The forgotten desktops of Windows XP

XP Install Screen

XP Install Screen

The inter tubes have been filled with the stories about the coming demise of Windows XP. And I have to admit a certain fondness for the OS, after all, we have been together for 12 years and countless machines. Yes, there was Vista (briefly), and I am still getting used to Windows 7′s quirks just in time to find my way around 8.1. And I am not alone: Kaspersky claims nearly 20% of their current anti-virus customers still run XP. Time is running out, as we all know.

But what hasn’t been covered is what I call the forgotten desktop which runs XP. There are plenty of devices that aren’t actually sitting on anyone’s desk but are connected to your corporate network, and will need upgrading. When you start to look around, you can find them in some surprising places, such as point of sale terminals, ticket kiosks for trains and subway stations, medical equipment, displays at airports, bus stations and train stations, digital payphones, digital LED signage, video conference rooms, red light speed cameras, movie ticket kiosks, and supermarket self-checkout lanes (these have enough problems as is). Take a look at the collection chronicled in the Public Computer Error Board. I am sure you can think of other places XP might be lurking.

“This interconnected world can be a dangerous place when it’s built on an unsupported operating system that’s vulnerable to exploits or simple compatibility limitations,” says Justin Strong, a product marketing manger at Novell. And after all, who would know better than the folks who originally hooked up all these XP machines back in the day?

“IT departments are relieved if they’re simply migrated their workforce off XP,” says Strong. But that’s not enough.Microsoft’s Craig Mundie at the Techonomy conference last year said, “Even one XP machine represents a major threat.” This is because XP can’t be hardened to avoid today’s threats and has many weaknesses. According to Microsoft,XP machines are six times more likely to be infected with malware than newer versions of Windows. Yikes.

I know many of you still have even Windows NT and 2000 running somewhere on your networks, and maybe even some Novell Netware too. Let’s make a clean sweep. And yes, I will miss XP, we have been through a lot.But it is time to move on.

From David Storm – Web Informant