AVAST: 96 percent of U.S. schools will be affected by loss of Windows XP support

Microsoft has made many warnings in the past few years that its official support for Windows XP will end on April 8th, 2014. The 12 year old operating system is still being used by quite a few large businesses and organizations, including school systems. Now the anti-virus software company AVAST claims that the vast majority of schools in the US will be affected by the Windows XP support cut off date.

In a recent blog post, AVAST says it conducted a survey of "164 educational institutions" in the US in July and claims that 96 percent of them "are likely to face a major technology crisis" when April 8th comes around. The blog claims that the costs of upgrading both the operating system and the hardware to move away from Windows XP could cost school systems tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

AVAST is using the results of this survey to promote its own Free for Education program, which it says offers free anti-virus protection to 2.8 million computers that cover 1,800 education organizations. While the blog is a pretty blatant advertisement for AVAST's own services, it does bring up a point that there are many large and small school systems all over the world that are still using Windows XP. Those schools might not have the money or the resources to upgrade their computer systems before the Windows XP cut off date.

Source: AVAST
School kid with computer image via Shutterstock

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Fans have begun lining up for the new iPhone in New York

Next Story

Japan to get PS4 Feb. 22nd; will launch PS Vita 2000 October 10th

109 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The library I frequent still uses xp, not because they want to, but because they have to, they are city funded and barely have enough money to function. Plus they are not tech savvy at all, so they don't know these things.

Given that educational institutions are one of the largest money minting machines I don't see no reason why they are so reluctant in upgrading. The cost of IT maintaining these outdated OS's is much higher then making a switch.
Avast in the other hand gets money from sharing/forwarding/selling its user information hence can support a "free for life" life cycle for its products, others do not.
Personally I threw away my xp cds years ago. Let it go ppl .. let it go.

What if schools deployed them in early 2007 just before Vista was rolling out? They really should have a 10 year lifecycle from the point of replacement, which would be something like January 31, 2017.

At some point people are going to have to make a decision about staying with old operating systems - 3 versions later and 12 years after the introduction of Windows XP there's really nothing that Microsoft can do to make it easier. Windows 8 requires less hardware then Windows Vista (which was a resource hog) and they've told people for years that they would be discontinuing updates to Windows XP. If they extended it for a another two, five or ten years there would still be a large number of people holding on the the old OS - which is far less secure than newer versions and provides less protection than moving to a more modern OS. And the problem would still exist and their hardware would even be older...

Apple is able to drop large parts of their installed base as they introduce newer versions of Mac OS X every couple of years. I remember when they moved from Tiger to Leopard - they dropped support for the PowerPC G3 chips (which I had in my old iBook) and within a few years totally dropped support for ANY PowerPC based Macs. You were free to use the old operating systems, but there wasn't any additional security updates and applications quickly dropped support for the older machines.

You can still upgrade almost any PC running Windows XP to Windows 8 (assuming that you're able to upgrade your hard drive and add additional memory...) but people seem to think that they should be able to use the old operating system forever.

Hey I can still install DOS on my old PC and pull out my Mac Classic, but I shouldn't expect to run modern software on those machines or even be able to surf the internet...

GraveDigger27 said,
Hey I can still install DOS on my old PC and pull out my Mac Classic, but I shouldn't expect to run modern software on those machines or even be able to surf the internet...

You should expect the best.

- Sent from my 386

If there is truly a major crisis for educational institutions, Microsoft will step in with financial and technical assistance.

They are not going to let education be harmed even if they have to eat a ton of costs.

Anyone that questions this, just needs to look to Gates himself that could use non-Microsoft money to facilitate the help. (Which won't be necessary as Gates still has influence at Microsoft.)

Just because support for XP ends in 2014, that doesn't mean XP will suddenly self-destruct. Even without official patches from MS, as long as you have a good anti-virus package supported by a good firewall and maybe an anti-malware protection, XP will continue to run just fine for years to come. Yes, I said years. There's enough XP compatible hardware on the market to serve users for a long time. Schools, who don't need the latest version of Office right this moment or who's other software works for them, shouldn't have to worry for a while yet. A good IT person would also have provided system backups on other drives for those times something does get through. A system restore can easily be done overnight, ready for the next day's classes. No worries. It would be nice, however, if MS did decide to continue some kind of support until XP, tough as it is, dies a natural death, of old age.

In many of the schools I've been in, funding is totally distributed to the wrong priorities. One year we ran out of paper, but at the same time were building a new multi-million dollar stadium for our failure of a football team.

However, at the same time, I've also seen many IT managers have the "if it works, don't fix it" motto and refuse to even discuss moving from XP.

I do find the 96% stat a bit high though, and like the entire article, it should be read carefully due to basically being an ad for AVAST.

This isn't just a US problem; there are an awful alot of organizations that still use that ancient old OS, because it just works; let's see after 08/04/2014 how many zero day flaws they are getting. And no, no AV will protect them from this. Windows 7 is like what, 5 years old? Plenty of time to test all the new applications, all the legacy apps, all the legacy hardware and slowly upgrade a small or medium sized infrastructure in that amount of time...

To the XP apologists:

How did you people ever survive the EOL of an OS before? Surely you haven't been using Windows XP since the dawn of computing? 95, 98, NT 4.0, 2000 have all come and gone and I'd wager you managed to handle those transitions without the level of complaining that XP is getting.

You talk as though upgrading to a new OS is utterly impossible - "uhh its not just costs uhh compatibility testing, software, training uhhhh" and the only option is to just cling to XP and demand that Microsoft continue supporting it until the universe dies a heat death. Seriously wtf.

Two reasons, 1) XP was the first major plateau of the OS/Hardware that 'worked' for many of these organizations. For many, it will continue to just work after April. 2) No one is demanding MS continue support except the security wonks.

The attitude to XP is similar to the attitude with NT in the business world before XP. Basically if it works businesses don't want to change things. My bank used NT until 3 years ago on all of the machines (HSBC) in my local branch! I know that sounds insane (and it is!) but that is just how the world works.

The same thing is happening with XP for a number of reasons. First is that people were put off from naturally upgrading to Vista so when they worked out ways for sticking with XP they followed on that route when it came to 7 and now 8. Secondly XP was around for a hell of a long time due to Microsoft scrapping the Longhorn program therefore delaying the release of Vista. Coupled with pretty rocky hardware support for Vista and a big change in the security model (UAC) which broke a lot of older applications it has given companies a lot of pretty solid excuses for not upgrading.

Shadowzz, I'm not trying to be ugly but you need to know the difference between the word 'then' and 'than'. You have used the wrong word a number of times in your comments.

"AVAST says it conducted a survey of "164 educational institutions" in the US"

...that seems an extremely VERY small sample size, given the total number of educational institutions in the US, for AVAST's figure of "96%" to be in any way accurate/representative!

Also you have to look at the fact that any school not on THE LATEST OS is setting their students back. This is where kids learn how to use computers. You don't do that on a 12 year old OS. Every school should have a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft. Which is relatively dirt cheap for education.

But what about the hardware? Do you think we have 40,000 in our pocket to go in and buy hardware? I have the licensing agreement in place but hardware is more important since 70% of my hardware can't run Windows 7/8.

If you sit in my shoes for a week, you will find out why it isn't as easy...

Sigh.....again, where are we saying it will take a day....month....or even a year to get this done? People have known for 5....FIVE years that Windows XP support will end on 2014. Vista (successor to XP) was released almost 7...SEVEN years ago. if you have not been able to budget or get an upgrade plan in place for almost 7 years now, something is not right.

A school is not like a major corporation where they have hundreds of thousands of computers. I remember my school only having about 100 computers. It does not require 7 years to get them upgraded.

Again. We are not saying it will take a day....week....month....or even a year. Windows XP support end date has been public knowledge for five years now. That is plenty of time to get a budget and upgrade plan in place.

xWhiplash

Sit in my shoes for a week and you will find out exactly why it takes that long... We are here for the kids and I love my job but I'm not an business and I don't have the luxury with millions of dollars in my budget to do it. I do the best with what I got. If money becomes available, our priority is to get our PC's upgraded but that is a very slow process.

So onto this scenerio.... I have approx 6,000 devices in AD and an average PC costs 450 that's over 2.7 million dollars!! Do you think I have that money lying around?

Running XP here for a another year or 2 will be fine and since we have our environment locked down very tight here, I don't think it will be an major issue.

surgekid31134 said,
So onto this scenerio.... I have approx 6,000 devices in AD and an average PC costs 450 that's over 2.7 million dollars!! Do you think I have that money lying around?

All that demonstrates to me is a lack of forward planning. Computers and software have limited lifespans after which they become outdated and unsupported, with companies like Microsoft making their plans known years in advance. It's little use buying computers in the short-term if they are unaffordable in the long-term. That's without even factoring in the impact that outdated computers have on students.

theyarecomingforyou said,

All that demonstrates to me is a lack of forward planning. Computers and software have limited lifespans after which they become outdated and unsupported, with companies like Microsoft making their plans known years in advance. It's little use buying computers in the short-term if they are unaffordable in the long-term. That's without even factoring in the impact that outdated computers have on students.


A computer here in the EU/NL has the lifespan of ~4 years. And just like other things that go well past their lifetimes, should be renewed or upgraded.
Still can't blame him and an IT staff for this, if there is no money it is very hard. From my experience it's usually management.
Buying new projectors, smart school boards, having a new coffeemachine in the teachers lounge etc are usually more important.

What you are talking about is the user interface not the fundamentals of using a computer. The basic concepts of the PC have not changed in the past 20 years. We still save files. We still have folders. We still start up and shutdown computers. We still click/tap things to use them. The basics are the same and are not going to change in the life time of Windows 8.

Shadowzz said,
A computer here in the EU/NL has the lifespan of ~4 years. And just like other things that go well past their lifetimes, should be renewed or upgraded.
Still can't blame him and an IT staff for this, if there is no money it is very hard. From my experience it's usually management.

Windows Vista was released over six years ago so there really isn't any excuse for XP systems still being used. And I agree that the decision ultimately rests with management, so IT staff simply have to deal with what they've got (though they will make recommendations as to how to invest money). But the point still remains that schools are investing in computers that they can't afford to maintain in the long-term.

and since our state government keeps slashing our general fund around, I am very limited on what I can do. I was still running Windows 2000 up until an year ago because we couldn't get the upgrade to the software. Since we virtualized everything, it has saved our district a lot of money and gives us more money to play with.

Textbooks and student materials come first here and there is nothing I can do to change it. No students = no IT staff

I am an Server Admin for a K-12 school district for the past 6 years. Since we have to mange 5000 + PC's , it's no easy task to deploy a new OS and since our budget's are next to nothing, we don't have the money for new hardware. The state where I am at, has cut our funding by 50%, we have to live with what we got and do the best we can. Eventually we will get around to replacing the PC's with VDI or something in those lines but I can say 90% of my district is still XP and will probably be that way for a few years as funding for new PC's get's better.

Even we get fantastic discounts with Microsoft (EES Program with SA), that doesn't mean anything if you don't have the hardware to support it.

A lot of schools do not have the money to replace their text books let alone upgrade their systems. Call them idiots or whatever, licensing costs are not cheap and neither is the costs to upgrade, maintain, and support the hardware. Especially in this economy. A lot of schools also do not have a dedicated IT person on staff.

The education system is seriously screwed up schools need to be better funded and I also think schools should have free\cheaper access to software from a lot of the major companies who make hardware/software. Invest in the education of the people or else a lot of big companies will not exist.

Brony said,
Firewall+antivirus+modern browser = ok.

Is that a challenge accepted? Because I really want to see that. Don't blame me for betting on the malware author.

When I graduated high school in 2005 all the computers in the school were running Windows 98 still. Ironically they were Hp / Compaq computers with the XP certified sticker on them. I don't know how it is for other cities, but I know here in Atlanta we have 1 IT group that manages all the computers for the schools. Upgrading 20 schools to Windows 7 might be a bit tough, but then again at this point they have had plenty of time, if they are using way outdated computers the school system needs to add that into the budget

There is so much non-sense in the comments. How many people here have experience managing tens of thousands of clients? Million dollar budgets across hundreds of sites? Very specific software requirements for educational software that has hardly had any updates in the past decade and does not run correctly on anything other than Windows XP?

Saying it is poor IT management just shows how little people know about the siuation. I have been a consultant in the UK education sector for many years and everyone would love to upgrade to the latest and greatest but it just isn't realistic to always keep on top of things. It is cheaper to stick with the old where everything works. There is so much software from companies that do not exist anymore with no viable alternative to switch too for a number of reasons most of which are not due to cost.

School systems don't have tens of thousands of clients or hundreds of sites. It's also not hard with basic competence in the automation tools. They probably would rather buy ipads and big screen TVs to show how "advanced" they are to visitors instead of maintaining their core productive systems.

If you run into having hundreds of sites and tens of thousands of work placed... Microsoft will come along and help them out (free of charge).

So there's no excuse.

Spicoli said,
School systems don't have tens of thousands of clients or hundreds of sites. It's also not hard with basic competence in the automation tools. They probably would rather buy ipads and big screen TVs to show how "advanced" they are to visitors instead of maintaining their core productive systems.

Have you worked with a school district in the UK? I mainly work in the south east of England and several school districts have upwards of 15,000 computers. Remember this includes desktops and laptops (including almost every teacher as well as pupil). This is getting even more complicated with the addition of tablets (mainly iPads).

Every educational body I have worked with has to follow a local government directive when it comes to decisions with their IT. While schools and colleges have their own local IT departments they are not the people who make the decision. This is done on a much larger scale to keep things as consistent as possible between schools and districts.

You are right when it comes things iPads and smart displays though. Almost every school I have worked with in the past 24 hours has been splashing out on iPads for the kids. This also includes a lot of software for the iPads. They are preferred by students and teachers as they are smaller, lighter and have good battery life compared to the big clunky laptops they used to get from companies such as RM.

Shadowzz said,
If you run into having hundreds of sites and tens of thousands of work placed... Microsoft will come along and help them out (free of charge).

So there's no excuse.

A lot of people think this but it is not the case in the real world. Microsoft don't give anyone free support unless they are a serious threat of leaving the Microsoft eco system. Also Microsoft won't help when it comes to upgrading network infrastructure or such things. Cisco, Juniper, etc. will help but at a cost which is why most of these things are done at a higher level to get better support contracts.

Just because you are buying 10,000 Windows and Office licenses does not mean free support. Microsoft make a fortune with support contracts. If you are running XP and are not likely to switch to anything else then Microsoft don't really care too much about you. They couldn't care less if you are running XP, Vista, 7 or 8. Hell a huge number of POS systems still run on NT. It is no sweat to Microsoft what you run just as long as you are running Windows.

I've seen Microsoft come help little (MKB in dutch) companies free of charge cause they were stuck on administration software written in the 90s (16bit etc) or similar issues. MS even publicly offered this several times to help companies (tiny, small, medium, big, huge) migrating from XP to 7.

Overall support is not free, but MS has always been very helpful when it comes to migrating.

I worked for Xerox for 8 years during the XP->Vista->7 releases and the assistance from Microsoft at an enterprise level for a little under 100,000 licenses was pathetic. Why? Because they knew we either stay on NT/2000 or upgrade. Which we did was our problem. They knew would couldn't switch to OS X or Linux (at least on the desktop). We had a similar response when our main development platform was switching from Java to .NET. We had quite good support for the first year or so while we moved our codebase from Java to C#/.NET 1.1 but once they saw most of our platform was migrated the support responses got slower and poorer. We went from having almost direct access to the .NET development team to being forwarded to a first level support assistant. Again a very similar story when we were playing with the idea of switching from Oracle to SQL Server 2005. In the end due to concerns regarding the .NET migration and very competitive pricing from Oracle we didn't switch. If you have a look online you will find many similar experiences with small to medium to large companies in similar situations.

There comes a time when an upgrade is the best option, after 10+ years i would call that time. I feel bad for people who got XP systems in bulk just before the vista / windows 7 era but they were late to adopt anyway (but to adopt XP).

It's going to start to get very expensive to source system parts for repairs for old machines. This couples with the security issue will be a bitch.

Still Computers are here and are needed in schools and should be part of the budget. Schools should upgrade regular and sell off the old hardware to help fund. It needs to be in the budget if its not its no fault but there own.

I would not wan't my child going to a school using outdated OS's and Programs. I would rather know my child is doing work on new hardware and learning new things than old stuff. You see some schools using ole photoshop versions and MS Office. Teaching them old crap is pure waste of everyones time.

I see the end of XP like warning people of a pending hurricane. You tell them to stock up, stay inside or evacuate if necessary and they stubbornly do the opposite. Then if they get injured or killed, then blame the weather service for not making it seem urgent enough. The warning has been out for YEARS. Unless you are using some really outdated software/hardware combination and cannot upgrade I feel no sympathy for you when XP's plug is pulled.

hagjohn said,
Shouldn't be teaching old technology to kids.
Nothing wrong with learning old technology. You need history in order to grasp the future.

JHBrown said,
Nothing wrong with learning old technology. You need history in order to grasp the future.

And that would be fine if Windows XP was being studied in history lessons but it serves no place in a modern classroom.

The schools are perfectly free to continue to use XP as long as they like. I don't see how that's Microsoft's problem. They're not required to support obsolete software forever, and they schools really can't complain that they didn't know this was coming...

Mainstream support ended on April 14, 2009 and extended support was erm...extended on April 10, 2012. Interestingly enough, that's the day Vista's extended support ended.

seta-san said,
what was the original date for EOL for XP anyway?
If it would have followed the original path for a Windows version, it's mainstream support would have ended on 9 January 2007, while it's extended support would have ended on 10 January 2012.

These schools are idiots. They've had since 2007 to spread the cost to migrate, so it's their problem if they are still using old systems. Hardly Microsoft's (or any other vendor's) fault - you buy the equipment, you make the choice to use and maintain it.

testman said,
They've had since 2007 to spread the cost to migrate, so it's their problem

Actually it's the students' problem, which makes it our problem

Blatant incompetence by some IT managers here. It has been known for at least 5 years that Windows XP support would end in 2014. If they haven't been able to prepare for that in 5 years - well, then they deserve what they're getting next year. I have certainly been working to get everyone whoose computers I repair moved off Windows XP.
Part of owning a computer (or hundreds of them) is keeping it up to date. Just like your car needs servicing, so does a computer. There really is no excuse for running such outdated systems. They face a huge and sudden expense now, yes, but that is only the result of not doing proper maintenance continuously.

arknu said,
Blatant incompetence by some IT managers here. It has been known for at least 5 years that Windows XP support would end in 2014. If they haven't been able to prepare for that in 5 years - well, then they deserve what they're getting next year. I have certainly been working to get everyone whoose computers I repair moved off Windows XP.
Part of owning a computer (or hundreds of them) is keeping it up to date. Just like your car needs servicing, so does a computer. There really is no excuse for running such outdated systems. They face a huge and sudden expense now, yes, but that is only the result of not doing proper maintenance continuously.
Why does everyone always call out the IT guys? They don't write the check you know. An IT guy can recommend an upgrade until he's blue in the face. The guys out playing golf ultimately make that decision.

Then the "IT" department failed at communicating their needs and the risks associated with keeping an maintaining a dead OS, it's their job to convince management of the need for upgrades, not the other way around

z0phi3l said,
Then the "IT" department failed at communicating their needs and the risks associated with keeping an maintaining a dead OS, it's their job to convince management of the need for upgrades, not the other way around
In a perfect world z0phi3l. I've dealt with many of these guys. They are more concerned about saving the company money and padding their bonuses.

JHBrown said,
Why does everyone always call out the IT guys? They don't write the check you know. An IT guy can recommend an upgrade until he's blue in the face. The guys out playing golf ultimately make that decision.

A good IT dept. can explain -why- certain costs have to made. When presenting a well thought out plan and schedule, things can be made crystal clear to a non-tech board or group of people decding about money.

Also, a -properly run- school/company/etc. has budgets for stuff like this.
It's never like "Oh no's, stuff is broken and we didn't budget for replacements"......

If you're not in working in a place that has it's budgets in order, I can only advice to start looking for another spot to work.

Dutchie64 said,

A good IT dept. can explain -why- certain costs have to made. When presenting a well thought out plan and schedule, things can be made crystal clear to a non-tech board or group of people decding about money.

Also, a -properly run- school/company/etc. has budgets for stuff like this.
It's never like "Oh no's, stuff is broken and we didn't budget for replacements"......

If you're not in working in a place that has it's budgets in order, I can only advice to start looking for another spot to work.

Well tax payers pay everything we work with. I'm military. I was speaking based on contractors who I deal with who have bosses like I described. We're not talking small businesses either.

Remember, we're talking about public schools. How often does the IT budget (in fact, the capital budget - that is the overall budget for the system's physical plant, which includes IT) get raided for cost - overruns elsewhere (especially teacher and/or administration pay increases)? Washington, DC, Chicago, and Detroit have *all* gotten caught doing just that - in merely the past year. And in none of those cases was it the first time they had done it.

z0phi3l said,
Then the "IT" department failed at communicating their needs and the risks associated with keeping an maintaining a dead OS, it's their job to convince management of the need for upgrades, not the other way around

While I agree that in a lot of cases schools are facing these problems due to poor IT management, you are speaking like someone who has never had a job. The people with the money don't always listen to what you believe to be important, whether you communicate the risks properly or not. I think its likely that the fault lies with management in just as many cases as it lay with the IT department.

Schools often have tight budgets, that is the reason why so many of them are still running XP. The managers are therefore less likely to listen to the IT department when they ask for money.

techbeck said,
Have anyone actually put together a proposal for getting equipment/software replaced? It isnt as easy as one may think.
Yes. It's not too hard to make the case for upgrading off XP. XP's EoL date has been known for *years* now.

Dot Matrix said,
Yes. It's not too hard to make the case for upgrading off XP. XP's EoL date has been known for *years* now.

You do realize that schools are not funded like other businesses and when things are bad, their funding is one of the first to be cut.

BS! This is pure..I worked at plenty and they make poor choices all the time... All Im going to say is converting to Mac isnt helping.. The schools say they dont have money but they seem to have no problem ordering new mac computers

Thats primarily a trait of private schools freak, cause it convinces stupid parents to send their kids there. (its a marketing expense, not an IT one)

Always throwing it on costs....

They don't see that it has been more expensive to support XP the last 5 years then it was to upgrade to 7?

What idiots manage this and still throw the costs excuse?

Shadowzz said,
Always throwing it on costs....

They don't see that it has been more expensive to support XP the last 5 years then it was to upgrade to 7?

What idiots manage this and still throw the costs excuse?

How is it more expensive to support Windows XP than Windows 7 exactly? Can you use such a blanket statement if you don't know how those XP computers are deployed, used and managed?

Do you think they have no problems, never replace hardware or even buy newer hardware? It's a pain to support XP in large quantities considering the horrible problems arise (usually out of nowhere) and that costs money, a lot of it.

You can easily manage more Win7 systems as an IT admin. So schools have less down-time hours (costs money) and need less staff (also costs money).
Cumucalitive this becomes a big pile of money, which could've been used to invest into upgrading. Now they have to rush it and throw more people and money against it because they waited till the last moment.

School teaches you to do what you have to do well on time, planned ahead and what not.
Now they pull the same sh*t students do, wait until the night before?

Ha well they are stuck on a 12 year old OS.. Support going forward will not even exist.. Msft usually offered some great volume license deals during upgrade cycles

The school could at the very least be on Vista right now and have support until April 2017, so yea I'd say their management is slightly incompetent

Rolling out an OS is no simple task. Hardware requirements change. Drivers etc. The biggest for most, certainly schools that use odd teaching software, is software compatibility. Don't forget user profiles changed in Vista onwards to v2.
Still, Microsoft software should be cheap to come by for schools and they have had long enough to plan the roll out.

Chicane-UK said,

How is it more expensive to support Windows XP than Windows 7 exactly? Can you use such a blanket statement if you don't know how those XP computers are deployed, used and managed?

Well Windows 7 has some built in malware protection for starters.

Its about having a plan... which these schools obviously did not. Drivers aren't an issue... at schools you would deploy mostly identical systems from a single OEM, you won't have to worry about proper drivers

SK[ said,]Rolling out an OS is no simple task. Hardware requirements change. Drivers etc. The biggest for most, certainly schools that use odd teaching software, is software compatibility. Don't forget user profiles changed in Vista onwards to v2.
Still, Microsoft software should be cheap to come by for schools and they have had long enough to plan the roll out.

Things have changed, but there is absolutely NOTHING that holds back the migration what so ever.
Sitting on XP is more costly over the years then it is to upgrade.
Windows 7 can run every XP program if needed (use a VM!?). So the old teaching software should not be an issue what so ever. If there's still computers older then 2005..... They are at a risk and should be replaced. (Computers are generally made for 3-5 year lifespans) and it is very, very expensive to support such ancient hardware due to maintenance amount and the hardware from 10 years ago is frigging expensive this day and age.

And any OS differences can be catched by migration scripts, in most cases a simple bat file will do the trick.

There is NO reason not to upgrade except for IT/management incompetence.

SK[ said,]Rolling out an OS is no simple task. Hardware requirements change. Drivers etc. The biggest for most, certainly schools that use odd teaching software, is software compatibility. Don't forget user profiles changed in Vista onwards to v2.
Still, Microsoft software should be cheap to come by for schools and they have had long enough to plan the roll out.

I used to work as a admin at a highschool, and we were getting discounts on all MS software, and a lot of others as well, like Adobe stuff.

I agree that replacing all pc's school wide is expensive, but 'locking' yourself into XP with all the disadvantages for so long is just stupid. Also, all students coming in with their own (semi)new pc's/laptops/tablets will at least run W7.

At some point you need to start upgrading the IT system for servers and alike, to keep everything running without glitches.

XP was released in 2001, the latest service pack was released in 2008! In that time it was replaced by Vista (2007) and W7 (2009).
Now, twelve years!!! later support in finally canceled.

Time to get reserved budget into gear, people had enough time to test apps and stuff on W& or higher before the migration.

All other is just bad IT management.

Shadowzz said,
Always throwing it on costs....

They don't see that it has been more expensive to support XP the last 5 years then it was to upgrade to 7?

What idiots manage this and still throw the costs excuse?

More expensive to support, possibly but it still costs money for software licenses and hardware costs. A lot of schools cannot afford to update their text books let alone their computers. The education system is really messed up in the US.

Not as cut and dry as you think.

Edited by techbeck, Sep 9 2013, 12:49pm :

It has been almost 7 years since the successor to Windows XP. Sure Vista did not get a good reputation, but you had 7 years to save up and budget appropriately.

You guys keep making excuses for these businesses. We are not saying it will take a day to upgrade. It has been almost 7 damn YEARS. If you were not able to get a budget and plan in place, something is not right.

xWhiplash said,
It has been almost 7 years since the successor to Windows XP. Sure Vista did not get a good reputation, but you had 7 years to save up and budget appropriately.

You guys keep making excuses for these businesses. We are not saying it will take a day to upgrade. It has been almost 7 damn YEARS. If you were not able to get a budget and plan in place, something is not right.

Do you realize that many schools have text books older than that? The economy tanked and still isnt up to where it has been. Schools have had funding cut and cannot afford other things let alone computers. And when the state has financial isuses, the school system is one of the first to have their funding scaled back.

It isnt excuses...the cold harsh reality of the situation.

techbeck said,

More expensive to support, yes but it still costs money for software licenses and hardware costs. A lot of schools cannot afford to update their text books let alone their computers. The education system is really messed up in the US.

Not as cut and dry as you think.


How expensive do you imagine failing parts would be on 10 year old ancient computers? Or do you imagine these systems all miraculously run for 10 years.

Failing parts alone is more expensive then buying new versions of it.

techbeck said,

Do you realize that many schools have text books older than that? The economy tanked and still isnt up to where it has been. Schools have had funding cut and cannot afford other things let alone computers. And when the state has financial isuses, the school system is one of the first to have their funding scaled back.

It isnt excuses...the cold harsh reality of the situation.


And maintaining their current systems/equipment is free you reckon?

xWhiplash said,
Yeah textbooks fail and need maintenance like computers do.

Text books are out of date and need replacing. So yea, they fail and textbooks are not cheap.

Shadowzz said,

How expensive do you imagine failing parts would be on 10 year old ancient computers? Or do you imagine these systems all miraculously run for 10 years.

Failing parts alone is more expensive then buying new versions of it.

Really depends how often those systems are failing. Few places I worked at before we upgraded systems finally were running 7-8 year old computers. Had very little problems with hardware failures and the ones that did fail, the parts really were not that much to replace. Companies very rarely have mass hardware failures. And old/salvaged parts are not hard to find either for cheap.

I have a couple family members working for schools as well. A lot of times if a system fails, they dont replace it until they can afford to do so.

We donate as much equipment as we can and I know a few computer salvage companies in my area who will give schools hard drives, computers, and other equipment for free. So parts are out there for the cheap to maintain old systems.

People comment that a good IT department would have better planning. A good IT department will also know ways to support what they are paid to support to reduce costs and work with what they have.

Edited by techbeck, Sep 9 2013, 12:29pm :

That's like running on good luck charms. Just hoping hardware won't fail.
But it isn't uncommon to see schools (or other bigger networks) running XP and ancient hardware, blaming it on high costs for upgrade. But have beamers in every classroom (whats wrong with a crayon and green board?) and all sorts of other costly things to show off their school/surroundings. Ofcourse not every case, but more often then not its a choice from management.

Shadowzz said,
But it isn't uncommon to see schools (or other bigger networks) running XP and ancient hardware, blaming it on high costs for upgrade. But have beamers in every classroom (whats wrong with a crayon and green board?) and all sorts of other costly things to show off their school/surroundings. Ofcourse not every case, but more often then not its a choice from management.

I would say those schools who have the good equipment are in the minority. Also curious how many of those schools are private compared to public.

I could write a Whole article (or Book) on this, being a Former Network Manager with Nextel, and a few other high profile jobs. I left the industry to be a teacher after becoming a Single Parent.

In Short the county I work in has 90% of the computers on Windows 7. Very few will be running XP by next year.

Essentially, there are a load of logistical issues on why many of the schools are running XP. A lot of them come down to Legislation and Money.

If someone wants a new thread on this, I be happy to go into the details, Just not going to type it all to sit in the middle of this thread unread.

Not really. History, math, and physics for example do not magically change year to year and require a new book. It does not matter if it is an older book. The only thing that a newer book would have are new homework problems and different wording. The history of WW2 has not changed and does not require a new text book, even if that book was released in 2000.

techbeck said,

I would say those schools who have the good equipment are in the minority. Also curious how many of those schools are private compared to public.


Well my experience for US schools is rather low. But I see similar in schools here.

I think they would cry about this even if Microsoft supported XP with no additional features and just security updates for next 50 years.
MS has been always good at providing support and backward compatibility for products they release, still we ask for more.
It's high time people let go of XP.

Cost (of hardware especially) is most certainly an issue when schools are so budget strapped they are dropping core classes. Add to that the software headaches of odd compatibility, IE lock etc and its not a trivial issue for many IT departments.

You can call other people 'idiots' because it's easy to sit behind a wall of anonymity but in the real world of corporate IT things are much, much more complicated and involved than you can imagine. You may only have to be responsible for your own PC, or maybe even a handful of systems, but once things involve thousands or tens of thousands of in-use workstations your smug attitude is of trivial importance. It's not just clerical tasks like preparation and scheduling that are massive undertakings, even something like determining where you can dispose of several hundred old PCs several times a day that make things complicated. Corporations often use a three or five year rotating schedule on specified departments so there's a constant and gradual upgrading process, but school districts typically don't have the financial resources to do the same. Also, as important as some techies think computers in the classroom have become, in reality most school administrations have priorities that often involve a lot of other issues.

Ed Vim said,
You can call other people 'idiots' because it's easy to sit behind a wall of anonymity but in the real world of corporate IT things are much, much more complicated and involved than you can imagine. You may only have to be responsible for your own PC, or maybe even a handful of systems, but once things involve thousands or tens of thousands of in-use workstations your smug attitude is of trivial importance. It's not just clerical tasks like preparation and scheduling that are massive undertakings, even something like determining where you can dispose of several hundred old PCs several times a day that make things complicated. Corporations often use a three or five year rotating schedule on specified departments so there's a constant and gradual upgrading process, but school districts typically don't have the financial resources to do the same. Also, as important as some techies think computers in the classroom have become, in reality most school administrations have priorities that often involve a lot of other issues.

Well said.

Ed Vim said,
You can call other people 'idiots' because it's easy to sit behind a wall of anonymity but in the real world of corporate IT things are much, much more complicated and involved than you can imagine. You may only have to be responsible for your own PC, or maybe even a handful of systems, but once things involve thousands or tens of thousands of in-use workstations your smug attitude is of trivial importance. It's not just clerical tasks like preparation and scheduling that are massive undertakings, even something like determining where you can dispose of several hundred old PCs several times a day that make things complicated. Corporations often use a three or five year rotating schedule on specified departments so there's a constant and gradual upgrading process, but school districts typically don't have the financial resources to do the same. Also, as important as some techies think computers in the classroom have become, in reality most school administrations have priorities that often involve a lot of other issues.

Ofcourse it isn't for each case/school/company having the money for it.
But IT in school nowadays is important. Other priorities are ofc teaching the children and keeping them safe. Part of this is done by the computers. Or you want your childrens information accessable to anyone due to the zero-days and what not arriving after April? Or don't give them proper chances to learn cause their computers are failing and breaking down?
I said those who manage it are the idiots, not attacking any IT personal directly here. It's usually a choice of management whether there is some money available for migration. It is also a lot cheaper for schools then it is for companies to do these upgrade cycles due to educational discounts from Microsoft.
Of course there are plenty of situations where there really is no money to spare for these things (or many other important things for the children) but in many situations it's a management decision to put IT management on the lowest priority. And it should not be on the lowest priority (not the highest either of course).