Tag Archives: Application incompatibility

With Windows XP past its end of life…it’s still going strong!

Estimates indicate Windows XP is still running on 160 – 250 million machines, around 14% of the world market share (6 % in the USA).

The reasons for running Windows XP are vast but most companies have hung on to Windows XP due to:

  • Application incompatibility with later versions of Windows.
  • The time involved in migrating thousands of XP machines.
  • The shear cost of such a migration.
  • Having to train employees and support staff on later versions of Windows.

Application compatibility is the one I witness most often. There is a large amount of custom enterprise software that will only run on Windows XP. Most software of this nature does not play well in Windows XP mode on Windows 7 and XP mode is not supported in later versions of Windows. Windows XP mode is basically a virtual machine running Windows XP inside another version of Windows. This can be accomplished on any version of Windows with any virtualization software. If a machine is currently running Windows XP its a waste of effort for System Administrator to setup a new PC with Windows 8 or 10 and then setup a virtual machine running Windows XP.

Most companies that fall into incompatibility area are utilities and other industrial companies. 75% of water utilities still have to run Windows XP.

Many manufacturing companies simply cannot afford the downtime of $100,000 to $1 million and hour. These companies need a Windows XP machine to run their production machines and their general view is that not being connected to an outside network, the security risk is minimal.

Kiosks and ATM machines make up another large portion of systems that run software that will only work on Windows XP machines. 95% of ATM machines run Windows XP and I would say that’s a fair estimate for kiosks as well

Even the United State’s Navy pays Microsoft $9 million (with a contract ceiling of $31 million) to continue to support Windows XP. The Navy is not the only branch of the armed forces or the United States Government to continue running Windows XP

Companies running Windows XP shouldn’t be a shock to any System Administrator, there are plenty of Government and financial institutions still running Windows 2000 and earlier Operating Systems. Windows 2003 Server is past it’s end and still commands 50% of Windows Servers in production.

At 14 years old, Windows XP continues to go strong. It is only #2, behind Windows 7 in world wide operating systems. Though unsupported and a huge security risk, I can see Windows XP living on for the next five to ten years.