Windows XP migration: For some, is time running out (again)?

XP might be out of date but that doesn't mean it isn't still being used by many organisations. But research suggests another big deadline could be missed by some.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Windows XP might have been retired back in April, but the venerable operating system is still used in many organisations ahead of a move to a newer version of Windows.

A survey of IT decision makers found that as of the end of June, 60 percent of companies questioned have completed an upgrade away from XP (34 percent moving to Windows 7, 26 percent opting for Windows 8) while 33 percent were still in the process (19 percent heading to Windows 7, 14 percent to Windows 8). Six percent of companies had upgrades planned but were yet to start them. The survey, carried out by IT operations management company 1E, involved 300 IT decision makers in the US and UK working in companies with more than 500 staff.

According to the survey, the average length of time to migrate all PCs to a new operating system across the UK and US came in at five months. The US is apparently quicker at getting the job done, taking only four months compared to six taken in the UK.

Unsurprisingly, larger companies take longer to get the work done: to migrate away from Windows XP takes three months for a organisations with 500 to 1,000 employees, four for firms with 1,00 to 3,000 staff, and seven for companies with more than 3,00 staff.

The research found public sector organisations on average take the longest time — seven months — to move away from Windows XP, compared to five months or less in the private sector. And, according to the survey, fewer public sector organisations have completed a Windows migration than in any other sector: 56 percent compared to 61 percent in financial services and 65 percent in other commercial sectors

Of public sector respondents as of the end of June nearly two thirds (60 percent) had migrated to Windows 7 or 8, a third, (34 percent) had their plan in progress, but six percent still hadn't got moving at all.

1E said this suggests that some public sector organisations could struggle to migrate away from Windows XP before the end of the first year of Microsoft Extended Support in April 2015. 1E noted that any public sector organisation that doesn't move off Windows XP by this point cold be forced to take out another year of extended support, spending more money to support the antique operating system launched back in 2002.

As part of a £5.5m deal, Microsoft is providing security updates to Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 for one year until 8 April 2015 for UK public sector organisations. At the time it was reported that one condition of the deal was that public sector bodies had to have in place a "robust plan" to get off Windows XP before the one-year deal ran out.

According to the latest figures, XP still accounts for 24 percent of all PCs connected to the internet.

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