Businesses Keep Clinging to Windows 7 and XP

Windows 10 adoption in the enterprise is on the rise, but most businesses are hanging on to Windows 7, according to a new Spiceworks study.

Windows 7, XP Persis

Windows 10 is gaining traction among corporate buyers, but Microsoft's venerable Windows 7 is still the operating system to beat.

In its latest analysis of the business desktop OS market, Spiceworks found that Windows 7 maintains a commanding lead. According to deployment data gleaned from the IT management specialist's community, along with the survey responses from 461 IT professionals, the 7-year-old OS is running on 69 percent of all business PCs and laptops and 87 percent of organizations are running at least one instance.

"Although IT pros recognize the benefits of Windows 10, many organizations aren't in a big rush to upgrade quite yet because Windows 7 still works fine. Windows 7 still offers great performance, will receive security patches until 2020, and provides an experience users are comfortable with," Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks, told eWEEK. "Additionally, upgrading a company's computers to a new OS can be costly, time consuming, and require IT pros to train end users on new features and functionality."

IT managers are reluctant to rock the boat, particularly when it comes to critical system software. Tsai added that "when it comes to operating systems, many IT departments subscribe to the saying, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' Additionally, according to Spiceworks' research, when IT pros told us which OS end users are most satisfied with, Windows 7 had a comfortable lead over Windows 10," with a satisfaction rate of 69 percent for Windows 7, compared with 17 percent for Windows 10.

In second place is Windows XP, which was originally released in 2001. The OS can be found running on 14 percent of business PCs and within more than half of business organizations.

Microsoft finally stopped supporting Windows XP in the summer of 2014, meaning that software options are drying up as developers move onto newer Windows editions. And since the software giant is no longer issuing patches, running the OS is a risky proposition for businesses and their users.

"Every PC still running Windows XP on a corporate network represents a vulnerability that can make businesses more susceptible to security threats," Tsai cautioned. "Because unsupported operating systems no longer receive new security patches or bug fixes, organizations still using Windows XP are more inviting targets for malware and cyber-attacks. In other words, it's easier for hackers to gain access to your network and get to sensitive data when you're still running unsupported and outdated operating systems."

Heading into its second year on the market, Windows 10 is currently running on 9 percent of business PCs. Although that's a comparatively low figure, adoption rates are surging. Spiceworks' report noted that the Windows 10 penetration rate has reached 54 percent, surpassing both Windows XP and Windows 8.

And Windows 10 has nowhere to go but up. The OS is expected to be running on 17 percent of all business PCs, toiling away in 73 percent of organizations, by its second anniversary in July, according to an earlier Windows 10 adoption survey from Spiceworks.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...