Windows of opportunity for businesses seeking upgrade

//October 12, 2009//

Windows of opportunity for businesses seeking upgrade

//October 12, 2009//

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But costs may prevent companies from embracing Microsoft’s latestFor business users, buying new software can play out like an episode of “Tales from the Crypt,” with expenses, compatibility problems and freezing computers haunting early adopters.

But companies looking to an operating system upgrade will have to weigh these options as Microsoft Corp., hoping to avoid the dismal specter of Vista, prepares to release Windows 7 on Oct. 22.

A new operating system — the software sandbox where programs work together — may not reinvent the computer, but it can offer businesses features that increase efficiency. Though some businesses abstained from adopting Vista, information technology firms such as IND Corp., SetFocus and AnythingIT expect more corporate users to embrace Windows 7 — and upgrade their hardware in the process.

Mike Landau, president of IT professional training and placement firm SetFocus, in Parsippany, said Microsoft addressed lessons learned from Vista, its last operating system. While Vista hogged memory and other resources, Landau said Windows 7 can be scaled to work on diminutive netbooks as well as powerful desktop units. “I think companies will move toward adopting Windows 7 where they passed by Vista,” he said.

Douglas Rahn, chief executive of IND, also in Parsippany, said the initially sour reaction to Vista tempered Microsoft’s strategy for Windows 7. Upgrading, Rahn said, will include easier compatibility with existing software, making it simpler for businesses to retain legacy applications. “It removes for a lot of users the hesitation to upgrade,” Rahn said.

Older software and custom applications may not be frequently updated, a sticking point for businesses that resisted Vista, Rahn said. But the forthcoming system will include a function that allows Windows 7 to work with programs that only function with XP, he said.

Users of Windows XP will not be cut off at the knees when 7 is released, though Rahn said pressure to switch will be in the offing, as hardware vendors and Microsoft are not eager to continue support for three operating systems.

Cost-conscious business owners balking at upgrading may be won over by the features promised in the new system, Landau said. He expects companies will make the transition to Windows 7 within 24 months. “People who are working with XP have been working with the same operating system for six or seven years. It’s time for them to make a change.”

With Windows 7, Rahn said business users will gain unobtrusive security encryption, particularly for laptops, which may be lost or snatched by a thief. “If someone picks them up, they will be able access to all the data,” he said, which could be ruinous to a company.

The operating system will retail from between $200 and $320, with reduced prices for users who are upgrading.

Companies running older equipment, may have to make some investments before shelling out for an upgrade. For an older PC running XP, “that box has seen its day,” Landau said, even if an operating system upgrade isn’t in the cards.

“You’re going to get a four to eight times speed boost compared to that four-year old computer,” Rahn said. “Processors, hard drives, and memory are doubling in speed every year.”

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