If your company is considering an upgrade to Windows 7, you’re probably already considering the obstacles in the migration path. A big one is your worries about application compatibility. Whatever the advantages of Microsoft’s new OS — and they are many — there’s no way to make the move if your applications won’t work right.
As a result, your “Migration To-Do List” probably includes “Make sure our vendors can assure us that our third-party applications work perfectly in Windows 7″ and “Test relentlessly to ensure that the custom apps we’ve built require no code changes.” (In the latter case, you should be ready to test that they’ll run with the new default security settings in Windows 7, but that’s another discussion.)
However, I want to ensure that you include a third item on that list: “Find out what web browsers our internal users are running.” Because Windows 7 loads Internet Explorer 8 — and far too many businesses are still running Internet Explorer 6.
Most companies and end-users have dropped IE6, whether to move to another Microsoft browser or to a competitor such as Firefox. But as of December 2009, 10.9% of Internet users still use IE6. That statistic measures only external traffic, however, and excludes software running on Intranets. If your company has stuck with Windows XP and never adopted Windows Vista (a very common scenario), and its IT policies are stringent enough that users aren’t permitted to upgrade ANYthing without the IT department’s permission and support, then you may have a lot of users continuing to use IE6 simply because it’s on their PC. Not to mention developers who had to hard-code software to work “right” on IE6 — and now those apps may break on IE8.
The fixes may not be onerous. But if you haven’t considered the impact of a browser upgrade along with new operating system upgrade, your IT shop may be in for nasty surprises.
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