Windows

74% of work PCs still run XP, and they're 4.4 years old

According to new data revealed by Microsoft at its Worldwide Partner Conference, enterprise upgrades to Windows 7 do not have much momentum so far in 2010.

As we said last year, 2010 is a big year for Microsoft because we're waiting to see which way the tide will turn on enterprise adoption of Windows 7. Lots of companies are on the fence about the migration, and many others have expressed the interest to upgrade from Windows XP to 7, but could ditch that idea if skipping Windows 7 develops into a corporate best practice, the same way skipping Vista did.

According to new data revealed by Microsoft, the enterprise upgrade to Windows 7 does not have much momentum so far in 2010.

At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Microsoft Windows corporate vice president Tammi Reller said that 74% of business computers are still running Windows XP. She also said that the average age of the PC is now 4.4 years old, which is the highest number that Microsoft has seen in over a decade.

Naturally, Microsoft spins this as a huge opportunity for the company to make a lot of money by selling copies of Windows 7 to these slow upgraders. CEO Steve Ballmer predicted on Monday that Microsoft would sell 350 million copies of Windows 7 licenses by the end of 2010.

But, if you read between the lines, part of the message here is that Windows 7 adoption has not taken hold yet, and Microsoft is still hustling to convince businesses to upgrade.

In July 2009, TechRepublic's CIO Jury was split 50/50 on whether to deploy Windows 7. Sounds like it's time to revisit that question, and see if the results are any different a year later. Look for a new TechRepublic CIO Jury on Windows 7 before the end of the month.

For instant analysis of tech news, follow my Twitter feed: @jasonhiner

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Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

87 comments
delf20k
delf20k

I would have switched over from win XP 32 to win 7 64 a lot sooner if the process was easy and automatic and I could have kept outlook express. With an automated upgrade and doss support Microsoft would be amazed at the number of copies they would sell.

glenn
glenn

For the most part we've implemented 7 with very few problems, have just 3 XP machines left. Most of our pc's are less than 2 years old we've about a dozen left to replace now, 2 year rolling replacement cycle and they're a good spec Quad Core 4 gb memory etc. We also have wsus & wds working which aids deployment greatly. Still have some issue's with group policy but who doesn't on occasion :) all in all it's been a pretty good experience and the seven platform is proving to be a lot more maintenance intensive than XP ever was at least for us !! Do it, you know you want to :)

torpheh
torpheh

thanks.but there is another view point.most of hard-wares don't support windows 7 yet.especially in Third World countries where good hard-wares are very expensive.in your poll you should consider sth for the people who have windows 7 now.

JCitizen
JCitizen

For those that have the RAM, XP is all they need, as far as they can tell. The few that upgraded, went 64bit. I had one newbie that never had a PC, and after trying to get junk to work he finally went out and bought a Win7x64 PC. He is never looking back. My buddy bought a Win7 netbook, and he can't wait to upgrade his whole house. Bear in mind these aren't business users, but if that is how newbies to computing are taking it, it is probably just a matter of time, before managers see how easy the transfer is. I have an old junker that is going on [b]10 years old[/b] running XP with a 768Mb RAM limit. Things are getting pretty hard to run on it; but it is still worth it to use as my dedicated server based email client.

asics447
asics447

These days IMHO - it comes down to money and with M$ track record I believe people/corps dont upgrade just to upgrade anymore - I work in a small shop with proprietory software and XP works fine - When we buy new equipment it is downgraded to XP - will eventually switch to 7 but when time/money/benifits are right - I am a firm believer that if it is not broke dont fix it

JCitizen
JCitizen

at my last contract we were migrating to Server 2003 and XP Pro; I'm independent now, and they are still using the same equipment and software.

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

My home computer runs Vista, which I plan to upgrade to Win 7. But for one of my clients, I'm actually providing a computer and software for some particular projects, and it's a P3 computer running Windows 2000. If I didn't have the computer, the O.S., and that particular version of the application software, I wouldn't have gotten the contract. P.S. I'm still waiting for the client who needs the 80286 running DOS - I have a couple in my garage.

fjp
fjp

I assume they mean 74% of Windows PC's, i.e. excluding Macs and those with other OS's. If it's 74% of all business machine, then the outlook is not so bright for MS!

jmbrasfield
jmbrasfield

I hear a lot about how much more secure Windows 7 is. I maintain many small business systems running XP Pro. I have converted all of them over the last three years form M$ Office to OpenOffice (no .docx problems for them), Firefox instead of Explorer, Thunderbird instead of Outlook, open source (freeware) security apps, etc. and not one of them has had a security problem in the last two years. Not one! That's security.

jkameleon
jkameleon

http://www.techi.com/2010/07/windows-xp-the-incredible-immortal-operating-system/ Microsoft is again extending downgrade rights to XP, until ? get this - the end of Windows 7?s life cycle. This means, simply put, that Windows XP will be alive and well in 2020.

Ocie3
Ocie3

I don't see the point to paying for a Windows 7 Pro license and installing Windows XP Pro instead, but I guess that someone, somewhere needs to do that.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

If the hardware is adequate, Win7's XP Mode is an alternative to exercising downgrade rights. It's virtually the same.

mmd23
mmd23

WIN 7 NO BETTER THAN VISTA WILL STICK WITH XP BEST OS EVER

abdrcjames
abdrcjames

We just got our scheduled replacement at the start of 2010, on a four year cycle. It runs XP so maybe 2014 they will update?

mikea
mikea

Nobody seems to be talking about a "transitional" approach to Windows 7. For our business the wholesale upgrade of our entire fleet of PC's would be expensive and unpalitable. So we will conduct a transition which means that as units come up for replacement they would be new Windows 7 machines.

reisen55
reisen55

My medical accounts are of more concern due to the ending of patch updates which are a direct security issue. Other accounts do not carry such concerns or mandated issues. Watching a bit but Windows 7 is in the future this calendar year.

AV .
AV .

This year we are moving our 15 servers to Windows server 8 R2 and hyper-v. Then we need to upgrade SQL, Exchange and all of our other network apps to the latest version. The desktop is last on the list. Most of our desktops are 2-4 years old and they can run Windows 7 if the network apps can accommodate it, but after the huge expense of upgrading the network, its likely that we will only have enough money left in the budget to upgrade a few desktops at a time. Its hard to justify the expense of moving to Windows 7 on the desktop after you just spent major $$ upgrading the entire network. Budgets are tight these days. AV

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

If Windows 8 works as fast as XP and doesn't have ANY of the bugs and crap of Vista and Windows 7, we may consider upgrading. Otherwise XP does an excellent job even though it isn't supported anymore. From what I've heard from other shops, we dodge tons of bullets (and costs) by staying with XP.

TheChas
TheChas

While our desktops average 2 to 4 years before being replaced, we have many dedicated systems that cannot be upgraded. In fact, we still have a number of computers in daily use that predate the IBM PC and DOS. Chas

jfuller05
jfuller05

I like to hear of companies like yours that still use older computers simply because it still works. Why change if it does what you need it to do? That's the motto where I work. I like it.

kilikopele
kilikopele

Question should have been phrased "Does your company plan to upgrade to Windows 7?" A) Already migrated B) Within 2010 C) etc. D) Never My company is still happily stable on XP and won't begin the migration until second half of 2011. (So my yes answer would be overly optimistic.)

mcswan454
mcswan454

WinXP - A virtual disaster when it first came out, nearly re-written in SP1. SP2 - Added some missing support. SP3 - Essentially made it Vista without all the Aero BS. XP has matured (it took 10 years) into a very usable platform, and those who stuck with it have reason to be satisified. Vista - A disaster of unmitigating proportions when it came out. SP1 - Solved some problems and added some usability (HW, etc.) SP2 - Windows 7 without all the heavy fluff that weighed down the original Vista. MS cleaned out a LOT of crap. I just finished a complete classroom install for an A+ course at a Veterans Ed. Center (I'm on the inside). I don't have to tell you what a difference you'd see in the Ghost images after applying SP's (Overall size of the OS actually shrank!). They work great and I can still tweak a few XP drivers for older HW. Windows 7? From what I've seen so far in my usage, probably as close to polished for a starter that MS has created. But remember folks: Almost ALL previous versions sucked until SP1. Windows 8 - being developed even as we speak. By the time the lion's share move to Win 7, it'll be time to do it all over again. Even MS admitted they made mistakes with Vista. I don't have the link(s), but it's true. 7 was released to cover for Vista, NOT because MS really wanted to. 0.02 M

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

After working with Win7 for several months now, my impression is that it's not bad, and it certainly is a substantial improvement over Vista. But that's not a helluva good reason to upgrade, is it? Personally, I don't give a hoot what engine is under the hood and powering the PC. I can cope with most OSs out there. The most important factor to me is the desktop, or whatever you wish to call the interface between the user and the OS. There, I think XP is still the winner, if for no better reason than that it works the way I do and thus makes my work easier. The OS I would jump to in a minute I'll call Windows 8 - XP Edition. It can have all the modern code Microsoft wants to put under the hood, but riding on top of that would be the Classic XP interface, all of it. The old Explorer, the old Search, the old Control Panel, the old simple icons, etc. If Microsoft wanted to include some toggles to turn on glitz like Aero, fine, so long as all of the interface "innovations" in Vista and Win7 can be turned off. On 2010 hardware, XP now works better than its designers ever dreamed possible. To get businesses to abandon that polished, functional system requires incentives Microsoft has not yet provided.

QAonCall
QAonCall

To flavor W7 for XP. Certainly the themes and look and feel can be done out of the box. If you prefer the older search and such most of these are gadgets that can be added (not sure why the older search appeals to me if feels clugy now that I have used 7 for a while. We all find our niches though.)

Paulthorgan
Paulthorgan

This could be because the Windows XP interface is 'good enough'. I can't determine exactly what the benefit of upgrading is. I am writing this on a Vista system (the OS came with the PC) and one of the first things I did was to change it to the Windows Classic interface. The reason? I don't really need a fancier UI and also the processing overhead for the 'functionality' would be marginal. I think that the interface got as good as it could at Windows 2000 (XP just gave it a Fisher-Price look and feel). The future is away from computing to smart media devices, like the iPad. Very few people actually need a general purpose computer for their tasks. They just want a client with some apps for editing. If they want to do some serious gaming then they get a console. If they want to create multimedia or write a program then get a PC or a Mac. Microsoft need to focus on Smart devices for consumers and also perhaps the cloud for corporate apps. They also need to recapture some server share lost to Linux etc. Otherwise they will be squeezed by Apple, Android and Google all at once.

pc.medic.suffolk
pc.medic.suffolk

This is exactly my point in earlier posts. I'm struggling to convince clients to upgrade, and I'm running out of words. There seems to me no percentage in upgrading. Better to persuade MS to revive XP and monetize that. My corporate clients are generally small, less than 10 employees; they're in the fifty plus age group, cautious about spending money, stuffing cash into the pension. I have some large off shore clients, 100 + employees, who gave me words ending with ...off when I mentioned 7. My financial future lies with XP. Are you the same?

j-mart
j-mart

if your clients upgrade. from their point of view, is upgrading going to increase profitability, or will it just add cost in the short term by disrupting productivity and after all the cost and upheaval only get productivity back to where it is now, or pain for no gain.

QAonCall
QAonCall

How about security (I thought XP was awful for security?) How about that at some point the browser will not get updates on XP? How about the newer version of the productivity tools your clients use (That will have new features they want) will probably not be backward compatible to XP because not all software companies can afford to make everything backward compatible? If you want XP, on a more secure, more stable environment, use W7 in XP mode? I am not pro or con in the debate, some of the discussions seem to be based on personal opinions, rather than facts. I think most of the businesses that have not upgraded have to do more with the fact that the cost benefit analysis came out on the wrong side (not sure why I offered several scenarios above). For small and medium businesses if the users do not want to upgrade, they are traditionally slower to upgrade and usually do as a part of purchasing new hardware, as opposed to new OS in a corporate environment who have a larger scale of effort in their migration and this entails months of planning and effort before they even image a machine. I currently test on this desktop with W7, WXP VM's, 2 Linux Distro VM's. Not everyone has my needs, but performance wise, W7 make good sense for me.

Slayer_
Slayer_

That assume so much about people. Why would I want to play on a BS console? Half the graphics, slower game, only works on a TV, only works with a gamepad, minimal interface, minimal customization, yuck! Brose the web on a mobile device? Yuck! I want my 30 tabs open, 50 addons and 6 different browsers. I rather like the UI in XP vs previous windows, I think its easier on the eyes. Win7 wrecked that... [b]Very few people actually need a general purpose computer for their tasks. They just want a client with some apps for editing.[/b] What do you mean by this??? I dunno, My father spends lots of time online these days at a desktop computer, he prints stuff... guess that simple function... printing... removes the possibility of using a mobile device like the iPad. So what you are saying is very few people in the world need to print anything?

coolmark82
coolmark82

It's funny, really. While I have bought recently a new HP Touchsmart computer, In the background I have been running a project 10 years in the making. How far can you stretch a computer from 2000 to? I got an ATXSTF MNT Performance 1400 back in 2000, which whipped with Windows 2000. When XP came around, i simply installed XP. When vista came around, i upgraded the system and installed vista. When 7 came around, I installed 7, and kept going. I want to see how log it would last before there actually is an OS that is after Windows 7 that will refuse to install on the system. Don't get me wrong, it is NOT slow at all.

domenicl_2000
domenicl_2000

Good for you coolmark82 for keeping your pc for as long you can run it instead of buying new pc every 2-4 years just like every one else does. If more people would follow the trend at not running out and buying new gagets as soon as they would release them maybe Microsoft and other manufactures would not release new OS forcing us to spend our money and upgrading ourselves every few months /every year. I Kept my P3 for 8 years until purchasing a new pc in 2008. I ran the P3 with Win98,ME,2000 & XP only upgrade I made was the ram.The system always run like a charm.

wlportwashington
wlportwashington

We've tested Windows 7 in the lab...it is better than Vista but not as good as XP. XP will be our primary O/S unless some moron decides otherwise.

pc.medic.suffolk
pc.medic.suffolk

Exactly my point in an earlier post. MS would have done better to build upon XP, and heavily monetize that, rather rather than offer us Vista, and now 7. Here in the UK we see TV ads for, say, detergents. They begin with new ... , then it becomes, better, improved, super, and then it morphs into ... the best ever. OK, we copied this from the US! Essentially it's the same thing, tweaked here and there. So why couldn't MS run down the same road? XP, but better, XP, but better plus, XP the Final, and yet again, XP ultimate!! XP, like it should be! Maybe 7 will give Ballmer a new yacht. Essentially, my clients, Boomer businessmen, want more than a glitzy front end copied from Apple. They want value for money, so demonstrate value for money! they say. My question is, how? I can't! It's that simple, because I end up saying, OK, we'll keep XP running somehow! And we will. If 74% of the world market has dug it's heels in and defied the move to 7 there's a lesson for MS. So tell me I'm wrong!

Craig_B
Craig_B

We are migrating to Windows 7 x64 and are quite happy. Windows 7 is more secure, very solid, quicker, easier to use and the users generally like it. I find I'm more productive on Windows 7 than XP/Vista.

gemini_kishore
gemini_kishore

Microsoft should take strict measures to make corporate use Windows 7 visit: http://www.dignaj.com

MyopicOne
MyopicOne

The corporations will do what they want, when they want to do it after all they're the customer. And if MS tries to 'make' a corporation do anything, they might just find themselves losing the account to Apple or even open source. 'Make' corporate use it. Haahahahahaaaaaa...

randerson
randerson

Our computers runs software that are not compatible with Windows 7. When the software is compatible we may switch.

thannon
thannon

Shouldn't the hardware last longer than 4 or 5 years? I realize that they are made in China.

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

When you run a UNIX or Linux, there is no need for bells and whistles. Leave the OS alone. Harden it against intrusion from any type of intrusion. Create applications that people want or need for their business. DUMP the baggage! I know that MS wants to make money every other year but, creating a new OS every other year.. comeon... Most compaines have two business streams. One that does the office automation stuff and the other that does the real business; the one that makes the money. The last thing that they want to do is to redo their IT department every other year. Wake up MS this costs the average business a lot of money to do this. Money that they could use to capture more business and make their business profitable. As a mainfram and UNIX guy, there are a number of old addages and one I think can apply in this case. If I wanted to cripple a competitors business, I would buy them MS Windows on which to run their critical business. They would spend so much time and valuable resources that they would have little time to run their business.. Do not move to a cumbersome and resource hog of an OS that does not have to change every couple of years and one that is stable and secure.

pc.medic.suffolk
pc.medic.suffolk

Here in the UK, most of my clients are on Windows, and frankly, although I run Macs here in the office, Windows keeps me in business. I am, to that extent, grateful to Bill Gates. As a call centre guy from Ireland said to me back in Win 98 days, if it weren't for the poor quality of Windows, I wouldn't be in a job. I believe the reality of the case is, MS has captured a world market, and so many users, corporate and otherwise, are fearful of change. MS doesn't have a good reputation with new OS's - even XP was a departure which caused severe problems with compatibility. Now the MS bubble is bursting. I see people discerning MS for what it is. An expensive, money sapping, behemoth. One of my small corporate clients asked me only this month, why should I pay you to migrate us to Win 7 when XP works fine for us? I wanted to say, why not migrate to Apple, but my own business would suffer. Most of my corporate clients think XP does just fine, it does what it says on the tin. MS would do well to investigate how it could further monetize XP rather than keep trotting out new OS's which generate suspicion, and sometimes ill-feeling, in people. I don't want Bill to be a figure of hate, he's given us so much. Where would we be without PC's? I work in one of the UK's baby boomer belts - I'm a boomer myself. We're skeptical about change - so justify it! - it's not easy to persuade people to move, they're digging into what they know in a very uncertain financial world. Spend money - so tell me why I should! - mostly, I cant! Let's step into reality here, folks. If it weren't for the inconsistent, incomplete and dubious nature of MS systems, we wouldn't be in a job. (reflect on ME, 98, and even 95!) And that, in this economic climate, in the UK at least, is something to be thankful for. I am grateful to Bill, but when I read here that 74% of businesses still rely on XP and won't willingly upgrade, I can understand it. All of which makes my selling case for upgrading difficult to say the least!

Mad Mole
Mad Mole

Security To maintain an XP base as long as possible base your recommendations around the end-date for security updates from MS. Also customers/suppliers moving to Office 2k7/2k10 will help change minds. The frustration of the compatibility pack having to convert every file an MD receives will guarantee it. Of course copying that change means new OS. Also how about this: 1. Your new PC will cost more with XP (?40exVAT typically) and this option vanishes in October. 2. If not XP then Win7 to work best with your current infrastructure and user base. 3. Still on pre Win Svr 2k3 R2? GPO's for Win7 will be an issue then making management exponentially more painful. Looks like you need Win Svr 2k8 R2. We are in a similar situation to your clients it seems but running a Win 2k Svr AD. The end of security support this month forces us to a new server OS and opting for 2k8 opens up all sorts of options we've not been allowed to pursue which now includes Win7. Would we try a different OS? No. We run Ubuntu Servers and some desktops but we're better able to support Windows. Would we run Virtual Desktops? Sure but the end-user OS would still be Windows. One final historical note. Yes WinME was so unreliable MS disowned it but 95 and 98 were decent for home use. Using them in a corporate environment would be asking for trouble, hence NT4 and 2k. Since then MS have had trouble but Vista is no latterday ME - considering its step away from the NT4 architecture it could have been significantly worse! As for the original question: We are happy to move to Win7 once I've had time to fix the underlying infrastructure. In fact our users are forever asking why we're so far behind!

NetComSulting
NetComSulting

I never understood why Professionals have such problems with Windows. I have worked as an IT professional since 1994 and when I work on clients Windows systems, I fix them like they should be fixed. I rarely have to go back because of another problem or a new one. I even lose money because they don't need my services for quite some time. So, I started implementing a quarterly contract instead of an hourly basis. My point being, if the Windows systems you are working on give you that much problem where you have to keep returning, well, you clearly are not doing something right or you are not a "professional".

mike_patburgess
mike_patburgess

Whereas it keeps you in business, now you and others are stuck in a quandry. Bill has commoditized the OS business and now there are a plethora of companies supporting this stuff. Businesses that can afford it are now thinking to themselves... do I move to WIN7 or do I take the high road, bite the bullet and move somewhere else.. say virtualize everything and forget about the "OS". If I were you, I would get up to speed on the virtual world. Yeah, MS is trying and yep as before they are giving the basic stuff away for free. Beware of MS giving away free stuff... ya get what ya pay for... win 386, etc..

pc.medic.suffolk
pc.medic.suffolk

I hardly dare mention alternative solutions here - got my head bitten off a few days ago for doing that! I'm in the position of talking about computers with small businessmen who know their own trade very well. PC's are an adjunct, cheaper than employing staff. To come on to them with something as you suggest ... well, you know the words, go and do it now! Roughly akin to go forth and multiply. Entrenchment because of the financial situation is paramount. All my clients want is continuity and cost effectiveness. And you're right about MS giving anything away free. Even open source is better than that!

pgit
pgit

I just posted above how my clients bend over backwards to get XP on any new machines... http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/windows-xp-gets-yet-another-reprieve-from-microsoft/6819?tag=nl.e539 Someone at Microsoft knows where the bread and butter have been coming from.

JLVFR
JLVFR

I'm an admin. My workplace has 150 PCs, around 1-3 years old, and we're all running XP. And I doubt I'll touch 7 before, at the very least, the end of the year. Not only is XP stable AND compatible with all out applications, but we are also overworked; there's no way I can learn enoug W7 to properly admin it...

SerrJ215
SerrJ215

Most of my clients are small companies. The reasons they stay with XP are as follows. 1: The Money. most of the people I work for are not going to bite the bullet and buy new machines with windows 7 for everyone. At least not all at once They will buy it only when they absoultly have too. 2: The learning curve. Most of my clients never even touched vista. So it is a big leeep from Xp to 7. Also alot of my clients are older and less then computer literate so..even if it might be easier differnet dosent work with them. 3: No direct upgrade path from XP. 4: No advantage. Most of the advantages that 7 has are a little hard to sell to a small company. Mostly beacuase the companies that I work for use Internet, email and Office and thats about it. The simplicy of managment and hardware support is not an issue for them becuase well they never have to deal with that. They have me and they dont care how hard or easy it is to get a printer installed just that it is and it works.

aandruli
aandruli

Windows 7 is the solution to a problem small companies don't have. XP does the entire job completely -- but MS wants you to fix what ain't broke.

Komplex
Komplex

have traditionally leased their computers. It made Business, Accounting and Technological Sense. So after 3 years, you get to dispose of older computers and get brand spanking new ones. It makes upgrading to a new OS quite easy. But that was then when a respectable desktop costs >$1,200. Now you can get good desktop for less than $300. XP is a pretty good operating system. Besides all the interesting things are now independent of the OS. As I said before, MS might as well realize they are an Office Supply store and start retooling their business in that manner.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Who has so much money that they can replace their computers every 3 years... Computer hardware is usually good for 7 years at least. Even my gaming computer will only see an upgrade at 3 years, and retired after 15 years... My current gaming machine has a lot of hardware form my old machine. The HDD's are almost 10 years old now, the CD drive is nearly 13 years, the DVD burner is about 10 years, and the DVD reader drive is about 9 years (3 drives for Discs, 2 HDD's) SMART tests show the HDD's in perfect health.

jtollack
jtollack

I do not know who these big companies are that Microsoft states 4 years is the longest time in a decade??? Most companies I have ever worked for (including goverment and military) worked on a 5 year workstation hardware replacement plan. My current company uses some Windows 7 64 bit machines for testing our customer solutions, but even as a tech company, we do not "need" these machines for daily work because there is nothing we have found in Win 7 that really is a "gotta have".

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