It's Going to Take an Army to Eliminate Windows XP Completely

It's Going to Take an Army to Eliminate Windows XP Completely

Recent NetMarketShare stats reveal that Windows XP migrations are stagnate. October 2013 showed that Windows XP had a 31.24% market share while November 2013 now shows 31.22%.

In the graphic below, you can see how very little has changed between October and November, despite the conscious push of various vendors to help spur on migrations. HP, Microsoft, Intel, Dell, and others are actively promoting solutions and to both help with the migrations, and to ensure that enough of the world knows that the death of Windows XP is imminent. 

But, I think the larger problem is that many people are naïve when it comes to understanding what effect an older, unsecure operating system can have. And, to me, the bigger issue is how, from the NetMarketShare stats, to understand how many business are represented in the stats against the number of home PCs still running the decrepit operating system.

I do believe that most businesses understand the critical nature of harboring Windows XP after its end-of-life. I say most, but not all. There will always be a certain number of people working IT for companies that aren't as clued in as others. I've heard from banking organizations over the last weekend that have over 100,000 terminals still running Windows XP, however, they are embroiled in active migrations now. So, yes, with only 3 months or so left, there is still a lot to do.

However, once we're on track with business, there's another, larger area that desperately needs attention: the home user. Spending time with my family over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was made clearly aware that the larger problem for eliminating Windows XP is the home user. Many home users have been working with the same computer for 10-12 years, which means that Windows XP is alive and well. All they really want to do is email and use Facebook. Windows XP is completely adequate for that, so why upgrade if the computer hardware is working just fine?

I've often wondered why Facebook doesn't release OS stats. To me, Facebook is a perfect hub for gathering Windows XP usage.

Truly, I think it's up to IT to go home for the holidays, review the computing infrastructure of family and friends, and educate them on why sticking with an older computer and operating system could, potentially, hurt us all.  All it takes is one email forward from a family member to your work computer to start a security snowball – even if your work computer is completely up-to-date and running Windows 8 or Windows 7. As someone who works in IT, it's your duty to share your knowledge of the situation.

Don't let your friends and family use Windows XP.

For our family, it's a Microsoft Surface Christmas. Almost everyone in our family will be sporting a new Surface Pro on Christmas day. My mom still uses Windows XP and we'll be replacing that with a Surface Pro and a docking station.

But, if you can't replace the aging computers yourself, you can still "suggest" that they be replaced. Kind of like how Ralphie kept subliminally "suggesting" he wanted a "Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock."

Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Meanwhile, I struggled for exactly the right BB gun hint. It had to be firm, but subtle.

Ralphie: Flick says he saw some grizzly bears near Pulaski's candy store!

[everyone stares at Ralphie]

Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] They looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.

It's going to take all of us to get this fixed. Don't let an opportunity slip by this holiday season.

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