back to article Big biz 'struggling' to dump Windows XP

Windows 7 is running in just 20 per cent of large enterprises with the most difficult migrations yet to come. That’s according to web browser specialist Browsium, which said 80 per cent of big companies - those with 10,000 or more PCs - are still clinging to Windows XP even though support for it is due to end in two years. But …


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  1. Lord Voldemortgage


    So Microsoft's attempt to lock people into the Windows environment has been too successful and it is keeping them from moving on within that environment?


    1. Mark 65

      Re: IE6

      Just what I was thinking. Oh the bitter-sweet irony.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      No dude, we've all been hanging on for Windows 8.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 8

        Exactly what I was going to say. Soon Windows 8 will have at minimum 95% of the desktop.


        Steve B

        1. nowster

          Re: Windows 8

          ...a minimum 95% of the desktop, leaving just 5% for user applications.

          There, fixed that for you.

        2. Someone Else Silver badge

          @AC 30Jul12; 15:08 GMT Re: Windows 8

          Gee, you mean Steve-O is going to allow me to keep the remaining 5% of my desktop?

  2. Neill Mitchell

    Legacy legacy legacy

    I have corporate and public sector clients that refuse to upgrade from IE6!

    1. The BigYin

      Re: Legacy legacy legacy

      I know. Business critical ActiveX controls. It's enough you make one cry.

      1. Dr Who

        Re: Legacy legacy legacy

        Sounds like Neill and BigYin need to speak to Browsium!

        I have no connection with Browsium, it just seemed to me that you'd completely missed the point of the article/advertorial. Your clients now have a solution that will slash their application migration costs by 96 percent if the article is to be believed.

    2. Munchausen's proxy

      Re: Legacy legacy legacy

      Petards enough for all!

    3. Gordon Fecyk

      Need a consultant?

      [shamelessplug] I have experience making b0rken web apps and such work on IE8 and IE9. [/shamelessplug]

      It's pretty simple, actually, Fix DNS, then make sure web apps work with short host names. Barring that, put said hosts in the Local Intranet zone, either by hand or by Group Policy. What this does is loosen security settings for those hosts and make the environment look more like IE7, and you need to do both. Haven't had a bad app fail yet, and it doesn't compromise the regular Internet Zone security settings.

      Now Java apps that don't work on Java 7... that's another matter.

      1. Neill Mitchell

        Re: Need a consultant?

        "It's pretty simple, actually, Fix DNS, then make sure web apps work with short host names. Barring that, put said hosts in the Local Intranet zone, either by hand or by Group Policy. What this does is loosen security settings for those hosts and make the environment look more like IE7, and you need to do both. Haven't had a bad app fail yet, and it doesn't compromise the regular Internet Zone security settings."

        LOL, I have enough trouble explaining to these people why our web apps have nice pretty rounded borders when they look at them in Firefox at home but not on the IE6 machines in the office. So I'd get £250 off Harry Hill videoing their response to the above!

        1. Gordon Fecyk
          Thumb Down

          Have them try it first before scoffing at me

          I'd get £250 off Harry Hill videoing their response to the above!

          Be sure to link said video response to this forum.

          Sheesh, I try to be helpful here and all I get is grief. "But, IE still sucks, yes I know his fix works, but, but, but..."

      2. Mike Dimmick

        Re: Need a consultant?

        Or configure the web server to send the X-UA-Compatibility header set to IE=EmulateIE7 ?

        The error that Microsoft made was not to include an *IE6* compatibility mode in IE8, IE9 or IE10. Much of the problem comes from applications that weren't even upgraded to IE7 (not surprising, really, as when IE8 came out IE7 hadn't overtaken v6).

  3. h4rm0ny

    Re-write the programs.

    The article says this advice isn't helpful, but it's probably the best approach. Hire some decent programmers and get the job done. It's not going to become cheaper the longer you leave it.

    1. Gaz Jay
      Thumb Down

      Re: Re-write the programs.

      Sometimes you also have to take into account what your customers are using.... sadly, a large portion of our customers are using Windows XP and IE6 & IE7.... why? Because it works for them and they see no reason to upgrade.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Re-write the programs.

        In many business cases there is no reason to upgrade. Business says that if it works then it works, why spend the money? Just to make something that is working continue to work?

    2. Amonynous

      Re: Re-write the programs.

      Let's say I invested £3 million quid procuring and implementing a business critical application back in 2004BF (Before Firefox), I capitalised the cost and wrote it off over three years, and it costs 20% of capital to keep it on its feet.(Costs are reasonable for a middling enterprise, multiply by 10 for a big enterprise).

      Suppose it would cost me another £3 million to procure a replacement that works with modern browsers, three year write off and again operating costs are 20% of capital costs.

      Option A: Continue to sweat the assets, taking £60,000 off my bottom line (profits) this year.

      Option B: Invest in a replacement system in the middle of an ongoing global slump, taking £1,060,000 off my profits this year and the next two years?

      Which to you think the CFO would (and regularly does) choose? He's not an idiot by the way, he understands the potential downsides to under-investing (security risks, higher cost to fix in a hurry later, etc,). Right now short-term expediency is the order of the day for many businesses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re-write the programs.

        And ditto that for Government departments - with 'savings' expected to be made within existing budgets few are going to have any chance of taking the equivalent of option B. But if something like this plug-in can be implemented for only a couple of multiples of option A, then it is a viable option.

        The [non-UK/US] department I work for runs desktops with XP & IE6. It is looking at this sort of solution to enable it to get past IE6, which several essential applications run in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Option A or B?

          One word: BOFH

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re-write the programs.

        20% of £3 million is £600,000, not £60,000.

        1. Amonynous

          Re: Re-write the programs.

          "20% of £3 million is £600,000, not £60,000."

          My bad, thanks for picking it up. Argument still stands though, £0.6M vs £1.6M. FD says no.

          1. Gio Ciampa

            Re: Re-write the programs.

            FD will then have a coronary a couple of years later when the whole thing goes tits-up, costing how many times more to fix.

            Short-termism - the bane of the modern (business) world

  4. rhdunn

    Delaying the Inevitable

    The longer a company delays migration, the harder it will become to perform that migration and the technology will move even further ahead (with Windows 8 and IE10 currently on the horizon). Given the amount of time that has passed, these companies could have had a small team looking at migration plans and creating something that would work on the newer platforms. This would help them when the actual migration occurs.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Delaying the Inevitable

      > technology will move even further ahead

      Big assumption - the technology is changing, but whether that's necessarily progressive is a moot point. If the report is true, then there's even more reason to question the assumption.

    2. Kubla Cant

      Re: Delaying the Inevitable

      It may not be the inevitable that they are delaying.

      If current applications continue to meet requirements, it would be bad business sense to rewrite them simply to allow an operating system upgrade. It will incur cost and risk for no other reason than to move to a Windows version that is to be imminently superseded (aka "dated and cheesy").

      If business requirements have changed to the extent that applications need to be rewritten, then the cost of moving to the dated and cheesy system should be factored in as part of the cost/benefit analysis.

      Good luck to Browsium. The sad thing is that Microsoft still seem to base their upward-compatibility strategy around home users who buy a new version of Windows when they buy a new box.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Delaying the Inevitable

      If I recall, Google set a small team aside, 3 or 4 years ago to design and implement IPv6. Took them 18 months start2finish. Probably no more than 10 people.

    4. kb

      Re: Delaying the Inevitable

      Win 7 is supported until 2020 minimum, and everyone knows "never touch Windows before at least the first SP". So anybody that tried to go straight from XP to Win 8 RTM would frankly have to be off their nut.

      I personally got lucky and all my small business owners didn't use IE so I was able to get the switched over to win 7 (skipped Vista) and will set on behind while Ballmer and Sinofsky flail around with their "Oh Hai! I'm a cell phone LOL!" Win 8.

      Smart business that have to have Windows programs would be wise to switch to Win 7 and then stay there until Ballmer gets his act together and puts out another business desktop or the board revolts and fires him, whichever comes first. heck by the time Win 7 goes EOL we may have all moved into the cloud or onto Android or something else, no point being a beta tester for Redmond when win 7 is stable and if they are on software assurance its not like they can't just run a WinXP VM for those few apps that need it, win 7 pro does come with "XP Mode" ya know..

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Delaying the Inevitable

      "technology will move even further ahead"

      Ahead of what? Ahead of the actual *purpose* of an operating system? Which is to facilitate the things you need and want to do. If technology *really* moved ahead, it would make migration effortless, not more difficult.

      Come to that, if Microsoft were more interested in what people want to buy and less in what *they* want to sell, they could have made their later operating systems functionally equivalent to XP and sold several updated versions to all those people who are still using XP now.

  5. Number6


    Let this be an object lesson to all, especially Microsoft, as to why standards, and sticking to them, are important. IE6 was an evolutionary blind alley, taken by MS when it was fighting for browser market share and now it's paying the price (along with all its customers who've got the IE6 apps).

    1. nematoad

      Re: Standards

      "IE6 was an evolutionary blind alley, taken by MS when it was fighting for browser market share and now it's paying the price (along with all its customers who've got the IE6 apps)."

      Unfortunately, it'll probably be the public and the firm's customers , i.e. you and me, who will finally pick up the tab for this fiasco. In the meantime MS just keep piling the money up in the bank.

  6. MJI Silver badge

    We have customers

    Who are still using dos applications.

    They do not want to upgrade as they are happy with it and do not want to move - or pay to move.

    Luckily we use the same database for both

    1. pixl97

      Re: We have customers

      Dos apps are pretty easy, especially if they're not networked using VirtualBox or something along those lines. A lot of the DOS programs still work because the job behind them is the same as it was 20 years ago. Now if it ever does change something totally new will need to be used since who ever wrote it is long gone.

      IE6 is a pig because it 'infected' your entire damn operating system.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: We have customers

        However the users have to stop at XP

        Vista - no full screen DOS mode, ours uses 30 line VESA mode

        7 - no Netbios, ours uses a client server database, this means no communications.

        They are happy - don't want to spend a lot on the Windows application

      2. MacroRodent
        Thumb Up

        Re: We have customers

        "Dos apps are pretty easy, "

        Agreed. There are many emulators to choose from, on a wide variety of platforms, so MS-DOS applications are paradoxically quite portable! (I have recently been involved in making some legacy command line programs run on RHEL Linux for serious production use).

        Forget Java, MS-DOS is the real "write once, run anywhere" technology :-)

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Run any where as long as....

          As before we need to use a VGA graphic mode - we use it to increase the amount data on the screen, also to provide some graphics such as shape drawing.

          And then there is the IP interlayer, uses a 32bit Windows conversion layer as there was no DOS IP stack, IPX was native (and faster).

          The client server database we used originated as a Netware reindexing routine then became the DOS languages best database, now available on all 3 PC server platforms, and for most Windows languages and ONE DOS language.

          I expect you can guess this is a set of Clipper applications, I think there will be working Clipper applications in 20 years still working.

          Database - the only successfull DBF based one Advantage Xbase Database Server.

          Beer because Nantucket was named after a bar they used to frequent.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's some more advice...

    And the lesson is.... code to avoid vendor lock-in. You either pay the cost up-front in development time or you pay dearly later when you have to reinvent all of your wheels.

    1. Mikko

      Re: Here's some more advice...

      Lock-in is one thing. Not being backward compatible with yourself is quite different. That is just about the biggest FU from a company towards their customers, and almost the opposite of lock-in - perhaps you could call it lock-out?

      With IE6, there is some security justification for Microsoft abandoning the old interfaces - they had painted themselves into a corner and only had bad options.

      But there was absolutely no reason to orphan Visual Basic 6, except for language snobbery! I still see plenty of well-working, business critical VB 6 applications, often written by bright people who were only semi-pro programmers. The apps are often quite nicely structured from the point of view of extending the application, but would be a nightmare to convert to .NET or whatever.

      Metro apps with Windows 8, as well as each new, improved version of Windows Phone, are just this philosophy taken to its logical conclusion: with each new version, you have to leave the old apps behind and start from scratch.

      This is the kind of philosophy change that is preventing the old, well-oiled, ruthless, lock-in leveraging, world dominating Microsoft money machine from effectively competing with Apple and Google. You can't build momentum if you have to start over every two years. And if you keep screwing the developers, they will stay away from your world until and unless you actually have a market position too big to ignore.

      1. PT

        Re: Here's some more advice...

        I have a number of 3rd party applications that work just fine in XP but have problems in W7. I need hardly point out that my chosen solution does not involve upgrading the applications. It may come to that in the long run, but then again, in the long run we are all dead.

        I have, in fact, just last week completed a new application in VB6. I tried to do it in .NET first, but couldn't make it work reliably with serial ports. The VB6 version is equally happy in XP, Vista and W7.

  8. Bush_rat

    It could be worse...

    It's not IE5

  9. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Virtualisation ?

    one company I worked for in 2007 had virtualised all their desktops into a citrix farm. Result was everyone (apart from the IT guys and developers) just had a thin-client terminal. Great for homeworking - just plug into your router, and it would connect to your desktop.

    Thing is by doing this, the IT guys felt they were pretty insulated from needing to upgrade in a hurry ... any problems - security or otherwise, they could just magic up another box.

    Last I chatted with them, there was still no date for upgrading from XP. The only other desktops were available to the developers, for testing websites the public used.

  10. banjomike
    Thumb Down

    They need to move to Windows 7 before Windows 8 becomes the ONLY option.

    Otherwise they will be VERY unhappy

  11. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Have your tried some wine with that?

    Quick searches for "IE6 wine" and "IE7 wine" show that some people had it working (to some extent) years ago (and others had difficulty). If Window7 is going to cause you hassle, see if Linux+Wine+IEwhatever is a more convenient solution.

    1. Bruno Girin

      Re: Have your tried some wine with that?

      Problem is that IE is usually one of a large number of applications installed but happens to be the one that prevents moving off WinXP. Moving to Linux doesn't solve it as all other apps then become a (potential) problem. It looks like Browsium already cracked that nut by in effect doing for Windows 7/8 what WINE does for Linux in terms of running old versions of IE.

  12. Mectron

    Dinosaurs companies

    That relies on code and software older then 5 years... should be FINED, Exposed to the public and boycotted.

    It's called been cheap

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      I'm sorry, but WALOB

      The key test for *anything* is (1) does it work ?, and (2) is there any reason not to continue using it ?

      With hardware, then (2) tends to rear it's head with age, until you get the answer "we might not be able to fix it again" - at which point a replacement is mandated.

      However, software can't "wear out", so judging (2) tends to be harder.

      Your comment was immature in the extreme, and marks you out as someone who has never worked in the real world (I guess it's Uni holidays now). Any change is a risk. So unless you are changing to mitigate a bigger risk, then you shouldn't be changing at all.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dinosaurs companies

      Glad you don't pay the bills otherwise the company would be bankrupt within a week. Have you any idea of the cost ?

    3. the spectacularly refined chap

      Meanwhile in the real world

      Anyone not heavily dependent on code more than five years old is headed for disaster. By definition you are advocating complete reliance on immature code. Any version of Windows, Linux, Solaris, whatever, IE, Firefox, even Chrome... they all have huge chunks of well tested, problem-free code far older than any five years. Many of our in-house apps have code going back to the nineties. A couple of months ago someone asked for code for a particular task and I was surprised when I noticed the time stamp on the file in question - 1986. You know what? It works as well today as it did back then even before ANSI C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meanwhile in the real world

        EVEN Chrome? what do you mean by 'even'? Chrome is about the buggiest piece of crap I have ever installed on my PC.....

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dinosaurs companies

      "It's called been cheap"

      It's called being ILLITERATE - fixed that for you

      As for your comment - are you clinically insane ?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dinosaurs companies

      its pretty easy to tell the script kiddies/public sector workers around here vs the private sector companies.....

      1. Figgus

        Re: Dinosaurs companies

        its pretty easy to tell the script kiddies/public sector workers around here vs the private sector companies.....

        Hey, don't lump me in with the skiddies! We are still on XP because it will be a nightmare to get all the public safety apps working well on 7, and 7 offers NOTHING to justify the cost of migration. Not all public sector IT bods piss money out the window...

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dinosaurs companies

      When you print on an IBM mainframe, you use a piece of software called HASP.

      Houston, Automated, Spooling, Program. Developed by NASA for the moonshot program. It's still used because it still does the job perfectly. There is nothing cheap or backward about keeping code that works.

    7. Eddy Ito

      Re: Dinosaurs companies

      Come on guys, go easy on the kid. Heck he's probably on his third mobile in two years and when you consider his software was always free warez and his oldest program is a free version of Angry Birds, his comment makes sense. Besides, he's probably a bit afraid of things that are more mature than he is.

    8. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Dinosaurs companies


      It takes that long to develop a system. Are you saying a system should be rewritten every 5 years then dumped?

      OK I am now going to scare you!

      I have converted code between languages, currently 3 or 4 generations.

      I changed a lot of BCPL to Clipper about 18 years ago, this took me a couple of days search and replace worked very well.

      When looking at Window I reconverted the same code again twice in fact.

      Alaska XBase++ was easy, but we found it difficult to develop in - at the time screens were design then compile with no route back, a nightmare to maintain.

      We then used what we should have started with Visual Objects, so there you go code well over 20 years old - so older than you!

  13. Andy Fletcher

    I don't hear anyone...

    ...coming up with an actual reason for moving from XP to 7 (other than that MS would like everyone to do it). We have a mixed environt. Other than the somewhat tedious time wasted as users get used to a new UI, I haven't spotted any actual difference between the two OS's. Has anyone else?

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: I don't hear anyone...

      The only reason I could think of is to get onto the IE9+ stream. But corporately, why do that ? The excuse of "security" with IE6 only holds water if you are using it in the wild. I would imagine a great deal of companies using it (like HMRC) will be driving in-house intranet apps, so much less risky than just surfing the web in general.

    2. Figgus

      Re: I don't hear anyone...

      ...coming up with an actual reason for moving from XP to 7 (other than that MS would like everyone to do it). We have a mixed environt. Other than the somewhat tedious time wasted as users get used to a new UI, I haven't spotted any actual difference between the two OS's. Has anyone else?

      Less than 4 gig of RAM? Check.

      Spinny hard disk? Check.

      DX9 is sufficient? Check.

      Nope, no reason to go to 7 here. XP32 is fine.

  14. Martin 63

    Application rewrite

    Im confused. What application is there to rewrite? 35m seems a bit steep, but I guess not once you take off 34.5m for management/consultancy charges

  15. alain williams Silver badge

    If I tried to migrate them to Linux

    and it was not 99% pain free then I would get howls of anguish telling me that they had made a crap choice and how Linux was incompatible with everything, why did they listen to me, no I cannot have any budget for redoing a few things .... - why could they not stay with MS Windows ?

    But when it comes to upgrading from one version of MS Windows to another - they just accept the pain!

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: If I tried to migrate them to Linux

      No they don't. You obviously haven't seen the cries of anguish on these forums about Windows 8. Or before that with the Ribbon interface. People complain about everything

    2. JimmyPage Silver badge

      Re: If I tried to migrate them to Linux

      reminds me of my first company ... logistics software, written in DOS, under a windows wrapper. We had an issue where the reporting package (Foxpro) just would not run in under 16Mb (yes, Mb !!!!!) of RAM. So we had to up the minimum spec - I had to put a check in the installation script.

      Anyway, one of DOS programmers pointed out that when the DOS code needed more memory, they had to rewrite it (remember Memmaker ?). But when the windows code needed more memory, they just upped the spec. These were real old-school coders who got excited by trimming a byte of a routine in assembler ...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: If I tried to migrate them to Linux

        Hooray for the old-skool, I say. That approach is why we made it to the moon and back.

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge

          Re: If I tried to migrate them to Linux

          one of the tricks which most impressed me was their realising that because the number of entries in the data structure was limited to quite a small number, they could shrink the index from 2^16 to 2^4, which left them 12 extra bits in the datastructure to cram with other data, thus reducing the memory footprint, and being able to load into the Extended Memory.

          Kids today, really have no idea.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Sharper BASIC Skills

    I'm not smart enough to make sense of the ignorance. I suppose that's why CIOs make the big $.

    >“We continually hear that legacy web applications are the number one blocker to migration. When it costs millions of dollars to rewrite or replace a critical business application, migration projects invariably stall until a cost-effective solution can be found," the blog continued.<

  17. Mikel

    Get off the train to crazytown

    The lock-in with XP was horrid, but what makes anyone think that migrating to another version from the same vendor is going to put them in a position to have continuous business operations? It's the software vendor's strategy to keep you on their platform with these incompatibilities, and it's working. They're not going to suddenly change that very effective strategy.

  18. toadwarrior

    They need to just suck it up and pay to get off these shit old apps. They made a huge mistake getting locked in by microsoft and when you make a mistake you gotta pay for it.

  19. JaitcH

    We love our XP ...

    No STARTUP REPAIR, faster than Win 7 and simply operationally more reliable and able to stand abuse better.

    IEnn? Just use it for XP upgrades.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why choose Browsium???

    Sorry, maybe I'm missing something here........?

    We're being told to upgrade from XP/IE6 because of the end of support. We're told Browsium on Win7 is a great solution.............. yet its still running that IE6 unsupported code. So where exactly is the benefit?

    Or did Browsium buy the IE6 source as well so they'll provide security fixes for the MS code going forward??

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cost and reliability

    When going from 3.11 through to NT 4.0, there was always a desire to update, simply because there were a number of major issues that rendered an upgrade necessary to fix these issues.

    From a certain perspective MS shot themselves in the foot, XP for the most part worked.

    As it lived for a relatively long time all the major issues were fixed and does 95% of what most users need.

    Going to Win 7 or 8 gives little, if no productivity update, so you've effectively a zero benefit cost to the company.

    Businesses won't update unless the support goes, 2014 I believe, but this is the only reason.

    The main issue is cost, as some have stated above, the cost could be millions.

  22. Reue

    Could you not..

    Just run a local virtual machine and publish the app through that? Either by actually booting up the local VM or using the Windows 7 function to pass the App directly onto the Win7 desktop.

    Fortunatly in my company we have the Devs still around to re-write any of those tricky browser based apps, even going as far as making them 64bit compatible. Started development on the Windows 7 image in November, now at about 80% rollout completion in the UK. The biggest slow-down has been users moaning that they will lose their saved music/photos etc which we're refusing to migrate.

  23. MJI Silver badge

    How to survive with IE6

    IE6 for when it is needed - everything else Firefox, my last XP work PC still has IE6 but it is nerver used

  24. TJ1


    The implications of the lock-in to IE5/6/7 applications are that Microsoft's claims over that last decade or so that Window's total cost of ownership is less than its competitors need revising - upwards.

    In the interests of balance and accuracy, of course!

  25. Joe Montana

    Let this be a lesson

    The question is, will any of these organisations learn?

    They bought into MS and got locked into IE6, now a few years down the line they feel the pain. Had they written standards compliant apps in the first place instead of getting locked into proprietary technology, then migration would be simple.

    And yet despite having been screwed so badly, i regularly see businesses deploying new applications that are locked into IE, perhaps version 8 this time. Will these people never learn? Sure IE8 might be up to date now, but if you place your trust in MS then you will face the exact same problem again in a few years time.

  26. CmdrX3

    Too expensive?

    There is always going to be some cost, but it's not as if they haven't had enough years to do it in and spread the cost a bit. Large businesses expectation for Microsoft to continue support on an 11 year old OS and browser is a bit much I think.

  27. Dr. Ellen
    Big Brother

    Bah, humbug!

    I'm getting together a desktop computer with a swappable HD tray for the OS. It'll be able to run anything I want. Right now, it's running XP, because some old, familiar applications do not play nicely with 7. My Windows 7 laptop runs Firefox, Thunderbird, and Open Office. 7 broke many of my applications, and I'll not give Microsoft a second drink from my wallet for new ones. The laptop's virtual XP powers are there, and are used. Fortunately, there's only one of me -- even as I sit in a room with six computers.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's worse than that...

    Even Telegraph readers know Metro is only suitable for tablets.

    No start button, no metro removal, no purchase for me.

    However, start button, and a big button that says "Hide the abortion that is metro for PCs" and I'll upgrade my entire office at 15 quid each.

  29. silent_count

    Just outta curiosity

    Has anyone found a compelling reason why a business would want to upgrade from XP?

    You've got your shop set up, presumably with whatever software environment to do whatever it is your company does. Why would you want to upgrade? Because you're feeling generous enough to line Microsoft's pockets?

  30. Dropper

    Not just software

    Many companies, still struggling with a no-end-in-sight recession, simply can't afford to upgrade PCs purchased 5 or 6 years ago to something that can run Windows 7. Hands up who works for a business (not government) that gives your department enough cash to upgrade all your PCs every 2-3 years? Don't bother telling me about what should happen, about responsible practices and security. All of you work in places where those words are fairy tales that only the extremely niaive believe in. Those of you that don't should consider yourselves incredibly fortunate and never quit your jobs.

  31. Bucky 2

    At least SOME of the problem

    ...isn't JUST the cost of upgrading n copies of Windows XP (which, as has been noted, can be very significant).

    It's the problem that there are sometimes n licenses of Windows XP, but m installations, where m > n (sometimes m >> n). Windows XP let you do this fairly easily. It was much more difficult to do starting with Vista.

    And maybe there really ARE m licenses, but the same activation key was used every time for "simplicity."

    So on top of the upgrade cost, there's the cost of becoming compliant.

    Sounds like a good job for "next month."

  32. AviiBabyy

    These corporations have just been scared by these browsium suits, when if they just took a moment to check whatever applications they use in IE7 then the majority of it will just work. Maybe one or two tweeks. If a company has a MAJOR issue that their application does ONLY work in IE6, then maybe they should be sacked and hiring new staff with a more up to date view of Internet Technology would not be as big a cost as they fear.

  33. macole111

    RDP? Setup a 2003 RDP server with IE 6. Problem solved.

  34. Antoinette Lacroix

    Sensible approach, if you ask me

    My last "regular standalone install of Windows" was W95. Since then it was Wine or Vbox . . and they all more or less sucked. I mean, seriously, what was it,Vista had to offer ? Aero ? Sidebar ? Fucked up FM with a focus on errr . . libraries ? It actually took 3 registry hacks to make explorer display the contents of the HDDs by default. Folders . . mind you . . not directories . . . M$ Bob is still alive. With every release, M$ introduced more layers of obfusaction to seperate the user from the metal. Now you go and explain to my mum why the stuff she deleted from her libraries is still on her hard disk It's not her fault M$ suddenly developed a love for symlinks, now is it ? Win 7 ? What was that again ? Oh, right, Vista with less services running by default ! Made from scratch - my backside.! And every N00b on this planet thought it was: THE SHIT ! . . incl most of the Regs readers . . You know, a few years ago, they'd have LARTed you out of existence. Yes, you and your dual boot Umbongo, but that's not the point. The point is: XP does everything with a lot less resources than Vista/W7, the rest is marketing drivel. No reason to "upgrade" - let alone to W8 (shiver), at all.

    If you absolutely have to use Windows - Stay with XP ! Teach them a lesson, if nothing else.

  35. Lars Silver badge

    Good luck Browsium

    If I was a great lier I would say I am surprised Microsoft does not provide those programs for free in order to save the cost of rewriting good programs for their customers because their IE platform got rotten.

    But I am not, so good luck Browsium.

    There was a time when Unix customers wanted to switch to the, then new, NT, and many did. The most important tools to make that possible where made bye some university in Utah. Unix scripts for Windows, the most important where those dealing with character substitutions.

  36. Herby

    To quote "How hard can it be?"

    Unfortunately for all of us, it is actually quite hard. Microsoft keeps developing targets and changing them on a regular basis. If they had the follow on to XP at the proper time (say in 2004), people would have upgraded as the normal 3 or so year interval had passed. Instead they stretched out XP for almost 3 times that and everybody got used to it, and not changing was the norm. Now along comes Vista (being a failure) and currently W7, and users are expected to change. Sorry, this nice old XP box has been working fine for lots of years, so why upgrade.

    Sorry, Microsoft screwed up big time on this one. There should have been LOTS of follow-ons to XP (windows 5, then W6, then W7 maybe). Get the people used to the change and they might even do it.

    Kinda moot point for me, as I use Linux on my desktop (it is a few years old (like 6 or so) but updates and modern stuff are available, so I keep it working!

    Then there is my friend who uses W98 for his digital audio workstation because there is too much BLOAT in anything newer! Oh, well...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: To quote "How hard can it be?"

      Time was when you could run a Linux box in 16Mb of RAM and a teensy little hard drive. So yes, Windows has bloat, but I gotta say that Linux has been piling on the pounds at an incredible rate. It would be the mother of all ironies if, just when Windows Server finally sheds the GUI nonsense it's been saddled with for the last 15 years, Linux distros put more and more GUI junk in each release.

      Curmudgeonly yours,

      The Troll.

  37. Crazy Operations Guy

    Not just IE

    While there are many places using XP for IE6, IE isn't the only thing holding holding companies back. Windows XP was the last to include HyperTerminal, which a *lot* of old applications require, specifically banking, POS, inventory, payroll, etc. applications that were written for VAXen.

    There are also many other little things that changed between XP and Vista / 2008, mostly in the way of security. I've worked with apps that would fail if ASLR or the NX bit was turned on that could only work in XP. Most of which really need to be completely rebuilt.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Taking the P

    One of my work pc's is a beat up old dell D610 single core laptop without a screen, hole where the optical drive would be, couple of missing keyboard keys (one being P).

    Parts were stripped off this for better ones but one day I needed a working Office install for Outlook so I fired it up and RDP'd to it from Linux

    I have tried various workstations and OS installs many of which do some fantastic CAD or graphics work but virtually none make any great strides in basic office productivity.

    XP office 2003 works pretty well without needing multiple Gigs of RAM and more cores than chapters in the open document, changes since then have been somewhere between incremental and just plain mental.

    Who remembers the pens with many inks popular in the 70's? real improvement! FOUR inks in one pen they were totally the future.

    What uncool divvies would still use a pen with just one ink!?


    Mines the Nylon Blue one with fur round the hood over flares, Peter Powell stunt kite under arm, Fizzie parked on the crazy paved front garden.

  39. Tony 16

    Another Gates mess

    Making a fortune from turning out half baked sotware has perversely seen Gates as 'much admired' Microsoft software is so bad and so vulnerable that hundred of dollars are spent on the life of any computer I've had or heard of simply resolving issues...some of which are, granted, caused by the criminal minds which think its amusing or find it enriching to interfere with people's computers, bank accounts and so on. Still Microsoft has not made impervious software..after decades. They prefer to worry about other wampum, or trinket, -generated sales to the electroic device addicts.

    On another issue, the spread of very poor spelling and grammar and construction through "spellcheck" 's ghastly, Americanised "English" which sees students as well as supposedly "higher-educated" people, beguiled into such horrors as commencing sentences with prepositions and /or conjunctions. As soon as I see "And" or "But" for example commencing a sentence I realise I am dealing with someone so far behind even the "comma or semi-colon ignoramus", that I wonder about his content.

    I suppose in a world where the stupidity of being a member of "Facebook" or Twitter" or other spy sites such as Google and Yahoo is so widespread and adopted even by people who posture themselves as intelligent, one cannot expect much common sense from those who see computers as their drug of choice and Gates as the Candy man.

    The story in the report which initiated this letter along with other comments, isn't quite as accurate as it should be; yes, a huge number of businesses are holding onto XP, by far and away the most reliable of anything the Gates mob have turned out...some for which he should have been locked up or asset stripped..such as "Millennium". Many don't get much joy out of the more recent versions of IE or Outlook Express...still held by many against Outlook...That said, not only are so many HOLDING XP, many many actually dump the Win 7 off their new computers and install XP; that's a far more damning indicator of the Win7 unpopularity and mistrust of microsoft than simply 'not changing'...which is quaintly but often so incorrectly put as "upgrading".

    One of the items I use a lot is email. I have win 7 on my laptop but I avoid it because the email format is just so pathetically awful I can't stand using's a time wasting bloody pest whch hasn't a thing over the email aspect of 8 ..after which it became a menace..I suppose, when you spend your life turning out software for which there is no longer any excuse to have defective but are banking billions (and more squillions are sucked out of the users world-wide by "IT" experts for extremely overpriced repairs) simply to appeas progressive, one might wonder about your morals.

    His supposed leaving of his in my opinion largely ill gotten gains to "charity" may not be enough to get him through the eye of the needle. My opinion is not 'sour grapes' as you would see's about what I see as his part in a lack of responsibility endemic in "electronic media and comms" and churned out to people with almost no concentration span left.

    There's nothing to elevating about seeing children at school "texting" in class, during breaks...or even adults at dinner doing that..It's disgusting and almost depressing to see how computers and mobile comms has dragged the social world into a mental abyss which then "en masse" draws them into the asylums of Facebook and Twitter so as to not only expose people who under no circumstances want to be associated with any such spy-site site but do themselves permenant lack of privacy and even seious damage .

    Even the ABC advertised for them at no charge, the news and the appalling "Q and A" dirge being riddled with "Tweets" and advertising for them..against polcy I'd say.

    It's disgusting to find students ownloading serious pornography onto their phones during class...Is that "your problem"..yes it is , it's one in which irresponsible adults and avaricious adults and sick minded adults have constructed and allowed to be widespread, technical comms which are not only socially destructive in the truly human sense but which are things of fashion costing us billions in cash and in wasted what end?. Even emails are, after junk mail in the letter box, the most lowly regarded form of communication by Governments.

    Is the world a better place in 2012 than it was in 1960?..unequivocally NO."Being informed" is the ecstacy tablet of the "Garden of Eden" which itself is the hedonistic illusion created to control mankind for a new order. Instead of dealing with the real world and protesting furiously, the appalling daily crimes against humanity, and others are cogitating over XP V win 7!

    I hope I am distracting you. How many use their internet to investigate, away from christian-hysterical, nazi-fixated, US hysteria and other websites and deliberately misleading websites the forces of evil (Central Bankers, Bilderbergers, Masonic Lodges,, Zionism, CIA, Mossad, World bank, IMF and so on and on) which are seeing us doing nothing effective while mass murder takes place daily througout the world. Those croimes are OUR crimes as we p[permt them by our governments or supported by our supine governments to profit one or all of those powerbrokers. Whilst your head is buried in your computer or immediate issues with it, they are manipulating life as we know it.

    The solution is straightforward. Microsoft continues to support XP as long as there is demand. On the money it and Gates owns that's a pittance. Why should clients who so clearly want XP be periodically forced into some other half baked software.? The hysteria over any new comms product has drawn now 'flibberty jibbert' computer addicts away from commonsense approach to using computers. Few use even 1% of the potential and that will be I feel sure, he same proportion as gain any advantage from new software generated to impose a need to buy new base software...

    As an entity we ought to demand of Gates he get off his fat backside and create a near perfect software based say on XP and forget about "bigger, better, brighter" until he can actually show that his people and he himself have the technical expertise and the will to turn out a product which can justfiably be called "good stuff"!! I can't see any product since XP which for the majority of PC users would add any quality of life whatsoever..but then, I don't get my jollies from change and fashion., more flashing lights and sales gimmicks.Just being able to own a computer and software which works flawlessly would be my 'computer heaven'.

    In closing ,computers are not good for health when used without plenty of sunshine exercise and distractions....Get the priorities isn't about computers unless you have capitulated.

  40. Tony 16

    re:"another Gates mess"

    By he way my dyslectic keyboard made some spelling errors...but none of them would induce me to use spell would be so nice to type into a lot larger format...I humbly accept my errors in the letter, no need to mock me for it...LOL!! I did see them immediately on printing but because I didn't 'preview' I missed them

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No need for any new Windows versions

    As long as a client OS can open web browser and the few remaining thick client applications, there is no need for a replacement. There are no functional or performance reasons to upgrade. No one wants to upgrade to get a client OS that is 10% shinier than XP.

  43. BongoJoe
    Thumb Down

    Trapped in IE6

    In an hour I am off to see a client who are trapped in IE6 hell because one of their suppliers has produuced a very large IE6 which isn't going to be replaced any time in he near and distant future.

  44. BongoJoe

    I have

    I haven't spotted any actual difference between the two OS's. Has anyone else?

    The networking is a mess. The XP:Win7 networking and permssions thing is an utter disaster if one isn't in a domain.

  45. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    What's IE?

    [Linux user]

  46. Christian Berger

    The sad part about this is...

    ... that many of those businesses are now probably moving from one lock in to the next, probably something like C# and .net.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft should revert

    to two product streams. Consumer and corporate. If we remove IE from the mix (bearing in mind Chrome can run on XP and render HTML5), is there any real reason why an average office worker needs more than XP with Office 2003 ? If you except the exchange of documents prepared on later versions of Office, (which is an artificial one - I've had clients request I resent stuff as .doc, instead of .docx) I really can't think of one.

  48. Michael Kean

    Go Virtual?

    Glad I got my copy of Paragon Go Virtual while it was still free! Several times I've virtualised dead systems so they can carry on living without paying massive upgrade costs on old accounting systems, etc, just to be able to use their new Windows 7 64 Bit laptops.

    (Go Virtual converts a physical XP HDD to a VirtualBox / VMWare / Virtual PC disk image, and adjusts the IDE / SATA drivers appropriately.)

  49. deadlockvictim

    I believe that Nelson Muntz put it best

    Two Questions:

    Q1. Will any of the senior managers who sanctioned this short-sighted push to locked-in software suffer in any way for this?

    Q2. Which large company will have the next financial meltdown on account of, ahem, unsupported software?

    Remember, boys and girls, Microsoft delivers the lowest Total Cost of Ownership because they say so. I never asked, from whose viewpoint they were talking about — the customers' or Microsoft's.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Corps

    Some of us have to use "Shared Services" which makes migrations very difficult.

    Thankfully finally going to 7 later this year but not before testing testing and more testing.

  51. corbyboy

    Guys, how is this for compatibility problems? In the NHS hospital where I work we have had some online systems upgraded, but not all of them.

    It now means we have one system that only works on IE 5.6 or below and another that only works on IE 7 or above.

    We were told to designate which PCs are to be used for which systems.

  52. Risky

    Of course a lot of these PIA legacy IE6 apps were created because 10-12 years ago developers wanted some web dev on their CVs regardless of the fact that they were internal apps and a thick client might have been a better solution for the end user.

  53. MrRtd

    This just proves that IT managers have not been doing their jobs properly or have been prevented to by their senior management teams.

    It's as if corporations just don't prepare for the long-term IT needs. It's also an expensive lesson in not investing in open-standards and vendor lock-in.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's Not So Simple To Ditch IE6

    Unlike as some claim, it's not just a matter of changing headers & such. I work for a very, very big company, that made an enormous investment in applications developed under IE6. Like any set of products developed under a particular version, there are all sorts of hidden assumptions in how various browser functions work. Those assumptions don't hold under IE7 or IE8; and the only way to achieve compatibility is to change the code. Which they have only recently mostly managed; and in my area we all now have IE8. But there still seems to be a way to go in other divisions; and our standard desktop OS is still XP. I haven't even heard rumors about a move to Windows 7.

  55. wanderson

    Windows and IE hell for thousands of USA companies

    Fortunately for many entities in Europe, South America and South Africa the migration from Windows/IE hell to Linux has been very successful, particularly since the financial savings and significant increase in operational efficiency have been much greater than expected, with considerably less paid than anticipated.

    The City of Munich for example moved 15,000 desktops and about 8 thousand servers to Linux in less than two years, with most of the headaches comng from the myriad Windows XP/networking disastrous configurations, not Linux training or user acquired comfort/competence. The Brazilian government has similar successful experiences on an even much greater scale.

    I am working with organizations in the Caribbean with similar migration projects - Windows to Linux, which should be even less catastrophic since there was substantially less investment in the very expensive Windows ecosystem over the past ten years.

    The greatest benefit to these Linux migrations is the future flexibility and upgrade capabilities - much less the tens of millions of dollards and heart attacks/headaches saved, that will result in even more value. Sort of like preventative medicine - some hard work now with greater rewards later.

  56. Kermudjin

    Problem = Opportunity

    This is a wonderful opportunity for businesses to get out from under the thumb of a proprietary system that doesn't value backwards compatibility. If they're going to have to do massive rewrites, why not just move to Linux, Firefox, Libre Office, and open source HTML standard for their web apps? Migrate databases to PostgreSQL. Do it one time and leave Micro$oft in the dust.

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