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Windows 10 enterprise adoption faces legacy app roadblocks

Windows 10 turns two this month, but most organizations forgo its security enhancements and stick with Windows 7 because of legacy app incompatibility or resistance to change.

Two years since its release, Windows 10 still isn't close to catching up to Windows 7 in terms of enterprise adoption.

The most common reason many organizations are holding off on Windows 10 enterprise adoption is because they rely on legacy applications that still don't support the operating system. Other organizations resist migration because what they currently have still works.

United Bank in Parkersburg, W.Va., uses a third-party software provider for its applications that manage customer bank accounts, mortgages and loans. These applications still do not support Windows 10, which has kept the bank from migrating. 

"People have to update their software if they want to remain competitive," said Willem Bagchus, messaging and collaboration specialist at United Bank. "We want to do this as soon as possible because we want to remain current and have all the available tools."

Bagchus hopes the software provider will support Windows 10 in the coming year, and the bank plans to begin its OS migration immediately after, he said.

"Investment in legacy applications is typically a roadblock, and we are certainly seeing a lot of that," said Doug Grosfield, president and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, a consultancy in Kitchener, Ont.

Although Windows 10 is free for consumers, and there was a free promotional offer for businesses in the first year, its share is still nearly half of Windows 7's. In June, 49% of all desktop PCs -- both consumer and enterprise -- ran Windows 7, and 26.8% ran Windows 10, according to NetMarketShare. Enterprise typically sees slower growth when a new OS rolls out, and Windows 10 is no different, which means most of Windows 10's market share comes from consumers.

There are over 500 million devices running Windows 10 today, Microsoft said, but the company did not break out use among businesses and consumers.

Reasons behind slow Windows 10 enterprise adoption 

While some organizations can't migrate to Windows 10 because of app compatibility problems, others purposefully hold off on migrating for as long as they can.

"There is a hesitance from companies to be an early adopter and live on the cutting edge," Grosfield said.

Some of these organizations stay complacent with their current OS and applications and won't update until their hardware refresh cycles are up. These cycles commonly ranges from three to five years, but some IT departments stretch them even longer to get more of a return on their investments.

There is a hesitance from companies to be an early adopter and live on the cutting edge.
Doug Grosfieldpresident and CEO, Five Nines IT Solutions

Many organizations that don't want to upgrade their OS point to widely reported errors that occur with Windows 10 updates, Grosfield said.

When the Anniversary Update came out in August 2016, there were problems with it not recognizing third-party antivirus and VPN client software, and users had to reinstall the operating system for it to work. VPN client software issues occurred again with the April release of the Creators Update.

"That's more validation in the minds of some people that they made the right decision to stick with Windows 7," Grosfield said. "The Anniversary Update and Creators Update have both broken a lot of things in my experience. You end up with a lot of support calls because of these large cumulative updates."

Organizations also point to Windows 10 automatic updates occurring at inconvenient times as a reason to avoid the OS, Grosfield said. Microsoft has tried to remedy this problem with its Active Hours feature, which lets IT and users set customizable time slots during which updates can take place.

Security: The key to Windows 10 enterprise adoption

The biggest reason organizations should adopt Windows 10 is to improve security, said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of research firm Moor Insights & Strategy in Austin, Texas. Many IT professionals are concerned about the numerous security threats they face today but won't take the steps necessary to protect their PCs, he said.

Windows 10 included a slew of security features when it was first released. Windows Hello allows users to sign in with biometrics such as facial recognition software. Device Guard allows IT to lock down devices by only running applications that IT approves. While this is one way of blacklisting apps that aren't work related, its main purpose is to prevent attackers from running malicious code.

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will arrive in September with new security features as well, including Windows Defender Application Guard and machine learning features in Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). Application Guard runs the Microsoft Edge browser in a virtual machine to separate it and any web-based malware it runs into from the rest of the OS. The new ATP machine learning capabilities allow organizations to automatically detect and flag abnormal user activity.

"The hottest thing in security right now is using machine learning," Moorhead said. "It either predicts things before they happen or quickly realizes you're under attack or at risk."

Next Steps

Is a Windows 10 upgrade the right choice?

Quiz: Windows 10 performance issues to know

How to avoid a Windows 10 migration

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Why do you think Windows 10 is not adopted into every business?
Because Microsoft is clearly demonstrating its inability to deliver a reliable product and, even more, demonstrating its inability to fix and maintain it.

Microsoft's policy of releasing new features while leaving old errors uncorrected shows a complete disregard of Quality Assurance.

For business, reliability is vital. Windows 10 does not have it.
"...or resistance to change." is an observation of an organization's behavior, not a reason why organizations don't upgrade to Windows 10.

Reasons why a business would be resistant to change would be
- they don't want the telemetry/spyware installed on their systems and is still reported to be operating which is not what Microsoft has previously stated.
- they want to maintain productivity.  The user interface is not maximized for performance on a desktop system and is less efficient to use than Windows 7 systems.  Anyone who has used a system which was designed to run on a tablet knows how inefficient this interface is for the desktop environment.  Typically, it takes 30-50% longer to do any task (because of the simplistic interface and the depth of the interfaces that has to be traveled to reach the same complexity).
- they want to avoid issues with system upgrades.
- they want worker satisfaction to be maintained.
- they want technology that is designed to maximize the productivity of their businesses, not technology which maximizes the profits and control of technology by Microsoft.
- take a look at the new Google News interface.  Designed for a tablet or portable device and now the desktop systems are getting half the information relating to news on each window.  A tablet interface is moronic for a desktop system.
RU77, Well said.  Dell put me on Windows 10 as a guinea pig in my shop.  My critical applications don't work now and nobody knows how to fix it.  MS and Bing and Cortana are constantly interrupting with irrelevant questions and suggestions and non-optional restarts.  Since I have not yet done any real work with Windows 10, how can its machine learning possibly know what I want to do? 
In addition to the inability to run critical applications, Microsoft seems not to have taken lessons from history. Deploying such a product should not come with the following:
1) Upgrades/updates hanging or freezing right in the middle of installation.
2) Inconsiderate hardware requisites (many of which are almost always understated by M$ whenever they send out specifications)!
 i) A typical spec sheet reads in part:
  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster.
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
  • Free hard disk space: 16 GB.

Attempts to run M$ edge with 11 tabs on a 64-bit Intel core i3 M370 (2.4 GHz) with 3 GB of RAM sends one straight into an unexpected lack of responsiveness and delays.

 ii) Additionally, M$ has failed to resolve key issues like laptop battery drain while completely powered down.


Microsoft has not done a good job so to speak with Windows 10 deployment, as they did when Windows 7 was introduced to replace Windows XP.

For big Plant and Factory Environment where automation and legacy applications are king, how often do the application change? I think not so much. I still have my performance / testing Lab running on Windows 7.

Windows 10 comes with a laundry list issues, from drivers, to not being able to install the application to start with because of compatibility.

Wait, I wasn't done yet. 

If Microsoft wanted to, they could make "legacy applications" compatible with Windows 10.  

I am told that Win 7 or Win XP can be made to run as some sort of "Virtual OS" within Win 10.  But that is still a costly and uneasy project I am not certain about.   Plus it would be like actual customer service, and they don't want to be caught dead providing anything like that, even for a reasonably low fee, like $100 or something.  

If MSFT wanted to, they could provide a decent configurable interface, but they don't wanna.  They have a trumpoid or trumpolean inability to admit that maybe something was done wrong, or could be done better. 

If MSFT wanted to, they could make things open, transparent, obvious, easy to use, configurable, changeable.  But they prefer to have their "software to be carved in stone", unchangeable like a rock, they like to hide things that work in illogical places, 
to destroy compatibility, and to get rid of capabilities and functions that used to work. If they install an "on-switch", they hide the "off-switch" in the basement.  They lie about telemetry the way Google and Apple do. The forced, unwanted, unexpected upgrade to Win 10 was one of the worst software harassments they committed in recent years. Terrible, insane, disgusting.

They (MSFT) call it progress if something that used to take 4 keystrokes now takes 7 or 9. 

They (MSFT) wrongly use some type of tool that measures the "percentage of people using one or the other function", and then arbitrarily, if less than e.g. 3% or 5% of customers use it, they destroy it or phase it out.  This is a perfect way to annoy more than 70% of your customers, because the various 3% or 5% do not overlap in each case, so by using this method, they will manage, over time, to really piss off a majority of their customers. But they don't know that, or else they don't care about it.

Because if you have 1 billion customers, 3% or 5% of that is still 30 million or 50 million customers.  What reasonable business would want to "PURPOSELY and KNOWINGLY" annoy 50 million customers? And over time, with each wrong move,
they annoy an aggregate total of 700 million customers?  All that flies fully in the face of marketing 101. 

If they had an iota of sense, they would have provided free Youtube videos showing how Win 8 and Win 10 worked, but that must have been too much to ask.  Instead Youtubers provided only videos that showed "how Win 8 & 10 didn't work".  Painfully awkward marketing situation. And then they told us, in so many words, that only "really stupid and backward people" are still
"resistant to change".   Look, if you make it a good change, I am all for it.  But a "terrible and costly change", it's just not going
to happen.   

To fully understand MSFT's inability to change: They still insist on that "compatible 'with the Windows Phone' interface", several years after the Windows Phone died away.   Why?  Doesn't make sense, is ugly, and can't be configured the way I want.  

In 2 and 1/2 years, I will have to make a decision about Windows 7, and I don't see MSFT changing so far.  Apple is too expensive, and shows no interest in compatibility with business software. 

The Linux folks are sort of the odd ultrasmart kids, but not able to compete or deal with marketing, charging a reasonable fee for service, or communicate with a potential customer.  
They can't even answer when one asks them whether Linux is compatible with this or that Windows software, as if it were definitely beneath them to be helpful. They'd rather wrap themselves in a shroud of mystery.  That's not a workable attitude.  

I may have to teach myself Linux, the way I taught myself MSDOS in the 1980's.  Yes, I go way back, and the older you get,
you might agree to see things a little differently.  Answer me in 30 years.

So, it seems there is a definite and sizeable business niche that will no longer be served after 2019.  
Is there any smart & fast moving entrepreneur that can see that, and create a new OS that is compatible with Windows software, maybe Apple, maybe even DOS software, but without any of the underhanded, overbearing and careless crap that MSFT dishes out? 

My resistance to OS updates is also caused by: 1) I don't want to re-install 35 different apps.  A good OS update that would be sufficient for my purposes will install without ruining any previous software, and it will be smart enough, artificially intelligent enough to analyse each installed piece of software, and reconstruct, knit together, puzzle out every piece it needs for its so-called registry. But MSFT is not smart enough for that, or it doesn't care enough for that.

2) Each OS update also makes numerous peripherals, like printers, scanners, copiers, modems, routers, backup systems, phone systems, scientific instruments, musical instruments, etc. incompatible, as if on purpose.  
I will not throw out a perfectly workable item, and I will resist this "destructive innovation" scam as long as possible. When things break, I fix them, until they become unfixable. I will determine that, not you, Mommy Dearest MSFT!