Windows XP phantom will haunt majority of businesses after deadline

Windows XP phantom will haunt majority of businesses after deadline

Summary: New research suggests that the majority of UK businesses, despite numerous warnings, simply aren't ready for the Windows XP cut-off point next week.


The Windows XP deadline is looming, and yet many businesses will soon face the prospect of relying on a system no longer protected from cyberattacks.

On April 8, Microsoft will no longer investigate security issues or release patches to fix vulnerabilities and keep systems and data safe. Microsoft has warned that users face a "zero day forever" scenario if they fail to upgrade their operating system, as the Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3 will not get any more updates.

New research released by British software company AppSense also highlights the concern surrounding the aging operating system, and suggests that IT departments need to get on the problem quickly and update to at least Windows 7.

According to AppSense, 77 percent of UK organisations will still be running Windows XP within their business when the deadline passes. An additional concern is that 68 percent of businesses admit they have "no plans" to pay for extended support despite numerous warnings of the vulnerabilities inherent in the operating system -- many of which may be stored up by cybercriminals until the deadline passes and no patches for new exploits will be issued.

The survey of 100 UK-based IT decision makers stemmed from 50 percent working within SMBs, and 50 percent in organizations with over 3,000 employees. The research includes responses from those in financial services, manufacturing, retail, distribution, and transport.

The research also highlights business plans to migrate platforms to updated systems, with 84 percent of XP users stating they will update to a new operating system within the next year. However, 70 percent of IT decision makers who said they would not pay for extended support also said they were either "not" or "not at all" concerned about security after Microsoft's Windows XP cut-off date.

However, it is worth noting that while Windows XP is still present in the majority of firms, it is still a minority in terms of penetration -- with 87 percent of those surveyed stating that less than 25 percent of desktops were running the operating system.

Simon Townsend, Chief Technologist of AppSense commented:

"It might be the case that an XP machine is running a print server, or some other application which is not entirely obvious. The reality is though, that one machine could potentially put an entire network at risk and without adequate protection it could be a step into the unknown for U.K. businesses.

While it’s clear that organisations are committed to getting off the Windows XP platform in the medium term, they are opening their organisations to potential threats by leaving systems unsupported."

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Security

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  • People have Good Alternatives now

    How to Break free from the cycle of Planned Obsolesce?!!??
    Stay safe with Linux.

    There is a very good chance Linux OS will run well with older hardware with lower specs

    Switch to the free, safe, secure & awesome OS:
    Its the worlds most popular free OS. It has free upgrades & security updates. It has a free office suite, LibreOffice that comes standard along with other great apps/programs.

    For those who like the Windows look, I would recommend: & for older computer with lower specs or
    Or try Linux Mint:
    Because the Linux option is free & now so easy (user friendly) one must give it a try. You have so much to gain.

    Lots of people give their time, effort & money to make these great products that they just give the world for free. So they may not have the huge ad budgets & would need users like us to spread the word. Although its free, you are welcome to donate if you like the software.
    • Oh please will you stop with this non sequitur

      "How to Break free from the cycle of Planned Obsolesce?!!??"

      Windows XP has received the longest support of any general purpose operating system...including Linux. Current versions of Windows receive longer support than other general purpose operating systems...including Linux.
    • Good alternatives?

      Alternative for XP?
      Not if you're using XP to run applications.
      Which most people do.
      Windows 7 is the best alternative, if you can find drivers for your hardware.
      Linux does NOT run Windows applications well, no matter what techies say.
      And, by the time you get it to do it, you would have been better off spending $500 and getting a new box.
      • Some people do not have $500 to spend..

        on a new PC. Heck i want a new laptop taking advantage of all the new technology but it isn't in my budget. Even then eventually Windows 7 will lose support and you'll be forced to do the whole process over again. Most people running XP will benefit using a Linux distro then trying to upgrade their hardware (spending money they don't have) to make W7 or W8 work. And please, getting users to upgrade from XP to W7/W8 has already failed. It's time to let people try Linux out. And they can do that direct from the cd/dvd or a 4GB+ USB stick. They can still run their software under XP if they need to, just keep XP offline. You don't need internet to run most software and Linux will do that just fine. Linux doesn't seem to have that much trouble with drivers, at least with the basic hardware requirements to get the PC running with internet. And there is absolutely no harm in trying it out and having it fail versus one never tried and still using XP as an unsecure internet OS.
        • Linux lasts forever

          "Even then eventually Windows 7 will lose support and you'll be forced to do the whole process over again."

          - First, where do you get the idea that Linux doesn't have different versions and doesn't need to be upgraded? Second, 500$ for a PC every 6 years isn't that much money. Some people pay 900$ every 2 years for a phone (or 200$ for a phone + 2500$ for the contract). A 50$ /month internet connection is 3600$ every 6 years. Third, a cheap-as-dirt-PC which requires 100W less power than your 6 year old one is 300$, not 500$. That makes it a better deal than the 100$ Windows 8.1 upgrade license.
    • I'd bet that most of those who refuse to upgrade either ...

      ... 1) are dependent upon a Windows application they don't want to give up, or ...
      ... 2) do not want to spend any money to upgrade what they perceive as working perfectly well.

      In the first case, Linux won't help at all. In the second, very, very few users without the financial resources to replace their hardware have the "special knowledge" (or the time to gain that knowledge) for a switch to Linux to be practical - no matter how effective Linux might be in adding to the life of old, lame, hardware.

      Those that are motivated to distance themselves from Microsoft are in a different situation altogether. They are motivated. They are willing to either (1) pay a premium for Apple technology, or (2) have the time and expertise to install and configure a suitable UNIX/Linux rig.

      Or, they could be in group (3) in which, they are planning on moving to Windows 7/8.x/9 as soon as they have the financial resources to do so.
      M Wagner
      • Real small businesses don't tweet, blog, surf or buy cosmetic upgrades

        Another view from a very small business that needed only a few special profession-specific applications for daily bookkeeping customer transactions, then accounting software for payroll and taxes - the thousands of dollars for annual "support," which often meant updates that either failed to load at all, or subsequently created permanent error codes (we learned to live with them) made us leery of every "new" improved anything, Windows included. The unholy Trinity - computer makers, software companies, and Microsoft - seemed to always create the frenzy to make newer, faster, etc. Ugly reality is, once you have a logical, clean design, that runs faster than you can think or enter new data, most business management software works fine from 2000 to now, to 2025.
        XP had a far better interface than 7, and every operating system should be invisible - not glitzy candy-colored flying tiles, etc. unless you specifically desire that, what are called skins by other smart folks.
        I am failing, right now, to create virtual XP machines from old drive images that I hoped would allow for long-term use of my XP systems within a Win7 system that connects outside the office. Windows virtual PC and VirtualBox fail to start every VHD I try to create so far. Sysinternals disk2vhd (2 versions) crashes instantly on every try, and Macrium Reflect spends several hours to create VHDs that nothing will start. Any suggestions here besides flames? Remember, like thousands I was dragged kicking and screaming into the computer world because of the business demands; all I know for sure is my old essential software still runs on aging XP systems, but cant even be reinstalled to new ones.
        Computer LoQ
  • With one week to go I think this advice is kind of useless.

    "...and suggests that IT departments need to get on the problem quickly and update to at least Windows 7."

    It's not as if there wasn't ample warning about the end of support for Windows XP.
  • Windows XP phantom will haunt majority of businesses after deadline

    Poor planning on their part. They knew Microsoft Windows XP support was going to end so if they aren't ready then she should have been more organized about it. Luckily for them Microsoft makes it simple and easy to migrate to newer versions of Microsoft Windows.
    • To be fair Microsoft doesn't make it very easy to migrate from XP to...

      ...their current OS.
      • Upgrade is very hard

        Indeed, it's very complicated. Either you buy a new box to replace the one which is about to suffer a fatal hardware failure in the next 2 years, then you need to unplug not only the mouse but also the keyboard, monitor, and audio plug. Not only that, you even need to plug them in into the new box. And noone to tell you which USB port to plug them into, right? And the horror of using a Microsoft account. It's not the same as using an apple Id or google account, it's much worse, because you know.
        And don't get me started on upgrading the OS on an old machine. After starting the installation, you actually have to follow the instructions on the screen?
      • Instructions upgrading from XP to Windows 7 ...

        ... can be found here:

        Step-by-step instructions. This will get the (current) XP user to 2020 - when Windows 7 reaches its own end-of-life.
        M Wagner
    • Microsoft isn't the only issue

      Regarding MS, it has no direct upgrade path from XP beyond Vista. To go to anything beyond Vista, all programs have to be reinstalled.

      Also, if the company is using any non-Microsoft products, for about the past 10 years virtually all programs costing over about $20 require registration and activation. That means MOVING the program to a new install (even on the same hardware, possibly) requires UNINSTALLING on the old computer, then installing on the new computer. If you don't do that, the program won't activate.

      And many third-party software vendors no longer support activation for older programs (about 6+ years old). So when you uninstall, reinstall and try to reactivate, you get a 404 Page Not Found error or a page saying that product is no longer supported and an offer to purchase the current version at a discount.

      Also, in many cases you MUST install from the disk AND different copies have different serial numbers. So you can't just use one copy of the disk to install on 20 machines each with its own serial number. That means hunting up a disk for each machine. Sounds easy but for disks that haven't been used in 5+ years it's often a problem.

      Plus, most users set up their machines the way THEY like them. They HATE having everything in new locations. And they couldn't care less about "modernizing". To them it's a tool, nothing more.

      And especially in small businesses, the small IT staff just doesn't have the time to uninstall and reinstall several programs per machine for dozens of users.
      • Much of this is true if you don't upgrade anything along the way.

        This is the fallacy of only upgrading when some critical part of your system needs attention. The old adage of "pay me now or pay me later" comes into play with every component of your system all at once. You avoid this with proper planning.

        Windows XP owners have had the opportunity to start planning to replace their systems since 2009, when the current end-of-life date was announced. Spread over five years, they could have easily managed the costs of their choices:

        Stay with Windows.
        Go to Apple (Macintosh or iPad).
        Go to a tablet.
        Go to UNIX/Linux.

        It doesn't matter. With five years advanced notice, almost any choice you make can be done economically. Done all at once, within the next SIX DAYS, any choice is going to be painful, time consuming, and expensive.
        M Wagner
  • Windows XP phantom will haunt majority of businesses after deadline

    Microsoft is often times in TOO MUCH OF A FREAKIN' HURRY to push a new product out the door without properly vetting the product before release. Such as the case of Windows Me, Windows Vista, Windows 8.

    Too many BUGS, HOLES and FIXES needed to continually PATCH a product that should not need this much patching if properly vetted before release.

    Microsoft Software and OS's are CRAPWARE !
    • And whatever your OS of choice is

      is crapware. See I can do it to.

      XP needs to die folks, get over it. Failure to plan on a businesses part is no excuse. Most XP users are millions of people in China with pirated copies that are probably already compromised.

      Die XP die!!!1
      • Microsoft failed to innovate

        Why shoudl I upgrade from Windows XP?

        Microsoft has failed to innovate. They have produced nothing that can beat Windows XP (leaving aside minor improvements).

        Why throw away a perfectly good PC for minor improvements?
        • Really?

          I mean, why use anything beyond Win2k? 2000 was a rock solid release that combined NT with the plug and play and multimedia features of Windows 98SE. However, its no longer supported and not much will work with it anymore. So will it be with XP in a few years.
    • Vista was pushed out the door too quickly?

      There is a six year gap between the release of Windows XP and Vista.
      • Re: Vista was pushed out the door too quickly?

        I have to agree with ye on this for sure. IMO Vista was a good OS, a little resource hungry, ran very well. Most of the issues with printer's that you hear about was due to poor 3rd part support...

        Just my 2 cents worth... :-)