actual IT OS upgrades never actually results in a catastrophe, and this one won't either. Early figures on Windows 7 adoption have been strong, and the trend seems likely to continue. Windows 7, generally speaking, appears to have been seized upon as "Vista, Done Right." That perception may or may not impact the corporate IT upgrade cycle, but businesses that skipped out on upgrading to Vista either due to leeriness or economic difficulties may find themselves in a buying mood over the next 12-18 months. By then, Win 7 will have taken over the market, top-to-bottom—XP may have blocked Vista from total platform dominance, but that's unlikely to happen the second time around.