Microsoft may offer extended Windows XP support to UK's National Health Service

With the end of Microsoft's support for Windows XP coming on April 8th, it appears that at least one major government agency is working to have the company offer extended patch support past its deadline as part of its migration plans.

The Register reports that the UK's National Health Service is in talks with Microsoft on such a plan, which will include the company offering software patches for the agency's over 1 million Windows XP PCs until those computers can be upgraded to a more recent version of the OS.

A specific price tag for this extra support has not been revealed. However, as we have reported before, Microsoft does offer large businesses and organizations what it calls "Custom Support" for legacy programs. Microsoft negotiates the prices for this special patch support for each company on a case-by-case basis, but some analysts believe that it could charge as much as $200 a year for each PC that is under such a "Custom Support" plan.

Adrian Foxall, the head of the application migration company Camwood, is quoted in the article as saying the NHS custom support plan is likely designed to migrate all of the agency's PCs off of Windows XP in less than a year's time.

Source: The Register

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I already paid for this once already, when the labour party ploughed approx. £84,000,000,000
into the N.H.S. for a new computer system, to make things streamlined.

What a freaking joke that was.

As long as the systems are not upgraded to visa or 8 then maybe things can be better.

Having spent over 20 years working within many NHS IT dept's, schools via RM Education and personally rolling out more than 15,000 PC's myself across 7 different hospitals here in the UK I can honestly say that this whole Windows XP support issue is a complete fiasco and looks set to be yet another waste of tax payers money.

Microsoft unfortunately have the governent by the balls and can dictate whatever extended support package they want to due to the astronomical cost of upgrading all NHS PC's and hardware to accomodate WIndows 7.

I worked for Siemens Healthcare who won the PFI contract to manage all the IT requirements for one of the largest NHS trusts in the UK and our first tasks was to remove all the less than 1 year old Dell PC's that had recently been purchased by the trust and SKIP them, yes I'm not joking...all that tax payers money spent on approx 5000 PC's simply to be junked within 12 months.

The typical NHS end user doesn't understand software and hardware requirements and as long as they can get the internet and their emails their more than happy. What many NHS employees don't appreciate is that a lot of users antiquated Pentium 4 PC's simply won't run WIndows 7 and there are issues with regard to both software and infastructure compatabily.

So let's use this NHS trust as an example - 5000 user PC's and MS asking for £200 per PC for 1 years extra support = 1 MILLION QUID! That only gives a 12 month period for management to then also purchase 5000 Windows 7 PC's with licenses, to ensure all hardware is compatible with the new operating system and also any 3rd party departmental software will also work 100%. Some NHS departments still use 3rd party software to calibrate vital expensive machines such as MRI scanners and I personally recall having replaced over 100 PC's within one particular NHS finance department only to find out that their 3rd party accountancy software wasn't compatible with Windows XP and all their old PC's had just been scrapped, a typical example of the lack or organisation and forward thinking by some NHS management. It's impossible to put a total end figure on this as your probably taking £2 million for just the PC's and then there's the 3rd party software for complex NHS machinery which I think I read before can cost as much as £300k! Then there's the cost on getting IT contractors in to do the rollout and then a budget to deal with the uncertainties that always crop up during a PC rollout. So the budget for 1 NHS trust is a couple of million at least and as there are approximately 160 NHS trusts just here in the UK that gives you some idea of the mammoth upheaval an upgrade would be just for a newer operating system. Nice work Microsoft!

The upgrade away from Windows XP has to be done sometime and it will cost many millions when it does but the simple fact remains that the NHS simply doesn't have the money to do it now.

If only Microsoft being the huge conglomerate entity that they are who rake in millions of pounds each day let's say donated (or even leased with hardware support) Windows 7 PC's to the NHS, UK government depts, councils etc at say £200 per PC to continue using their operating system then that may be a way forward.

I don't want to think about this XP issue any longer as it truly is a logistical nightmare and my days of project managing these kind of things are over.

UK Tax payers watch out....

I'm also an NHS employee in a new Hospital with brand new Dell OptiPlex pc's with I series 64 bit processors and installed with XP although they originally came with W7 installed!

Question, Windows 7 allows XP to be used as a virtual machine, can they not run XP dependent hardware/software via this method?

Worse still, Many local councils are running XP too!

This is what (and all) that is wrong with the NHS - Clueless ####ing idiots at the top making more of a mess of it then taking a ton of cash to hand it over to the next clueless pricks.

There's an unbelievable amount of corruption within the NHS, I've seen it for myself. People at the top walking away with thousands leaving a trail of chaos behind. And the people left to pickup the pieces tend to be clinicians - who aren't business minded and would rather spend money on face-to-face patient care. A few doctors are business minded but because every doctor thinks they know best, they spend the whole time arguing with each other and never reach a consensus (so time and money gets wasted).

Hussam Al-tayeb said,
It will die on its own when machines running XP die. computers don't last forever.

Yup, what happened to mine.

One interesting thing here is that a colleague of mine was told he would lose his administrative rights when they upgraded his computer to Windows 7. Not sure why exactly... new policy perhaps? Either way he took it away again and said no thank you!

I can't believe that the NHS are using an outdated OS. Not only is Windows XP insecure, but it's also subject to crashing and freezing. Its not like Windows 7 is hard to use or hard to upgrade from Windows XP.

As nostalgic as Windows XP can be, I think its time we moved on the from that time.

Don't know what issues you had with XP or why you think it was prone to crashing and freezing, as mine NEVER did either of those and no one else's that I know of ever did either, but yeah, companies should have been preparing for this long ago!

You would have had to actually been living under a rock to not have heard of XP's EOL by now!

This actually doesn't surprise me in the slightest, and in all truth I can state that it's not as bad an idea as it might sound, even with the costs.

I provide technical support for the University College London Hospitals and can honestly say the current migration to Windows 7/Office 2010 from Windows XP/Office 2003 is like a bad dream. They have left everything to the last minute from the aspect of well publicised Microsoft Support lifeline plans. There are still multiple untested applications, partially working applications, a totally lack of training for staff, etc. I could go on, honestly..

I would call this damage limitation due to poor management unfortunately.

Torolol said,
NHS should've move to linux, no more paying for Microsoft OS for every few years or so.
Few years ? Might wanna check when XP was released.. It's been more than a "few" since they had to pay for most of their licenses lol

And zero compatibility with medical software/hardware. e.g. Approx 80% of GP Practices in the UK run the EMIS clinical records system which is not Linux compatible.

I'll bet they'll be able to cut a good deal, and cheaper then 200$ per box. Why?
MS already will still have to carry some of the same overhead to continue support for Server 2003 (7/15), and realistically most* of what they'll be patching for at this point is likely the exact same code\patch for xp, now the testing process might be somewhat different for xp, but how much extra is the additional compile for xp really going to cost, not much in the scheme of things.

Just this week I had to tell a few little old ladies about XP being no longer supported (I first ask everyone if they have heard about support ending for XP in April, they all say no!) Their computers were not worth the amount it would cost to upgrade the OS, between the cost of a newer version of windows, My labor and more ram.

One of them asked me how much a new computer was. I said, well they start about about $250 and go up from there. I could hear in her voice when I said $250 (that's really low balling it) she was living off Social Security or something and had financial issues.

It's sad because what she had worked perfectly fine for Email and Web browsing even if it's old.

Unlike some people in this forum ( always get in trouble when I name names ) I don't think we should burn XP with fire just because it's old. But because of the lack of future XP updates I do think it's sadly time to move on.

But if XP would still be supported for a few more years, would I tell these people to upgrade to newer versions of Windows? Absolutely not.

Edited by warwagon, Feb 14 2014, 2:04am :

Even the job centre and other DWP departments, which are usually more frugal than Mr Burns have started rolling Windows 7 out to their in house computers. It's going to be an expensive year for the IT industry but the have no excuses as they have had long enough to prepare.

I did actually wonder if something like this would be on the cards for massive organisations like the NHS.

our Trust is in the process of rolling out the upgrades to our entire IT infrastructure which includes replacing EVERY PC and an upgrade to Windows 7. This is due to be rolled completed in later this year, but in sure many other hospitals might not have even started thinking about it (and budgeting for it)

Yep, our Trust is currently battling to stay in one piece. Computer upgrades are completely irrelevant at the moment.

What's so disheartening is the fact that those same XP PC's could be refurbished with GNU/Linux software very cheaply without needing brand new PC's. As it stands, they'll be discarded as scrap. What a colossal waste of money and resources.

simplezz said,
What's so disheartening is the fact that those same XP PC's could be refurbished with GNU/Linux software very cheaply without needing brand new PC's. As it stands, they'll be discarded as scrap. What a colossal waste of money and resources.

The OS can be replaced.. sure.. Now go write all the programs for them.. Cause the manufacturer of the MRI, and the like sure as hell don't. Not so cheap anymore.

The NHS and ANY Government organisation even down to Local Authority in the UK is a cash cow for Microsoft (Or any other big vendor for that matter, Cisco etc) And a hand full of them take full advantage of this fact. Having first hand experience of this I KNOW!! They know they can sell them anything. They could charge £1000 a year per pc per user and they government would pay it. Inept middle level managers are to blame. I understand that some applications are not supported moving from XP to Windows 7 which is fair enough so some of them have legitimate uses but for this number its shocking.

This is very true. I've seen it first hand. Not in the NHS though mind you. The MOD (ministry of defense) for example pays £20 for a single light bulb. So throwing good money after bad on decrepit and ailing proprietary software systems isn't at all surprising.

simplezz said,
This is very true. I've seen it first hand. Not in the NHS though mind you. The MOD (ministry of defense) for example pays £20 for a single light bulb. So throwing good money after bad on decrepit and ailing proprietary software systems isn't at all surprising.

We stopped doing that after a technician was heard by a Sun reporter blabbing about the infamous £60 standard 20W bulb. It was for a lamp on top of the radar dish, which takes a standard bulb, but due to the contract the MOD takes with the company who manufactures the equipment, they always state we have to buy all replacement parts from them, and that's the price they charge.

As an NHS employee, the simple fact is that the NHS doesn't have the money to replace every PC, license a later version of Windows, and upgrade all software to be compatible.

The NHS is being cut back in real terms and the money that is left is having to be spent "wisely".

Unfortunately what that means is a load of managers having bright ideas that seem to change every month.

Upgrading PCs really is the bottom of the list of priorities in the NHS at the moment. The NHS won't be the same in a few years when all the changes have had a chance to make an impact. If you don't want worse healthcare with longer waiting times, the NHS has to keep WinXP for the forseeable future.

what said,
If you don't want worse healthcare with longer waiting times, the NHS has to keep WinXP for the forseeable future.

I don't think the NHS can afford to pay Microsoft for custom support, though... It's very very expensive. Keeping XP isn't the cheap route.

what said,
As an NHS employee, the simple fact is that the NHS doesn't have the money to replace every PC, license a later version of Windows, and upgrade all software to be compatible.
So no money but how did they manage to conjure up $200 a year each for over 1 million PCs? That is a ridiculous amount of money they (well taxpayers obviously) will have to cough up now which they could have easily saved. Penny wise and pound foolish.

Keeping XP is certainly cheaper than replacing a $300,000 MRI scanner (just 1 I may add)that ties its functionality to IE 6.

Add microscopes and it is now $1 million. Shall I go on? In the states you need to get FDA approval for any upgrade at your own expensive. So you buy a new HIPAA compliant database but that is not good enough. You need to submit it to the government for approval (even if the software already is approved for someone else).

That will cost $450,000 and 2 years etc why the software/hardware sit collecting dust. This is in addition to the regular costs corporations pay for new hardware and software, testing, and consultants and contractors to assist with the deployment.

$200,000 plus licenses for each desktop is dirt cheap than to upgrade. Of course times do change and hardware will no longer boot XP but with austerity in the EU and Obamacare in the US there is STRONG OPPOSITION to IT from the CFO's and cost accountants in the face of cuts. They still need to make a profit or work within a budget set by the British Parliament.

rfirth said,

I don't think the NHS can afford to pay Microsoft for custom support, though... It's very very expensive. Keeping XP isn't the cheap route.

NHS managers are very short sighted. All they are looking for is a table of savings that they can add to their CV for their next job when they leave after 6 months. Over a couple of years, paying for custom support for an existing system rather than upgrading the current one looks better on paper.

Romero said,
So no money but how did they manage to conjure up $200 a year each for over 1 million PCs? That is a ridiculous amount of money they (well taxpayers obviously) will have to cough up now which they could have easily saved. Penny wise and pound foolish.

We don't know how much the deal is going to cost yet. With so many PCs there may be a cheaper offer. £120 million is 0.1% of the annual NHS budget though.

Offer an NHS Trust CEO £30 million and he will use it to get staffing levels back to safe levels, upgrade the A&E department, install new CT/MRI/interventional radiology equipment, build a new endoscopy unit, renovate wards, etc. Things that actually make a difference to patient care and allow the NHS to compete with private providers. When and only when everything is up to standard will computers be upgraded.

We've got medical grade ECGs that cost thousands and only work with XP. Who's going to fund us with new ECGs machines just so we can run Windows 7 PCs? The NHS has no money, it's losing millions every year. So patient care comes first (beds, drugs, facilities), IT upgrades are always last on the agenda.

sinetheo said,

Keeping XP is certainly cheaper than replacing a $300,000 MRI scanner that ties its functionality to IE 6.

Any chance of them updating the firmware on that $300,000 piece of equipment they sold you?

The equipment manufacturers should have some responsibility.

It's just seems odd that there is all this equipment in the world... that is tied to a web browser that came out in 2001.

We never hear about equipment tied to IE5 or IE7... it's always IE6 on XP.

What is it about XP/IE6 that made it so sticky? Was that really the golden era of technology?

Michael Scrip said,

Any chance of them updating the firmware on that $300,000 piece of equipment they sold you?

The equipment manufacturers should have some responsibility.

It's just seems odd that there is all this equipment in the world... that is tied to a web browser that came out in 2001.

We never hear about equipment tied to IE5 or IE7... it's always IE6 on XP.

What is it about XP/IE6 that made it so sticky? Was that really the golden era of technology?

Or the MRI company releases they can charge $300,000 and double dip for each new OS release! Why fix something when you can make a new sale? Sadly I am serious.

It is what happens when you have a web browser 95% of people used for 6 years without a single update!

Doesn't help you have a crappy OS either (Vista) that no one outside of a home would touch.

IE 6 came with XP and back in 2003 that 95% of the internet used. When IE 7 was out many corps stayed with IE 6 because that is what they used and many software vendors targeted it still because that is what their customers used and customers used it because vendors targeted ... cycle repeats for 10 years. Where one side waited on the other.

So imagine having the government require IE 6 for claims, suppliers require IE 6 for ordering medicine, medical database companies requiring IE 6 as well? Each one of the examples waits for the other to upgrade and none will upgrade without the other. Otherwise the other 4 partners wont be compatible etc.

MRI uses the internet too for emailing xrays and videos to doctors and patients. The machine usually can't have AV or updates either :-) ... yeah no problem with that at all.


sinetheo said,

Or the MRI company releases they can charge $300,000 and double dip for each new OS release! Why fix something when you can make a new sale? Sadly I am serious.

It is what happens when you have a web browser 95% of people used for 6 years without a single update!

Doesn't help you have a crappy OS either (Vista) that no one outside of a home would touch.

IE 6 came with XP and back in 2003 that 95% of the internet used. When IE 7 was out many corps stayed with IE 6 because that is what they used and many software vendors targeted it still because that is what their customers used and customers used it because vendors targeted ... cycle repeats for 10 years. Where one side waited on the other.

So imagine having the government require IE 6 for claims, suppliers require IE 6 for ordering medicine, medical database companies requiring IE 6 as well? Each one of the examples waits for the other to upgrade and none will upgrade without the other. Otherwise the other 4 partners wont be compatible etc.

MRI uses the internet too for emailing xrays and videos to doctors and patients. The machine usually can't have AV or updates either :-) ... yeah no problem with that at all.

Damn... that sucks!

On the one hand it's good for Microsoft that so many people settled on their platform to write their customs applications on.

On the other hand... those custom applications were never re-written to use any of Microsoft's future platforms.

And now everyone is stuck in the past... as Microsoft is stopping support for older platforms.

So what's the state of software/equipment development today? Are people still writing applications that are hopelessly tied to a single proprietary platform?

Let's hope there is never a repeat of the XP/IE6 days.

Today IE uses open W3C standards and is the better one in terms of this.

MS now has XAML which is proprietary but used for things like Windows Phone and Metro apps. Many components still use W3C CSS 3.

The problem is once everyone uses just one standard it forces the others to stick with it if it is never updated. IE 6 had so many display bugs and it rounded pixels differently. So 960x left means something different in that browser. So boxes, fields, and lord knows what else is not displayed or all scrambled as a result in any other browser.

Webmasters curse IE to this day even if modern ones are better. Once coding for specific bugs and all your business2business budies use software it is impossible to all change. Windows XP EOL is the only reason why IE 6 is dying finally as it forces all parties to update all at once.

But at the end of the day if it works why fix it? Hospitals have much higher costs as equipment which I mentioned needs to be certified, approved, funded, and in many cases if the old microscope or MRI works fine what is the justification to upgrade?

Because you want a new browser to goof off and go on facebook at work?! Please!

sinetheo said,
Today IE uses open W3C standards and is the better one in terms of this.

MS now has XAML which is proprietary but used for things like Windows Phone and Metro apps. Many components still use W3C CSS 3.

The problem is once everyone uses just one standard it forces the others to stick with it if it is never updated. IE 6 had so many display bugs and it rounded pixels differently. So 960x left means something different in that browser. So boxes, fields, and lord knows what else is not displayed or all scrambled as a result in any other browser.

Webmasters curse IE to this day even if modern ones are better. Once coding for specific bugs and all your business2business budies use software it is impossible to all change. Windows XP EOL is the only reason why IE 6 is dying finally as it forces all parties to update all at once.

But at the end of the day if it works why fix it? Hospitals have much higher costs as equipment which I mentioned needs to be certified, approved, funded, and in many cases if the old microscope or MRI works fine what is the justification to upgrade?

Because you want a new browser to goof off and go on facebook at work?! Please!

There really isn't a reason to upgrade. The MRI will keep working as it always did... hooked to a computer that runs XP/IE6 as it always did.

It just won't have support from Microsoft someday.

But that threat was always there... XP support has actually been extended a few times already.

As an NHS employee, the simple fact is that the NHS doesn't have the money to replace every PC, license a later version of Windows, and upgrade all software to be compatible.

Not to mention they're using some IE webapps which are horribly non-W3C standardised. This is the problem with relying on proprietary, non-standard, and platform dependent software.

Unfortunately they're locked into the MS upgrade cycle and it's going to cost the british taxpayer a fortune, much like the recent malware infections. But as you say, the NHS doesn't have the money with all the budget cuts. Some trusts are almost bankrupt. So what's going to happen is, they'll either continue paying MS a king's ransom to extend XP support, or fork out for all new PC's and software. Either way, patient care will suffer as less money will be available for them, and Microsoft rakes in the cash.

rfirth said,
I don't think the NHS can afford to pay Microsoft for custom support, though... It's very very expensive. Keeping XP isn't the cheap route.

It is for now.. Even if it ends up being $200/PC (which it won't, cause of the number, and because MS is more apt to make a deal to keep a Gov happy than any one business) that's still a LOT cheaper than a new Windows License, and paying the people to do the software upgrade.. Add on to that the number of computers that would need either hardware upgrades, or to outright be replaced, and you get the idea..

And as mentioned above, that's before you add on replacing the devices that tie into it and only work with XP, or maybe even predate XP.. And all the custom software and apps that don't work in 7..

I worked for the School board as we did our 7 Roll out.. and we get it out early because MS WANTS the schools to have the latest Windows (though we generally wait at least a year before pushing it out, to make sure it's worth it.. when I say Early, I mean early for a Gov/Business).. Half of all computers needed upgrades, generally RAM. Almost a third just didn't have the power to run the Windows 7 image at a speed that would make it worth putting in classrooms.

sinetheo said,
Keeping XP is certainly cheaper than replacing a $300,000 MRI scanner (just 1 I may add)that ties its functionality to IE 6.

The incompetence of the person who does purchasing is on an incomprehensible scale, if a critical machine is bound to IE6.

There is no excusing that.

simplezz said,
This is the problem with relying on proprietary, non-standard, and platform dependent software.
Better to stick to standards, yes, but unfortunately standards change too. When you have devices working fine and being used for decades before being replaced there's no way those standards would remain unchanged in all that time. So eventually you will face the same problem. Not to mention how broken the standardization process is. If you've ever witnessed the bitter infighting over HTML or DNT or various other things you'd know that by the time some compromise is reached and some sort of watered-down "standard" is cobbled together years have passed, and what do people do meanwhile? Over time they're naturally going to create and use better software, no matter if it's not standardized (yet), and if they didn't do so how would newer better standards ever come about? These are just facts of life. At some point or other you just have to swallow the costs and upgrade, and the later you leave it the more you'll probably end up shelling out.

Edited by Romero, Feb 14 2014, 3:27pm :

Romero said,
Better to stick to standards, yes, but unfortunately standards change too. When you have devices working fine and being used for decades before being replaced there's no way those standards would remain unchanged in all that time. So eventually you will face the same problem. Not to mention how broken the standardization process is. If you've ever witnessed the bitter infighting over HTML or DNT or various other things you'd know that by the time some compromise is reached and some sort of watered-down "standard" is cobbled together years have passed, and what do people do meanwhile? Over time they're naturally going to create and use better software, no matter if it's not standardized (yet), and if they didn't do so how would newer better standards ever come about? These are just facts of life. At some point or other you just have to swallow the costs and upgrade, and the later you leave it the more you'll probably end up shelling out.

Our linear accelerator's all run on Windows 2000/XP but there was a new model released last year. We're getting one installed in a couple of months so I'm interested to see if it's now running on Windows 7 or not... take into account that the PC alone costs near on £200,000.

Atlantico said,

The incompetence of the person who does purchasing is on an incomprehensible scale, if a critical machine is bound to IE6.

There is no excusing that.

At the hospital where I work, they use a grading system against a list of criteria to decide which piece of equipment they are going to buy. These criteria are weighted based on how important they are, so more important features have a greater impact on the final decision. These criteria can be 7 or 8 pages long and it takes weeks to agree and finalise. You want to know where IE6 dependancy ranks on that list? No where.

Predictably, 50% of the mark is awarded on the price, so invariably, the cheapest option always wins. That's why you end up with "outdated" software - it works, so why spend the money on something more expensive?

NHS managers don't use their brains like the rest of us. They see only money saving tactics that look good on their CV.

MS should extend support. XP is way too popular at 30% worldwide usage.

I know that opinion is unpopular here at NeoWin, but what if the whole internet goes down to the next Code Red x 10,000 amount of users?

Many folks will have their bank accounts hacked into and stolen and will wreak chaos! It is irresponsible to cancel support until it has less than at least 5% to 10% marketshare.

Do not give the excuse of "They had 13 years to upgrade?! it is the users fault etc ..." that I see on here. Most folks do not read tech sites and do not know about this. In their mind MacOSX is just as old and do not see this issue with Macs (not knowing version numbers as it looks the same as 2001).

People like my Dad who cling to XP for life after reading about Vista do not even know about 7. I mentioned XP EOL and he got scared thinking that XP was the last good OS and that Vista was 7 and going to wreck havoc and his response was well what do you want me to do! Being a good son I upgraded to 7 for him. But still it is not easy as upgrading is beyond the scope of tech ability for users.

It is 2014 and Microsoft should have made skydrive ambiguous with auto backup of data and apps in an app store for XP -> 8.1 users so they can upgrade easier. Also warn users too with a box saying this computer wont be secure after 4-10-2014! Click this link for info etc?

XP should have died yes but many mistakes were made and netbook users as late as 2010 got XP pre-installed. Where is there 10 years of support? I think MS needs to handle this better, yet still the time to leave XP is not yet with such HUGE marketshare.

But if there aren't any consequences to not upgrading, then people won't upgrade. Obviously Windows 7 and Windows 8's new features are not enough for them to upgrade, so maybe the risk of malware can convince him. Plus, if their computer is compromised, they might have to get another one with Windows 8. I know that sounds harsh, but it must happen. There is a tool to upgrade Windows so you can keep personal files.

mastercoms said,
But if there aren't any consequences to not upgrading, then people won't upgrade. Obviously Windows 7 and Windows 8's new features are not enough for them to upgrade, so maybe the risk of malware can convince him. Plus, if their computer is compromised, they might have to get another one with Windows 8. I know that sounds harsh, but it must happen. There is a tool to upgrade Windows so you can keep personal files.

They should at least *know*. A warning may scare them to at least call Geeksquad or the local PC shop which will confirm and explain what is going on and it is not a hoax.

I think MS is afraid of bad publicity or lawsuits as of course in a sue friendly environment it easier to blame poor old evil MS than and expect a lottery ticket than to spend $150 to upgrade.

Worse, virii 10 years ago used the Device development kit and it caused havoc and slow performance on XP systems. Today with Windows7 they use exploits instead which do nto harm performance. There is no way to tell you are infected PERIOD. Many will not know at all. It is a mess.

Also why should their be consequences? It worked in 2003 why not now in their mind if they use the same machine for the same tasks?

MS should try to get home users off next and education is a great way as well as reminder pop ups. Browser makers are shamefully planning to keep updating as well. Broken slow websites with popups to upgrade kind of give the users the hint that they have outdated machines.

sinetheo said,

They should at least *know*. A warning may scare them to at least call Geeksquad or the local PC shop which will confirm and explain what is going on and it is not a hoax.

I'm sure they will find out very soon. I don't expect XP to go EOL without news coverage.

People don't know their friends have newer computers than them? And how would Microsoft deploy this notification, via an update? Last time I used XP, I remember you had to go to a website to view any updates, so most people wouldn't download the update. Also, it is very possible to tell if you have a virus, with an anti virus program like MSE. While you may not experience slow downs, Windows 7 & 8 have vastly improved security anyway.

Preaching to the choir on this.

Many whose computers are not important view it as a car.

You do not replace your car unless it breaks or is 3 different colors and makes noise right? Same with a computer. Unfortunately it is the same platform used for investing, email, taxes and banking :-(

So they will wait and get their CC stolen and have no idea how it happened and continue to use XP as it works. FYI Windows Service pack 3 has updates automatically every week I believe. You do not need to do it manually.

I have no sympathy to IT departments however as it is their job to know this! Cost accountants are just ditching IT and viewing it as a cost and a sink and not an investment.

Yeah, I used XP until I hopped onto Vista, which was great for me. I guess it would be a great idea if Microsoft did notify users, but I think news agencies will take care of that.

The news anchormen are not techies are probably as clueless sadly.

Until the next worm breaks out and takes down the freaking internet we will not know. Even then Joe Six pack will look at his XP box and shrug his shoulders and say "hm still works" and continue using it assuming he is not infected.

sinetheo said,
MS should extend support. XP is way too popular at 30% worldwide usage.
If they extend (again) it will only give companies an excuse to delay or halt migration to cut cost. XP is dead and nearly buried.. Deal with it.

I quite don't understand. Don't these services have money to maintain their devices? Hell MS has been announcing XP's retirement several years ago. It's not something that has happened overnight.

This is an exaggerated example of how large businesses and agencies can't be on the latest and greatest. I worked in IT support and it was common to have to support the previous Windows version, or even one before that, but this really is just bad planning all round.

techbeck said,
I dont know about anyone else, I would want the systems secure and operational before I need any medical treatment.

Secure? That's a joke. The NHS Windows based systems were recently infected with malware, causing major downtime and costly maintenance.

This is really dumb, if they can migrate within a year the question should be why they didn't start sooner then to avoid the extra cost of extended custom support.

Steven P. said,
This is really dumb, if they can migrate within a year the question should be why they didn't start sooner then to avoid the extra cost of extended custom support.

In the USA it is illegal to run non FDA approved and HIPAA compliant software that is not certified.

It makes it a royal pain in the F**** ass to upgrade as you need mountains of paperwork.

... and like any business or for profit entity you have the annoying beancounters and cost accountants with the MBA's who get their bonuses only by cost cutting bossing IT departments around with "If it AINT broke DONT fix it!". Obamacare too eats into profits and the first thing that gets cut is .... 3,2,1 you guessed it I.T!

Steven P. said,
This is really dumb, if they can migrate within a year the question should be why they didn't start sooner then to avoid the extra cost of extended custom support.

Blame the government for this one. I worked in the NHS for about 3 years, and when the government came round with their budget cutting knife, IT budgets were the first thing to go.

This didn't so much affect the cost of the actual software migrations (that was built into the NHS's huge volume licensing agreement), more the hardware and staff costs:

1) At the point I left (2011), I was still developing .NET 2.0 applications against MSSQL 2000 on a Pentium D (which had been upgraded only a year earlier from a Pentium 4 due to one of the senior devs leaving). Hardware upgrades were not on the cards given the razor thin budget. The majority of PCs in my trust in 2011 were Pentium 4's. The performance hit from upgrading this already slow-as-molasses machines was unacceptable.
2) Staffing for the rollouts just wasn't there. In order to make up the budget, most IT departments across the NHS had a hiring freeze. Our 6-man development team was down to 3 by the time I left (I was the 3rd to leave), and AFAIK they still haven't filled the vacancies. The staff shortage was IT department wide as well. Everyone in the actual IT team (I was in a separate dev team) was working their asses off replacing dying machines and working on the NHS backbone project. The manpower for a 1000 PC upgrade just wasn't around.
3) The training costs. As simple as Windows 7 is for most of us here on Neowin, the NHS has some inconceivably poorly trained staff when it came to computers. Many in the medical profession don't have much interest in computers, and many (especially the older staff) don't have an interest in learning either. The cost to retrain these people that can barely work a mouse into a slightly different OS is quite prohibitive.

Bear in mind, this was in 2011, so things may have changed in the 2.5 years since, but that was my observation at the time. Trust-wide OS upgrades just weren't on the radar. Of course, this is now going to bite them in the ass bigtime, but when caught between a rock and a hard place, something was always going to give.

I worked for the Government of Manitoba on their Windows 7 refresh.

It took 30 people (not including application packaging, image building, printer support, etc) three years to finish the Win7 rollout for 25,000 machines.

This included a hardware rollout of HP business class desktops/laptops, and fresh installs of windows and all software (Many, many hours of ArcGIS, and CAD software)

Most of the accounting software is built on QBASIC....

I expect it would take ANY government agency at least 4-5 years to fully migrate, and there hasn't been that much time since 7 started rolling out in enterprise on a huge scale. S

So I can absolutely see why they wouldn't be ready for this. The thing is, they're going to pay a ton of money more in the end, because they'll still have to rollout new hardware and 7.

rr_dRock said,

Most of the accounting software is built on QBASIC....

I was with you till here, then i started bashing my head on the desk :-p

(For the record, I loved QBasic, but it's time was so long ago that XP looks young and fresh in comparison)

+1 here as well

Been developing a Windows 7 image last year and migrated about 10% of the machines. 98% of the reactions I get are " Oh wow, this looks different". I never expected that so many people haven't seen Windows 7 yet.
Company is also moving from Office 2003 to 2013. Sadly no plans for any kind of trainings.
On top of that, company management decided to cut IT budget this year. We just started migrating and are already stopped again.
Good thing I'm not staying there too long

John Callaham said,
Totally agree...taxpayers in the UK will have to pay for this

And the cost of buying all new PC's. And the cost of repairing the damage from the recent malware infection. It's an absolute scandal that the UK Gov is still supporting proprietary software such as Windows, which locks organisations into situations like this.

simplezz said,

And the cost of buying all new PC's. And the cost of repairing the damage from the recent malware infection. It's an absolute scandal that the UK Gov is still supporting proprietary software such as Windows, which locks organisations into situations like this.

LOL.. You really think this would be cheaper with Linux ? At least Windows has a dedicated support team they are paying for to help them out.. With Linux they would be doing upgrades all the time for patches on the OS itself, in addition to having to have their own team dedicated to developing their own fixes, writing all new programs to replace the windows ones, etc.

All the medical tools these organizations use are built for Windows, switching to a whole new OS would require a MASSIVE investment in both time and money just to replace those.


Also there have been several studies that have shown that while using a Linux OS cuts the upfront cost, in the long term many organizations actually end up paying MORE, due to having to spend more time on patches, troubleshooting, etc.
As a Server OS, Linux is a marvel, but as a desktop OS it has a long long way to go.

Majesticmerc said,

Blame the government for this one. I worked in the NHS for about 3 years, and when the government came round with their budget cutting knife, IT budgets were the first thing to go.

This didn't so much affect the cost of the actual software migrations (that was built into the NHS's huge volume licensing agreement), more the hardware and staff costs:

1) At the point I left (2011), I was still developing .NET 2.0 applications against MSSQL 2000 on a Pentium D (which had been upgraded only a year earlier from a Pentium 4 due to one of the senior devs leaving). Hardware upgrades were not on the cards given the razor thin budget. The majority of PCs in my trust in 2011 were Pentium 4's. The performance hit from upgrading this already slow-as-molasses machines was unacceptable.
2) Staffing for the rollouts just wasn't there. In order to make up the budget, most IT departments across the NHS had a hiring freeze. Our 6-man development team was down to 3 by the time I left (I was the 3rd to leave), and AFAIK they still haven't filled the vacancies. The staff shortage was IT department wide as well. Everyone in the actual IT team (I was in a separate dev team) was working their asses off replacing dying machines and working on the NHS backbone project. The manpower for a 1000 PC upgrade just wasn't around.
3) The training costs. As simple as Windows 7 is for most of us here on Neowin, the NHS has some inconceivably poorly trained staff when it came to computers. Many in the medical profession don't have much interest in computers, and many (especially the older staff) don't have an interest in learning either. The cost to retrain these people that can barely work a mouse into a slightly different OS is quite prohibitive.

Bear in mind, this was in 2011, so things may have changed in the 2.5 years since, but that was my observation at the time. Trust-wide OS upgrades just weren't on the radar. Of course, this is now going to bite them in the ass bigtime, but when caught between a rock and a hard place, something was always going to give.

I started in the NHS late 2009 and am still here... currently, in our hospital at least, the IT department has one of the biggest budgets going. Unfortunately, when it comes to upgrading OS's this doesn't really mean anything. I only got upgraded to Windows 7 because my Windows XP machine got so slow it would take up to 10 minutes just to shut a program down. There's 7 PC's in my office... 4 of which are still on XP.