Windows XP, the end is nigh. Survey says, It's time to say goodbye

Windows XP, the end is nigh. Survey says, It's time to say goodbye

Summary: Things change drastically in April 2014, when Microsoft finally ends support for the much beloved Windows XP. It's time to convert to Windows 8 or Windows 7 or Mac or Linux or BYOD. And time is running out.

Windows XP, the end is nigh. Survey says, it's time to say goodbye

It seems that every IT analyst and tech writer has foretold the end of the world as we know it for many months now. It has fallen on slightly hard of hearing ears, though. As April 2014 looms, there's an air of discontent among IT pros. Many don't want to change from Windows XP. XP is just too good. The only Microsoft alternatives are Windows 7 or Windows 8 but for many who face the challenge of upgrade and migration, neither of these are great choices. To be sure, this is the winter of our discontent.

Spiceworks just released survey results today covering the issues with moving away from Windows XP.

An astonishing 76 percent of IT professionals run Windows XP on some devices today, and of those, 36 percent will leave Windows XP on at least one device as the operating system EOLs.

"The data clearly illustrates how prevalent Windows XP remains 12 years after its initial release," said Kathryn Pribish, Voice of IT program manager at Spiceworks. "The next four months will be a busy time for the majority of IT professionals migrating XP-based systems and for the vendors who can provide professional services and support for resource-strained IT departments."

I converted away from Windows XP years ago but not right away. IT pros want to be on the leading edge of technology but are very conservative when it comes to their spheres of responsibility. They want to feel comfortable with the new technology before converting the masses to it.

Windows Vista was not a good choice, so we all waited for something better. When Windows 7 hit the market, we were all still skeptical about it and let it smolder for a while before taking the full leap. But twelve years later, we're kind of at the point of ridiculous as far as moving to a newer operating system.

Windows 7 has proven itself. But, unfortunately, Windows 7 isn't getting any younger either. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are the new kids on the block and they want to play. It's already nearly impossible to find a system that doesn't have Windows 8.x on it. 

It's time to convert to something newer. Actually, the window for intelligent conversion has passed. If you were going to convert to Windows 7, the latest time to have completed conversion was eighteen months ago. If you convert to Windows 7 now, you're likely to have very unhappy users because Windows 8 has arrived and a lot of users on the personal side are using it.

Because so many users have Windows 8 on their personal devices and feel somewhat comfortable with it, they will naturally want that same experience at work. 

The answer to the dilemma for IT pros is to allow users to bring their own devices to work. Yep, you guessed it: BYOD is the answer to the ultimate question.

The ultimate question: How do we, as a company, convert everyone to a new operating system?

The answer: You don't. But you don't stay on Windows XP either.

Return the old computers. Surely they're off lease by now. If you purchased them, sell them off to your employees, transfer the warranties (if possible), and rid yourselves of the problem entirely.

Goodbye Windows XP. You served us well for many years. It's time to let your life force slip away into oblivion and to allow your legacy (no pun intended) to follow you into the annals of history. Let us speak fondly of you and refer to your reign with us as "the good ol' days". 

Windows XP

"You had a good run."

Born: 100111000110111011100001

Died: 1111100100100101011110

Topics: Microsoft, Apple, Linux, Windows, Windows 8


Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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  • .

    ZDNet has been saying good-bye to Windows XP for years now, it seems.
    • @statuskwo5

      I know, everyone has. This time, I'm doing it, which means it's really goodbye. ;-)
      • Wanna bet?

        I'll bet anyone a beer that there will be at least 3 more "Goodbye Windows XP" articles on zdnet until April 2014.
        • I'll bet a beer . . .

          . . . that there will be three more Good-bye Windows XP ... AFTER April 1014
          • hehe after 2014

            ... three more Good-bye Windows XP articles AFTER April 2014
    • Ken Hess' twist: "BYOD is the answer"

      Thus, enterprise workers will bring their own Windows 8.1-based laptops, ultrabooks and hybrids to work. Too bad that the average enterprise worker hasn't a clue how to harden their Windows system against mass malware, targeted and persistent attacks.

      I've nothing against Windows 8.1, but Windows RT aside, are enterprise users up to managing the security of their own Windows devices? You know, things like:

      o creating and using standard user accounts (rather than the default account)
      o disabling the local admin password prompt for standard user accounts
      o enabling and configuring either Software Restriction Policy or AppLocker
      o installing and configuring Microsoft's EMET
      o keeping their software up-to-date

      And, for those enterprise workers bringing their Windows 7-based laptops and netbooks to work, making sure that Microsoft Update is selected in lieu of the default Windows Update.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • @Rabid Howler Monkey

        Valid point but there's an answer: mobile device management and mobile app management.
        • Understood, but ...

          If an enterprise is restricting apps (as well as rich applications) on an employee's Windows 8.1-based device, then is it really BYOD? Or, perhaps, you've something else in mind beyond app restrictions. If so, please elaborate ...

          P.S. If an organization wants to restrict how I use my device, including the apps (as well as rich applications) I install and use, then it can provide a device for me to use for work-related tasks. I'll use mine how I see fit.
          Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Windows PRISM Edition

        Windows 8.x has a back door to where MS can remove any application off your computer at any time. You just "trust" MS because they said so. I'll be waiting to see if Windows 9 includes the back door as well, and I hope it does so people continue moving to *nix systems, where there's transparency and more a guarantee that the code doesn't contain malicious "features".
    • So has Microsoft. The April 2014 date was announced back in 2009

      That was almost FIVE years ago. The responsible enterprise started looking at Vista in 2007 - knowing good and well, they might skip it. The late-comers quickly recognized that Windows 7 was "ready" and began their transition in 2009. The rest of the Windows XP faithful have been burying their heads in the sand for almost five years. A transition to Windows 7 now will cost more in 2014 than it would have in 2009 and the transition will be a lot more painful.
      M Wagner
  • Well written article...

    ....supported by true statistics. I hope most of current bloggers will from you, Ken Hess.
  • I'm sticking with XP

    Win 7 would be a step down and Win 8 is completely unacceptable. I've had about all of M$ I can take, I'll wait for Win9 before deciding what to do. If M$ OSs' haven't improved by then I'll probably get out of the Windows eco-system all together and go to some flavor of Apple or Linux.
    • What exactly is wrong with Windows 7?

      Windows 7 has been universally lauded as the best OS to come out of Redmond. If even THAT isn't good enough for you, then I have a sharp feeling you better opt out of the Windows ecosystem now, because nothing they ever do will satisfy you.
      Michael Kelly
      • I use Windows 7 all the time.

        There's nothing wrong with it and since the other alternative on a new computer is (gag, gag) Widows 8 I'll go with 7. However, aside from all the "security" babble I see here, there's nothing wrong with XP either. Why would anyone want to spend money to replace perfection? Maybe IT professionals are paid a lot more than chemists and money means nothing?
        • RE:

          I avoid Windows 8.x like the plague due to both the documented and undocumented back doors, as well as integration with SpyDrive which hasn't been proven to be safe. Closed source code makes Windows a big mystery, as to what is actually going on with your utmost private data.
      • Win7 is inferior because...

        Search facility in Win 7 is inferior to the search in WinXP
        Folders do not remember settings, size, position
        Contents of folders can not be ordered how I want
        Incorrect folder\data locks
        OS dialog box tells me an installation failed when no installation was initiated

        and others issues but that gives you a feel for my complaints
        • RE:Win7 is inferior because...

          Really? I've found a ton of the same functions when I moved from XP to Vista then 7 even when I moved a couple of machines to 8. There's definitely a learning curve when you switch to an new operating system but it baffles me how some people seem to really struggle with it. Change isn't always easy but sometimes it's a good thing.

          XP was a great OS...for it's time. It's definitely time to move on. I can understand some places wanting to keep it because it's more cost effective for the type of work they do but why wouldn't most people want to get with the times of technology and hopefully it will help them be more efficient at their job. I've moved from an XP machine to an Win7 at work and I've never looked back.
          Those who hunt Trolls
          • Actually - most do.

            Most consumers don't care about the OS running on their computers and few enterprise-class organizations are still on Windows XP.

            I'd bet the great bulk of XP seats still out there are consumers who simply don't understand and the rest are small businesses who think they cannot afford to upgrade. Every business should have an IT lifecycle replacement strategy.
            M Wagner
        • XP problem

          Folders do not remember settings, size, position this was a huge problem in XP unless you ran TweakUI.

          XP is like driving a 1970's american made car, clunky, and untrustworthy with a lot of rust thrown in.
          • I guess you didn't use XP much

            Folder settings, size, position can all be set in XP without ever running TweakUI.