Upgrade Your Windows XPerience

"If you're a #cio still without an XP migration plan you shouldn't be a CIO!"- Will Lassalle

The above is a quote from me last week during the Microsoft CIO Summit. I mean every word of it. Matter of fact I would go so far as to tell the CFO or CEO that the CIO reports to, to take a chance and hire me at least I am not leaving your organization at tremendous risk. 


On April 8, 2014 - 51 Weeks away from now- Microsoft will terminate extended support for the wonderful Operating System Windows XP. That will mean big problems for PC users and bigger problems for organizations that still rely on Windows XP.

Windows XP still maintains close to a 39% hold on the desktop operating system market. Think about that for a minute. With less than a year to go on extended support (which means no more security updates) 39% of the worlds desktops still run an operating system from 2001. I dont know if that is a testament to Windows XP or another kick to the dead horse known as Windows Vista. What I do know is that CIOs and IT departments have a problem.

I follow the iPhone JB scene and for the most part exploits in iOS are searched for and when found kept secret in a classic cat and mouse game being played by Apple and Jailbreakers. Jailbreakers find an exploit and wait for a new software update from Apple so as to not burn the exploit. Apple plugs the exploit in a future revision. Rinse and Repeat.

Now imagine malicious hackers chomping at the bit to expand their bot-nets realizing they have MILLIONS of machines that will be exposed to whatever exploit(s) they find that are not patched and more than likely will not be patched after April 8, 2014. 

I guess some IT directors and CIOs are hoping/suspecting that Microsoft will be the good guy here and extend Windows XP support....AGAIN. 

C'MON MAN!!

Enough is enough. Sure Windows 8 has its detractors but Windows 7 has been given glowing marks and ~45% of the desktops in the world are already on it. I have worked on two successful XP to Windows 7 migrations and 1 failed XP to Windows Vista migration. Migrations are very time consuming with the biggest time consumer being application testing/remediation.

There are so many tools available now, including application virtualization that should make migrating easier than ever. Whats the excuse for not having a plan or already having migrated off of Windows XP? Budgets? Please! Go ahead be "Penny Wise Pound Foolish". 

I put the blame squarely on IT leadership at these organizations. Sell the upgrade and the risks of not doing it to your CFO, CEO and/or Board of Directors. Do your job! Putting your organization at security risk is one thing but also not taking advantage of the productivity increases is another (and a topic for a future blog post). 

I know of an organization that was just infected with a 5 year old virus outbreak, mainly because of lack of IT leadership. The organization still runs Windows XP as the main OS. Needless to say they havent even started thinking about migrating off of Windows XP and surely will not get it done by April, 2014. They are so lazy they actually have virtualized Windows 95 to avoid rewriting an old DOS app!

So clueless CIOs and IT go ahead and focus on the whole BYOD, BIG DATA, and Business Intelligence craze. They will work great on a crippled and infected Windows XP network.