XP's days were numbered, the software giant said.
And not just any computers. Some of America's biggest companies hadn't yet completed the switch. Neither had the U.S. military, including the
"It's a big
Dunn said at a lunch briefing with contractors last month in
That necessitated a deal with
"Given the scale and scope of Windows XP's use, the Department has a Custom Support Agreement with
The agreement is good for the next three years and is expected to cost about
The sea service is far from alone.
XP's market share of more than 25 percent makes it the world's second-most-used desktop operating system, according to Netmarketshare.com. Windows 7, the system to which most users are converting, has about half of the market.
Other large XP customers that weren't able to transition to another system by
A quick survey of some big
After an effort that took about 2 1/2 years,
It had about 12,000 computers to convert from XP. As of early this month, less than 2 percent remained in line for conversion to the newer operating system.
"We're still waiting on some vendors to make the necessary changes to their software so we can convert the application to Windows 7," the
The process involved the remediation and testing of about 800 applications and required "an entirely new deployment and desktop management toolset," it added.
The switch has been a boon to
It's recycled about 5,170 computers since the fall of 2009, including 1,800 last year.
"We're still getting a lot of computers from companies," said
Bigger companies with information technology departments, help desks and deeper pockets have had an edge in dealing with the XP situation, said
"I think the biggest hurt would be on smaller businesses who don't have IT," he said. "They may not have the budget for all these things. Some of them may not realize this is a problem for them."
"It's a bit of a tightrope that they have to walk," said
Doing nothing, though, is not an option because companies that suffer data breaches are more likely to go out of business, he said.
"The head-in-the-sand thing isn't going to work," agreed
"If you're browsing the Internet, you're vulnerable; if you're connected to a network, you're vulnerable," she said.
Prophet has found that small companies are where "making the switch, just pulling the trigger" has been an issue.
It can cost hundreds of dollars to upgrade or replace a computer, which translates into potentially tens of thousands of dollars for a company with a few hundred of them.
"To buy 250 computers for a large small business -- that's a lot of money," she said.
Industry experts say the issue of who's still on XP and who isn't is somewhat sensitive.
"It's probably not advisable to advertise that some Company X is 30 percent completed with their XP-to-7 migration," said
Vollmer, who also is chairman of a
"It's one of those things that would be a closely held data point for most of them," he said.
In use since
XP had nearly 84 percent of global usage market share in
A website spokesman said it's almost certain that XP's global market share was even higher sometime prior to that.
Though it never really caught on, with most users choosing to stick with XP, in
So its demise hasn't exactly been a surprise.
"Plenty of time to get off the product; plenty of time to move to Windows 7 or Windows 8," Vollmer said.
"People refused to make that move because they like the product and it works for them. Well, now they're using a product that's not being patched," he said.
The patches are code vulnerability updates, fixes that mend weaknesses found in operating systems that if not repaired could, over time, allow hackers to exploit them, said
The problem, he said, is that all of the
As vulnerabilities are found in the newer systems,
The concern is that hackers will be able to "reverse engineer" and try to exploit unprotected XP machines based on the patches sent out to fix the newer systems, Bhutta said.
"There's a very high chance that they will succeed in doing that," he said. "So that is the biggest concern everybody has."
Prophet said work-arounds to the XP support problem can be easily found through
And any of these fixes should be viewed only as temporary, she added.
"It's a short-term solution to allow you a little bit more time to get those replacements in, but it's definitely not a long-term solution."
There seems to be general agreement that upgrading to a new computer that has Windows 7 on it is the most cost-effective choice in the long run.
While XP machines generally can support Windows 7, the cost of a new license as well as any IT help needed to make the transition gets one within range of the cost of a new computer.
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