IT organizations, as well as the managed service providers (MSPs) that support them, are now in a race against time, as Microsoft prepares to end free support for Windows 7. Microsoft expects to stop delivering security updates for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. A survey of 450 IT professionals conducted by Adaptiva, provider of endpoint management and security tools, finds that 22 percent of respondents still expect to be running Windows 7 beyond January anyway.

That survey, however, also indicates that many respondents might be engaging in some wishful Windows 10 migration thinking. The survey finds that only 22 percent of respondents have completely migrated to Windows 10. Well over a third (38 percent) still need to migrate more than half their systems, while 21 percent say they still need to migrate 20 to 50 percent of their systems.

Migration fears start to surface

Despite those timelines, however, over three quarters (78 percent) say they expect to have migrated 100 percent of their systems by January of 2020. More than half (56 percent) said it will take them anywhere from seven months to over a year to migrate to Windows 10, which would put many of them beyond the January 14th deadline.

That bodes well for IT services providers because many of these organizations will be relying on external expertise to meet that goal. It also suggests that MSPs might be asked by many more to help support Windows 7 beyond January of 2020. The unfortunate truth is that many of those MSPs might not have the internal capacity needed to meet all the demand.

Right now, only four percent of survey respondents admit that they don’t have the resources to accomplish that goal. Another 28 percent say there are stretched thin, while 38 percent said they are currently in good shape, but struggling to keep up. Only 31 percent said they were in an excellent position to complete the Windows 10 migration.

MSPs can ease tensions of moving to Windows 10

Despite all the benefits of Windows 10, 89 percent of respondents said the primary reason they are now finally making this shift, four years after the launch date of Windows 10, is that Microsoft is pulling free support. Just under three quarters (72 percent) also cited the security features in Windows 10 as a reason to make the move as well. However, the next most appealing Windows 10 feature of for survey respondents was the Universal Applications capability cited by only 21 percent of respondents, followed by the touch interface at 11 percent. 

Microsoft did not create enough clamor for Windows 10 among end users to force IT organizations to accelerate their migration plans. In fact, without the threat of starting to lose support, chances are high a lot more instances of Windows 7 would be running well into the next decade.

MSPs will need to decide if continuing to support customers running Windows 7 after the deadline is worth the trouble. Security issues that will inevitably arise often have an adverse financial impact on the MSPs asked to clean up the mess. In the meantime, MSPs have a vested interest in offering Windows 10 migration services to organizations that are clearly going to have a difficult time meeting a January 14th deadline.

The best thing about offering those services is that once an MSP helps an organization successfully accomplish that task, there’s usually no end of other potential opportunities for MSPs to make themselves of further use.

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

One Comment

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    Excellent article and helpful insight into what companies are doing (or not doing) about the inevitable conversion to Windows 10. As an MSP, we’re working hard to get our clients moved over sooner…rather than later.

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