Despite warnings, some Windows XP enterprise users not upgrading

Brandan Blevins, News Writer

Despite Microsoft's repeated calls for enterprises to move away from its aging Windows XP operating system, data from a new report indicates that more than a third of businesses using XP aren't planning to upgrade to a newer OS.

For its report, "The end of Windows XP support: Concerns and upgrade plans," Tech Pro Research surveyed 641 enterprises currently using XP to determine whether they had plans to upgrade to a newer OS, and if so, which one. Moving to Windows 7 was the popular option, with 38% of enterprises choosing that route, but 37% of those surveyed have decided to stick with Windows XP.

Should you upgrade to Windows 7 or 8?

Windows XP shops don't have to migrate to Windows 7 anymore, but there are several pros and cons to weigh before deciding on a Windows 8 upgrade.

Out of those Windows XP enterprise users that don't plan to migrate before Microsoft's April 8, 2014, end-of-life date, 40% indicated no reason to change if the OS still works and fulfills business needs, according to the report. Many enterprises also seem to be tied to XP due to legacy application issues, with 39% of respondents left unable to migrate due to "crucial software." Cost was the main consideration for 21% of the companies staying with the nearly 13-year-old OS.

Microsoft announced plans to end support for Windows XP in March of 2008 and stopped selling the OS in January of 2009. Despite both a lack of availability and repeated warnings from the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant that security support and patches will end in April, XP remains a popular OS among enterprises and general consumers. Research firm Net Applications reported that as of January 2014, XP makes up nearly 30% of the market, behind only the 47.9% share held by Windows 7.

Recognizing that a significant XP user base will remain after April 2014, Microsoft recently extended support for its Security Essentials antimalware software for Windows XP past the end-of-life date, but the company remained firm in its stance that security patches and support will indeed end April 8.

"Our research shows that the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited," Microsoft's Malware Protection Center team said. "Running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today's threat landscape."

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