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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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