Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Windows XP and the Future of the Desktop

Windows XP: How fast can companies unwind it?

About 40 percent of companies are still running Windows XP, but IBM's Fiberlink expects that figure to fall quickly.

The end of life date for Windows XP has come and gone, but many companies are still running the dated operating system. How fast companies can upgrade off of XP---after all we're talking about enterprises that are slow movers anyway---will go a long way toward minimizing the security hit.

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According to Fiberlink, an IBM company, about 40 percent of companies are still running Windows XP. Of that percentages, two to three large banks are contributing a big chunk of the total. Fiberlink doesn't track ATMs, so the data represents PCs and laptops.

Excluding those large enterprises about 25 percent or so are still running Windows XP.

Chuck Brown, director of product management at Fiberlink, said that companies are actively migrating or planning to jump from XP. "These companies have a lot of proprietary software and haven't converted over," said Brown. "Even if Microsoft won't support XP what third parties like Oracle with Java and Adobe with Flash will do."

Nevertheless, Brown said he expects XP totals to go down almost weekly. Federal is the industry migrating away from XP the fastest. Financials are also expected to come down at a decent clip. Airlines and utilities also are heavy XP users. Most companies will move to Windows 7---Windows 8 is too much of a leap. 

A quick poll of more than 100 IT pros and Fiberlink customers show that 44 percent plan to move off of XP in ` 1 to 5 months and another 6 percent plan to jump in 6 to 12 months. Sixteen percent plan on leaving XP when it breaks down completely.

Add it up and the best we can hope for is that XP users upgrade in a year where no major security event occurs. As for the 16 percent that are waiting for XP to completely blow up they'll get what they deserve.

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