PC Tips and Tricks

Sticking with Windows XP really isn’t in your best interests?

Windows XP support ends April 8th 2014.

Are you aware Windows XP will soon be three generations behind?

When Windows XP users are asked why they haven’t upgraded most state XP is stable it delivers what they require so there is no reason to upgrade; besides their hardware won’t support Windows 7 and their business applications are not compatible.

For your peace of mind I urge you to review the following.

A five year old PC running XP

· Productivity costs nearly double in year two from £112 to £206 by year five.

· IT labour cost in year two rise from £287 to £488 by year five.

How do the costs break down?

Annual average mean support cost per PC per year for Windows XP is £544, while a comparable Windows 7 installation cost is £107 per PC per year. That is an incremental £466 per PC per year for IT and end-user labour cost. Simply stated, older technology has a higher maintenance cost. This is exacerbated when organisations keep PCs in use for extended periods of time (beyond a typical three- to four-year life cycle).

The chart below provides good reasons for replacing aging PC’s. IT costs begin to accelerate in year three. IT costs jump by 25% during year four and an additional 29% in year five. User productivity costs in year four jump by 23% to 40% in year five. If you compare year five directly with year two combined IT labour cost and lost user productivity cost rise by 73%.



IT time Costs

Patch management alone accounts for 49%. Move to Windows 7 patch management reduces by 82%. Stated another way Windows XP requires over five times more hours per PC per year of patch management than Windows 7. Collectively, operational activity time required to support PCs shows a 70% reduction in terms of hours per PC per year for organisations that choose to replace their Windows XP systems with Windows 7. Expressed another way for every 230 PCs an organisation upgrades to Windows 7, one full-time equivalent of staff time is freed up to work on other projects that bring direct value to the business.


End-User Time costs

They cannot be many end users who haven’t experienced frustration due to virus infection, some instability that builds up over or in other cases, an accidental self-inflicted problem caused by users tinkering with their system settings and configurations. Regardless of the cause of down time users cannot work they have to wait until IT resolves the issue.

Waiting for IT accounts for over half of the annual productive time users lose when working on a Windows XP PC. The other area is reboot time, which accounts for 28% of the hours per PC per year that end users lose. Together, those two areas account for 80% of users’ lost time. The chart below graphically illustrates the common causes of down time.


Windows 7 reboots reduce by 94% plus Windows 7 tends to be more stable and less prone to compromise consequently help desk time falls to an hour of time per PC per year for end users while Windows XP users experience 7.8 hours.

Key performance indicators

The chart below presents key performance indicators that IT departments will experience when supporting their existing Windows XP environments compared with a Windows 7 alterative.

ROI Analysis

The chart below presents IDC’s ROI analysis for the deployment of Windows 7 to replace an Older Windows XP installation. The ROI analysis constitutes a three-year view of the payback associated with a move from Windows XP to Windows 7.


As shown in chart below, organisations spent an average of £453 (discounted) per PC to replace each Windows XP (including hardware and software) and saved £1,685 (discounted) per PC in reduced IT labour support and lost productivity over three years. The payback period for a new deployment of Windows 7 is calculated at 12 months. The migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 yields a 137% return on investment over a three-year period.

The chart below presents the outcome of the ROI analysis in graphical form. The initial investment includes the average total costs for a fully loaded PC with Windows 7 offset by the cost to replace the PCs as part of the average replacement cycle (3.4 years). Annual benefits include reduced IT labour support and lost productivity.


Note: ROI analysis does not allow for applications that must be replaced.


Let’s assume you have a new PC running XP. Today’s PCs include features such as integrated WiFi and Bluetooth, faster USB ports, and high-resolution monitors and touchscreen capabilities. Most PC’s ship with a minimum of 4GB of memory, a typical 32-bit Windows XP operating system is unable to utilise 4GB of memory or adequately support enhanced hardware.

So what happens when XP support finishes? Security updates, (paid) hotfix agreement support, and paid per-incident support services end. Some organisations may find these factors place them in breach of industry regulatory compliance requirements.

Deploying Windows 7 operating system leads to greater satisfaction among users and IT professionals. Windows 7 enables cutting-edge applications to function, improves manageability, and reduces security risks thanks to features such as User Account Control, Internet Explorer 9, AppLocker, BitLocker.

The challenge for most organisations thinking of upgrading to Windows 7 is the commitment to capital expenditure. Generally capital expenses are easily measured while operational costs can be somewhat subjective. Overcoming natural hesitation towards subjective factors requires confidence and commitment. Nevertheless operational costs are lowered and savings continue to accrue into the future with no further direct capital investment. One other factor to consider the lower your cost of doing business the more competitive you are.


IDC Mitigating Risk: Why Sticking with Windows XP is a Bad Idea (IDC White Paper)