Federal agencies expected to make broad move to Windows 7

Survey of federal IT managers point to wide adoption after largely passing on Windows Vista

A new survey suggests federal information technology managers expect to adopt Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system more broadly and more quickly than they did with Microsoft’s Vista OS.

According to a subset of 205 federal managers who are familiar with their agency's plans, about half expected their agencies to migrate to Windows 7 in the next six to 12 months, according to a survey performed by Dell. Another 37 percent said they their agencies would likely make the move a year or more from now.

The main reasons driving the move, according to those familiar with their agency’s plans are:

  • About 40 percent cited a planned operating system upgrade “for business improvement.”
  • Nearly one-quarter said it was because of new features and functionality.
  • And about 20 percent said it was related to a planned hardware refresh.

However, the expectations are shaped in part by the fact that many agencies opted not to migrate from Microsoft Windows XP operating system to Vista after it was introduced in January 2007.

Roughly three out of four federal managers in the Dell survey said their agencies had not migrated from Microsoft Windows XP to Microsoft Vista.

With a significant number of aging Windows XP-based PCs expected to be retired in the coming year, the arrival of Windows 7 comes at an opportune time.

“We will undoubtedly see consumers migrate first, then the private sector. Budget cycles and approvals will likely force the public sector to lag a bit,” Troy West, vice president and general manager of Dell Federal, said in a blog posting on Dell’s Inside Enterprise IT site.

Overall, responses indicate that several factors could impact Windows 7 adoption in the Federal sector, West noted:

  • First, the need for management approval and time associated with adhering to proper procedures;
  • Second, the need to align with equipment upgrades and network infrastructure needs; and
  • Finally, the need to consider additional upgrades, such as power savings and software optimization.

West said Federal agencies should expect noticeable improvements in performance using Windows 7, compared to Windows XP, based on Dell’s work with Microsoft in preparation for the new operating system. That work resulted in the development of a Technology Adoption Program for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, West noted.

“We've found that laptops running Windows 7 last up to 85 percent longer and boot up 29 percent faster than the last generation of systems running Windows XP,” West said.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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