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From Vista to ... Windows 7 or 8?


A company I know (few hundred users) wants to migrate to Windows 7 ... or 8.

Big issue for 8 is the start button which dissapeared. To much trouble for the endusers. There are some tools to get the start button back but it's not out of the box so not supported by Windows.

And then: what extra features does it add, and Windows 7 has proven its stability.
On the other hand: why migrate to Windows 7, you're migrating to an older version actually then.

Note: servers are a mix of Windows 2003/2008.

So, what do you think about it? Any input welcome. Not convinced myself for one of both.

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2 Solutions
Robby SwartenbroekxMSP engineerCommented:
the Modern UI works great on a tabled, but on a desktop it is more like an obstacle.
At the end of the year, it'll maybe make more sense when Blue comes out. Microsoft is also considering (planning) to do yearly upgrades instead of every 3/4 years.

Personally, I would go to Windows 7 and skipping Windows 8. It looks like 8 is going to be the new Vista.
Lior KarasentiCommented:
Windows 7 is "older" OS but I think it will be much better for the end users then Windows 8
I have Win8 on my laptop and i'm working with it in domain and workgroup and i think Win7 is much more friendlly to use on both environments

I would go with Windows 7..
QlemoBatchelor, Developer and EE Topic AdvisorCommented:
The advantages with W8 aren't that many, but faster reboot is one of them. However, W7 is proven. If the decision is for now, I recommend W7. If the decision can wait some more months, it might be different.
The "hidden features" making it hard to use W8 will come out soon (if any), and there are still compatibility issues with some applications.

Most of the issues with W8 are just about familiarity. But that wasn't different with XP and Vista. I myself have been hesitant, and having touched a W8 system, I know why. If they really want to upgrade to W8, I would choose a few typical machines for a start only. No reason for any hurry here.
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I don't mind 8, it is a lot like 7 with a few neat features (and essentially an ipad thrown on top)
It seems as stable as 7 but:
faster to boot
built in spell checker across apps
much better search across apps/data/net
even nicer file manager

Once you explain to people that the start screen is basically like a stretched out start menu, and show them how you can get to it with the mouse then they can still get their work done.
Most people spend all day in the "desktop" environment anyway.
EirmanChief Operations ManagerCommented:
I usually avoid Microsoft products until there is a SR-1 release

Office 2010 (pre SR-1) was quite good, but I wouldn't risk it with an OS.

Roll on MS Blue SR-1
Since there are a few hundred users, I presume you will be using the Enterprise edition (Volume Licensed) of whichever OS you select...

Some questions:
1) Are all the client machines "original" Vista boxes, or were they also upgraded?  The reason I ask this, is that Windows 8 requires a newer CPU level than Windows Vista & 7 require!  If some were upgraded from the XP era to Vista, they MIGHT only work with 7, but not 8.

2)  In general, the biggest features (especially going forward) for Windows 8 over 7 is UEFI support (instead of just BIOS) and large hard drive support via GPT (instead of MBR). If you will be upgrading any of your machines with newer motherboards and larger hard drives, you should seriously consider using Win 8 vs. 7 for these features!

3) What's so big about UEFI?  It allows Win 8 to offer far superior virus protection!  Also note that Windows 8 comes with a new version of Microsoft Security Essentials (renamed back to Windows Defender) that alleviates the need to to spend additional $$ on the other AV crap out there!

4) The user training is not as bad as initially thought!  It is literally ONE-CLICK to go to a "desktop" look after boot instead of a "Metro Start".  After that, does ANYONE still USE that "start button?" If so, they haven't been properly trained on WIN 7! The search feature is "where it's at" with WIN 7, and is reinforced with WIN 8 by "gently nudging" people to use "search" instead of "START!"  Again, once trained properly, users appreciate the move forward, as it increases productivity...

Did I hit all the points you were concerned over?
We're all on Windows 7 & Office 2010, after upgrading from XP/Office 2003.. We're skipping Windows 8 & Office 2013 and will wait for the next releases. I have a couple of Windows 8 & Office 2013 installs both 32 & 64 bit and have trialled it extensively. There is no compelling reason to upgrade. Even from Vista, where users are resigned to a dysfunctional OS, I would not recommend an upgrade. While the Windows 8 OS is quite robust, it seems fractured as if it has multiple personalities. The Modern interface is very childish and dumbed down, not really suitable for business in my opinion. For keyboard users and swipers it is pretty good, but it is not mouse friendly, and that is a major cultural shift for my users. None of our screens support touch, so that is a massive hardware investment to match the OS to its intended hardware. And are we more productive? No, in fact productivity would be less, even if you exclude what would be a painful transition period. Customising for power users is a nightmare, and the extra security Microsoft has added to protect the OS throws up roadblocks all over the place. There are three versions of Explorer and SkyDrive. The Modern UI and the traditional desktop UI give it a dual personality. I find the colours garish and the live tiles annoying. The App Store is a joke. The desktop is pretty good though, other than the lack of a Start button.

I would say that Microsoft are heading in the right direction though, with Surface and the touch interface. So we'll look forward to the next release.
People don't like change. Period. But if you are going to upgrade, AND you are aware of the compatibility issues, I would upgrade to Windows 8 unless you plan to wait for the next OS. To upgrade hundreds of computers to an older OS does not make sense to me.

Windows 8 is the same as Windows 7 with additional features. Windows 8 is THE OS Microsoft set out to create so long ago. Microsoft wants users to start searching for what they want instead of point and click. That's what the future holds and it is time for us all to move forward. Upgrading to an older OS will only keep people behind and out dated, working with an old Operating System.

> Big issue for 8 is the start button which dissapeared
If that's a BIG issue, then your users are surely not ready for win8, they are not even ready for computing. [And no, it has not disappeared but is set to auto-hide]
I hope that did not sound too mean, but the whole endless talk about this teenie-weeny start button and "8 being the next vista" goes on my nerves and is simply ridiculous.

What really has to be taken into account if you already have vista is, that you can migrate directly to 7 but not directly to 8. Going to 7, you would not have to reinstall your programs and settings and everything. To 8, you would.
Of course, now comes in the next attack fleet of people being soo experienced with mass-OS-migrations who will tell you that "clean installs are by far superior to upgrade installs" and all that crap. Those mostly have no idea what they are talking about, seriously.

Apart from that: why ask others? Why not try it, and work on a migration strategy yourself? Because this won't be your last migration. And if you have done one, you will see that it's always the same, no matter if the next would be to win9 or win10. Half of the answers here are ... no, I'll shut my big mouth now.
janhoedtAuthor Commented:
[And no, it has not disappeared but is set to auto-hide]
! How to unhide then (instead of using those 3rd party apps)!
Why unhide? What's the point of it being visible all the time? Press winkey like in vista/7 to access it easily.
I spend soo long in desktop mode I forget that there is a new interface.
I have my main apps pinned to the taskbar - just like in 7, and some others on the desktop, and for anything else the search in win8 is so fast and simple it finds the other apps much quicker than any start menu or cluttered desktop.

I have a touch laptop and I like being able to touch and swipe, but I also use the mouse and have a desktop with only a mouse and I can do everything with touch or mouse.

When I sell win8, the first thing I get the user to get from the store is a windows 8 training app and another on hot keys, and I show them about 4 things and then they love it.

Also love picture password as an option on touch machines even on domains, and synchronising of settings such as desktop favourites and home pages,

I don't like not being able to preconfigure metro apps without setting up a Microsoft account for the user.
QlemoBatchelor, Developer and EE Topic AdvisorCommented:
Yes, that is another point against W8. Like on Android, you need a public account to get apps. Which are, btw, usually horribly crippled compared to the "real" stuff they are intended to replace, and we are used to do our tasks with. But in most cases we have the choice to still use the installed application. Apps belong onto Internet centered devices, not on work machines. (I know MS thinks different, but will fail for sure.)

The W8 search does not search for applications, AFAIK. I have to admit I had no time to check that yet, though, so I might be wrong.

The basic point is: With W7, you will not have to be prepared for "how do I get to XYZ", as the folks will know that already. With W8 you will need some training and experience yourself, plus spend time for training others. Luckily or sadly there is nothing like "If you want to do X, you can't use W8" or something, unless you have very special needs.
"The W8 search does not search for applications, AFAIK. I have to admit I had no time to check that yet, though, so I might be wrong"
You are. It does search for applications just like win7.
"The basic point is: With W7, you will not have to be prepared for "how do I get to XYZ", as the folks will know that already. With W8 you will need some training and experience yourself, plus spend time for training others."
Agreed, it will take more adjustment time to go from Vista to 8 than to 7.
"Luckily or sadly there is nothing like "If you want to do X, you can't use W8" or something, unless you have very special needs"
I agree. And this brings me back to janhoedt's question "what extra features does it add...?"
It adds as any windows version added some to its predecessor, but will you need those? You did not say what editions they plan to buy, so giving advice on this is rather hard. If we compared the 7pro to 8 pro, then 8pro features Bitlocker and languagepack support as added value as well as Hyper-V virtualization and some others.
Jackie ManCommented:
To me, Windows 8 is already a failure when you compare the adoption of Win 8 with iOS or Android tablets.

Win 8 is just a marketing strategy to capture the rising needs of tablet computers since the introduction of the successful iPad.

Essentially, MS wants to catch up what they miss for not taking the apps store approach and has developed a OS which is similar to what Apple has done so far.

However, it is just an imitation strategy, not an innovation strategy and MS has forgotten their mass base of users in the enterprises who has been used to windows for more than two decades.

If I were the user, I will choose Windows 7 instead of Windows 8 unless I got money to spend on new hardware and accessories.

If I were the IT support / consultant, I will choose Windows 8 without hesitation as Windows 8 is more sophisticated in term if the lines of code and there will be more problems from integration with other devices, applications... and which in turn, gives me more jobs to do.

If I were the company financing the upgrades, I will think about whether the upgrades can bring ROI to the corporation such as reducing the costs of support, maintenance and increasing productivity of the staff. MS needs to put forward cases of different scenarios in order to convince me that it is sensible to do so.

In your situation, "who is you" is the main question which leads to different answers. If you are the IT support / consultant, go ahead for windows 8. If not, think twice before act.
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