Enterprise Software

Windows XP migration projects lag as Microsoft support deadline looms

Few companies have removed all trace of Windows XP from their infrastructure, even though Microsoft's support for the operating system will soon come to an end.
Few firms have eradicated use of Windows XP in their organisation, despite the looming end of Microsoft's support for the aged operating system.

Microsoft will end support for the now-antique but still extremely popular desktop OS on 8 April next year, after which date no new patches or bug fixes will be issued.

But according to research conducted in October, only a third of the IT decision makers who planned to migrate their remaining Windows XP devices before April next year are "extremely confident" that they will complete the migration in time.

Another third said they were "not even close" to having the migration complete and a fifth said they are only partway through the project and would complete it after Microsoft support had ended.

Only six percent of respondents said they had already migrated all their devices from XP.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents to the survey, sponsored by VMware and Dell, said they would be migrate their devices to Windows 7.

According to the survey, organisations have an average of 24 business-critical applications that only run on Windows XP, including finance, ERP and CRM packages.

Of the organisations that had completed their migrations, three-quarters said the project took a year, while the remainder took longer than that. 

Reasons for not migrating so far include the level of disruption it would cause to the business - mentioned by 42 percent - as well as the cost, cited by 34 percent.

Analysts have warned that if organisations leave migration from XP too late, they risk security threats to the unpatched operating system and may make rash cloud choices as result

However, it's also possible that because they need to move away from XP, companies may be more willing to adopt cutting-edge technologies previously unavailable, such as Chromebooks, tablets or Linux.

The research questioned 250 IT decision makers including CIOs, IT directors and IT managers in private and public sector organisations with more than 250 employees in the UK.

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Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of silicon.com.

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