Windows Vista's left such a bad taste in the mouth it's become one reason most organizations won't be moving to Windows 7 next year.
A poll of 1,100 Windows customers has found 84 per cent won't be adopting the successor to Windows Vista during the next twelve months.
The survey of IT and management staff by systems management specialist Kace also found three quarters will stick with Windows XP during the next year rather than move to Windows Vista as a stepping stone on to Windows 7 - expected this year.
One reason companies won't move to Windows 7 is concern among businesses that their favorite software and hardware won't be compatible with the new operating system.
Software and hardware compatibility and user training were the top reasons in delaying the move to Windows 7, while stability, performance and security were further down the list.
That, in part, is good news because it means a return to normal adoption: businesses typically delay rolling out the latest version of Windows by at least a year and half so software and hardware compatibility can catch up, and so they can do their own tests.
Kace vice president of marketing Wynn White told The Reg the respondents have also been put off moving because Windows Vista had left a bad taste in their mouths. Poor performance and compatibility were cited for the bad feelings on Windows Vista.
That's storing up difficulties for the customers and for Microsoft.
Eighty three per cent of organizations said they would jump straight from Windows XP to Windows 7. Bearing in mind the difference in architectures between Windows XP and Windows Vista and similarities between Windows Vista and Windows 7, that's going to mean a full-blown migration instead of a version upgrade.
"The people who do the survey are tech savvy, and know the ramifications," White said.
For Microsoft, Windows Vista's opened the door to alternative operating systems.
This year's Kace survey - the third - found half considering an alternative to Windows, the largest ever proportion and up from 42 per cent and 44 per cent in the last two years' polls. The number who actually made the switch hit 14 per cent, up from nine and 11 per cent
Macs, meanwhile, are emerging as an alternative and establishing a firm presence in mainstream businesses outside the traditional niche of design shops or departments. More than 10 per cent of systems inside businesses are Macs thanks to what Kace called the consumerization of IT. That's thanks to a large number of IT people graduating from college having used a Mac and bringing their skills and experience into the workplace.
Kace also noted an apparent upsurge in use of Ubuntu at the possible expense of Red Hat and SuSE Linux. ®