Is the White House still using Windows XP?

President Barack Obama will be making his annual State of the Union address to the US Congress and the nation later tonight. In preparation for the event, the official White House web site will be showing an enhanced version of the State of the Union address followed by a panel discussion with White House officials after the speech is completed.

These announcements were made by senior White House adviser David Plouffe in a recent video posted on YouTube. The video looks like it was filmed in Plouffe's White House office. However, that's not the interesting thing about the video. What's interesting is that in the back of the office you can see a PC monitor running what is almost certainly Windows XP.

You can see the Windows XP default screensaver in the beginning of the video.

Later in the video you can see the familiar looking Windows XP login screen.

Yes, that likely means that the White House, or at least some offices in the White House, are still using an operating system from Microsoft that launched over 10 years ago. The government apparently didn't have the IT budget to upgrade to Windows 7 when it launched in 2009.

As we have reported before, Microsoft has been trying for a number of months to tell companies and organizations that are still running Windows XP to upgrade as soon as possible to Windows 7. There could be some security concerns for those companies who keep Windows XP for much longer, as Microsoft has stated in the past. If the White House was thinking about waiting until Windows 8 to make their big OS ugpgrade, they might want to think again. The Gartner research group said a few months ago:

With support for Windows XP ending in April 2014, we believe it would be dangerous for organizations now running XP to attempt to skip Windows 7 and move directly to Windows 8. Organizations running Windows XP and working on Windows 7 migrations: Continue as planned; do not switch to Windows 8.

Hopefully the White House will heed that advice and get all of its PCs upgraded to Windows 7 ASAP.

Thanks to Gerowen for the tip

Images via WhiteHouse.gov

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The State of the Union address takes place in the House of Representatives chamber of the US Capitol:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_the_Union_address

US Congress may still use ol' Windows [House majority are Republicans, what do you expect? ;-)], but the White House knows better...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...f_Linux_adopters#Government
But some offices [like the 1 pictured] may still run XP for compatibility reasons, until the moving-to-Linux process is completed.

Why is The Gartner saying that it'd be dangerous for organizations like the White House to migrate from XP to 8? Because there's no SP yet for Win8? I can think of it being expensive (new hardware) but dangerous

I can't believe this is news. I would understand if this is posted in say, 5-10 years time. But at this current time, Microsoft are still releasing updates from a security point of view.

Also, I read this as if the only operating system that it could be upgraded with is Windows 7 (or above) - I thought a lot of business oriented applications now run (or migrating to run) inside a web browser meaning, the desktop operating system doesn't matter (i.e. can be anything that runs a web browser). I don't know what software they use, and I presume nor does the author so I'm not sure why these seem to be the only options available.

You guys would probably be amazed at how many large global corporations still use windows 98 in their manufacturing facilities.

Or to know that DOS certifications are in HIGH demand because the people that know DOS are retiring.

Namelesske said,
And they using SP1... Look at the "Professsional" under Windows logo. Goddamit.

I would highly doubt that. Most software and drivers from 2005 and above wouldn't work. Only the XP edition on the boot splash screen was removed (i.e. before the GUI is loaded).

And I'm reading this on Windows XP. Not a problem. But I suppose we're supposed to marvel at Neowin's eagle eye and amazing catch

burnblue said,
And I'm reading this on Windows XP. Not a problem. But I suppose we're supposed to marvel at Neowin's eagle eye and amazing catch

Sad that you are on this site using Windows XP unless you cannot offered a license.

The gov't use Windows XP Professional. Just liek all other businesses. However, Microsoft tweak features of the registry to make it more secure.

Everyone can read the details here - http://nvd.nist.gov/fdcc/fdcc_faq.cfm

If Microsoft made Windows for geberal users work the same.no one would want to use Windows, because the security levels makes it actually more painful to use.

For one it enforces uses of very strong passwords, which includes all types of characters.
Anyone can yweak Windows to be exactly the same is you know how to use the registry and add all the proper keys. However, you would then hate using Windows as a whole.

Just read the details - http://nvd.nist.gov/fdcc/fdcc_faq.cfm

TechieXP said,
The gov't use Windows XP Professional. Just liek all other businesses. However, Microsoft tweak features of the registry to make it more secure.

Everyone can read the details here - http://nvd.nist.gov/fdcc/fdcc_faq.cfm

If Microsoft made Windows for geberal users work the same.no one would want to use Windows, because the security levels makes it actually more painful to use.

For one it enforces uses of very strong passwords, which includes all types of characters.
Anyone can yweak Windows to be exactly the same is you know how to use the registry and add all the proper keys. However, you would then hate using Windows as a whole.

Just read the details - http://nvd.nist.gov/fdcc/fdcc_faq.cfm

Also the Feds use Windows Vista. Technically, they could just export the registry and import it to any PC and have them all require the same credentials.

They don't have to have Windows 7, neither do we...really.

Windows XP is really a fine operating system even today if you know how to keep it up-to-date. Of course fanboys will troll against it like crazy.

Since Google are now spending more lobbying dollars, maybe they'll switch to ChromeOS, afterall no one in washington knows how this tech stuff works anyway, all they need are the right geeks to come in and explain it to them, oh wait they don't want that either......

When I was interning at Harley Davidson 2 years ago, they had just upgraded to Windows XP. When I first started there and started up my computer to see Windows 2000, I cried a lot (from laughter and shame). This probably isn't uncommon in government and big business. Transitioning thousands of people to a new operating system is a huge huge process. If something goes wrong and it costs people even an hour of time, that's thousands of dollars down the drain.

What's the big deal? The OS still gets monthly security updates just like W7.
You Neowin W7 fanboys need to tone it down. There's no need for a news article about this.

FalsePositive said,
What's the big deal? The OS still gets monthly security updates just like W7.
You Neowin W7 fanboys need to tone it down. There's no need for a news article about this.

While I agree that there's no need for a news article about this, XP is more than 10 years old. & considering in technology last month is obsolete...

My guess is that they are running XP as a virtual machine in windows 7. Just tossing that idea out there. If people walk in my office 90% of time they assume I have two computers since it's running dual screens and I always have Windows open on one and OSX natively on the other.

ndoggfromhell said,
My guess is that they are running XP as a virtual machine in windows 7. Just tossing that idea out there. If people walk in my office 90% of time they assume I have two computers since it's running dual screens and I always have Windows open on one and OSX natively on the other.

Probably not

texasghost said,
Well...support for XP will end in 2014. So..the White House has a little time to switch over.

Right, Microsoft does not make exception for the White House ...

texasghost said,
Well...support for XP will end in 2014. So..the White House has a little time to switch over.

The White House will get support for XP for as long as they want, and so will big Enterprises using XP.

alexalex said,

The White House will get support for XP for as long as they want, and so will big Enterprises using XP.


No they wont. All support ends on April 8 2014. The only way to get some support if they bought some time ago (a certain period of dates) a Windows 7 license and choose to downgrade to Windows XP. That currently right now is impossible to do so if they didnt do it then, it all ends April 8, 2014.

S_Herbie said,
I think that the US Government has more important stuff to spend money on than upgrading computers that work perfectly well!

Exactly. If it isn't broken....

FalseAgent said,

not a good idea unless they're planning to get new hardware.

Doesn't Windows 8 have the same system requirements as Windows 7 & Vista? Yes, I know that Windows 8, "works," better on a tablet, but, c'mon, you'd know that they'd be running it on desktops at least mostly...

MASTER260 said,

Doesn't Windows 8 have the same system requirements as Windows 7 & Vista?
I think Windows 8 is supposed to have the same system requirements as 7, if not lower. But those lower system requirements are still not as low as XP's system requirements.

But I don't think they're waiting for Windows 8.

Intrinsica said,
I think Windows 8 is supposed to have the same system requirements as 7, if not lower. But those lower system requirements are still not as low as XP's system requirements.

But I don't think they're waiting for Windows 8.


Yeah, but when FalseAgent said, "Not a good idea unless they plan on getting new hardware," he was referring to waiting for Win 8 or 9 instead of just switching to 7.

MASTER260 said,

Doesn't Windows 8 have the same system requirements as Windows 7 & Vista? Yes, I know that Windows 8, "works," better on a tablet, but, c'mon, you'd know that they'd be running it on desktops at least mostly...

Actually, the hardware requirements for 8 and 7 are utterly identical (and identical to those of Vista as well). The XP/Vista upgrade issue was partially exacerbated by a lot of underpowered-as-it-shipped XP hardware (or have we forgotten OEM desktops such as the rather infamous Dimension 2400 and 2400C?).

MASTER260 said,

Doesn't Windows 8 have the same system requirements as Windows 7 & Vista? Yes, I know that Windows 8, "works," better on a tablet, but, c'mon, you'd know that they'd be running it on desktops at least mostly...

Actually, the hardware requirements for 8 and 7 are utterly identical (and identical to those of Vista as well). The XP/Vista upgrade issue was partially exacerbated by a lot of underpowered-as-it-shipped XP hardware (or have we forgotten OEM desktops such as the rather infamous Dimension 2400 and 2400C?).

Hard to tell from the picture, but that looks like the titlebar theme is a msstyle other than luna... Probably Royale?

petroid said,
Hard to tell from the picture, but that looks like the titlebar theme is a msstyle other than luna... Probably Royale?

While Royale was the default for Media Center Edition, it was later made available for XP Professional as well as a free download. (That actually makes sense, as MCE is a superset of XP Professional.)

Glad they haven't actually. We're the one's who have to pay for all that and for what those morons are probably doing on those computers, it's not worth it!!

tiagosilva29 said,
They need to install OpenBSD.

Very good idea also.

This is a government organization. Windows 7 is an American product, they should be promoting American innovation through the use of the latest American innovation.

sam232 said,
This is a government organization. Windows 7 is an American product, they should be promoting American innovation through the use of the latest American innovation.

i'm asian and I agree.

sam232 said,
This is a government organization. Windows 7 is an American product, they should be promoting American innovation through the use of the latest American innovation.

I'm Mexican, and I agree!

Not news.

The Executive Office of the President (same applies to the Executive Office of the Vice-President) is supported (for IT purposes, due the classified-information-access requirements) by the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) - a division of the Defense Information Systems Agency. This largely-military-staffed IT and communication shop is responsible for procurement, maintenance, and repair of every piece of IT and communications gear in he White House, Executive Office Building(s), and facilities directly supporting the President, Vice-President, and the EOP and EOVP. It functions (for IT purposes) as an enterprise, albeit one with a very small userbase; however, like any enterprise, they have specific line-of-business applications with exactlng software requirements. The military has *itself* largely not moved beyond XP, and decidedly not in the national-security spaces (again, those pesky line-of-business applications get in the way). When I was working (for a contractor) at Andrews AFB (2002-2004), Andrews AFB *as an installation* was just moving to *Windows 2000 Professional*. (No, I am NOT joking, so get your jaws off the floor.)

Having worked in the industry myself I know that (large) companies are usually at least one Windows version behind, but ten years is awfully long, considering Windows 7 is now in it's 3rd year with a service pack as well

that is completely untrue. the entire dod was required to move to vista by the end of 2010. a special waiver is required to even have a xp machine on a military network. the dod is currently migrating to windows 7.

PGHammer said,
Not news.

The Executive Office of the President (same applies to the Executive Office of the Vice-President) is supported (for IT purposes, due the classified-information-access requirements) by the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) - a division of the Defense Information Systems Agency. This largely-military-staffed IT and communication shop is responsible for procurement, maintenance, and repair of every piece of IT and communications gear in he White House, Executive Office Building(s), and facilities directly supporting the President, Vice-President, and the EOP and EOVP. It functions (for IT purposes) as an enterprise, albeit one with a very small userbase; however, like any enterprise, they have specific line-of-business applications with exactlng software requirements. The military has *itself* largely not moved beyond XP, and decidedly not in the national-security spaces (again, those pesky line-of-business applications get in the way). When I was working (for a contractor) at Andrews AFB (2002-2004), Andrews AFB *as an installation* was just moving to *Windows 2000 Professional*. (No, I am NOT joking, so get your jaws off the floor.)

Neobond said,
...but ten years is awfully long, considering Windows 7 is now in it's 3rd year with a service pack as well

I don't think that it would have been that long if Vista hadn't had such a bad start. As for Windows 7, I would have imagined that they would have only started to take interest once the first service pack was released. I thought that was a general rule of thumb for businesses at least.

Martin Rosa said,
that is completely untrue. the entire dod was required to move to vista by the end of 2010. a special waiver is required to even have a xp machine on a military network. the dod is currently migrating to windows 7.

Said waivers were granted to the C4I shops (command/control/communications/computers/intelligence) because of the uniqueness of their requirements (again, those pesky line-of-business apps used there) - the medical services tried (the issue was compatibility with the VA) but were shot down. (Speaking of the VA, they are also getting dragged, kicking and screaming, into Windows 7 - under massive protest.)

The issue with Vista for the military (and for enterprises) was not the same issue that largely dogged consumers - enterprises have upgrade cycles get stalled largely by having to update or upgrade those customized line-of-business applications. (For example, Microsoft *regularly* submits their operating systems - all of them - to NSA for a vulnerability and hardening analysis; nothing nefarious there - the Linux distributions that want to be considered for various government contracts do so as well, as do the various flavors of UNIX.)

Speaking of the hardening guides, all of NSA's hardening guides are, in fact, publicly available (and downloadable - they are PDF files) from NSA itself - http://www.nsa.gov

Erm... large organisation still running Windows XP on their client PCs? That's extremely UNSURPRISING no matter what the organisation happens to be.

Jelly2003 said,
Erm... large organisation still running Windows XP on their client PCs? That's extremely UNSURPRISING no matter what the organisation happens to be.

Agreed. And as slow as the government is to do anything else, I don't know why we would assume they would be fast at upgrading their systems... An incompatibility could cause serious problems after all.

Come on... I thought that the forum post was bad, now Neowin is really clutching at the straws for news articles.

Simon- said,
Come on... I thought that the forum post was bad, now Neowin is really clutching at the straws for news articles.

Stated what I was considering saying exactly!

alexalex said,
66% (according to Microsoft) of enterprises don't run Windows 7 yet so why should the White House be any different ?

Lead by example?

Sadelwo said,

Government being the first to upgrade their computers? Hahahaha.

oh heck no, Gov is the last to upgrade systems, the NSA does massive testing on tech before they certify it as secure, heck they where running windows 2000 through most of windows XP's life time

neufuse said,

oh heck no, Gov is the last to upgrade systems, the NSA does massive testing on tech before they certify it as secure, heck they where running windows 2000 through most of windows XP's life time


So, they spend so much time testing if an OS is secure until they finally finish when the OS is no longer secure by modern standards? I'm sure if Al Qaeda has any hackers they'll love that...

neufuse said,

oh heck no, Gov is the last to upgrade systems, the NSA does massive testing on tech before they certify it as secure, heck they where running windows 2000 through most of windows XP's life time

Not to mention still using Novell. Before my father retired, I actually troubleshooted issues with his Novell login since tech support was slow to get to him. And I did't even work in the government at that time.

In the pic, he's got, what looks like a laptop, to the left of him. They could very well have Windows 7 on Desktops and just haven't upgraded the laptops yet too.

Edited by briangw, Jan 24 2012, 6:12pm :

flexkeyboard said,
why not, it's sercure as rock the enterprise edition (assuming they has it installed)

What Enterprise Edition? Microsoft stated once that the Gov't uses the exact same version of Windows XP Professional we all use. All they did was tweak teh features in the registry to make it more secure. In fcat MS listed many of the features they enabled. You could set your PC to be as secure as any gov't computer. Providing you like giving a password to use everything.