Clock ticks on Microsoft's Windows XP stragglers

According to Gartner, 2012 will be a pivotal year for the more than half of companies still running on Windows XP.

You'd think that Microsoft's Windows XP would be dead and gone by now in the enterprise, but the outdated OS continues to live. In fact, more than half of corporations are likely to be on Windows XP still.

Gartner analyst Michael Silver on Monday highlighted how Windows XP is being pushed out the door by Windows 7, but the progress isn't exactly speedy.

Note the following chart:

Companies are replacing Windows XP with the attrition method---new PCs come with Windows 7. But Microsoft cuts XP support off in April 2014.

For XP lovers, that 2014 deadline might sound comforting, but Silver said the end of 2012 is worrisome. Independent software vendors have stopped testing new versions of applications on XP. Silver's advice: Get off Windows XP by the end of 2012. This move means ensures business apps will run on most user PCs and if you run late you still have a good window before Microsoft cuts off security patches.

Run past 2014 and you'll need custom support from Microsoft. Silver estimates the minimum for custom support is $200,000 for the first year if you have software assurance. If you don't have software assurance the price tag is more like $500,000.

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