The True Cost of Windows XP Replacement

In a previous blog, Do I need to replace Windows XP we discussed how to know if this is necessary. Now, let’s discuss actual replacement costs.


Are you planning to upgrade your Windows XP Pro PCs with Windows 7 or 8?  Have you looked closely at the true cost of an upgrade in a business environment? The typical Internet price of $139.99 for a full copy of Windows 7 or 8 Professional is the easiest part of the upgrade cost to swallow.  Remember, Microsoft no longer offer “Upgrades” for an operating system so you are purchasing a new full license.   Let’s look more closely into the real world costs.

Does your PC have a modern 64-bit processor with at least two cores and sufficient memory to run Windows 7/8 efficiently?  If you have a Pentium or Celeron processor it’s time to responsibly dispose of the PC or donate it to charity.

If you have less than 2GB of RAM plan on another $50 to $100 for a memory upgrade or you will become very familiar with the perpetual spinning circle cursor that has replaced the hourglass cursor in Windows XP while you wait for every task to complete.

Assuming your Windows XP Pro PC has 100GB or more of free disk space… let’s move over to the software side of the upgrade.

Step 1 Create a list of the applications you are currently using.  Most likely you will be using Microsoft Office, Adobe Reader, and a legacy application specific to your industry.  Office 2007 or better is required for compatibility, if you are still running Office 2003 or older, plan on another $200 or more for Office 2013 depending on the edition you select.

Step 2 Begin collecting all the drivers that your PC will require once you replace the operating system.  I would specifically look for Windows 7/8 drivers for Printers and other devices such as scanners, bar code readers, magnetic card readers and other industry specific peripherals.  You don’t want to take the time to do this upgrade and realize you can no longer swipe credit cards at a Point-of-Sale terminal or use your Warehouse bar code scanners after you do the upgrade.

Step 3 Backup any user specific data on the Windows XP PC.  User profiles, local data, license keys and serial numbers of locally installed applications.

Now we’re ready to move forward forward.  Boot from the Windows 7/8 CD and delete the entire XP Pro partition, reformat the drive, and install your fresh copy of Windows 7/8.  Allow 30 to 45 minutes depending on the speed of the PC.

Time for Windows Updates… settle back and run the 100+ Windows updates to secure the system, install your anti-virus solution, re-install Microsoft Office and your legacy applications, restore the user profile and local data.  Install the drivers for your printers and other peripherals and reconnect everything.  Now run Windows Updates again and return the PC to the user.

The entire process from start-to-finish will require 4 to 6 hours depending on the speed of the PC, your Internet connection for Windows Updates, and the amount of data you need to back up and restore for the individual user data.

The total cost of the upgrade is typically $140 to $250 in software and memory.  Assuming market rates for labor in your area are similar to our area, plan on $250 to $350 labor per computer for a total cost of $400 to $600 to bring an old PC up to Windows 7/8.

An alternative to upgrading, is to replace an outdated PC with a new business grade, pre-loaded Windows 7/8 desktop PC for $500 or a laptop for $600 to $700, with at least a one-year warranty.  From a time perspective, open the box, install your applications and issue to the user — one to two hours.

With these costs in mind, now you can understand why the Windows XP upgrade cycle is a windfall for service providers that focus on Windows XP to Windows 7/8 upgrades.  PC replacement is always a better long term solution from a cost and performance perspective.

Still not sure? Let Custom Systems provide a free assessment to determine your “True Cost” to replace Windows XP Pro. Call us today at 800-539-3523.
Paul R. Cook
Paul R. Cook
Vice President, Network Services Group



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