Thursday 25 December 2014

Windows XP use rises among Irish businesses

Published 17/07/2014 | 02:30

Windows XP is still being widely used despite the fact it is no longer security supported
Windows XP is still being widely used despite the fact it is no longer security supported

New figures show that use of the condemned computer operating system Windows XP has increased in Ireland since Microsoft ceased security support for the system in April. The figures, from global statistics firm Statcounter, suggest that Irish businesses still using the system may be dragging their feet in upgrading to a more secure platform.

According to Statcounter, 9.2pc of Irish PCs used Windows XP in June, up from 
8.7pc in April.

Globally, 16pc of desktop and laptop PCs continue to use the outdated operating system, although the figure is declining by about 0.5pc each month.

While Microsoft had hoped that businesses would rapidly switch to Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, the figures show modest increases in the use of its newest operating system. Fewer than one in five Irish PCs use Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. Worldwide, Windows 8 has drawn criticism among users, who dislike its layout and functionality.

Windows 7 remains the most used computer system in Ireland, with 51pc of PCs operating the platform.

Windows 8 is the second most popular system with 18pc, while Apple Mac PCs have 11.3pc of the market. Some 7pc of Irish computers still use Windows Vista, while 1.7pc of PCs are using Linux.

In April, Microsoft ceased supporting Windows XP, opening the operating system up to security attacks. However, some businesses have paid Microsoft a premium fee to continue offering security support for the outdated system while they transition to Windows 7 or Windows 8. The Government said that it entered into a €3.3m premium contract with Microsoft to support its Windows XP systems.

Some businesses have delayed switching from Windows XP because of specialised software products they use built only for XP computers. Banks and ATM machine providers have also admitted to using XP computers as backup systems.

Microsoft pulled the plug on security updates for Windows XP as it says the system is too old and too insecure to continue supporting. It says that the 13-year-old operating system is 21 times less secure than its newest system, Windows 8.

In May, a computer flaw that allowed hackers to take over PCs and steal information when using Internet Explorer targeted Windows XP machines. Microsoft agreed to a "once off" exception to not patching Windows XP computers. However, the software giant said that it will not repeat the exercise and that businesses left using Windows XP are now vulnerable to security attacks.

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