As Support For Windows XP Ends, A Majority Of PCs Still Run The Aging OS

Retirement

As the clock ticks down to the end of Windows XP support, a majority of business machines are still running the aging operating system, suggests a new Softchoice-led study.

Sixty-two percent of desktops and laptops continue to operate on Windows XP or older operating systems, according to aggregate data gathered from over 620,000 PC’s of hundreds of Softchoice clients. Just 38 percent of surveyed machines were running a newer OS, including Windows 7 and to a lesser extent, Vista.

Although this is an improvement from last year (a previous Softchoice study showed that as of August 2011, 71% of PC’s still ran XP), the new numbers indicate two thirds of North American businesses are running an OS that will soon be obsolete, as Microsoft plans to cease support for XP as of April 2014.

In November, Softchoice will kick off its latest Discovery Series, an informative seminar hosted by our team of Microsoft experts where we’ll explore the business challenges of upgrading – and the real value of Windows 8.

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Softchoice study finds ‘floodgates’ opening on Windows 7 [Infographic]

Data. Softchoice sure gets a lot of it – from about a million computers a year in fact. When you look at the guts of a million computers a year, you start to see some trends. One trend we’ve been tracking is the surprising longevity of Windows XP — an operating system that has been the ‘comfortable pair of jeans’ for corporate North American desktops for the better part of a decade. It’s an interesting history, but based on our analysis, Windows 7 fever is gripping corporate North America, and things are finally beginning to change.

Now there have been many studies on the ‘intentions’ of organizations to deploy Windows 7, how they planned to do it and when (here’s one, for example). But a chasm often exists between intentions and reality. Another frequently cited data point is Windows 7 shipments. But shipments are just that – shipments. Often the computers that Windows 7 shipped on, particularly in late 2009, were retrofitted with Windows XP to remain compatible with existing corporate infrastructure.

This study is different. What you’ll see in the infographic below is a healthy cross-section of ‘in the wild’ data we gleaned over the course of hundreds of customer IT asset management service engagements. Looking at this data in aggregate provides a much clearer picture of the real state of the union in corporate North America.

After a decade of the status quo, it now looks like change is firmly afoot. The migration to Windows 7, while not complete for most organizations, is underway at quite a clip. Many organizations, it seems, had been taking the ‘wait and see’ approach, as is quite common with desktop operating systems. Well, they waited – and they saw – and now they’re acting.

So is 2011 the “Year of Windows 7”? As we sit here in December, that’s an easy thing to proclaim – at least until 2012 rolls around.