More than half of Windows users are on a 7-year-old version

That headline sounds bad, but hey … at least it’s not XP. 

According to Helpnet Security, 65% of Windows users are still running Windows 7. Let’s just get out of the way that there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a fine OS. This post is actually being typed by a Windows 7 computer. I’ve nicknamed it “George.”

But (get ready to feel old) Windows 7 was released in 2009. Meanwhile, Windows 10, which was released last year and was free, still hasn’t hit the quarter-way mark for Windows adoption. It stands at a respectable, but kind of underwhelming, 24%.

One percent of users are grandparents or stuck-in-their-ways businesses that run Windows XP.

Still patched

Some researchers are citing this as reason for concerns, pointing out there have been two new versions since Windows 7’s release (three, if you count Windows 8.1). But unlike the concerns with XP, Windows 7 is still being patched for security issues. It’s just not the newest operating system out there.

Browsers, however, were a different matter. Twenty percent of users were on IE 8, 9 or 10, which aren’t updated anymore. Many were also running outdated and highly vulnerable versions of Flash or other plug-ins.

So what’s keeping users from updating to a newer OS? For many businesses, the answer is that the old way of doing things works just fine, so there’s no real need to change.

But remember: For a long time, Windows XP was just good enough. Until it wasn’t anymore, and companies weren’t able to easily switch in time.

Best bet: Start making plans now, if not for a change, at least for a timeline for a change. That can help you stay ahead of the curve and make the transition a little less painful.