IT's 'love affair' with Windows XP ending, says US survey

Admins divorce aging OS, hook up with sexier Windows 7 trophy

Businesses are finally prying their hands from Windows XP as they warm to Windows 7, a research company said today.

"Over the years, IT has had a real love affair with XP," said Diane Hagglund, a senior analyst at Dimensional Research and the author of a poll that surveyed over 900 IT professionals in January. "It was just a great OS. It just worked for them. But that feeling is going away."

According to Hagglund, 60% of those polled said that they were more concerned about the cost and overhead of migrating to Windows 7 than they were about continuing to supporting the nearly-nine-year-old Windows XP. The remaining 40% felt the opposite, that they were more worried about holding XP's hand than migrating to Windows 7.

While the majority is still with XP on this, the trend is towards Windows 7, Hagglund noted. In April 2009, when Dimensional did a similar survey and asked the same question of IT administrators, 72% sided with XP , only 28% with Windows 7.

In other words, one out of every six IT professionals who last year would have taken XP over Windows 7 was won over by the new operating system in the intervening nine months.

"Windows 7 is looking pretty good to more businesses," said Hagglund. "Part of what's happening with XP, I think, is like when you're very wedded to the spouse you have because there's no other choice. But now, there's this other one out there," she continued, casting Windows 7 as that younger trophy spouse.

The push to move off Windows XP may accelerate as its support retirement date approaches; Microsoft will stop shipping security updates for the aged OS in April 2014.

But the increased faith in Windows 7, which Microsoft launched last October, is an even bigger factor, Hagglund maintained. "The vibes for Windows 7 have been very positive, especially when compared to Vista's," she said.

Hagglund highlighted some of the results from her survey to prove her point. IT professionals are almost twice as likely to say that they're planning to deploy Windows 7 than they were at the same point in Vista's career, while more than half said they would move to the new OS by the end of this year.

And confidence in Windows 7 has climbed since the OS shipped. Last April, 67% of those polled said they had concerns about the upcoming operating system; this year, only 56% said they did. "The difference was the release of the operating system, the biggest part of that from hands-on experience," Hagglund said as she explained why some in IT have changed their minds about Windows 7. "They're trying it at home, many of them, long before it comes to them professionally, so they know what it's like."

IT's specific concerns about Windows 7 have also changed. While 62% of those polled last April said they were worried about Windows 7's stability and 47% expressed concern over its performance, in the most recent survey, those numbers fell to 41% and 25%, respectively.

"What I see that saying is that Microsoft did a great job with this thing," said Hagglund, "because the concerns about Windows 7 that Microsoft had the most control over, like stability and performance, are the ones where fewer people are worried."

Hagglund admitted to only one survey result that took her aback. "I was shocked by how few said they weren't waiting for SP1," she said. Forty-six percent of those polled said they wouldn't wait for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) to deploy the operating system. "That may not sound like a lot, but for IT, it's a huge number," Hagglund added, referring to the tradition among businesses to wait for an operating system's first service pack before migrating.

Two weeks ago, when a usually-accurate site reported that Microsoft had ditched plans to postpone Windows 7 SP1 , Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, argued that if there was a time to ignore the SP1 tradition, this was it. "This time, waiting for SP1 may be doing yourself a disservice," Cherry said at the time.

Dimensional's survey was conducted for Kace, a systems management appliance company that was acquired by computer maker Dell last month. Hagglund's report can be obtained at Kace's site (registration required).

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com .

Read more about windows in Computerworld's Windows Knowledge Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags surveyWindows 7operating systemwindows xp

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?