Research: 37 percent continuing with Microsoft XP post support

Research: 37 percent continuing with Microsoft XP post support

Summary: Microsoft support for Windows XP expires in April 2014. Tech Pro Research's recent survey uncovered future plans of organizations that use the venerable OS.


Microsoft support for Windows XP officially expires in April 2014. Tech Pro Research conducted an online survey of 641 respondents to discover the future plans of organizations that currently use Windows XP. The survey sought to uncover what's driving the decision to stick with Windows XP, if that is the case. Or, if they're moving away from Windows XP, what operating system will they be using next.

In the resulting report, The end of Windows XP support: Concerns and upgrade plans, it was somewhat startling to find that 37 percent of respondents do intend to continue using the venerable OS — despite the fact that Microsoft will no longer develop security patches or updates for it.

Windows XP survey

Windows XP has maintained a dominant share of the desktop OS segment for more than a decade. Windows 7 is now the leading OS, and the use of Windows XP has been declining during the past year. Even so, according to data from Net Applications, it still makes up almost a third of the desktop OS market, and has nearly three times the market share of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 combined.

The results of the survey in terms of the mix of desktops versus laptops and other form factors, and what organizations plan to purchase as they migrate from Windows XP to a new OS, are surprising, and do not reflect the prevailing perception that desktop PCs are a dying breed.

The survey focused on the following areas:

  • Plans once Windows XP support ends
  • Reasons for sticking with Windows XP
  • Reasons for leaving Windows XP
  • Preferred OS
  • Plans for desktop PCs
  • Replacement choices for desktop PCs

Plans for machines currently running Windows XP

With so many organizations reporting Windows XP in use on 81 to 100 percent of the PCs, you might expect an equally large percentage to be planning to abandon Windows XP as support expires. That does not seem to be the case. The below chart shows that more than 60 percent of respondents either don't have Windows XP in the first place, or plan to upgrade to another operating system. However, a significant percentage of respondents plan to simply stick with Windows XP — second only to upgrading to Windows 7.

windows xp chart 1


Reasons for sticking with Windows XP

Respondents cited three prevailing reasons for choosing the risk of continuing to run Windows XP over upgrading to a new operating system: cost; critical software that requires Windows XP; and the "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it" mentality. A frequent choice among survey respondents was, "it works, so there's no need to change," with 40 percent choosing this option. The next most popular reason for sticking with Windows XP, at 39 percent was "Crucial software depends on Windows XP." Cost came in third with the remaining 21 percent.

To read more on the subject, download the full Tech Pro Research report, The end of Windows XP support: Concerns and upgrade plans. The report is free to all Tech Pro Research subscribers.

TechRepublic, which is ZDNet's sister site, and its premium site Tech Pro Research, provide information that IT leaders need to solve today's toughest IT problems and make informed decisions. Visit Tech Pro Research for information on becoming a member.

Topics: Windows XP and the Future of the Desktop, Windows

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  • Nearly had a heart attack

    When I saw the Switch to OS X legend and mistook it for 'Continue using Windows XP' pie. Good luck with those deciding to switch to Linux, they always come back to Windows.
    • RE: Nearly had a heart attack

      I dumped MS Products, and switched to linux years ago, and have never had a desire or reason to switch back.
      • Linux is not ready

        Linux would cost much, much, much more to switch to than to migrate to Windows 7.

        Yes, it's "free". Yes, it's open source. But, that doesn't make it INEXPENSIVE. What's the cost of a Windows 7 licence? $50? $100? And, many XP computers will already have a Windows 7 licence attached to them.

        Now, what's the cost of Linux? $0 if you install a free version, but, what do you get. Zero support. That means you have to HIRE a Linux expert. $50K/a? $100K/a. Buy a commercial version and all of a sudden your costs are the same, if not higher than if you buy Windows 7 support.

        Linux is a GREAT OS ecosystem. I've used many flavours. But, it's not an inexpensive product. It has a very specific market. It does servers well. It does cheap, integrated devices well. It does hobbyist well. But, all of the above have built-in tech support.

        To transition a business to Linux requires careful planning. Switching because you want to get away from Microsoft is a BAD idea. You need to switch to a Linux ecosystem because it MAKES SENSE for you to do so.

        Do your employees use professional grade software? Their time is money! Their time is a LOT of money. What little you save in licence fees on LibreOffice and the OS you'll lose 100x over when your employees take longer to do something or simply CAN'T do something. You'll need to re-train. You need to hire a permanent Linux EXPERT. Linux is a hobbyist's OS if it's on a desktop. It's a high-maintenance OS if it's distributed on a business network.

        Under the right circumstances Linux will save you money. But, you need to be VERY careful or else it will cost you far, far, far more than the paltry $100-$300 per computer you saved on not buying Office and a Windows licence.

        Plus, if you have Windows XP + Office 2003 or 2010 or 2013, your licence for Office will happily transfer to Windows 7! And, your retraining requirements will be minimal to none.
        • Wow, so ill-thought-out...

          "Now, what's the cost of Linux? $0 if you install a free version, but, what do you get. Zero support."

          Not true. Canonical and Red Hat, the two biggest names in desktop Linux, make their money from support.

          "That means you have to HIRE a Linux expert. $50K/a? $100K/a"

          I wish! A Linux admin doesn't make that much more than a Windows one. There is a gap but you are embellishing it greatly.

          "It has a very specific market"

          Home Desktops, Enterprise Desktops, Mobiles, Servers, Tablets, ATMs, routers, yes so very specific...

          "all of the above have built-in tech support"

          As does the most popular flavours of desktop Linux, Ubuntu and RHEL.

          "To transition a business to Linux requires careful planning"

          As does any sort of transition, like from Windows XP to Windows 7

          "You need to switch to a Linux ecosystem because it MAKES SENSE for you to do so."

          This is true, but given Microsoft's current path of flipping the bird to enterprise, this might actually make sense to some.

          "What little you save in licence fees on LibreOffice and the OS you'll lose 100x over when your employees take longer to do something or simply CAN'T do something"

          You seem a little outdated here. Most office work is, as you say, done in an Office suite. But if LibreOffice doesn't suit your needs, there is Kingsoft Office, which is also free and nails MS Office support to a T.

          "You'll need to re-train. You need to hire a permanent Linux EXPERT"

          And when you have Windows networks, you need to hire a Windows expert. Same difference. You'll also need to retrain when switching to Office 2013 or Windows 8 because Microsoft saw fit to **** with the UI and make it completely unintuitive or unrecognisable. At least Linux distros keep a reasonable semblance of a desktop.

          "But, you need to be VERY careful or else it will cost you far, far, far more than the paltry $100-$300 per computer you saved on not buying Office and a Windows licence"

          You need to be "VERY careful" with any sort of change or transition, it is not limited to Windows or Office
      • Windows XP works. And will continue to work after April.

        Windows XP works. And, it will keep on working after April. That's the headline ZDNet should write if they weren't so busy hopping on the "we're Microsoft's marketing department" bandwagon.

        Mid-sized to large corporations that run well on Windows XP now will continue to work just as well after April. Microsoft patches will make no difference to them since they already run locked down desktops, they have good anti-virus software and they have networks that are locked down. They will be no more vulnerable to zero-day exploits than they are now because they have disabled the vulnerabilities.

        They also often have business models that won't be changed by a switch to Windows 7 so there's little need to migrate. They'll do so when they're good and ready. Not when the PRESS or MICROSOFT says they're ready.

        Microsoft crafted a high quality product when they built XP. Mac OS X was nipping at their heels when XP came because it proved that *nix on the desktop was viable and could offer 100% stability. They had to make XP stable as a defensive play.

        The biggest weaknesses will be anti-virus support and browser availability. Chrome will be dropped. It'll be in Google's best interest to encourage migration now that their CHEAP (but not inexpensive) Chrome OS is taking off. FireFox will likely continue to be compiled for XP long after Chrome is pulled.

        Anti-virus will be a different story. AV manufacturers will continue to support XP as long as it makes them money. They've written the software so all they have to do is update the virus definitions.

        Small business are the ones who will be vulnerable if they continue to run XP. They lack the technical expertise needed to migrate (they would have migrated long ago if they had the ability to because it would be cheaper to run Windows 7 than Windows XP for a small business). And, they would also be the LAST candidates in the world for a migration to Linux.
    • No.

      I switch to Linux in late 2012 with the start of Steam Beta (first 1000). The ONLY time I use Windows now is for fixing another's Windows computer when I require Windows software to do it.
  • With 26 PC's in my office we cannot afford to upgrade our XP

    Since my office has 26 Windows XP machines we cannot afford to upgrade all of them to Windows 7 and no one here likes Windows 8, so I hired an IT Consultant who recommended a very polished Linux operating system called Robolinux which runs XP or 7, inside it, making our XP machines completely immune to all viruses and malware, requiring absolutely no updates or anti virus or anti malware software purchases.

    This Linux OS was a 7 minute install per PC. Also extremely easy for our users to operate it. It saved our company thousands of dollars.

    At first I was skeptical but my local IT Guru explained to me how the advanced Robolinux VM technology operates and it made perfect sense to me. So far after 6 months not one of our 26 Windows XP boxes have been infected by any viruses or malware.

    I hope this helps others who just can't afford to upgrade.
    • Sorry George, but I don't believe you.

      first you claim that you "hired an IT Consultant who recommended", yet last month at another site you said that your "internal IT folks".

      I thought your post sounded too polished, too salesperson in form to be true.

      Found out you said the exact same thing, word for word at that site last month that you did here. Cut and paste I suspect.

      Sorry, not buying it, as I'm not sensing any honesty in your word.
      • Good catch william.farrel

        Regardless of him sounding like a sales person for Robolinux, global-George's claim running XP or Windows 7 INSIDE of his Linux distro making them "completely immune to viruses or malware" is entirely impossible. I don't care if you're running it inside of a Hyper-V, VMware ESX Server, or through Parallels in Linux - the Windows portion will always be vulnerable to the same viruses that it would be if it were installed on a physical box rather than a Virtual Machine!
        • Typo

          I meant Parallels in OSX... not Linux. Bad headache this morning, can't think clearly!
    • Just 4 2 confirm

      Have been running three posix docked Win XP's for just over six years now.
      That without any type of antivirus protection, just a regular firewall,
      one machine hosting over 500, many of them internet/network intensive apps . . . . .
      op and running frequently 24 ours per day,
      without one single incident.
      • Spelling hEh

        Aj dont havve anny spallChicker !
    • A place for IT solutions and Robolinux
    • False hope

      Warning to anyone who’s gotten their hopes up: this is most likely a scam, or, at the very least a post by a sales man for a not-so-reputable company. If you look on-line there are no communities devoted to supporting this software. Distrowatch shows only one version of it.
      And, in case you missed the last decade of computing, virtual environments are JUST AS susceptible to viruses, malware and compromise as are host operating systems.
      Now, to make fun of global-george (I guess he’s like George, the monkey ;-):
      Your company’s Windows XP boxes were infected by malware or viruses? Your company has an IT guru? Fire their behind retroactively and save your company both time and the money wasted on this person’s salary. There’s absolutely ZERO reason that a company with a network of 26 computers and a dedicated (or even competent) IT person EVER has viruses or malware infect a Windows XP machine. Anyone who has a grain of computer skill can lock down Windows XP tighter than Fort Knox.

      For that matter, a company that runs 26 Windows XP computers probably has AT LEAST 26 employees (otherwise, why have so many computers?) and let’s assume that this company does very simple work (telemarketing?) and pays ALL their employees poorly. They’d drop at least $20K/person/year, even on the most menial of computer-based jobs. That’s $520,000/year. Spending $3600 for a software upgrade to Windows 7 (retail prices, no Enterprise discount) would not even be 1% of the total expenditure for a year.

      Now, installing this software requires Windows XP to be REINSTALLED. That means you need to pay someone to do that. You also need to hire a Linux expert to keep your system running since virtual environments are COMPLICATED (I should know, I used to run two as servers on my home computer and recently used one to test out some ideas). And, the kind of software that runs a virtual environment requires the same processing power as a Windows 7-capable computer so you can’t just plop this software onto a 256 MB RAM Pentium IV 333 MHz machine (contrary to popular belief, modern Linux distros running a full blown window manager actually requires a “lot” of RAM compared to a Windows XP-capable computer)!

      Final dig/mocking laugh. I guess if you’re paying people minimum wage and you expect one of them to be your computer guru that explains why your company decided to go with a solution that requires an incredibly high level of expenditure (running an OS in a virtual machine is complicated).
      • Illegal?

        And, just to follow-up. If anyone tells you that it comes with XP installed--it means they're using pirated software. And, if they say they can simply transfer your existing install of Windows into the virtual machine, they're blowing sun shine around since the kind of licence that allows Windows XP to exist in a virtual machine is different from the licence that is sold with a computer AND you'd need to authenticate.

        Plus, transferring your existing installs into the virtual machine would simply allow the problems to continue to exist in another place.

        PS ZDNet, I would get your legal department to go after this company because they're using your name to promote their software!
        • horse $h!t

          You have the license to have xp, it does not madder if it in on a virtual machine or a real one!
  • One question on the survey

    it says that Tech Pro Research (TechRepublic) researched 641 "respondents".

    Who are these respondents? without that kind of information it's hard to determine if the numbers are accurate, or represent an actual cross section of the decision makers at companies.
  • Kudos to Microsoft

    Windows XP is obviously a solid (and lightweight) OS, which customers want to use.
  • Errrrr

    641 respondents? Anyone who knows stats will say that has a high range of error. Coupled with other studies is one thing but I wouldn't even report on this [or brag about it].
    • I thought the same thing

      It does not seem to be a statistically significant sample and I, too, would love to see the error range.