Computers running Windows XP demand approximately five times more resources to manage and repair compared with newer PCs, according to an IDC study commissioned by Microsoft.
The study canvassed nine organisations running both Windows XP and the newer Windows 7 operating systems, with an average of 3680 employees, 68 IT staff and 14 PC support staff running either or both of the two platforms.
It found the ageing operating system generates 11.3 hours of remediation and service per PC every year, compared with 2.3 hours for Windows 7.
‘Downtime-related activities’ affecting XP-based PCs, such as resolution, help desk and mitigating malware or viruses racked up 8.3 hours per PC, per year while Windows 7 consumed just 1.5 hours.
‘Operational’ jobs like deploying new PCs and applications, patch management and user administration took three hours per XP-based PC every year, compared with 0.9 hours for Windows 7.
IDC estimated the support requirements for 230 XP PCs amounted to one 40-hour working week. Productivity losses and the cost of supporting Windows XP were an estimated $870 per year for each machine, compared with $168 for Windows, the study said.
The report is the latest chapter in Microsoft’s campaign to push businesses and consumers off 11-year-old system. The software giant plans to end support for XP on April 8, 2014.
The company's head of investor relations, Bill Koefoed, in February said [doc] that "two-thirds of the business PCs that haven't upgraded to Windows 7 need to do that in a relatively short period of time".
Windows XP still has the largest installed base in the world, according to NetApplications. IDC estimated the operating system accounts for 42 percent of all commercial desktops at the end of 2011.
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer was incorrectly quoted as saying Microsoft's next operating system would be deployed on 500 million PCs within a year.
Instead, it appears Ballmer meant that there would be 500 million new PCs in the next year, running Windows versions in general.
Though upgrading to the newer system could be an obvious decision for some, IDC noted that upgrading or remediating business applications incompatible with Windows 7 could be huge for some organisations.
One of many potential compatibility problems lie in some business applications' dependence on Internet Explorer 6, the browser which shipped with XP.
IDC does not expect Windows 8 to have much impact in the enterprise until late 2013 or early 2014, due to standard compatibility and testing prior to deployment.