74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

Summary: According to new data revealed by Microsoft at its Worldwide Partner Conference, enterprise upgrades to Windows 7 do not have much momentum so far in 2010.


As we said last year, 2010 is a big year for Microsoft because we're waiting to see which way the tide will turn on enterprise adoption of Windows 7. Lots of companies are on the fence about the migration, and many others have expressed the interest to upgrade from Windows XP to 7, but could ditch that idea if skipping Windows 7 develops into a corporate best practice, the same way skipping Vista did.

According to new data revealed by Microsoft, the enterprise upgrade to Windows 7 does not have much momentum so far in 2010.

At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Microsoft Windows corporate vice president Tammi Reller said that 74% of business computers are still running Windows XP. She also said that the average age of the PC is now 4.4 years old, which is the highest number that Microsoft has seen in over a decade.

Naturally, Microsoft spins this as a huge opportunity for the company to make a lot of money by selling copies of Windows 7 to these slow upgraders. CEO Steve Ballmer predicted on Monday that Microsoft would sell 350 million copies of Windows 7 licenses by the end of 2010.

But, if you read between the lines, part of the message here is that Windows 7 adoption has not taken hold yet, and Microsoft is still hustling to convince businesses to upgrade.

In July 2009, TechRepublic's CIO Jury was split 50/50 on whether to deploy Windows 7. Sounds like it's time to revisit that question, and see if the results are any different a year later. Look for a new TechRepublic CIO Jury on Windows 7 before the end of the month.

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Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • Obviously ....

    The hardware cycle has therefore not peaked at all...viva INTC and AMD.
  • Is it true that VISTA alone...

    ...has outsold all Mac pc's sold from 1970 to 2008?
    Feldwebel Wolfenstool
    • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

      @Feldwebel Wolfenstool Yes.. and Windows 7 has as well... in fact it was released in October and December, it had already achieved this meager milestone.
      • That's hilarious!!

        OS X truly is the brown Zune of the OS world!!!
    • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

      @Feldwebel Wolfenstool <br><br>No, it's not. Like many statistics, this is deceptive. Apple Inc. saw sales of its Macintosh computers grow 38% year-over-year during fiscal 2008, both in terms of dollars and unit sales. Vista on the other hand, was largely pre-installed on PC's and removed immediately by the consumer after it was sold.

      "If you throw a turd at me and I drop it, I am not the proud owner of a turd."
      • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

        @Socratesfoot consumer's don't remove operating systems, corporate IT does.

        As for Apple's 38% growth, it hasn't increased their market share a full percentage point.
      • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

        @Socratesfoot: True enough... Most people don't see Win7 as a compelling reason to send more of their money to MSFT. If it comes on a new PC, they'll use it, but I don't think many are going out and buying it in order to replace an existing XP installation. (It's demand from consumers, not corporations, that's maintaining the price of XP install disks on eBay.)
        MSFT has a problem in that XP/SP3 was, finally, a "good enough" OS. If XP works, more or less reliably, and it runs your favorite programs, where's the value in Win7? Security ain't it -- you still have to fight malware and spend time with patches, fixes, and updates -- and I'm not going to shell out over $100 to make my PC look a bit more like a Mac (while screwing up my legacy applications).
    • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

      @Feldwebel Wolfenstool

      But the iPad has oversold Windows 7 box licenses in just a few weeks.... so quit spining... since it seems the MS check is not on your mail this time...
  • Not Obvious


    Your conclusion does not necessarily follow. It is very possible that the average corporate HW is still good enough for the jobs they need to do. A good internal cleaning including the PS and a new display may be all that is required for many corporate PCs out there. If that tuns out to be the case, both the HW makers and MS may be in for lean times.
    • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

      Too true. And most corporate users aren't complaining because they would rather not have their daily work interrupted by an upgrade.
      • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

        Especially when the upgrade that Microsoft is talking about for Windows XP computers is really not an upgrade at all. If there was an easy upgrade solution for Windows XP to Windows 7 like there is an easy upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 then maybe more people would be upgrading instead of staying with Windows XP. I for one am miffed at the fact that you have to reinstall all of your programs in order to "upgrade" to Windows 7 from Windows XP.
        Barry Rosie
      • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

        @bmonsterman Not all PC's running XP are 4 years old. Read the survey on this site, more are 2-3. Many are even new. These PC may have come with Vista or Win7 but they were immediately re-loaded with XP. This means two things. First, that the statistics for Vista and Win7 installs are over-inflated. Second, that use of XP could continue independently of of the need for hardware for a long time.

        It also means that if Linux distros can advance Gnome to the point that it has greater similarity to XP then Windows 7 does. Users may take that option to avoid a learning curve, the cost of licensing, or the need to upgrade.
      • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

        @barry rosie
        Most corporate computers don't "upgrade" the software from one OS version to another. We wipe the drives and install from an image (Ghost for example). All that gets saved is the user's documents, favorites, and possibly their Outlook *.pst files. Most corporate users don't have much of any data actually on their drives, they're all on redirects, and are on locked down user accounts and can't install any software anyways.
        Why would anyone want the hassle of installing all that software on hundreds of machines when you can just install it on one machine, Ghost it, and reimage the others? I personally can't wait until my company gets off of XP and moves to something made less than 9 years ago.
    • My work PC is over five years old, runs XP

      @Economister ... and the company has zero plan to upgrade. They are right. No point running out to spend a lot of money for us to do what we're already doing.
      I have a brand new Mac at home, so don't care much about Work PC. Work sucks anyway, why should work PC not suck too?
      • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

        ...the funniest part of it all is that MS continues to focus on creating a better gaming environment, more "social networking", and other home products. As an IT person...try and remove all the "distractions" from a Windows 7 install at your managers request. It takes hours of policies, uninstalling, and reinstalling of various 3rd party products. They haven't really tried to address the fact that businesses are becoming disenamoured at all. Instead they talk about an MS controlled cloud, software we can't ever own, and features that actually decrease productivity at work instead of increase it. Managers will usually say most employees need a basic Internet browser, Email, and Word Processing - that's it.
    • HW Upgrade Schedule

      @Economister There are real dangers in extending your EOL for desktops/OS's.

      "A good cleaning" doesn't cure old age! Your ROI for extending the EOL diminishes when your service costs start to escalate, at about three years.
      • Cleaning and old age


        The failure rate of electronics is high in the first few months of use, then tapers off to a low level for long time and finally starts to increase after many years of service.

        Dust buildup on electronics is their worst enemy (other than voltage spikes) because the dust can greatly increase their operating temperatures to the point where their lifespans are greatly reduced.

        An annual cleaning/vacuuming of the entire inside of the box (including the PS - and yes, that does void the warranty if any) is the most important maintenance you can do to your HW. I have been doing it for years on my family's 6-8 computers (including laptops) and my HW generally lasts longer than I care to use it, which is around 8-10 years. A lot of my family's HW runs between 40 hrs/wk and 24/7. Businesses can get the same longevity at a fairly low cost.
      • RE: 74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

        I agree with Economister, and a DIY oil-less air compressor is a very good tool for blasting out all that dust!
  • A whole 4.4 years old...

    Well surprise! You don't need a new PC every year to edit memo or send an email.
    • XP is far from antiquated

      @croberts <br><i>Well surprise! You don't need a new PC every year to edit memo or send an email.</i>

      Or even a new OS when the one in use is getting the job done adequately. With the economy in the doldrums, don't look for some miraculous uptake toward W7 and beyond anytime soon. XP since SP2 has been a perfectly satisfactory package for many people's needs, once locked down a tad.

      Hardware likewise has hit certain performance levels over the last few years that make it harder to come upon, even distinguish, a truly WOW factor PC upgrade. The P4 era steadily giving way to the arrival of dual core processing (most specifically Core 2 Duo), plus RAM price windfalls, helped ensure this current evolutionary plateau.

      Read Economister above for some simple maintenance get-me-by's in the meantime to stretch your good fortune.