Lenovo ditches Windows 8 for 7 for the enterprise

Lenovo is one of the stable powerhouses in the PC market, catering well for both enterprise customers and consumers. Just how well are they catering for the enterprise? Well as it turns out, rather than subjecting customers to the difficulty of learning a new operating system (Windows 8, that is), Lenovo is shipping Windows 7 on new enterprise-designated orders as they recognize the official Windows 8-to-7 downgrade can be tricky.

There's nothing better than trusty old Windows 7, according to Lenovo

If you do happen to want Windows 8 on your enterprise machine, you'll have to install it through the discreetly bundled Windows 8 disc, which even includes software that brings back the Start menu if you so choose to install it. Lenovo's strategy seems to be doing quite well so far, as they continue to report growth each quarter, although it's not a good sign for the uptake of Windows 8.

That said, Lenovo's choice to downgrade machines to Windows 7 by default is probably saving businesses a large amount of time, as many companies would be unwilling to deploy a new operating system this early into its life cycle, and would simply downgrade to Windows 7 anyway. UK Lenovo boss did mention to The Register that enterprises were "interested in testing Windows 8-powered touchscreen devices in-house", but wouldn't elaborate on the ratio of Windows 7 to Windows 8 device shipments.

Source: The Register | Thanks for the tip, Mikee4fun!

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I must admit to having no experience in the enterprise sector, but as a private user, I really don't get the windows 8 hate. True, in no way is it worth an upgrade from windows 7, but I bought a new laptop with in pre-installed, and it just takes a few days to get used to. Using winkey then searching is effectively the same as in Win7 - in fact my workflow is quicker now, not because of any fancy new features, but because it's easier to stick with the keyboard over the mouse. Yes, it's kinda a slightly pointless upgrade, but it's no worse than Windows 7 in my opinion.

"There's nothing better than trusty old Windows 7, according to Lenovo."

I hate it when people call Windows 7 old..

YAY! I can finally buy a new laptop. Oh wait, this is only for enterprise purchases .... ****!

Why don't I just buy one with Windows 8 and UPGRADE it to Windows 7? Well, because I don't want it to show up as a "SALE" to Microsoft. Unless I can buy a machine that does not show up as a sale of Windows 8 to Microsoft, I won't buy it. I really didn't want to go the barebones route, but I guess I have no choice.

This would be news if Lenovo were doing this for retail PCs and I would imagine that their Windows tablets which are going to the enterprise will still come with 8.

Extremely EXPECTED move from Lenovo. We're talking enterprise customers here - the trend in enterprises, even when times are good, is to be from conservative to downright CHICKEN. Throw in a sour economy, and the "chicken factor" gets even more pronounced. On top of that, there is that nasty tendency of those that write custom line-of-business software to not just make their software specific to a customer, but specific to a particular operating system - basically putting the BOHICA Factor into play when the customer upgrades. (Said BOHICA gets Rather Painful when you're talking about several hundred desktops - let alone several thousand across a large enterprise.) Enterprises are looking to TRIM expenses - not create new ones, and training is an expense.

Just bought 6 Lenovo PC's and while I appreciated them coming with Windows 7 preinstalled... it was the other preinstalled software that got in the way. They no longer give you a COA sticker with a product key. Instead, you have to use a program to read the SLP key, and to extract the SLIC license file. Then you can do a clean install from media and wipe the drive.

Has anyone actually deployed Windows 8 in a business environment yet ? I have no idea how it would play out, tbh I don't think Windows 8 would fit; I see a lot of training that would be required (for normal users) and I see the work of a normal IT worker increasing ten fold (being bothered with basic questions alone!) I would be curious to know more about proper implementation methods, but that's probably something I should read up about

Guess what happened when companies moved from XP to 7... IT work increased tenfold. Normal users had to go on simple (few hour long -.-) courses to figure out what to do.

I've helped a major company with over 60.000 desktops migrate from XP to 7.... this was 1,5 years ago. I was surprised how many people had never used Win7....
Location per location was upgraded. Each location took a week... Not the upgrading itself, a whole building was done in 1 evening. But it took people 5 days of onsite IT staff walking around to help the users. Where there are usually only 1 or 2 IT onsite in the 3 biggest sites. Now they where 10-15 for each location throughout the country. And even after that week the phone calls kept coming in about every simple stupid thing you can imagine.

This happens every major upgrade.

Oh also add in that cooperation's and businesses usually skip a Windows version between upgrade cycles. So those that moved to Win7 are not likely to move to Win8, and this has absolutely nothing to do with Win8, but with money.

este said,
Has anyone actually deployed Windows 8 in a business environment yet ? I have no idea how it would play out, tbh I don't think Windows 8 would fit; I see a lot of training that would be required (for normal users) and I see the work of a normal IT worker increasing ten fold (being bothered with basic questions alone!) I would be curious to know more about proper implementation methods, but that's probably something I should read up about
Yes. It fit just as well as Win7. User's have had a small learning curve but that's about it. I've even offered StarDock like addons if they found they wanted/needed it after the first week... so far, no requests.

Shadowzz - The only difference this time around is that (at least, IMO) the jump from XP -> 7 is not even halfway bad as 7 -> 8 ... At least 7 LOOKED like XP... Windows 8 (aside from when you're working within the desktop) looks nothing like 7 ... and forget the fact that there is no more start button... explaining things to people will be so much more frustrating then it already is.

este said,
Shadowzz - The only difference this time around is that (at least, IMO) the jump from XP -> 7 is not even halfway bad as 7 -> 8 ... At least 7 LOOKED like XP... Windows 8 (aside from when you're working within the desktop) looks nothing like 7 ... and forget the fact that there is no more start button... explaining things to people will be so much more frustrating then it already is.
Done it, not complicated. The average user could care less. They boot to the Start Menu, hit desktop, and voila it's Windows 7. Show them to move their cursor to the corner for the start menu or hit the start key on their keyboard, lights go on, they start pounding away.

The FUD created by tech-hipsters about Win8 is pretty awesome.

I personally love Windows 8 and I don't mind using it .... I guess it just may be that I have to support... ermm, 'less advanced' users

Trust me, the less advanced they are the easier it is to show them what they need to do.

Windows 8 is my first Sony approach to a computer. The *only* thing I've had to show someone how to do was pin to taskbar, right click, pin. Light bulbs go off, and I don't hear from them again.

If they start using metro stuff that's generally simple enough they need no training wheels.

What a load of rubbish, most enterprise laptops are reinstalled using Ghost, MDT, System Centre, or like software.

So even if laptops come preinstalled with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 9, MSDOS, Linux it will not matter and is far quicker to re-image the whole laptop than install each individual bit of software, you also remove 100% of the cr*pware that all manufactures put on new PC's

o0MattE0o said,
What a load of rubbish, most enterprise laptops are reinstalled using Ghost, MDT, System Centre, or like software.

So even if laptops come preinstalled with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 9, MSDOS, Linux it will not matter and is far quicker to re-image the whole laptop than install each individual bit of software, you also remove 100% of the cr*pware that all manufactures put on new PC's

So why would Lenovo go through the trouble of installing 7 on then when 8 is cheaper?

This is not bad news people, they are not ditching 8 because of the reasons you all hate it for. As people have stated above, this happens with every version of Windows, they spent a lot of money deploying 7 and are sticking with it until they can move to 8.

I am not really sure what someone would need to learn about Windows 8. The start menu is now the start screen. Like Charlie Sheen would say, "Boom!". If a person cannot grasp the concept then I really would question their education level. I am not saying they have to like it but they definitely should not have a problem using Windows 8.

They better not come out with flying cars because their are too many stupid people in this world. lol

We're moving our users over to Windows 7 at the moment. The number of times I've had to ask them what colour the taskbar is (because they can't tell me if they are on Windows XP or Windows 7) or I've had to explain what the Windows key is...basically, do not underestimate the stupidity of the user. It might be simple for you to grasp, but I could guarantee you that my work would at least triple if we tried doing it here.

I never really thought it was that bad. I had assumed that if a person's job required them to work on a computer that they would be good at it. Companies could save so much money if they would train people to use a computer or actually hired people who really knew how to use a computer. I am talking about the basics like how to find your way around, create and open a file, stuff like that. I learned these concepts in elementary school twenty years ago. I wonder why a large majority of people do not know the basic concepts of a computer. Oh well. Hopefully these people are not running the computer that controls a nuclear power plant.

I believe I am partly responsible for that. If I didn't work in IT, if there was no IT department to help the users then they would probably learn things quicker. However because of my position, if something doesn't work right on the work machine they don't bother to investigate the issue, they just come straight to me. I kid you not, someone came to the helpdesk because they couldn't find an application the other day. I pointed out that the application was installed, and they asked me to make it visible for them. Someone came to my helpdesk to ask me to create a shortcut on the desktop...

Intrinsica said,
...basically, do not underestimate the stupidity of the user.

Not to seems brash or anything but this is 100% true. It's amazing what people will sometimes ask me in a regular days work.

Haha Instrinsica, unfortunally that is so true.
I don't ask color of task bar, somehow they manage sometimes to get classic or silver on XP. Basic on Windows vista/7. I simply ask 'what does your start button look like' to bad the 'what start button?' > autopressume OSX doesn't work anymore
Some companies use chrome or firefox for a specific webapp. They don't call the browser chrome or firefox, they will give it the name of the application.
There are often a few on the work floor that are somewhat technically capable. When I figure out who they are (takes some time sometimes) I will explain them more then the rest, so they in turn can help others with the simple things

Worst are those that think they are technically capable yet do not really have a clue what they're doing.

Some people says that it is easy to use windows 8, and some even show the same case, where a small kid is able to use windows 8. However, it is not true, Windows 8 features 2 interface, it means x2 the difficulty for adapt. For enterprise level, it is a real issues.

One of those interfaces is the Desktop UI, and that's been around for ages. Haven't people had time to adapt?
That just leaves Metro (sue me MS - ehem, maybe not- , I'm still going to call it Metro). So no, it's not twice as hard to adapt.

Considering that OEM's have done this for every Windows release I can remember, how is it news?

It's happened with Windows 8, with Windows 7, with Windows Vista, with Windows XP... Oh hell, it happened between versions of DOS!

The only platform I'm not familiar with it happening on commercially is Mac OS, but that's because Apple mostly turns a blind eye to everything they consider outdated. In Apple's case it's always up to the business to handle downgrades assuming the newer hardware can be supported by that older OS.

This is not news and the person who wrote it is uninformed. I don't know one enterprise that would use the provided image on a PC or the disk that it is supplied with!! Regardless of Windows 7 or Windows 8, enterprises will reimage new PCs on arrival. There is no time saving and NO enterprises perform a downgrade process. They image, image, image. This is not newsworthy.

But...I thought Windows 8 worked great on all environments?

While I agree with the decision, it wouldn't save me any time at work. We have our own image of Windows 7 that we need to put on all machines when we get them, so whether they come with Windows XP, 7 or 8 we need to stage them.

well... this is basic economics I guess....
For new (non touchy) laptops and pc's for the enterprise, W7 will be there for a long time.
For the tablet and touchy laptops, W8 is the only logical choice.

So... nothing spectacular, just plain and solid thinking.....

Lenovo's own. It's pretty miserable. Think back to all the really lame options to add a start menu to Windows 3.x after Windows 95 came out. Now imagine it had a little too much drink and knocked up a bunch of old XP themes. Now imagine those babies grew up around lots of lead paint. Now imagine those babies met each other and made more babies together.

You're just a few more generations of crumbling DNA away from what Lenovo is calling a start menu.

Joshie said,
Lenovo's own. It's pretty miserable. Think back to all the really lame options to add a start menu to Windows 3.x after Windows 95 came out. Now imagine it had a little too much drink and knocked up a bunch of old XP themes. Now imagine those babies grew up around lots of lead paint. Now imagine those babies met each other and made more babies together.

You're just a few more generations of crumbling DNA away from what Lenovo is calling a start menu.

That is an amazing analogy.

osm0sis said,
So two licenses for the price of one?

Highly unlikely. As I understand, Microsoft allows OEM's to express the purchasers downgrade rights “for a limited period of time” after new editions of Windows are released. These systems are most likely licensed for Windows 8, and downgrade rights for 7 are being used.

This means two OS options, but only one OS license is actually being shipped here. OEM's have done this for every new version of Windows that I really remember. It's nothing special or unusual for an OEM to do this on behalf of their customers.

The cost for Lenovo is pennies per sale, but chances are the cost to the customer will be much higher ($10-$30 range). My experience with OEM vendors makes me say that anyone buying a system that is using downgrade rights automatically, must make sure they receive the media for both the old and new versions of Windows as close to the time of purchase as possible. Otherwise, the OEM will almost definitely charge a lot more money than they should a year or more later should the media be desired.

Just so I'm clear, I have no purchase history with Lenovo at this time, so I have no idea how they operate in these regards. When it comes to OEM's in general in this situation, I woulden't trust any of them to behave honorably when it comes to the media sets.

Fair enough really, if they want to upgrade its there for them and many enterprise laptops are already running Windows 7. Having to support more than one OS can be ca complete nightmare so they would probably rather upgrade (if at all) all at once.

ingramator said,
Having to support more than one OS can be ca complete nightmare so they would probably rather upgrade (if at all) all at once.

The same can be said for supporting multiple builds of the same variant of Windows, which is why this change only matters for individuals or small business who lack dedicated IT resources.

Businesses that have an enterprise level of employees/devices have an IT & helpdesk support structure. Most of these businesses don't use the OS or partition scheme that ships from an OEM. These companies replace the OEM image with their own build. Generally the only thing an Enterprise might do with the OEM image is make a backup of it per-device model type so they can restore the OEM image when they dispose of dated devices.

Then if the place is actually a shop that has a moderate Microsoft presence, chances are they have a Microsoft Agreement and use Windows Enterprise, which you will not encountered pre-installed on any OEM system. In this case, they normally buy machines with the cheapest version of Windows (home edition) and use their Microsoft Agreements upgrade rights to deploy Windows Enterprise.

Fully agree with Kaedrin, for large enterprises there is no time-saving factor. They have their own image deployment service and at most would take a capture image of one new model for reference (usually this is also not required, as Lenovo often has the DVD's included for this). After that they simply add the new models reference drivers to their image and they'll immediately blast it with their image.

Odom said,
Fully agree with Kaedrin, for large enterprises there is no time-saving factor. They have their own image deployment service and at most would take a capture image of one new model for reference (usually this is also not required, as Lenovo often has the DVD's included for this). After that they simply add the new models reference drivers to their image and they'll immediately blast it with their image.

Yeah no saving for large enterprise as they have their own images but small-medium business it could help albeit very little.

ingramator said,

but small-medium business it could help albeit very little.

Actually, for the small business with no IT staff, and possibly no technically inclined staff at all, these moves can save quite a lot. The end user in these cases may barely understand anything about operating a computer.

It is far easier for a neophyte to upgrade than it is to downgrade, and in tiny shops you have to expect to encounter people who are afraid to even use mice and need complete hand holding to survive any technical process. In these cases, the customers are likely paying the OEM to walk an end user through the process of reinstalling Windows.

In larger enterprises, you expend resources to train people. In small business, say less than 10 people, training probably never exists, and any form of change is highly disruptive. In really small shops, I've encountered owners who are barely willing to pay for any form of computer support, and they'll stick to what's old as long as they can get away with it. Some owners would rather personally die than pay for support.

One more nail in the Windows 8 coffin. Microsoft needs to change things fast, before Windows 7 becomes obsolete since Windows 8 is doing "great".

Yogurth said,
One more nail in the Windows 8 coffin. Microsoft needs to change things fast, before Windows 7 becomes obsolete since Windows 8 is doing "great".

Because enterprise already upgraded to Windows 8... oh wait.

OEM's sold enterprise laptops with Windows XP in vista times, Windows Vista in 7 times. Cause enterprises don't upgrade as often as home users.
No nail to the coffin. Just normal.

We have no plans to move to Windows 8. Most people in the industry I have talked to say the same thing. I am sure some will, but most are waiting for the next version. Waiting helps in a number of ways. If most users have already used Windows 8 outside of work, then they will freak out less when they see it in the office. Also, the next version will hopefully have some interface tweaks to address some of the concerns people have with the system now.

Lenovo's strategy seems to be doing quite well so far, as they continue to report growth each quarter

as predicted, pre-installed Windows 8 actually inhibit new PC sales.

If I was buying a new laptop now, I'd want one of these Lenovo's with Windows 7 installed. They should offer it to consumers too

Torolol said,

as predicted, pre-installed Windows 8 actually inhibit new PC sales.

Oh yea no comments from the people saying Windows 8 is a superior OS and all the tech companies will upgrade to it. Well word from the #1 PC manufacturer shows otherwise.

Not really, this story is not really a factual account of what enterprises do. This so called news is irrelevant since no enterprises even bother with factory supplied OS builds or the CDs that are provided with them. The reimage the PCs as soon as they arrive with whatever they are already using, be it 7, 8 or anything else for that matter.

If you think enterprises use whatever ships with the system, you are deluded. If the buyer has standardized on XP, they might even downgrade 7 to XP.

onionjuice said,

Oh yea no comments from the people saying Windows 8 is a superior OS and all the tech companies will upgrade to it. Well word from the #1 PC manufacturer shows otherwise.

My company (a multinational) will take 1-2 years to move to any new OS - and like others have said relies on a corporate image to be generated from our own internal IT. It's hard enough to test and validate an OS for customer shipments let alone desktops which are require to support a myriad of software and internal IT structures.
Sensationalist bullcrap.

DukeWars said,
Not really, this story is not really a factual account of what enterprises do. This so called news is irrelevant since no enterprises even bother with factory supplied OS builds or the CDs that are provided with them. The reimage the PCs as soon as they arrive with whatever they are already using, be it 7, 8 or anything else for that matter.

Lenovo caters to the enterprise market. As a result, the IT department can supply Lenovo with the image to load onto the computers in the factory. Allowing them to pull them out of the box and immediately use them.

LogicalApex said,

Lenovo caters to the enterprise market. As a result, the IT department can supply Lenovo with the image to load onto the computers in the factory. Allowing them to pull them out of the box and immediately use them.

Yes, many sells offer imaging direct services. We use the same thing from Dell. Still, not relivent to the conversation because that is still a custom image, doesn't really matter if it is loaded before or after it goes into the box.