Most of you answered that question a long time ago, by upgrading to Vista or 7, or by migrating to a different platform altogether. But recent data from NetMarketShare shows that Windows XP still holds 31.22% of all Windows and Mac installations.
Now as a SysAdmin, I refused to roll out a new version of Windows for the first 12 – 18 months of its existence. It wasn’t just about Windows, though that was part of it. It was also about the fact that I was supporting a variety of industries whose proprietary packages weren’t going to work well in that first year. So we waited until the risk-reward turned in our favor.
With Windows XP things were a little different because it was followed by the utterly horrible Windows Vista. Just horrible. Many in the industry thought the only good reason to migrate from XP to Vista was to prepare for an easy migration to Windows 7. After all, if you wanted to migrate from the works-ok-and-is-backwards-compatible XP to the horrible-what-the-blank-is-this Vista, you had to upgrade your hardware too. If you didn’t already have a problem, it just wasn’t enough of an incentive to move to Vista.
During the decade of Windows XP we also saw a transition of how desktop support was handled. IT departments were outsourced, downsized, or replaced by an employee who specialized in something else but was also a bit of a “techie.” Desktop Operating Systems became easier to support, and IT consulting moved away from desktops and into servers and network infrastructure. There simply wasn’t anyone pushing for the desktop upgrade like there used to be.
Or at least that’s my take on it. I suppose there are a handful of reasons why nearly 1/3 of machines are still running an OS that was released in 2001. It’s easy, it’s familiar, it’s cheaper than upgrading. Blah blah blah. But all that will change on April 8, 2014, when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP.
We have already had a glimpse into what happens when a Windows XP-based platform goes out of support. In the two years after Windows XP Service Pack 2 went out of support, its malware infection rate was 66 percent higher than Windows XP Service Pack 3 – the last supported version of Windows XP.
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