Windows 7: a strong case to migrate

Written by Vishal Dhar | Updated: Oct 30 2009, 04:11am hrs
With the release of Microsofts latest operating system, Windows 7, there is a wave of excitement through the IT industry and the end users. We surveyed a subset of its 90,000 annual subscribers in the run-up to the launch to understand their perceptions and intent for migrating to Windows 7. I am personally encouraged by their response to the new operating system, which has significant improvements in the user interface and manageability.

The survey cites that 61% consumers think they will upgrade to Windows 7 at some point, of which 48% will migrate by the end of 2010. Understanding the consumers intent for migrating on their existing machine, as opposed to buying a new PC, shows that an encouraging 36% consumers expect to upgrade to Windows 7 on their existing hardware.

However, nearly a half (47%) think they may require professional assistance with their migration to Windows 7. While this perception may be attributed to their last experience with an operating system upgrade, our product bench has been testing the migration for Windows Vista and Windows XP users. Cutting straight to the verdict, its a seamless upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows Vista, however, migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 is a more challenging task. The migration from Windows XPclose to 70% desktops run on itto Windows 7 requires a clean install of the new operating system, and customers will need to re-install their applications and migrate their settings, configuration, playlists, bookmarks etc.

Our prediction is that 40% of those who are migrating to Windows 7 will require additional assistance of some kind. If we combine that with estimates by IDC that 40 million users will migrate to Windows 7 by the end of the year, you have the prospect of tens of millions of users needing assistance with this process. To eliminate the wastage of money and frustration that go with such migration, several Websites have come out with ready-reference and step-by-step guide to application migration. We, at iYogi, too, have developed a free migration application for Windows XP users moving to Windows 7. This makes the process of migration quicker and easier, with step-by-step interface with guidelines and recommendations for the migration process.

If you are ready for an upgrade on your existing PC, first, take the Windows 7 Readiness test to check for the compatibility of your system configuration, like hardware compatibility, software compatibility and disk space requirements for the operating system. Second, audit the applications that are used by you and build a checklist with your settings and configuration that you would like to migrate.

You can reference Microsofts Windows 7 Compatibility Centre to check if your application is compatible with Windows 7 http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/default. aspx. And then, download the free migration applications to assist you through the upgrade process by automatically migrating your user and applications settings to the new operating system as well as to move your important data, including documents, images, video, e-mails and more. Consumers also have the option of using Microsofts Windows User State Migration Tool, a software wizard for transferring files and settings and data.

Consumers using these options will then need to manually download and re-install applications from a customised webpage, served at the end of the session and finally restore your data and settings for a seamless transition to the new operating system. When moving to an old Windows XP computer to a new Windows 7 computer, users need to move their data, applications and settings via the network, cable or external media.

If you are ready for a change, look beyond the headlines about interface tweaks and youll find Windows 7 is crammed with lesser known, but still important, new and enhanced features, which, taken together, deliver improved performance and productivity, better troubleshooting, stronger security and a whole lot more. Our research cites that the current Windows Vista users (35%) were more excited about the Windows launch than the Windows XP users (29%). Although XP remains more capable for devices with limited memory and outdated graphics, Windows 7 performs better than Windows Vista. As PC becomes more central to our lives, how we use it at home, work and play has evolved dramatically after the launch of Windows XP. Its time for a change.

The writer is president (marketing), iYogi