There's growing concern that many companies will be left with computers running Windows XP after the April 8, 2014 deadline. Even recent stats show that a mighty, herculean effort might be needed to wrench Windows XP from holdovers. On the Citrix blog today, in an appropriately titled post, Penny Gralewski highlighted our recent poll showing that lack of IT resources and application compatibility are neck-and-neck to lead the reasons why Windows XP migrations are slow.

P.S. You can still participate in the poll here: What Is Bogging Down Your Windows XP Migration Plans?

We've covered a lot of reasons why holding out to use Windows XP beyond the dead date is going to cause headaches and heartaches, and many are already aware of these. However, there might be one additional gotcha that hasn't really hit home yet.

Microsoft explains in a downloadable datasheet about their Custom Support program, which will be required for those seeking help with bugs and security issues for Windows XP past the April 2014 cutoff date. In the doc, Microsoft covers how the program provides customers with the opportunity to receive support on legacy versions of some Microsoft products and service packs that have reached the end of support, but they don’t detail pricing structure.

The datasheet goes on to give reasons why a company might consider a Custom Support contract, and they pretty much fall directly in line with running Windows XP past the grave.

Customers should consider purchasing Custom Support in the following situations:

  • When migration to a supported product cannot be completed by the end of the Extended Support phase.
  • When migration to a supported service pack cannot be completed before it reaches the end of support.
  • When the risk of a security-related attack is detrimental to your IT environment.

Download the Microsoft Custom Support program datasheet: Custom Support Program

Custom Support pricing is currently based on a per-device model, and reports indicate that a yearly contract averages out to be about $200 per PC. I'm sure there could be price breaks for larger number of PCs supported on the custom contract, but consider an organization still running 5,000 Windows XP machines. Without a price break, that's $1 million per year. Obviously, purchasing a $40 OS upgrade is a lot cheaper and keeps the PC in a vendor supportable state.

I've heard from some through comments and online discussions that it's easy to protect the environment through tough security measures on the PC and the network infrastructure, so sticking with Windows XP is no big deal. That's fine if you have good knowledge of what you're doing. My guess, though, is that many organizations still running Windows XP aren't managed by individuals who are fully accomplished in client and network security. I'd also guess that many Windows XP boxes in these environments probably aren't completely up-to-date with patches anyway.

Microsoft has continued to stand by the decision to NOT extend support for Windows XP.