Despite Windows XP Deadline, Microsoft Partners Say XP Migration Business Isn't Drying Up


Windows XP migration business has padded the coffers of many Microsoft system builder and solution providers over the past few years. But the party isn’t over yet: Although the deadline for XP support is here, Microsoft partners are still expecting to see steady XP-related business for the foreseeable future.   

Starting tomorrow, Microsoft will cut off all customer support and security fixes for Windows XP, an operating system that debuted back in 2001 and has been arguably one of the company’s most solid products ever. XP is so solid, in fact, that many customers are stubbornly continuing to use it despite Microsoft’s best efforts to get them to upgrade.

XP accounted for 27 percent of worldwide Web traffic during the month of March, according to research firm Net Applications. While that figure was 2 percent lower than it was in February, there are clearly going to be lots of organizations -- including some businesses -- that won’t heed Microsoft's warnings about the consequences of using an outdated, unsupported OS.

 

Companies that decided the disruption and expense in migrating from XP outweigh the risks of not being supported, as well as the high costs of custom support agreements, are likely to remain dug in after the deadline, Andrew Brust, CEO of Microsoft analyst firm Blue Badge Insights, New York, told CRN. 

For Microsoft's system builder and solution provider partners, XP has been a fruitful business opportunity. Many have done quite well migrating customers from XP to Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. But some customers have decided the hassle and expense of upgrading to a new OS and PC hardware just isn’t worth it.

Jon Bach, president of Puget Systems, a Kent, Wash.-based Microsoft system builder partner, has come up with a unique approach to making XP migrations as simple as possible.

Puget Systems recently launched two free XP migration services for customers that buy new PCs. The first service involves copying all the files and data on a customer's XP machine to a cloud storage service hosted by Puget Systems, Bach said in an interview.

"We install it on the old XP machine and remote in so files can start syncing up to our servers. This process can start weeks before the customer actually orders," Bach told CRN. When the customer gets the new PC, all its files from the old XP machine are there and ready to go, he said.

The second, more sophisticated service, starts with Puget Systems sending the customer an external hard drive via mail. The system builder's staff then remotes into the customer's XP machine to take a virtual image of it, and copies the image to the external hard drive, Bach said.

NEXT: Next Steps In XP Migrations