Not dead yet: Windows XP alive and kicking

Not dead yet: Windows XP alive and kicking

There are still plenty of government offices using Windows XP. Earlier this year, Dawn Leaf, CIO at the Department of Labor, said that it still had 10,000 people running Windows XP, despite all efforts to upgrade. And 35 percent of the British National Health Services' computers are still running Windows XP, according to Popular Mechanics.

Think these agencies are outliers? Think again.

Despite not being officially supported by Microsoft for the last year, some 250 million users are still actively using Windows XP in March 2015, according to market analysts.

Windows operating systems account for more than 90 percent of worldwide desktop OS market share, with Windows XP making up nearly 17 percent of that portion, according to Net Applications, a market statistics firm.

Net Applications' worldwide share figures by operating system for March 2015.

Net Applications' worldwide share figures by operating system for March 2015.

StatCounter, another analyst organization, puts Windows XP share at just over 11 percent, with the U.S. share at 6.5 percent.

Still that means that a year after support officially ended, only Windows 7 has more share than Windows XP.

The Labor Department’s acknowledgement of the XP holdouts came during the Cloud Expo in London in March, where Leaf described the agency’s efforts to migrate to the cloud. "There's actually still a lot of people running Windows XP," said Kasper Lindgaard, director of research and security at Secunia, in a recent telephone interview about Secunia's Annual Vulnerability Review.

Before the deadline, much concern was focused on how vulnerable all those Windows XP machines would be to newly discovered flaws. Since the support deadline, there's been less attention paid to the issue, other than a Microsoft decision to patch a particularly serious flaw affecting Windows XP a few weeks after the support deadline (MS14-021).

Nonetheless, other new vulnerabilities discovered since April 8, 2014, probably affected Windows XP as well, Lindgaard said.

"Vulnerabilities that affect Windows 8 only or Windows 7 only probably won't affect Windows XP," Lindgaard said. "It's fair to assume that some vulnerabilities that affect older versions of the Windows client and Windows server may also affect Windows XP."

Meanwhile, as the anniversary of the Windows XP support cutoff passes, other deadlines approach. On July 14 of this year, support ends for Windows Server 2003. On the same day, Microsoft plans to end anti-malware signature updates for Windows XP on Microsoft Security Essentials. A little further out, support ends for SQL Server 2005 on April 12, 2016.

This article originally appeared on Redmond, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is the editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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Reader Comments

Sun, Oct 18, 2015 John Baumgaertner II Emerald Coast FL USA

We use XP SP3 for WORK! The file structure and ease of use is supreme. Older graphics programs and WPs still work. I am disgusted with TV ads for newer PC OS's which have somebody state: "And I can use it for work!" We are presently looking for a way to install our favorite OS on newer machines.

Wed, Sep 2, 2015 Jules

XP continue to be my pride, it's light and easy to configure, and much than 7 and 8.1, it can run my old turbopascal application in dos, but my app. is particuliar because it cll a lightweight app. in windows (mycview.exe), even if i use dosbox or virtual PC to emulate XP. The best for old dos application is XP, for gaming i use WIN 7 that include directx 11.0

Sun, Aug 30, 2015 D.M SAMANTA

Windows xp is best operating system it doesnot hog down pc like newer windows. Telling windows xp valnerable is a joke as 90% of asian computer never see the face windows updates .My bad exsperiance with windows 8.1 get infected with virus faster than xp.Windows Xp forever proud to be a xp user with 16Gb ram and Intel core i7@2600k

Tue, Aug 11, 2015 Maurice

As far as I am concerned XP is almost the perfect operating system despite it's shortcomings. XP Home Edition is relatively simple, configurable and stable, has less overhead, runs faster and is less vulnerable to imperfect hardware. Linux and Windows 7 on the other hand are a pain in the ass. XP FOR EVER!

Tue, Aug 4, 2015

I have tried - at great expense (two new computers are now redundant) - Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, and the features that are essential for my work are missing. I've had engineers helping and working remotely for hours, with no success, to put correct these omissions. It's clear that I can't function with any of these OSs. Shame on Microsoft for cutting off support for Windows XP, it's best system ever. I'm staying with it as long as I can - it's a necessity. We're all being forced to 'upgrade' to newer systems, but how would Microsoft address my problems, when the new systems just aren't up to the job?

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