back to article Windows Vista stuck on single digit enterprise adoption

Legacy versions of Windows continue to dominate enterprise computing, with Windows Vista having moved very little in the last half year. Just over two years since Microsoft launched Windows Vista, fewer than 10 per cent of PCs in the enterprise are running the successor to the company's eight-year-old Windows XP. That …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Ian Ferguson
    Black Helicopters

    History repeats itself

    Remember Windows Me? How much it was derided, and how soon afterwards (no more than a year) its successor Windows XP came out?

    I think Windows XP wouldn't have been welcomed with such open arms if it wasn't compared so favourably to its predecessor.

    It makes you wonder if any of this is intentional, or at least astroturfing. Everybody's looking forward to Windows 7, and raving about how wonderful it is... mainly because they are so disappointed with Windows Vista. If 7 was the direct successor to XP, I'm betting the tech press would be looking at it with a much more critical eye.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Christian Berger

    The problem of compatibility

    Microsoft forgot it's most important feature, backward compatibility. The main point about buying an OS from Microsoft always has been that _all_ your old applications since DOS 3.something would continue running as if nothing happened. Now they kill that feature and of course nobody buys Vista.

  4. Justin White
    Paris Hilton

    Hard to see why to standardize on Vista?

    While I can't say that I'm fond of Vista, I personally can't see businesses rushing en masse to roll out an OS after only a few months compared to three years. More often than not, businesses are more likely to deploy a new desktop OS once the first Service Pack has become available, so 2010 is the more likely target for many enterprises.

    The consumers will be the guinea pigs for Christmas 2009. :/

    Paris, since she's always ready.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No s**t, Sherlock...

    I'm not going to comment on Vista's general rubbishness or explain how I put up with all of the faults in the beta which I always figured would be fixed in the release version, only to find out that they were clearly designed in "features". I am going to say roll on Windows 7. I've played with the beta in a couple of VMs and on a couple of other machines and I like it a lot. That's all!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Forrester is Full of it again

    Forrester is full on ##it - these guys don't have a clue and report BS spins.. It's too bad MSFT execs rely on this group..

    Enterprise IS NOT migrating to Vista, XP is STILL the dominant enterprise OS. Their report that "XP is being dethroned by Vista" is pure bull crap.. Enterprises are waiting on 7 and MSFT knows it.. hell everyone knows it..

  7. Steve

    Anyone suprised?

    Not just because a large majority of El Reg commentators hate MS so much that they would slate them if they became a charity and gave all their money to Africa - no - I'm not suprised that Vista for ENTERPRISE use is around the 9-10% mark as business have only started to look at deploying it in the last 12 months.

    I can't recall many companies deploying XP till 2003/2004 time from memory - as businesses like to wait for anything major to get discovered by someone else. Also it can take months or even years to evaluate and plan a deployment. You got 10,000 machines then you need to do a LOT of testing. So after waiting 2 years for a SP and for it to be tested too you start to look into it. Give it 6 months to a year and then you make a decision and start to deploy. This has always been the way for enterprises and probably always will be.

    Late 2007 I evaluated it and March 2008 it was being rolled out at my previous company. My new place started looking the same time but as we're much larger and my predecessor has been away for the last 8 months we're only rolling it out now.

    There really is nothing wrong with Vista. Hardware requirements were only just valid back in 2006/2007 when it was released - today any budget PC purchased in the last few years can power Vista for standard office tasks. Cost for most companies has little to do with the £ in front as there's Software Assurance, OEM and Open licences which make it free/cheap.

    It's all about waiting for the bugs to be ironed out (e.g. SP1), then eval, then deploy if there's a business case for what is normally quite a large project. Generally speaking I believe there is a business case. Vista has a much improved security model compared to XP and management and deployment is vastly superior. (Group Policies and ImageX for a start!)

    Is Vista great? Nah. Is it a worthwile upgrade as long as the cost per box is cheap (looking at £0-£30 a pop tops) and you've waited till SP1? Yeah, it is.

  8. Jeff
    Thumb Up

    We're waiting for 7

    Put simply, why wouldn't we wait? There's no big move away from XP compatibility with software vendors yet (as there was with eg 3.1 to 95, or 95 to 2000/XP.)

    For a business, the operating system is there to run the applications that the business needs, and as less than 10% of businesses use Vista, we know that XP will be supported by for quite some time yet. Until there's a real benefit in either cheaper/easier support, or significantly advanced features (or exclusive applications) an OS upgrade is all pain, no gain!

    And of course, we still have PCs around the place running windows 2000, with no problems whatsoever.. so even windows 7 can wait for a bit!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Once bitten...

    and why would anyone in their right mind go for Windows 7 given Microsoft's shitty record for shipping quality product without at least 2 major Service Packs?

  10. Sooty

    is ther any reason?

    the company i work for only switched from nt4 to xp 2 years ago, and it was a serious business. massive amounts of work, investigation and development to ensure that the switchover was pretty uneventful to the users. we still have bits of software that were originally developed to run on nt or os/2 that needed tweaks to work without interruption. the major driver to the switch was that we could no longer get support from Microsoft for nt4, it was starting to be a bit of a risk.

    there is no chance in hell of us ever adopting vista until it's been out there for at least 5 years and been proven reliable plus all of our hundreds of applications need to be fully tested on it.

    if you're rolling out to hundreds of thousands of people, currently using machines upgraded 2-3 years ago to run xp, so the majority are 512meg of ram, it's not a cheap business! also every single user needs to switch over to a new OS maintaining their current level of user access, all the same applications etc. with minimal disruption. Even rebuilding an xp machine today is a significant disruption to an individual user! The xp upgrade was achieved by pre-building new machines for every single user and switching them on the day with the user's machine, over a period of about 3 months, it was only achievable as every machine also needed replacing as well as the OS

    The interfaces that clients have to servers and mainframe systems, software deployment mechanisms, testing environments, all took years to develop, build and test for xp, there were a few 2000 machines, but they pretty much worked without issue, doing it again is a major undertaking that needs an actual business reason to be be done, not just that vista looks nice!

  11. Charles Manning

    Vista by choice?

    Probably many of those Vista machines are not Vista by choice. Company buys some new kit that does not have XP drivers or they don't want to pay the "downgrade" fee.

    It must be quite depressing for MS: seven years and billions of dollars and so few people actually want it.

  12. Henry Cobb
    Gates Horns

    Red Queen runs herself to death

    The old M$ model of forcing user upgrades "just because" has failed.

    If Microsoft has a future it is not as a software company or a platform company.

    It must become a lifestyle company.

    Consider a revenue mix that includes a major portion from a Microsoft account of say $10 per user per month so that the customer's M$ lifestyle follows them everywhere.

    Your cellphone automatically has all of your appointments and documents. You can work online or offline with just about any device and all of your data is synced and protected by Microsoft.

    The company would have three major divisions: Microsoft Lifestyle, Microsoft Enterprise and Microsoft Internet.

    The customers of each would be the Microsoft Lifestyle subscribers, Small to large companies and general Internet users. The focus of the company would be to have a finger in every pie rather than seeing how many pie dishes they controlled.

    This will of course not happen under Steve "Desktop" Balmy, which is why Google is going to roll them.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We're migrating

    This company here is migrating to Windows Mojave. Haven't seen it yet, but some top exec was very fond of it. Well, as long as it comes with Spider Solitaire...

  14. Andy Bright

    Cost is too prohibitive

    The reason for the lack of Vista installs is simple. It'd cost too much money for zero gain.

    Although the state I work for isn't in the same mess as California, the cost of upgrading potentially 1000s of computers for no good reason whatsoever isn't something even we can afford to do.

    The only thing Vista has going for it is flashy graphics. However the OS is cluttered, standard hardware and peripherals STILL have driver problems and it's no more secure than any other version of Windows. All versions of Windows (including the 32bit version of Win XP Pro) have support for the security offered by 64-bit processors, which means they all protect you from buffer overflow and buffer underrun conditions.

    Vista is just the Windows Millennium of our time. We'd all be far better off waiting for the next version, which should arrive well before they stop giving out free patches for XP. And if that turns out to be even worse than Vista, well I've heard there are actually other operating systems so perhaps it's time to think about picking a new standard OS for the business world.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    RIP Vista

    Alas, we hardly knew you. Thank Christ for that.

  16. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Legacy versions...

    I run Windows 2000. It does all I want, it works, I don't have problems.

    Except that the latest update to Zone Alarm's free firewall says "Incompatible system" and won't install.

  17. Moss Icely Spaceport

    XP still works fine over here

    If finally, I can't use XP - I won't be on Windows.

    Methinks the Penguin calleth!

  18. Jeremy
    Paris Hilton

    If it were anyone else...

    If any other corporation released an operating system like Vista you wouldn't be saying you're waiting for their next operating system. No, you'd be telling everyone their software is crap and you'll never use their stuff again. And you'd be right to. Even the old backward compatibility is broken but for some reason, you still come back for more.

    Does SteveB give you blowjobs ?

    Paris... well, you know why...

  19. Steve Roper
    Thumb Down


    As long as Microsoft insist on locking down my files so I can't watch un-DRM-protected video on my TV from my computer, or copy my music to my MP3 player as many times as I want, then I'm not upgrading - not to Vista, and not to Windows 7 if Microsoft haven't gotten the bloody message. DO. NOT. WANT. It's as simple as that.

  20. Allan Dyer
    Jobs Horns

    @Christian Berger

    "The problem of compatibility"

    Not really, DOS compatibility went out a loooong time ago. I have a bunch of games^H^H^H^H^H I mean, vital business applications that require an emulator to run now.

    Apart from supporting the OS, why do businesses need GHz processors and high-spec graphics cards? Or is Word a first-person shooter game now?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Cost is too prohibitive...

    I worked for an organization that probably had over 100,000 XP boxes... The IT folks didn't roll out SP2 for all those systems until March of 2006, and then only because of the Daylight Savings Time date change. If I'm not mistaken, that was at least five years after XP was released... they haven't even talked about a release for SP3 yet, so I can guarantee that it will be a very cold day before any of those systems see Vista... Even new systems which come in are running XP.

    Paris, because even she has enough sense to avoid Vista.

  22. jake Silver badge

    So-called "DRM"

    I have a demo CD that was given to me by a member of an upcoming, unsigned, Northern California rock band called "So Called Tragedy"[1] ... They were a neighbor of ours a while back. It's pretty good music, and they write their own stuff. Not bad, for kids in their early 20s ... I'm quite looking forward to following their career.

    ANYway, about a year and a half ago, Nick, the drummer, gave me the CD of their 3 new demo songs, and asked me to pass it along to anyone who could give it some airplay.[2]

    Vista won't let me copy his original, despite the fact that he explicitly gave me permission, in writing, just in case any particular station balked at playing it.

    That's daft. Just plain daft.

    Needless to say, I have other options ... but FURRFU! Why? What's the point?

    [1] Free plug, guys :-)

    [2] I used to teach broadcasting at KFJC and KZSU ... I still have a few contacts.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    ... people need air to breath.

    Why is the fact that businesses don't upgrade computer systems for years news?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most of my machines...

    ...are one flavour of Linux or another now. I kept my gaming rig as XP because of Flight Simulator, oddly enough.

  25. Herby

    Windows "Classic"?

    Look, it worked for Coca Cola. Now it is the only thing on the shelves (except for Diet stuff [yuck!]).

    So, when will we get:

    Windows Classic, Diet Windows, and Windows Zero (in 12 packs [2x6 of course] no less!).

  26. P. Lee

    Little Gain for Business

    The move from ME to NT/2000/XP could be justified, better stability, 32 bit and all, but there's just no really good reason to go Vista and, to be honest, Windows 7.

    I suspect Windows 7 will gain from not having the Vista name attached but it'll have to pull something more than that out of the hat. There should be some traction from the move from 32 to 64 bits (especially for servers and gamer rigs with massive video-card memory) but its nowhere near the impetus that the move from 95/ME had. Any business which reckons it generally needs more than 4gb ram on the desktop needs to have its IT policy and practises scrutinised.

    With Apple doing better than it did, MS is really caught. There are a lot of people out there who aspire to have one of those low spec Macbooks rather than a "better" Dell or HP laptop. For MS, that's a big "ouch!"

    Vista is pretty much dead in the water as W7 is rushed out, but in the meantime, with every "I don't care about computers I just want to do stuff" new home Macbook user, MS gains a "my pc at work sucks" user. From the other side, KDE 4.2 (just for example!) brings Mac-like eye-candy to the standard pc and provides the computer enthusiast with tinkering to their hearts content.

    Of course MS will do well with Windows 7, but if they want to keep ahead of the game, they need to pay some serious attention to what customers actually need and they need their hardware providers to do something really quite special to make the Windows PC something someone, anyone, actually wants.

  27. Tony Paulazzo

    Oh noes - DRM and VistaSP2, er Windows7

    From an aesthetic POV, I actually prefer Vista to V7, OK, Win7 feels [i]slightly[/i] faster, but, the network copying and general day to day disk grinding feels as excruciating as Vista Original and I dislike the new taskbar - nowhere near as pleasing as Vista.

    As for DRM woes, either I've been incredibly lucky (ripping CDs to MP3 and putting them on my phone (Samsung not iPhone)), downloading and watching [legal] films and TV shows in AVI and DIVX format, torrenting - erm, linux distro's and stuff, all with nary a problem in Vista. DRM only affects DRMed titles.

    As long as SP2 introduces some of the under the hood improvements of Win7, I'll be happy to stay with Vista.

  28. Nameless Faceless Computer User

    I have no problem with Vista

    I have no problem with Vista. I switched to OS X.

  29. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up

    Wising up!

    Finally people are wising up the old adage..."If it aint' broke why fix it?"

  30. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So Vista is dead, long live Vista !

    Win7 being Vista under a slightly different disguise, I fail to see how much better its adoption will be in the business market. It will have the same steep hardware requirements, will be just as difficult with existing applications, and will bring nothing practical in exchange. And it comes with DRM Inside. Beurk !

    I might very well try Win7 one day. On the spare test PC I have at work. Just for kicks. But at home, my gaming rig will stay XP until it won't run the latest hardware any more. And when that happens, I'll freeze my hardware spending until I find a suitable OS replacement - that does not include DRM.

    Get one thing clear, Ballmer : it is MY PC. You have NO RIGHT to tell me what I can or cannot do on it, and you have no right to try.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 7 *is* Vista

    In the same way as Win 98 SE is Win 98, Win 95b is Win 95.

    It could well have been called Vista SE or Vista b, MS just gave it a different name so that the "Vista is crap" sheep think that something has changed.

    Like Sooty I work for a huge company with lots of NT/2003/XP our standard desktop will be Vista business, this will be rolled out over this year, it is var more stable than the mish mash we have at the moment, when I say hugh, we probably have enough machines to affect the enterprise adoption figure.

  32. Claire Rand

    key selling point?

    unless i get outsourced computers under a lease deal, hence vista will cost me nothing extra as and when machines are replaced (ongoing training is a cost anyway)

    what exactly is the reason for moving from XP again?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I don't hear anything

    About the problems with the user interface being a problem If you have 1000 or 100,000 employees; are you going to want to have to retrain them all to the new vista/win7 user interface instead of what they've been using the last 10 years (or more)?

    I don't want eye-candy. I don't want a MAC interface (or KDE for that matter). I want my old "i know where everything is" interface and I don't want everything jiggered around so I can't find stuff...whether it's on the desktop or in my files. Yes....I want to see me files and know where EVERYTHING is. No, I don't want more stupid DRM, either. Thanks, but NO thanks. I don't want to have to guess that my new printer won't work any more or that there are no effective drivers for my sound card or video card because MS decided to up and change everything. I don't want the fact that people can still install crap all over the system and corrupt the registry (worst idea, EVER); or that they can install hidden files all over the harddrive (as opposed to being only in their own "program files" folder; or that they can install rootkits of any kind if they have permission to install a desired program (2nd and 3rd worst ideas, EVER). /rant

  34. Anonymous Coward


    You think standardising on Vista is difficult, some companies are still primarily on OS9 - like mine

  35. Leo Davidson

    Businesses don't migrate to every version and don't migrate straight away.

    Is there anything abnormal here?

    Most large companies I've worked for have not been using the latest version of Windows when I got there. They also tended to skip a version or two, waiting until it was really worth it (or the old version was too expensive to buy support for). Businesses don't upgrade operating systems just for the sake of us and even when there are compelling new features they are weighed against the huge costs and risks of upgrading that many machines and migrating that much software.

    Given that most large companies already run locked-down builds where users don't have admin access, I can't see a huge benefit for them to move to Vista. Other main improvements in Vista are more foundations for the future, when Vista's features are the baseline that all developers can assume people have, such as improved 3D hardware sharing on the desktop. Not something many businesses care about now (but they might be grateful for it in the future when/if business apps take advantage of such features).

    There wasn't a huge benefit to move from Win2k to XP, either... But the jumps from Win9x or NT4 (or god forbid NT3.51) to Win2k, XP or Vista all make a lot of sense. I imagine most businesses who did install Vista did so because they were still using something older than XP, yet I don't remember people slagging off XP because people still used NT4, Win2k or Win9x after it came out.

    I don't really understand what people expected to happen. It seems like XP existed for so long that people have forgotten what things were like when it was a younger OS (never mind Win2k or before).

    OS adoption happens slowly, and rightly so.

  36. Mr B

    Command line.

    Will M$ support the drag & drop into a shell window ???

    If they still think not supporting this is a "feature" they won't get any business from developers.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Forrester Idjits

    8.8% + 87.1% = only 4.1% of systems running anything but Vista or XP?

    Forrester hasn't a clue, there's still more than 15 % running '98, 2K, or something from those iFolks. Probably more than 10% running 2K alone and dare I even mention D O S ? Yeah, there's actually a lot of manufacturing sector systems running it still. Wouldn't it be funny if Forrester got their polling list from a MS sales rep?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    @AC re idjits

    That percentage would be "of the windows installed base". No wonder you post as AC. Moron.

  39. truetalk

    Drag n' Drop from Konqueror to Konsole

    My God, Thank you Mr B. I've used linux for years and thought I knew most things about it. I know there are so many things about linux that windows just can't do. And you Mr B have taught me another.

    I never realized that in KDE you could copy, cd, create symbolic links, move files by dragging from the konqueror filemanager into the konsole. I assume this is the same under gnome ?

    Pleasantly surprised once again by Linux/KDE !

  40. Playjam

    Market fragmentation

    Application development before Vista was easy, you only needed to test Windows XP (unpatched, SP1, SP2) to cover 90% of the Windows market, for the next few years you will need to test Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 (+ SPs + 32/64 Bit) for the same coverage.

    Given that Microsoft have lost their way with Vista / Windows 7 (and the whole managed code .NET bloat thing) and I don't fancy switching to Linux or OS X, I am considering to finnaly get involved in helping develop ReactOS (open source Windows clone). So maybe in one or two years there will be a fourth Windows flavour which needs to be taken into account.

    As the price of an application or a hardware will remain the same, the amount of time and money currently spent on developing and testing drivers and applications for Windows XP (and a little bit of Vista) will in future be devided between a lot more platforms. The resulting quality and/or the profit margins will suffer.

    If the Windows market is further fragmented device and software manufacturers will start considering if supporting a specific windows segment promises as much profit as supporting a competitive platform with a higher market share.

    Is this the beginning of the end of the Windows world as we know it?

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like