With Windows 7 in the wings, on-demand tech support firm iYogi is expanding its staff to accommodate an anticipated run on its services, especially from those moving off XP.
The firm, which offers remote technical support to consumers and small businesses, has increased its staff by more than 200 people. The company, which has 90,000 users around the globe, says it is anticipating that XP users will have the most trouble and the most questions.
Users moving from XP to Windows 7 who don't plan on upgrading their PC will have to do a clean install, while users migrating from Vista can simply install the new OS over the old one.
The company said an internal survey with 1,000 XP and Vista users showed that 52% believe they will have issues moving to a new operating system, while 47% said they think a move to Windows 7 will require a call to technical support.
Those numbers are reflected in Microsoft's own guidance that warns that some power users of XP could face up to a five-hour migration in order to install Windows 7.
Those estimations grow out of the fact that XP users who upgrade their machines to Windows 7 instead of buying a new PC will have to re-install applications, device drivers and other software they may have downloaded. In addition, those users will have to recreate custom configurations.
Some of the burden will be removed with Windows 7 Easy Transfer, which lets users retain user accounts, program settings, documents, music, pictures, email, and favorites settings. But even with that technology, XP users won't get a simple click-to-install button.
Officials at iYogi are anticipating twice as many calls from XP users as Vista users.
"The application migration is what is going to take time and is a bigger challenge than the data migration," says Vishal Dhar, co-founder and president of iYogi. "What we are doing from our side is looking at technology, how we can enable that through technology, we are testing now how we can make that whole thing streamlined."
Dhar predicts that the explosion in migration needs will be spread over the next 18 months after Windows 7 hits the market on Oct. 22.
iYogi offers users a $140 (£85) yearly subscription for unlimited tech support calls. The service is offered as an alternative to Microsoft support.
The company has 1,000 technical support people, up from 32 just more than two years ago.
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