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10/27/2011
11:58 AM
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RIP Windows XP: Readers Speak

As Windows XP's end of life date for support looms, IT pros navigate an old Bermuda Triangle of pain.

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Windows transitions can be counted upon to generate harrumphs from IT vets. The training. The costs. The potential to trip up to your career path, by advocating a bad strategy. It's a Bermuda Triangle of potential pain. Now that Microsoft has made it clear that it will not extend the date on which Microsoft XP support ends, tension is rising for some IT shops.

As InformationWeek's Paul McDougall reported on XP's looming retirement, there's "absolutely no chance" that Windows XP's April, 2014 end-of-life date, when Microsoft will end all support, will be extended.

XP turned 10 this week. OSes, though, still have incredible records for lingering. InformationWeek surveyed IT pros on Windows 8 deployment plans this month, and the results came along with some interesting data on your old friend, Windows XP. A full 90% of the respondents to our survey are still running some Windows XP machines in their organizations.

More than half of you who said you're planning an upgrade to Win 8 are doing so from XP.

And 30% of those not upgrading to Windows 8 plan to stick with XP for as long as possible. (This InformationWeek survey involved 973 business technology professionals at organizations with 500 or more employees.)

No wonder then, that this Windows XP support deadline got InformationWeek readers talking with intention.

Nic Oatridge has this comment for McDougall's report: "Microsoft will not support XP because it makes more money by withdrawing a product than keeping it going. The underlying software is perfectly robust--indeed if Microsoft had donated NT into the open source community they could have killed Linux."

ajones320 sees looming dollar signs for his organization: "There is also a concern to cost. Why replace a well working XP with a well working W7 when it brings little to no gain in any area, but costs hundreds of dollars for a new license and potentially more to replace legacy hardware not supported under W7?"

"While important, end of support isn't really the big issue," says InformationWeek contributing editor Jim Rapoza. "As has been pointed out, there are still more than a few companies out there with significant Win 2000 deployments. As in that case, there will be third-party tools available to keep systems patched.

"The real problem is that nothing else will be updated to run on Win XP. Browser makers won't make new versions for XP, AV software won't run and, in general, you'll be stuck running a lot of old, and potentially unsecured, software."

And rmanske53101 points out that our attitude on mobile OSes has become quite different: "I would bet that those commenting here about upgrading a 10 year old OS and Microsoft making money from it are some of those who wait in lines to by the next iPhone or download the next verison of their phones OS the day it comes out. Let's be real and honest, don't we all want better, faster, safer, flashier and yes, a more stable OS for our IT devices?"

How big of a deal is this looming deadline for you? Join the discussion on Windows XP end of life plans.

By the way, if you think Windows XP is scary, consider what's hiding in the really dark, back hallway closets at some companies: Seven percent of respondents to our survey say they're still running some Windows NT, 98, or 95 machines.

Laurianne McLaughlin is editor-in-chief for InformationWeek.com. Follow her on Twitter at @lmclaughlin.

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chuckmcdaniels
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chuckmcdaniels,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/2/2011 | 6:58:50 PM
re: RIP Windows XP: Readers Speak
Having worked in the computer biz for a long while, I have the following observations:
1) Windows XP is certainly not the oldest OS still around (a place I was consulting with last year was still lingering on an old version of zOS, with computer operators still viewing the world through a terminal window. Last I heard, they delayed their plan to move from that old technology, even though I'm sure they are among a very few still clinging to that monolithic architecture.. would it surprise anyone that was a bank that was still so far in the "Dark Ages"?

2) I fully expect that companies will do their best to delay migrating from XP, just because all of their support organizations "know" that platform, and going to a newer OS raises all sorts of unknowns that they just don't want to deal with until they have to. I see a lot of companies waiting to the bitter end in 2014, and we'll see if Microsoft changes their tune (lest companies determine that they can and should consider other alternatives, including Linux or Macs..)..

Should be an interesting ride when that date gets closer!
Guest
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Guest,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/30/2011 | 6:41:44 PM
re: RIP Windows XP: Readers Speak
Maybe this will finally give users the kick they need to drop Microsoft and go Linux, RHEL thin-client for desktop possibly, across the board. There are tons of alternatives to Microsoft out there on the MS Office side as well that are available for zero dollars. Lotus Symphony would be a good enterprise alternative. Lotus 1-2-3 can finally get its revenge on MS Office.
madmod
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madmod,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/28/2011 | 12:21:58 AM
re: RIP Windows XP: Readers Speak
Thinking a bit out of the box: In the future, we're all going to need 2 computers instead of 1. One of them will be with the newest Windows version available and with all the software a user or business needs with that environment. (accounting software, special imaging software, etc.) The second computer will have a late long-term-release Linux version such as Ubuntu with VirtualBox or VMware installed so that Windows XP and its legacy software critical to a user or business can still be used long after support from Microsoft ends. The Linux computer will also securely allow for e-mail, banking, document transfers and safe web browsing. This solution isn't cheap but it's the best fix I can think of for businesses, libraries, hospitals, police departments, etc. with huge numbers of Windows XP computers that are mission-critical.
Leo Regulus
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Leo Regulus,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/27/2011 | 7:59:52 PM
re: RIP Windows XP: Readers Speak
Did I say this here before? All of my XP units have Linux (dual-boot capable) on a separate partition. Also, some Win 7's and my Win 8 sandbox unit. MS's apparent policy - business model - of obsoleting products under their clients feet has the potential of further reducing their client base. This model doesn't seem to have to worked out so well for 'Detroit - type industries'.
sonicmetalman
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sonicmetalman,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/27/2011 | 6:15:50 PM
re: RIP Windows XP: Readers Speak
About the "scary" comment at the end of the story, are you kidding me? I know of a Fortune 100 company that still uses Windows 3.1 in a testing environment. My employer uses DOS 6.2 in a testing environment.

I absolutely agree that XP still has some life left for those of us that don't need gigabyte video cards just to run Aero. I do not agree with the statement that an open source XP could kill Linux. XP has become such a virus honeypot that concerns for security would almost certainly keep Linux servers and secure desktops alive and well. Besides, I actually like both Xubuntu and XP. I run them both as needed.
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