Windows XP reached end of life on April 8, 2014. At IT/Dev Connections last week the question was asked of the attendees for how many of them were still running and supporting Windows XP in their organizations. The number of raised hands was staggering. Close to 75% of the session crowd admitted to harboring the dying operating system version in their companies.

When asked for reasons, several contributed. For one school organization they already owned the proper licensing for a move to Windows 7, they just didn't have the budget to replace their old hardware. That fits with a recent report released by AVAST. One individual gave a more comical reason saying that their CEO likes Lotus 1-2-3 and won't give it up. While the reason is darn humorous, it actually speaks to the more serious matter of corporate politics.

These two reasons didn't even make our ongoing survey, but they did in the comments. Politics and hardware costs are big factors, for sure. If you'd like to add your voice to survey drop out here: What Is Bogging Down Your Windows XP Migration Plans?

Once Windows XP is dead, it's dead. Microsoft is giving no hints if they will come in and save the day and extend support, once again, for a period of time. Like a stock broker, I'm sure they're fastidiously watching the Windows XP usage stats – probably daily – to make last minute decisions as we get closer to the April 2014 deadline.

But, what if support doesn't get extended? There's a very good chance that Microsoft will stick to the plan. Customers may gripe and complain, but Microsoft has been very good at not listening to customers (and partners) as of late. What can you do to migrate off Windows XP other than rush through a migration project? There are a few vendors that are offering their help.

Here's a few I've noted so far…

Dell Migration Services – Dell has recently started a push to sell their Windows Migration Services which is part of their IT consulting business. Dell consultants will help with application and hardware readiness, build compliant OS images, deploy the new images, and then stick around to educate on the new operating system. As part of a larger hardware vendor, I'm sure there may be hardware discounts available as part of the service. And, since Dell owns the full stable of Quest Software products, there's plenty of resources available to provide an automated deployment system.

Toshiba Desktop Virtualization - Our sister site, Talkin' Cloud, caught news recently that Toshiba has rolled out a Virtual Desktop service that can be used to host Windows XP VMs to run older applications. Toshiba's new solution is shown here: http://us.toshiba.com/VDS

HP/Microsoft Partnership – Despite HP's CEO, Meg Whitman, declaring war on Microsoft yesterday, HP did use this year's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) to announce a collaborative effort between the hardware company and Microsoft to help businesses move away from Windows XP. Like Dell, HP can offer hardware incentives and software solutions to bring a successful migration to organizations. Read the full text here: HP Uses WPC to Launch Massive Windows XP-to-Something Migration Service

1E Migration Services and Solutions – If you are a System Center Configuration Manager 2007 or 2012 customer, 1E can help you migrate using automated processes that deploy custom images efficiently across the network. Their Nomad product is a unique solution that uses intelligence to maximize performance across the network infrastructure. Combined with their Shopping product, end-users can actually choose to have the migration performed on their own schedule instead of having it pushed by IT at inappropriate times. 1E suggests that 90% of the migration can be done without human intervention. Full information is located here: Beat the April 2014 Deadline to Upgrade to Windows 7 or 8

Microsoft's MDOP - Microsoft has several solutions to help with the Windows XP problem. One in particular, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), allows older applications to run in a sort of virtual desktop space that runs on top of Windows 7. Users run applications as normal, but when that application is tagged as incompatible with Windows 7, it runs in a compatible workspace. Read about MED-V here: Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V). MED-V is part of a larger group of solutions called the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). If you attended IT/Dev Connections last week, you had the opportunity to hear Jeff Gilbert, a PM with the MDOP group at Microsoft, talk about the solutions. If not, check out the Microsoft web site for more and DEFINITELY plan to attend IT/Dev Connections in 2014.

More Microsoft? – More along the lines of the Toshiba desktop virtualization, Microsoft is rumored to be working on their own "desktop as a service" solution, codename Mohoro. Mary Jo Foley spoke to the rumored product in May 2013 (read that HERE), but suggested that it may not show up until the second half of 2014. If Microsoft could get this rolled out prior to the Windows XP deadline, and offer support to run a hosted version of Windows XP, this could be a great solution for customers lagging in their migration efforts.

Know of some other solutions not mentioned here? Drop me a note in the comments and I'll be happy to review them.