Windows 8 is picking up: But XP’s still hanging around

Everyone knows by now that Windows XP support is going away in a few short months. But that doesn’t mean everybody is doing something about it yet. 

The latest figures by Net Applications show that the market share of Windows 8 and 8.1 is growing. It’s now at about 10.5% combined.

For comparison, a full 30% of users are still on XP. And 47.5% are sitting pretty on Windows 7.

Business and personal

In fairness, that covers both enterprise and users personal computers. Most users are slower to upgrade their operating systems than businesses.

But according to a recent Spiceworks report [PDF], 76% of IT pros are still supporting Windows XP on at least one device. Almost half say they’ll upgrade to Windows 7 or replace devices with new Windows 7 units.

That option was much more popular than the idea of switching to Windows 8 (which users are still not crazy about either).

Your next move

So where does that leave IT before the spring deadline? You do have some options.

  • Option 1: Sticking with XP. This is by far the riskiest option. There are some services that promise to help you after official Microsoft support ends, but that’s not a permanent solution. Once support is up, attackers are going to come at this operating system hard and frequently.
  • Option 2: Upgrading to Windows 8. As we mentioned, this is a huge adjustment for a lot of users. If you’re going to go to 8, get ready for the complaints to follow. And recent issues with 8.1 causing problems with other apps isn’t encouraging. This is the longest-term solution, but get ready for some serious issues in the short term.
  • Option 3: Buy time with Windows 7. In many ways, this is the safest choice. It’s similar enough to Windows XP that users should be able to adjust fairly easily. The only problem? You’ll be back where you are soon. End of mainstream life support is next January, and extended support will end in 2020. But Microsoft is already showing signs it’ll stop selling Windows 7 on new machines soon.
  • Option 4: Another option. Getting off Windows altogether probably won’t be in anyone’s short-term plans. But Linux OSs are a viable solution for shops.

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