Ransomware fears spur moves away from Windows XP

There has been an acceleration in the migration away from Windows XP to more modern alternatives with the ransomware threat looming over users

One of the ramifications of the recent high profile WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks has been to encourage more users to migrate to Windows 10.

With the attacks being widely seen as having spread so far thanks to exploiting old Windows operating system weaknesses it has put some extra incentives for those users being encouraged by users to get off Windows XP.

According to the latest numbers from Spiceworks XP is still running on 11% of desktops and laptops but the penetration rate has dropped fairly quickly in just the last quarter.

Two years after Windows 10 was launched the analysis of what is being used out in the market indicates that 60% of global orgainisations have adopted Microsoft's latest offering.

The SME community has been the most supportive with 67% of those firms with 100 to 500 staff moving to the OS.

Some of that shift has been planned for a while but the recent ransomware attacks have done their bit to make remaining XP users nervous and finally get round to migrating.

“In recent months, widespread ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and Petrwrap have put businesses under pressure to upgrade unsupported operating systems, such as Windows XP and Vista, and move to more secure systems like Windows 10,” said Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks.

“And while Windows XP is still running in some businesses, it’s evident that more companies are beginning to recognise the security risks and prioritise upgrades in order to better secure their networks," he added.

Spiceworks found that in the last three months the penetration levels of Windows XP fell by 10%. Windows 7 remains the most popular OS but 10 continues to grow.

The WannaCry attacks hit the headlines last quarter, covered by these latest numbers, mainly as a result of the widespread disruption it caused to the NHS.

Read more on Microsoft Windows Services