For the admittedly limited number of Microsoft Vista fans out there, your time is running out. Microsoft plans to retire mainstream support for the much-maligned operating system this week as well as for Office 2007.
Microsoft said it would offer extended support for both systems until 2017, but is making the effort to get users to buy Windows 7. The next version of the company's operating system, Windows 8, will likely be released in October of this year.
Microsoft's Stella Chernyak also reminded users that on April 8, 2014, Microsoft will also officially end support for the even older Windows XP--first launched in 2001--and Office 2003.
"Windows XP and Office 2003 were great software releases for their time, but the technology environment has shifted. Technology continues to evolve and so do people's needs and expectations. Modern users demand technologies that fit their personal work style and allow them to stay productive anywhere anytime, while businesses have an ever increasing need to protect data and ensure security, compliance and manageability," she wrote.
It is in a company's--and its employees'--best interest to take advantage of the modern Windows and Office software that is designed with these needs in mind.
Chernyak said it s not only important for companies to finish upgrading to new versions before support runs out, but they should also be aware that by upgrading to Windows 7 and Office 2010 today they can gain substantial performance benefits while laying the foundation for future versions of these products.
She also noted that there have been more than 525 million Windows 7 licenses sold since its release. "If you haven t yet already, we do hope that you take this end-of-support countdown as an opportunity to migrate your PCs to Windows 7 and Office 2010 so that your business and employees are more productive and secure," she said.
Microsoft offers its users many tools and resources to help with migration, including the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT), which can be used to help accelerate deployments, and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) products, which include Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) to simplify BitLocker Drive Encryption provisioning.
It also provides compliance reporting that can help IT departments quickly determine the status of the entire organization. In addition, Chernyak pointed out Windows Intune offers PC management and security via the cloud, plus upgrade rights to the latest version of Windows.
Chernyak said Intune is an ideal solution for companies that have groups of lightly managed or non-managed PCs. You can also make the move to Office 365 and get familiar Microsoft Office collaboration and productivity tools delivered through the cloud, she said. "Everyone can work together easily with anywhere access to email, web conferencing, documents and calendars."
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