More than half of businesses still rely on Windows XP

While Windows 10 adoption is motoring along with businesses now, far too many organisations are still running Windows XP – which has been unsupported by Microsoft for three years now – and indeed Windows Vista, which officially runs out of road for security patches next week.

According to new research from Spiceworks, using data collected anonymously from ‘hundreds of thousands of IT pros’ across the world, over half of all businesses out there – 52% of them – are still running at least one instance of Windows XP.

In other words, XP isn’t being run company-wide in these cases, and there may be only one machine in the corner using the long-outdated operating system – but clearly at this point, that’s still one PC too many which represents a big security risk for the overall network.

The ‘2017 OS Adoption Trends’ study, which used data collected over the month of March, also found that 9% of firms are still running at least one instance of Windows Vista. It’s not surprising that’s a far smaller percentage considering Vista was never the most popular OS in the first place, but it remains a worrying statistic.

As mentioned, a week today Microsoft will pull the plug on official support for Vista.

Strong shift

The good news for Microsoft is that more businesses are shifting over to Windows 10, with Spiceworks finding that 54% of companies worldwide have now adopted Microsoft’s newest OS. That’s a strong increase since last July, when only 38% of organisations had made the leap.

Remember that this is businesses running at least some copies of Windows 10, not necessarily across the whole firm. As for its overall market share of operating systems across companies, Windows 10 is running on 9% of all business PCs worldwide, a much smaller number than its adoption level.

When it comes to overall market share, Windows 7 is still king by a long way, being installed on 69% of all business PCs across the globe. Worryingly, it’s followed by Windows XP on 14% of machines, then Windows 10 on 9% as mentioned, with Windows 8 on 5% of business PCs, and Vista is at the bottom of the pile on 1%.

A separate Spiceworks survey predicted that Windows 10’s adoption rate will accelerate to 73% in July of this year, and its overall market share on business PCs will be boosted to 17%. That’s nearly double what it is now, and a major increase, so it seems that Microsoft’s newest OS is expected to make good progress this year in the business world.

Let’s just hope that those many organisations still running the hopelessly outdated Windows XP see some sense, and are part of this new crowd flocking to Windows 10.

Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, commented: “Windows Vista isn’t nearly as common in business as Windows XP, but the approaching Vista end of support date serves as a good reminder to upgrade PCs still running unsupported operating systems.

“Although some IT departments aren’t able to upgrade on time due to a lack of time or budget, it’s critical for IT professionals to make a business case for more resources, given the security risks of running operating systems with unpatched vulnerabilities.”

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).