Businesses sticking with XP because of legacy apps, survey says

Support for Windows XP will end in just over a year, but many businesses are still clinging to the old OS. Why are IT departments so reluctant to upgrade? 

One big answer is that many organizations are worried that their legacy applications won’t run on newer operating systems, according to a recent survey from Avanade UK.

Among the 200 IT managers and CIOs surveyed, 80% are concerned that moving on from Windows XP will leave them without support for several critical business applications.

But despite those worries, nearly half (43%) haven’t yet taken any steps to migrate those legacy apps.

According to Avanade, a full OS upgrade typically takes between 12 and 18 months — so that means many businesses will either be forced to stop running important software or to continue using XP even though it will be highly vulnerable to security threats.

Time to plan upgrades

Even though support will end in April of next year, XP remains in close second, just behind Windows 7, in terms of worldwide market share. According to recent data from Net Applications, 44% of machines run Windows 7, while 39% still use XP.

Business that still rely on XP and don’t plan to take the risk of using the OS once it’s no longer supported should begin the upgrade process as soon as possible.

The first step: Decide what OS the organization will upgrade to. Most businesses have said no to Windows 8, and believe that switching to Windows 7 is a better move.

Next, businesses need to figure what to do with their applications. It may be helpful to test critical applications on the new OS before a full upgrade to determine what works and what doesn’t. Then, IT can determine if there’s a way to make the app work (for example, by running it in Windows 7’s “XP Mode”) or what other alternatives might be available.

Does your business plan on running XP after support ends? If so, what is the main reason? Let us know in the comments section below.

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