Expect a slew of critical updates to Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft software this week.
The company last week warned that much of its software needed patches to be safe and sound. Many will need you to restart your machine or machines.
At the same time Microsoft will release an upgrade to its Malicious Software removal tool, its update services and the download centre.
Affected software includes Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1, Windows Technical Preview and Windows Server Technical Preview.
Microsoft doesn’t support Windows XP anymore so you are on your own unless like the NHS or people that use point of sale (POS) embedded software you have additional security built in. You can find the whole sorry tale at the Microsoft site, here.
Data from StatCounter Global Stats showed that Windows XP s still the world’s second most popular operating system.
That’s despite the fact that earlier this year Microsoft pulled the plug on XP, apart from on embedded devices.
StatCounter said that Windows 8.1 now has more volume than Windows 8.0 – representing 7.5 percent of OS share.
Windows 7.0 refuses to go away – it has a market share of 50.3 percent in the USA, with XP on 12.9 percent. Windows 7 is expected to be EOLed next year, forcing the world+dog over to 8.1 in preparation for the introduction of Windows 9.
The figures are based on 15 billion page views per month to over three million websites – it’s possible to distinguish between 8 and 8.1 because the latter has a distinct user agent.
StatCounter data is here.
Small businesses are bleeding cash thanks to their reliance on antiquated PCs. According to Intel’s Small Business PC Refresh Study, the average small business worker loses one work week per year due to old PCs.
The Techaisle survey covered 736 businesses across six countries and found that more than 36 percent of them use PCs that are more than four years old. The old boxes require more maintenance, repairs and they exhibit security and performance issues, all of which have a negative impact on productivity.
Worse, the average repair costs for older PCs usually equal or exceed the cost of buying a brand new one. On average small businesses spend a staggering $427 to repair a PC that’s four years or older, which is 1.3 times the repair cost of PCs that are less than four years old. Almost a half of respondents did not even know that Redmond is planning to cut off support for XP next year.
Curiously, businesses in the US tend to use the oldest PCs on the planet – 8 percent of them are using PCs that are five years or older. In India, just one percent of small businesses use ancient PCs.
The results aren’t very surprising. A couple of months ago Intel released another survey which found that the average age of PCs is going up and it’s now at four years or more. The upgrade cycle is getting longer and there’s practically no incentive to upgrade for many users.
Microsoft is slowly preparing for the inevitable demise of Windows XP.
Redmond will discontinue support for the venerable operating system next April and its warnings to partners are becoming a bit more vocal.
In an effort to ease the transition, Microsoft has already announced a range of programmes and initiatives to gently force customers to upgrade their XP boxes. But it is a daunting task – over the next 270 days Microsoft partners will have to upgrade an estimated 586,000 PCs per day and roughly a year from now we could see a spike in IT department suicides.
Microsoft plans to spend $40 million in fiscal 2014 to speed up its Windows Accelerate Programme, which doesn’t really sound like much from our perspective. In addition Redmond will extend its Get to Modern programme aimed at SMBs. Since it is believed that SMBs are still the biggest XP users, they will need the most help to get everything sorted and they don’t have that many resources to go around.
HP has also joined the fun, with an offer of specially priced HP ElitePad tablets with Windows 8, ZDnet reports.
Another related programme is TouchWins. Although it is not directly designed to speed up XP transition, it does offer incentives to makers of touch-enabled Windows 8 devices.
HP executives have been revealing that the maker of expensive printer ink did not think that things would get better until Microsoft pulled the plug on XP.
Hardware makers had been hoping for a boost to their PC bottom lines because of Windows 8’s release. When this happened, initially they blamed Microsoft’s awful interface.
But it turns out that the calmer heads in HP see the problem as a global market thing.
Windows 8 did seem to suck up the usual number of consumer PC sales, but what it did not manage to do was make a big splash in the more important business market.
The business market, particularly in the EU, has been locked down by poor economic factors. Many companies have insisted on using ancient machines running XP, rather than running newer software which requires new hardware.
Microsoft prolonged the agony by extending the life of Windows XP by providing extended support. It did this for the best of motivations. There was a fear that cash strapped companies would not upgrade anyway and just leave their networks open to attacks by running insecure versions.
However, for all Microsoft’s good intentions, it also gave businesses no reason to upgrade their hardware for another couple of years.
Now Microsoft has confirmed that XP’s time really is up now, and businesses are starting to see that their computers which must be getting on to a decade old really do need to be put out to pasture.
HP confirmed that it was starting to get new orders for PCs from upgrading firms who see that the writing is on the wall, and some other resellers who ChannelEye has talked to have confirmed the same things.
The more conservative of them are going for Windows 7 machines, but there is also a move towards Windows 8 from companies who want more future proofing.
It is an interesting potential sales pitch for channel partners who need to find new customers, or to dig up their sales lists from customers who did not return their calls seven or eight years ago.
If HP is right, then this could be the stimulus that the PC market desperately needs to get itself moving.