Windows XP April 2014 deadline fast approaching

After 8 April, support and patching will cease for the 13-year-old operating system

Organisations that haven’t migrated off the Windows XP operating system have until 8 April 2014 before support and patching ends.

XP was launched in 2001 and went on to become one of Microsoft’s most popular products.

According to IDC’s World Wide PC Tracker Installed Base data from December 2012, XP makes up approximately 11 per cent of operating systems on computers in Australia.

Microsoft Australia commercial product marketing manager Emmanuele Silanesu told Computerworld Australia that a full migration off XP can take up to six months, depending on the organisation’s size.

“Businesses will need to take into account the size of their employee base, the number of existing apps currently in use as well as the data that will need to be migrated. All these aspects can be roadblocks to the migration path and add time to the process,” he said.

To help with the migration, Silanesu said that companies should develop a migration strategy budget as well as conduct hardware and software inventory.

To help companies complete their migration after the deadline has passed, Microsoft recently announced that it will continue to offer its malware scrubbing program, Malicious Software Removal Tool, for XP users up to 14 July 2015.

“These products [XP and Office 2003] were released over 10 years ago, and have had free updates for over a decade. These products were designed for a different era of technology and are now impractical for a modern business,” he said.

According to Silanesu, the benefits of migrating to a newer Windows OS are “well worth the effort" such as easier device management and stronger security.

“There will be improved device performance in terms of processing and speed. Modern Windows platforms are also designed to integrate with cloud services such as SkyDrive, which allow users to be truly mobile, accessing and sharing documents from wherever they have an Internet connection.”

IDC Australia market analyst Amy Cheah said the anecdotal feedback she has received is that Australian companies are moving to newer operating systems, primarily Windows 7.

“While there may be an urgency to migrate given the deadline, it is not the top priority for most IT decision makers. IDC’s 2013 C-suite survey found the top priority is improving or simplifying IT infrastructure,” she said.

According to the survey, only one IT manager had plans to migrate their current PC fleet to Windows 8.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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