ThinkGrid has launched a hosted virtual desktop with the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system.

The release offered Windows XP-based businesses a real alternative to in-house upgrades when support for XP is turned off, ThinkGrid said. The company said it also provides the “full Windows 7 experience” and “greater flexibility around hardware”.

Rob Lovell, CEO at ThinkGrid, said many businesses faced “significant Capex and migration costs” for in-house switchovers to Windows 7. “The Hosted Virtual Desktop route offers businesses an Opex path to Windows 7, and as with the original XP solution, a fully personalised Windows experience.”

The product includes the ability to install any application, as controlled by a company’s own administrator, “because each user has his or her own persistent virtual machine, something no other cloud providers today are able to offer”, ThinkGrid said.

The service offers real-time resource management, group management and active directory. Businesses no longer have to perform manual upgrades across all machines, which will save time and resources. ThinkGrid Hosted Virtual Desktops with Windows 7 can be accessed from a range of clients including the Apple iPad.

It is also the full version of Windows 7, as opposed to a slimmed down version available in Microsoft’s own Office 365 cloud offering, Lovell said.

ThinkGrid said there was “no minimum number of seats” for clients, and no Microsoft licenses or additional hardware required.

ThinkGrid’s software is based on a range of systems, including VMware, Microsoft and in-house code.