Microsoft ends extended support for Windows XP on 8th April 2014 and companies looking to migrate are likely to be choosing between the Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems.

When making such a decision they will be looking for a smooth migration with as little cost and disruption to productivity as possible. Although many IT directors may be more familiar with Windows 7 than Windows 8 they should be aware that mainstream support for Windows 7 is due to expire on January 13, 2015, less than one year from now.

This support is free and provided to customers with Service Pack 1 installed. Although Microsoft will continue to provide free security fixes for Windows 7 until the end of extended support (January 14 2020) this doesn’t include free incident support, warranty claims or design changes and feature requests and difficulties in these areas could end up being costly. Those enterprises that opt for Windows 8, however, will continue to receive mainstream support until January 9 2018 and extended support until January 10 2023.

The extended support cut-off date for Windows XP was moved out because the product had such a broad market presence but the Windows 7 foothold is smaller, meaning the support cut-off dates are unlikely to be extended.

One of the big difference between Windows 7 and 8 is, of course, that it was developed with the touchscreen in mind, and although some directors may be wedded to an IT infrastructure comprising solely of PCs – most recognise that the workforce is increasingly mobile and touch based. These demands may make Windows 8 a more future-safe option for your business.