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1/11/2013
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3 More Reasons SMBs Stick With Windows XP

Microsoft says Windows 8 selling like hotcakes, or at least like Windows 7. Here's why some SMBs are just saying no.

8 Key Differences Between Windows 8 And Windows RT
8 Key Differences Between Windows 8 And Windows RT
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The clock might be ticking on Windows XP, but not every organization is operating on the same upgrade schedule.

Some small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are sticking with XP, now three versions and 11 years old, because of legacy applications, peripherals and even a stockpile of printer toner. Those firms aren't alone. An online discussion among IT professionals, many of them working at SMBs, over at the Spiceworks forum underscores the diverse list of reasons for continuing to run XP for the foreseeable future. Microsoft will end support for the OS in April 2014. Legacy applications and specialty hardware are indeed two common reasons for keeping XP around, but they're not the only ones. Let's look at three more.

1. Hardware Headed For Retirement Home.

Some IT pros will continue to support PCs running XP simply because they have no plans to upgrade the hardware. They'll run those machines until they -- or in some cases, their users -- retire.

"All new PCs here will be Win7," said forum member Denis Kelley. "Except for a few that had the drivers for it, all existing PCs will not be upgraded to Win7 and will eventually be retired."

MTSBrian noted a similar strategy, a Windows 7 upgrade driven by an incremental hardware refresh rather than an office-wide migration: "We are rolling out Win 7 x64 machines as the XP ones die or experience problems and need to be refreshed."

[ Ready for the latest? Check out Windows 8: 8 Big Benefits For SMBs. ]

In some cases, it's a matter of retiring employees rather than hardware. C_J's company is over 30% Windows 7, with all new PCs coming online with the newer OS, and plans to upgrade some of the faster XP machines. But it won't be a 100% upgrade. Said C_J: "The rest? They'll stay on XP forever. Just because MS has stopped supporting it doesn't mean that I have to." Older software -- think DOS -- is partly to blame, as are some users who simply don't want to be upgraded. "Hopefully the engineers who use that old software will be retired by the time those machines fall apart ... fingers crossed," C_J said.

2. Those Darn Pesky Users.

Indeed, end users muck up the upgrade process for some IT pros. "We are rolling out some Win7 machines and Office 2007 for people that are comfortable with it," said Chad.w. "Mostly it was a training issue here as our users are not particularly computer savvy or good with change."

S.Murray offered the following advice for coaxing stubborn user communities into the modern era. "I give them a choice. Option 1: keep your old, slow XP computer, and keep using the old system. Option 2: upgrade to 64 bit Win 7, get more speed and power, and lose the old system," S. Murray said. "Once I explain how 32 handles memory, and other things, most go for the upgrade. As a special reward, I give them all 4GB of ram (most had 1-2), which makes Win 7 run just fine on older hardware, and it is a win/win."

User training is a real -- if occasionally divisive -- issue. But S. Murray noted that once-grumpy employees can become IT's best ambassadors once they get up to speed. "Yes, you will need to teach them how to use things, which can be trying [with] users who have been using XP since it was new. But once they see the difference they help encourage the other troglodytes to join the cool kids on Win 7."

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gsharpe300
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gsharpe300,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2013 | 8:52:49 PM
re: 3 More Reasons SMBs Stick With Windows XP
When Microsoft is willing to replace all the applications and programs that I use (and like) that won't run on Win7 at no cost to me, then I am might consider upgrading. Sure, I can run Win7 in an XP emulation mode. But what is the point of that? I already have XP. Windows 7 has no advantages for me. And why should I be forced by Microsoft to upgrade to a new OS that I really don't need? My BMW dealer still services my old BMW. I keep it because it does what I need it to do. I have no reason to buy a new one. They don't tell me I can't use my old car because they don't want me to. WinXP is still useful and functional. As to security issues, well they are mostly Microsoft's fault, as they seem to be built into their OSs. They *should* keep supporting the older OS instead of making me buy a new OS because they can't write decent code. Win7 already has security issues. Why should I pay for yet another OS that still has issues?
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/16/2013 | 6:16:58 PM
re: 3 More Reasons SMBs Stick With Windows XP
"afeitguy" is the only one mentioned in the article that seems to reasonably "get it". Everyone else is a crying baby. Time to move on people.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/16/2013 | 6:22:28 PM
re: 3 More Reasons SMBs Stick With Windows XP
You're kidding right? Probably not - as you are likely the first in line for every freebie offered to man. Your entitlement attitude is almost enough to make me turn Republican.

Nobody is forcing you to do anything. Stick with XP if you like.

fwiw - every piece of software has holes in it. Not just your XP OS. And, if it has so many holes, get something that doesn't - or has less. Good luck with that. Your Beamer is probably just as much a liability as your XP OS despite how much you patch it up.
TreeInMyCube
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TreeInMyCube,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/16/2013 | 7:56:06 PM
re: 3 More Reasons SMBs Stick With Windows XP
I wonder if the application availabilty question has something to do with the tepid reception that Vista received some years back. Software vendors saw lots of users (including SMBs) sticking with XP, or downgrading to XP, and thus lost their incentive to update their applications. Win7 (and Win8) represent a distinct step to 64 bit, and that step is made more disruptive because of the long life of XP. Coupled with the impact that the 2007-2008 recession had on SW vendors, we have greater number of incompatible applications in 2013 than we had when we stepped from 16 to 32bit OSes.
SMB Kevin
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SMB Kevin,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/16/2013 | 10:58:22 PM
re: 3 More Reasons SMBs Stick With Windows XP
TreeInMyCube - I have heard similar sentiments from other IT pros re: Vista's influence, 32-to-64 bit, and the lasting impact of the recession. The crummy economy affected not just software vendors but a wide range of SMBs, too. Speaking generally, technology refreshes/upgrades tend to get postponed when companies start slashing budgets and staff.

-Kevin C.
InformationWeek.com
KeyWestDan
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KeyWestDan,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/19/2013 | 7:42:29 PM
re: 3 More Reasons SMBs Stick With Windows XP
Personally, I think MS should clean up XP and re-release it. I think there is a market for a simplier and cleaner operating system. Come out with a new version of XP, without all the crap in WIN 7 and 8. Isn't WIN 8 based on XP anyway? There is money to be made and I don't think it would affect sales too much for 7 and 8.
Kyle22
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Kyle22,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/3/2014 | 9:35:08 PM
Windows XP
Just because you get a new computer that has Windows 7 or 8 (ick) on it doesn't normally mean you can't run XP.  It's only a matter of drivers.  If you search in the usual places, you can find drivers for almost anything.  I just bought a new Asus laptop with Core i7 Quad hyperthreading (very nice) and XP runs like a champ on it.  All drivers working, no problems in Device Manager.

In fact, there are places on the 'Net to download Driver Packs for XP that make it work on almost all of the new computers.

 

I have no reason whatsoever to use Win 7 or 8. They are bloated and awful.  Win 7 is bloated with all the DRM stuff, and Win8 boots a little quicker, but look at at that AWFUL Metro interface..... Yuck.

 

I routinely refurbish computers, and the ONLY thing I would even consider loading them with is XP.

 

Don't worry about the Fear-Mongers trying to scare you about end of support! A company called Arkoon has a product called Extend XP that provides security against hackers, worms, and viruses.  I think AVG will be just as good, but for free.

 

Long live Windows XP!

 

-Kyle

 
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