Windows XP Still Powers 181 Million PCs

Microsoft XP is the operating system that just won’t die it seems. Even now, two years after support for Windows XP finally ended, it has been found that 181 million PCs around the world still use the dated operating system from 2001.

Whether 181 million PCs is a lot in a world where computers seem to be everywhere seems to be hard to measure, but US-based analytics vendor Net Applications released some metrics to put it into perspective. They found that these Windows XP machines made up as much as 11% of all personal computers and 12% of all Windows-running PCs. This difference is due to Windows’ share of the PC market being 91.5% and not 100%. This also means that Windows XP has a larger user-base than all versions of Apple’s Mac OSX, by as much as 40%. XP was also found to be the fourth most used version of Windows to this day, only falling behind Windows 7 at 861 million,  Windows 10 at 235 million and Windows 8/8.1 at 199 million.

While XP usage in the US is fairly low with a market share of only 3.2%, other countries have a much bigger XP problem, most notably China. Numbers on the exact usage of this outdated version of Windows in China seem to vary, its usage is between 26.2% and 31.6% depending on the source.

At its current rate of decline according to Net Applications, Windows XP is set to drop into single digit percentages for usage by as soon as May, but we could be waiting until March 2017 before it finally falls below 5%, almost 3 years since it was ended. Windows XP migration is tough at this point. For those still using XP, the OS is incapable of upgrading to the newest Windows 10 OS, requiring 7 to be a stepping stone along the way. The easier option is simply purchasing a new PC with a newer version of Windows, but for many this isn’t an option.

Windows 10 Install Base Now Surpasses XP And 8.1

Microsoft’s latest operating system is already a resounding success mostly due to the free upgrade programme. This encouraged many customers to access Windows 10 despite numerous media reports raising concerns about privacy. There’s also an underlying feeling from some users that Microsoft is creating a free-to-play style operating system and could eventually adopt a subscription model for certain applications. Although, this is pure speculation and no-one outside of Microsoft really knows what their long-term plans are. According to a new report from NetMarketShare, Windows 10 is now the second most popular operating system ahead of both Windows XP and 8.1. This is astonishing when you consider how popular Windows XP was, and the rate Windows 10’s user base has increased in such a short time.

On the other hand, many Windows XP and Vista users upgraded to Windows 7, which is often described as one of the best operating systems ever devised. As a result, it’s going to be very challenging to get customers to move from Windows 7, and this is exemplified in the data below. Currently, the adoption of Windows 7 stands at a mammoth 52.47%, and remains very stable. As you can see, Windows 10’s figure of 11.85% still has a long way to go to even come close to Windows 7’s user base. In theory, Windows 10 could fall behind Windows XP, if some users decided to move back to their older operating system. In the grand scheme of things, I predict Windows 10’s adoption rate to improve but at a slower pace.

Another consideration is Windows 10 and to a lesser extent, Windows 8.1 are both fairly common on tablet devices. In theory, Windows 7 contained some touch functionality but it was quite rare to see smart devices running the operating system. This exemplifies how popular Windows 7 is for desktop and laptop use.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet?

UK Nuclear Submarines Use Windows XP

Technology changes all the time, and operating systems are no different. From the era of DOS and punch cards to modern day touch screens and augmented reality, you can find every generation making their mark in a new way. With Windows 8 no longer receiving updates people are recommended to update to either 8.1 or Windows 10 to avoid security risks. The problem being, Nuclear Submarines use Windows XP still.

With the argument raging regarding if the UK still requires nuclear submarines, the large cost of which is a key part of the argument, cutting a few pounds here and there can only be good right? In a recent decision, the Royal Navy installed a variant of Windows XP (Windows for Submarines) onto their Vanguard-Class Submarines.

While operating in isolation and with so many years of updates and security investigations on the operating system, the Ministry of Defence is confident that the system will “remain safe and secure”. This comes amongst a series of wargames and exercises designed to help test and train people from across the world, all while concerns about submarines long term “stealth abilities” are being questioned due to the addition of swarms of drones and new systems being developed to counter them.

Networks are most at risk due to their access from external sources, and while cutting down on these is a great first step you will always be at risk. Using outdated software is risky, no matter how much support has been put into it but with more and more research and development being made into these systems you can be certain that anything they find will quickly be fixed.

Windows 10 64 Bit Usage Rises to 26.63% According to Latest Steam Survey

The monthly Steam Hardware Survey is fascinating and provides a wealth of data regarding popular system configurations. Valve’s latest figures show the increased adoption of Windows 10 64 bit to 26.63 percent. This marks a fairly notable change of 2.24 percent from the last survey. Looking at the data in more detail, we can see the majority of the new adoptions are from Windows 7 users. Although, there is a very slight change from Windows Vista, 8, and 8.1.

Linux figures remain virtually unchanged despite Valve’s attempt to push SteamOS. Perhaps, Windows 10 is an enticing prospect for PC gamers due to the possibilities of DirectX 12. Previously, this low-level API was only used on theoretical benchmarks, but games like Ashes of the Singularity and the upcoming Deus Ex title will use DirectX 12. Only time will tell, how much this impacts on performance though.

On another note, the majority of PC gamers are technologically minded and aware of Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade programme. While there are some concerns regarding privacy, it seems this isn’t enough to deter people from using Microsoft’s latest operating system. It’s amazing to see how quickly Windows 10 has been adopted compared to Windows Vista, 8 and 8.1. Although, I do think many users love Windows 7 and it will take a lot of convincing to make them switch.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10 yet?

Here Is Why Windows 8.1 Gained a Big Lead Over XP and Why It Matters

I know most people who loved Windows XP still stuck with it, even if Microsoft dropped support for it back in April 2014. The people who upgraded went to Windows 7, which now has the majority shares between all OS’. But why does Windows 8.1 need to be in front of XP?

Ok, the main reason XP needs to be something of the past is linked to its legacy security flaws. Since there is no more support, the remaining security issues can be exploited by everyone out there and you are pretty much using something you know you shouldn’t. But still, people are using it and it may pose a high security threat to anyone on the same network as an XP user (not to mention the user himself).

However, statistics show that Windows 8.1 now has a big lead ahead of XP. Statcounter shows that Windows 8.1 is roughly 5% ahead of XP and Netmarketshare shows only a 1.14% increase in usage. The big gap between the two services is due to their methods of analysing different OS’ and browsers out there, but it still shows promise.

While people are adopting real quick the 60.98% market share is still dominated by Windows 7 users. This is a big thing and the reason this matters is that it shows a view of how many people will adopt Windows 10 once it gets released. While we see a lot of XP users moving towards the newest Windows 8.1 release, the same cannot be said for Windows 7 users.

In my opinion, Windows 10 would bring a lot of features and restructure the user interface to something more familiar that is now found in Windows 7. However, the number of users upgrading to Windows 10 will be quite interesting to view as will mark a big turning point. Windows 10 is designed with a lot of new cloud services and business-oriented software in mind, as well as a lot of new and interesting features for the users themselves. The question is, will it be enough to change people’s minds about new software upgrades?

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

US Navy Pays For XP Support

Governments have long been accused of not planning for the future and thus wasting money on projects which really should have been modernized. Well, this is no exception as its been announced that the US Navy will be transferring approximately $9 million dollars to Microsoft. What for! You may ask, is it for the latest back door into the software’s giants system? No, the money is for a polite but expensive tech person to offer support for Microsoft XP which is installed on the US Navy’s systems.

In response the US Navy has stated that it plans to upgrade their systems, did god I hope it’s not Vista, by July 12 2016. This sounds promising until the small print also states that the US Navy has the option to extend the support for XP until at least June 2017 which will then raise the amount, paid into Microsoft to nearly $31 million dollars.

The next statements discussing tech are even scarier, not by what is said but from who says it and the position which they represent. These come from Steven Davis who is the spokesman for Space and Naval Warfare Systems, who announced that because certain programs which the Navy uses rely on a legacy windows product, until these programs are replaced, it’s XP all the way.

Microsoft are also making a killing by offering Support for Windows XP, according to Net Market Share, a huge 44% of corporations still have Windows XP installed on at least one PC Worldwide, this is nearly 15% of PCs which are still running XP. So the next time you wonder why your government cannot fund a certain project, just think of that dam Paperclip.

Thank You CNN Money and US Department Of Defence for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of teknorio

US Navy Renews Support with Microsoft

Windows XP reached end of life a year ago, I just turned off the last PC on our network running XP last week. It’s been a hard OS to replace as the Navy have found out.

This, rather amusingly, is still generating Microsoft some serious revenue as large corporations are coughing up the obscene amount of money to receive Microsoft’s extended support.

The US Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) has closed a $9.1 million contract extension with Microsoft that the agency originally announced earlier this month to extend custom support for the now ancient, Windows XP operating system, as well as the Office 2003 suite and Exchange 2003. According to a Navy contracting announcement, “Across the United States Navy, approximately 100,000 workstations currently use these applications. Support for this software can no longer be obtained under existing agreements with Microsoft because the software has reached the end of maintenance period.”

The renewal will allow the Navy “time to migrate from its existing reliance on the expiring product versions to newer product versions approved for use in Ashore and Afloat networks, and will provide hotfixes to minimize risks while ensuring support and sustainability of deployed capabilities.”

Many of the systems that use Windows XP are currently floating around in the middle of the ocean, unable to be upgraded for long amounts of time due to the location of the vessels.

The navy is not alone in their dependence on Windows XP, the Army also recently approved an agreement with Microsoft to support the 8000 devices they have on the OS.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Computerworld

Fukushima Nuclear Plant Warned for Using Windows XP

Wow, this is rather scary news. The Japan Times have reported that Tokyo Electric Power Co. or more commonly known – Tepco has come under fire from an auditor for trying to save money on their infrastructure by delaying their Windows XP upgrade despite windows XP costing 5 times more to run. The company has been using windows XP to run computers that suffered the triple meltdown 4 years ago in 2011.

“Tepco — effectively nationalized through a government bailout after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011 — was hoping to save ¥3.6 billion ($30 million) by continuing to run about 48,000 computers on Windows XP until 2018,”. The Japan Times wrote. “In a report last month, the Board of Audit warned the company not to be so stingy.”

It is now well over a year since Microsoft pulled the plug on Windows XP support, yet millions of computers are still running the 14 year old operating system. When the support ceased,  computers running Windows XP no longer receive new updates to their operating system and users can no longer download security essentials for the device too.

Microsoft made the push to leave Windows XP for major security reasons and urged end users to upgrade to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. However at this rate they may as well wait until Windows 10 is released, although they may need to temporarily use Windows 7 or 8.1 if they need to upgrade immediately.

Thank you to BGR for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of StaticWorld

Blizzard Kills Over 100,000 WoW Accounts With Six Month Bans

World Of Warcraft can claim to be the start of the MMO craze. Allowing thousands of players to take part in events that shaped Azeroth. With legendary weapons and characters alike to help and hinder players as Mages and Warriors fighting anything from Dragons to Undead Kings. So you can understand when they find that over a hundred thousand are botting, they want to remove them.

Botting is the process of automating an action, anything from killing low-level creatures to gather the resources they drop to taking place in large player based battles to be used as cannon fodder. Normally Blizzard has a particular way to combat these, study their behaviour then block accounts which are using the same behaviour pattern. This process can take months to complete though, all the while players are finding the in-game markets flooded by both items and players with a lot of money and experience earned the easy way.

With six-month bans stopping accounts who are found to be botting players are happy that their game is now cheater-free, but they are also worried. A lot of players use Macro’s, pre-programmed sets of keys used at the press of a single button. In response Bashiok, a community manager, posted a reply to a worried gamer stating that unless your actions are automated you should be ok.

When I started playing online games years ago I quickly found that I had plenty of competition when it came to taking down creatures or harvesting rare materials, all because of plain characters with random names doing the same task over and over again. Have you ever had a game you liked ruined by bots? What do you think about players who use bots to get resources and experience?

Thanks to PCGamesn for providing us with information.

Thanks to pichostp for the image.

Windows XP Has More Users than Windows 8.x, Not Bad for an OS That Is 14 Years Old

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are still many people using Windows XP. Though, it may be surprising to learn that the desktop market share of the 14 year old OS has more market share than the recent Windows 8 versions (Win 8/ Win 8.1).

According to Net Application’s collected data Windows 8.x ended March with 14.07% of the market share for desktops. Windows XP ended the month with 16.94%, beating Windows 8.x by 2.87%.  Going back to November 2014 Windows 8.x had a combined market share of 18.65% against XP at 13.57%. Surprisingly November 2014 was the only month that Win 8.x beat out XP. This is pretty surprising given that XP is no longer officially supported by Microsoft, with support having been ended a year ago. Could this be the reason for Microsoft saying that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade? It would be a safe bet just by looking at the numbers, and with Windows 10 actually looking pretty great, it is a win for everyone.

Source: Hot Hardware

Mainstream Support for Windows 7 Reaches its End

As of 13th January, 2014, Microsoft’s Windows 7 is no longer under mainstream support, so will no longer receive any new product updates or features. The operating system has now moved into what is known as the extended support phase, a period in which critical security updates will still be issues, and will last until 14th January 2020.

Windows 7 has been Microsoft’s most popular operating system since XP –– and is currently Microsoft’s OS market leader. Within six months of its release in late-2009, Windows 7 sold over 100 million copies, making it Microsoft’s fastest-selling OS to date. After the major GUI overhaul of Windows 8, and with its predecessor Vista considered an unstable failure, many users stuck with Windows 7 instead of upgrading.

With the technical preview version already available, Windows 10 is expected for full release later this year.

Source: Techspot

Windows 8 Market Share Finally Bigger than XP’s

Windows 8 hasn’t had it easy since it launched and is far from as bad an OS as Vista. It can actually have many benefits, but in the end it’s a matter of choice and liking which operating system you pick.

Now, for the first time, Windows 8 has surpassed Windows XP in users. This might partly be due to Microsoft halting the support, but also with the improvements made in the 8.1 update. In August Windows 8 accounted for 7.35% and Windows 8.1 for 8.2% of the market, making a total of 15.55% for Windows 8. Windows XP has dropped down to a new low point of 14.31% market share according to the latest figures and it most likely won’t be long before it goes below the 10% mark.

It’s also noteworthy that MacOS X takes up a good spot in the lists by now ending up on a 4th place when counting Win 8 and 8.1 as one. It will be interesting to see if Windows 9 can shake up the statistics once released and and again prove the Microsoft’s every second operating system is good’ rule.

Thank you cnbeta for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of StatsCounter.

Battlefield 4 Developers Running ‘Player Appreciation Month’

DICE is thanking all fans for sticking with Battlefield 4 despite the entourage of persistent problems with an entire month of giveaways for players. Starting on February 1, DICE will push special community missions and initiate daily giveaways throughout the month.

Every day players log into Battlefield 4 in February, they’ll receive a Bronze or Silver Battlepack, which provide random XP boosts and camouflage skins. These two battlepacks will differ with bronze being handed out through the week and silver on the weekends. Two shortcut bundles, which immediately unlock all grenade types and handguns, will also be made available during February at no cost; however, Battlefield 4 Premium owners will get two additional shortcut bundles that unlock all DMRs and shotguns. Finally, at some point in February, DICE has confirmed a double XP weekend for a veritable treasure trove of boosts for new and seasoned players alike.

On top of these extensive bonuses large updates are inbound with returning fan favourite platoons, In this added social aspect you can team up with your friends to create your own social space and gather stats together. These already extensive developments are apparently only the foothold as over on the battlefield blog they can be quoted as saying:

“We’re also working on other feature additions that you’ve been asking for – stay tuned for more.”

DICE says it will continue to work toward improving the Battlefield 4 experience. The developer is actively working to improve the game’s netcode, which will hopefully result in a more fluid online experience, and promises to share more details on that at a later time. This with an increase in developer transparency lines up to be an extensive february for the Battlefield fans, be they currently active or returning.

Source via Jotstiq & Battlefield Blog 

Images used courtesy of EA

Windows XP Still Installed In 95% Of ATMs Around The World

Bloomberg reports that around 95% of ATMs around the world still run on Microsoft’s 12 years old operating system, which is going to be discontinued in April. Though update support will still be available until 2015, they will still be susceptible to a variety of malware and viruses.

Still, ATMs run on a stripped version of Windows XP called “Embedded”, which is said to be less vulnerable to malware. But since we are talking about Microsoft Windows, nothing is that safe, especially with it being discontinued. And we are not talking about an information machine or coffee maker here, ATMs are extremely important devices which contain currency! A few weeks ago we saw a few cash machines infected with viruses with the help of a USB drive. Imagine what an outdated operating system in ATMs will be like to hackers.

The more bad news comes from Aravinda Korala, CEO at ATM software provider KAL, who states that he expects only 15% of ATMs in the US to be upgraded by the time Microsoft terminates support for Windows XP. Though Microsoft can sell custom support agreements for devices such as ATMs, the cost can soar quickly, to the extent that can lead to a much higher price than upgrading them altogether.

The cost to upgrade a single ATM to Windows 7 can range from a few hundred dollars if its hardware is adequate, to thousands of dollars if new components are required, according to Dean Stewart, executive at ATM maker Diebold. Although not all ATMs can be upgraded by the April deadline, they will still be able to operate, only with a greater risk of malware infection than before. However, customer balances are said to be safe under the standard protections banks offer to ATM users against fraud.

Thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information

International Space Station Starts Using Linux, Not Windows

Good bye Windows XP and hello Linux says the International Space Station as the United Space Alliance, who manage the computers on the ISS state that “We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable.”

There are dozens of laptops used on the ISS, all of which will now be running a Debian 6 distro of Linux. This is more suitable over Windows XP given that various other systems on the ISS already run a variety of Linux formats such as RedHat. Although if they’ve still be running Windows XP, I’d say they were likely overdue an update anyway.

XP was fantastic, I know that, but it is 11 years old now and as we reported yesterday, even AMD are starting to drop support for the OS with the launch of Kabini CPUs. Linux is of course, for the most part, free! It’s easier to update and it’s completely open source, which makes it extremely flexible in terms of usage, performance and even power management, something that no doubt tipped it in NASA’s favour.

Keith Chuvala of the United Space Alliance says they “want an operating system that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could.”

This is no easy transition of course since all laptop will have custom software on their for operating systems and scientific experiments, all of this will have had to have been rewritten in Linux and all astronauts and cosmonauts will now be trained (if they haven’t already) by the Linux Foundation.

It’s amazing NASA has stuck it out this long with Windows XP, although the old motto of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” likely applied for a long time. CERN, NASA and SpaceX ground station have been using Linux for a long time, infact most scientific institutions have.

Either way, this is another big step for Linux and the OS just keeps gaining traction and exposure year on year, but the big question is, have you ever tried Linux?