Businesses Fleeing XP to Windows 7, Not Windows 8

Dennis Faas's picture

With Microsoft terminating security support for the Windows XP operating system (OS) next April, many businesses are finally starting to move away from the aging OS.

But reports show enterprise users aren't upgrading to Windows 8.1; instead, they're shifting to the older Windows 7.

If you haven't heard, Microsoft is finally terminating support for Windows XP in April 2014. That means most home and business users won't be able to download any security patches to keep the OS from being attacked by hackers (though there are some exceptions to the rule).

That is finally forcing many reluctant business users to move away from the very popular Windows XP.

Vast Majority of Business Users Opt for Windows 7

But research firm Gartner says most are not moving to Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows 8.1, which recently received a significant functionality update.

Gartner analyst Michael Silver says that an astounding 90 per cent of large firms are moving to Windows 7. The reason: businesses don't upgrade to a new OS until it's at least a year old, and Windows 8 is just under that mark.

For some businesses, the wait can be even longer.

"The typical organization doesn't start deploying a new OS until two years after it ships," Silver said. "Windows 8 has only been out for less than a year, so just do the math." (Source:

Jefferson Raley, director of consulting over at Dell, agrees. "Most of the migration is from XP to Windows 7," Raley said, bluntly.

He adds that his firm has been very busy helping business users make the shift to Windows 7, with few organizations interested in an upgrade to Microsoft's newest OS.

Device management firm Fiberlink presents even more stunning evidence to show businesses' cautious approach to Windows 8.1. According to that firm, a whopping 98 per cent of firms leaving Windows XP have moved to Windows 7.

Finally, Toshiba has also said that, to this point, 99 per cent of its business sales involved Windows 7. (Source:

Microsoft: What, Me Worried?

Of course, Microsoft benefits from upgrades to Windows 7, too.

"Since Windows 8 launched, our guidance to business customers has been to continue Windows 7 migrations that are already in process," a Microsoft spokesperson said. (Source:

The question is, will businesses so confidently upgrade to Windows 8.1, or some other touch-oriented Microsoft OS, when support for Windows 7 comes to an end?

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