Up to a quarter of enterprise computers will still be running on XP after Microsoft pulls support for the geriatric operating system, Gartner reckons.
The market watcher estimated that a third of large organisations will have more than 10 per cent of their systems running on XP past 8 April as it warned businesses to get off the 13-year-old OS "ASAP".
According to Gartner vice president Michael Silver, almost every organisation will have some XP left once support is withdrawn next Tuesday. Overall, 20 to 25 per cent of enterprise systems will run XP, he estimated.
With the risk of security breaches on systems running XP beyond April deemed "high" by the analyst, Silver advised companies still running XP to "get rid of it ASAP".
Failing that, user rights on the machines should be reduced, the PC should be restricted to run only "known good" applications and web browsing and email use should be minimised, Silver advised.
Critical applications and users should also be moved to server-based computing, he added. Where users or applications cannot be moved for regular use due to licensing cost, or capacity issues, the applications should be installed for server access in case of emergency, he cautioned.
Silver added that application testing is of "paramount concern" for firms getting off Windows XP.
"Organisations need to decide whether to deploy Windows 7 or Windows 8," he said. "A migration to Windows 7 will likely be faster, but one to Windows 8 will have more longevity – Windows 7 support ends in January 2020, less than six years away, and organisations that are so late on Windows XP should not get into the same situation with end of Windows 7 support.
"For many, the best alternative would be to deploy Windows 7 for the most critical users and applications now and working to be able to start deploying Windows 8 starting early in 2015."
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