Millions of people are still running Windows XP

windows-xp

It’s been two years since Microsoft ended support for Windows XP, the popular operating system that’s been around since 2001 and which many people just don’t seem willing to let go.

Microsoft did about all it could to drag XP-ers into the present with pop-up warnings urging them that they need to upgrade, and a free migration tool to help people transfer their files and settings to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

It’s not merely that Microsoft wants to get everybody onto the latest version of Windows, although it has certainly gone to great lengths recently to get people to upgrade to Windows 10, whether they want to or not.

But as we at Naked Security repeatedly warned XP users, the end of support means “zero-days forever,” because those vulnerabilities will never be patched – and XP computers are sitting ducks for cybercriminals to attack.

And yet there are still millions of XP computers connecting to the internet, where all manner of malware is waiting to pounce.

Windows XP was still running on 10.9% of all desktops as of March 2016, according to stats compiled by Net Applications.

To put that in perspective, according to Net Applications’ figures, Windows XP is still the third-most popular desktop OS, trailing only Windows 7 (51.9%) and Windows 10 (14.2%).

And there are more PCs running XP than Windows 8.1 (9.6%), and all versions of Mac OS X combined (7.8%).

Desktop OS market share, March 2016 (source: Netmarketshare.com).

By the way, there are some Mac OS X users who are using out-of-support versions, too, meaning they are also vulnerable to never-going-to-be-fixed security holes.

Net Applications’ stats show that just under 1% of all desktops are running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion) or 10.8 (Mountain Lion), which are no longer receiving security updates from Apple.

Things look slightly better when you look at OS market share measured by a different company, Stats Counter, but there’s still an alarming number of PCs running XP.

According to Stat Counter, Windows XP represents 7.4% of all desktops in April 2016, down from 10.9% in April 2015.

That’s an improvement.

But when you consider that Microsoft puts the number of Windows devices at more than 1 billion, we are still talking about tens of millions of computers today running a very old, very outdated, and very insecure operating system.

LISTEN NOW: The End of XP (and the risks of unmaintained software)

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Image of obsolete computer courtesy of Shutterstock.com.