By Ron Grattopp ronaldg-001_thumb2_thumb_thumb1_thum…..As you know, TS2 travels a LOT.  Of course, in my travels I see many folks using business laptops, and even though we all know that Windows 7 is rapidly gaining momentum I still see a significant number of laptops running Windows XP.  So I wanted to give a shout out to a great new blog post on The Windows Blog called “Understanding the Business Impact of Windows XP Migration Plans” by Erwin Visser.  One of the key things in his blog post is a reference to a new (yes, Microsoft sponsored) IDC whitepaper, “Mitigating Risk: Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea which you can download.  I also saw a ComputerWorld blog that highlights the Microsoft blog post that I thought was well done as well, it’s called “Aged Windows XP costs 5x more to manage than Windows 7”.

By now, most partners know that Windows XP is over 10 years old, and is approaching “end of life” which means that all support, including even security patches and updates, stops.  But, this whitepaper and these articles point out that, and what I want to emphasize, more than just being able to get patches, enhancements in Windows 7 actually decrease the IT costs of supporting the OS and thus provide a real ROI for businesses, and the whitepaper puts some specific numbers and $$ figures around that, in case you are still dealing with a customer who’s still seems to be satisfied that XP “works”. 

Here’s one of the interesting facts that came out in the whitepaper as reported in the CW blog: “The magic milestone is after the three-year mark, when "costs begin to accelerate" because of additional IT and help desk time, and increased user downtime due to more security woes and time spent rebooting, said IDC.  IT labor costs jump 25% during year four of a PC's lifespan, and another 29% in year five, IDC noted, while user productivity costs climb 23% in year four and jump 40% during year five. Total year five costs are a whopping 73% higher than support costs of a two-year-old client.”  From an It perspective, some additional numbers show that businesses report that they spend 82% less time managing patches on Windows 7 systems than they did on Windows XP, 90% less time mitigating malware, and 84% less time on help desk support issues.  And, from a user perspective, Windows 7 users spent >90% less time rebooting and dealing with malware.  In the final analysis, the whitepaper found that retaining Windows 7 on a new PC (vs downgrading) pays for itself within a year and can provide additional savings over a 3-year span due to reduced IT costs and worked downtime as referenced above, and can yield a >130% ROI.

So here’s IDC’s conclusion: “Organizations that continue to retain a Windows XP environment not only are leaving themselves exposed to security risks and support challenges, but also are wasting budget dollars that would be better used in modernizing their IT investments.” It’s that last phrase that’s key and will hopefully have an impact on those customers who are still clinging to XP thinking that they’re saving money.

The Windows team blog also incorporated a list of Tools and Resources to help with Migration that I’ll include here as well for your convenience (and remember, if you need training on MDOP or Intune, see my previous blog on PLC incentives):

  • The Springboard Series on Technet includes a lot of great in-depth advice to help you with your deployments.
  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) can be used to help accelerate your deployments.
  • The Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) products include Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM) to simplify BitLocker Drive Encryption provisioning and provide compliance reporting that can help you quickly determine the status of the entire organization.
  • Also consider Windows Intune, which offers PC management and security via the cloud, plus upgrade rights to the latest version of Windows – a great solution for companies that have groups of lightly managed or non-managed PCs.

I certainly hope you’ll read the Windows team blog and download the IDC whitepaper if you still have customers on Windows XP.

Cheers as always,
Ron