The Takeaway: Gartner warns against Windows 8.1 deployments now

The Takeaway: Gartner warns against Windows 8.1 deployments now

If your company is planning a Windows 8.1 deployment, or its already begun, you should cancel those plans and wait for Windows 10 to arrive.

That's the not-so-surprising advice from research firm Gartner, which is urging companies still running Windows 7 to skip that OS's successor and move directly to Windows 10. That advice holds true even if the change of plans means additional delays.

Windows 10 will roll out on July 29. And while companies aren't likely to embrace it right away, Windows 8.1's lackluster reputation -- Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans compared it to Windows Vista -- should persuade them to adopt WIndows 10 eventually.

"Windows 8.1 is no longer the right option for new enterprise deployment...," Kleynhans said in a report for clients. In an interview today, he was more blunt: "We've been waiting for the right moment to recommend this, to put a fork in [Windows 8.1]."

Here's more on Gartner's rationale for how companies should proceed:

  • Those that have already begun deploying Windows 8.1 should pull back and plan instead to migrate directly to Windows 10. Since most companies have standardized on Windows 7, skipping past 8.1 shouldn't be a problem.
  • Windows 10 is seen as a better choice for companies because it offers a more enterprise-centric way of handling security and management, offers a better user experience and is tied to a more business-focused app store.
  • Even if companies don't make the jump to Windows 10, they'll need to do something by Jan. 14, 2020, when Windows 7 leaves free security support. Moving to WIndows 8.1 now would get them past that deadline, but at the cost of being locked into an OS seen as troubled at best.

This is not the first time Gartner has told clients to skip a Windows edition: It did much the same when Windows 7 launched five years ago. At the time, it suggested that companies drop plans to deploy Windows Vista in favor of a move to Windows 7.

With reports by Gregg Keizer at Computerworld.

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