Making the Case for Terminating Windows XP

Michael Vizard

There's nothing wrong with Windows XP per se. A lot of work has gone into making this platform fairly stable. But when you stand Windows XP up against Windows 7, from the perspective of the IT people who have to manage these environments, the cost of maintaining Windows XP has reached a point that makes it more trouble than it's worth.

According to Jay McBain, director of channel marketing and community development at Lenovo, a large percentage of businesses have already started to make the shift. But McBain notes that in large enterprises with 2,500 or more users, only about 20 percent of the companies have begun to adopt Windows 7. And most of that adoption is in the form of pockets of new laptops that are bought as replacement for older systems that are too antiquated to run modern applications.

Naturally, in these tough economic times, there is resistance to funding a wholesale upgrade to Windows 7. Microsoft and its allies, however, are trying to force the issue by making it impossible for PC manufacturers to build a new system with Windows XP after October 22nd, although they will provide Windows XP support through 2014.

Most end users would probably happily trade in their tired Windows XP systems for a Windows 7 system based on a new Intel Core i5 processor. But odds are good that many IT organizations will try to cannibalize parts from their installed base of Windows XP systems to postpone upgrades as long as possible. And there will probably be a pretty lively after-market in Windows XP systems for years to come.

When you think about all the IT people who will be spending their time keeping Windows XP systems running, you can't help but wonder if this activity is preventing attention to other things that could add more to the business. There's a lot of talk about getting more value out of our investments in IT. Paying people hundreds of dollars an hour to maintain a fleet of systems that can all be replaced by new systems that not only cost under $1,000, but more often than not run existing Windows XP applications better, doesn't qualify as good IT investment.

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Sep 30, 2010 1:09 PM M Demars M Demars  says:
The fact is that most IT departments don't get the training or the exposure to new solutions that can drive IT costs down. They often resist change as a result. I think part of the problem is that some view professional IT providers that do understand these things clearly as "the competition". Managed Services has threatened to reduce the head count in the IT department. So instead of an educated and trained IT partner bringing things foreword we end up with the burden falling on the manufacturers like Lenovo and Microsoft. It is usually a slower and less efficient approach but at least the wool remains over management's eyes and that keeps people in the corporate IT department gainfully employed. The cloud is going to be the next big will be interesting to see how these IT protectionists respond to it. Reply
Jun 7, 2011 3:06 PM John John  says:
I am an IT employee in a county hospital. We would LOVE to move to Windows 7. We're not holding it back at all. It's the healthcare software vendors that are forcing us to keep XP around, because they have not or will not upgrade their own software to work with Windows 7. Internally, we have tested most all of our current apps on Win7, and many of them do work, but until we have 100% support, we're stuck with XP. And yes, we could find other software that works with Win7, but healthcare applications typically have a long implementation timeline to make sure they all communicate with each other (it's all about protecting patient care). It's not as simple as running out to the store to buy the latest & greatest. Reply

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