Skip to main content

London's Metropolitan Police still has Windows XP running on 27,000 PCs

A new report revealed that London's Metropolitan Police still has 27,000 of its PCs running Windows XP. Microsoft officially ended support for the OS over two years ago to the general public.

According to the BBC (via Neowin), the "Met" signed a special agreement with Microsoft that allows the department to keep getting support and updates for their many Windows XP PCs. That agreement, which cost the Met and London taxpayers £1.65 million, is due to end in April 2017.

The force will be updating 6,000 Windows XP PCs by the end of September, but only to Windows 8.1. London Assembly member Andrew Boff says he would like to see the Met move to the current version of the OS.

Mr Boff said the force should instead upgrade to the latest Windows operating system, Windows 10. "I'll be asking a question and, depending on the written reply I get, I'll then be questioning the mayor on whether or not they should start a review," he said. "We spend an awful lot of money on information technology - we've got to get the best bang for our buck."

Even though official support for Windows XP ended in April 2014, the latest OS market share numbers from Net Applications showed that it is still being used by 10.34% of all PCs worldwide.

94 Comments
  • Hahaha looking at that picture just shows how ancient Windows XP is. Running on a sweet 14" CRT monitor, and a PC with a floppy drive. But it is a testament to how flexible windows is. You can assemble a PC today and windows XP will still run quite well. It's a miracle that windows can run reliably on a trillion possible PC hardware configurations spanning decades.
  • The picture looks like a stock photo. It is not necessarily the setuo that the "Met" is using. I agree with your comment.
  • He didn't say otherwise, he was reminiscing.
  • And My school and my university still use Windows Xp.(My school has an Intel Pentium 4 with 120 GB HDD and 256RAM with 250-300Watt PSU and the ultimate GPU 5900GT.And a 15"Monitor with a MS Keyboard.Mouse(the old mouse with the ball)....
  • Are you Marty McFly?
  • Your punctuation really does suck,sorry, but it's true.
  • Yes they should be on Win 10 & maybe even Win 10 mobile for their officers as well.
    That's crazy people are still running XP, I'm a computer repairer, when a customer calls me to come work on their PC the !swt thing i ask is what OS are u running? if they say XP, I tell them sorry that's an out of date OS can't help u, I tell them they should be running the latest OS, they're response is they love XP and won't change. i know people still running 95 and 98 that's sad.
    I upgraded over 2000 PC's to 10 since day one.
  • I'll support someone using Windows XP.  If they don't want to change despite the security and compatibility risks, it is on them.  But to deny help, that's another story entirely.  
  • Agreed. Besides, their money isn't outdated :p Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Everyone has the right to deny or agree, do you not agree?
  • Agreed. But when it's the police, law enforcers... You'd think they'd keep fully updated with latest software etc.. Especially when its coming out of tax payers money to stay on a years outdated OS... Despite the fact Win10 was free for a whole year... But, I guess they'll have their reasons. Hopefully :p
  • Some banks only recently stopped using OS/2 (not eComStation) for ATMs so I'm not surprised.
  • I am sure that they have their reasons. Probably specialized programs thattheydonot want to update. Also specialized (expensive) hardware that is not supported beyond XP. The fees that they pay MS are to maintain security patches, etc.
    £1.56 million is a lot, but it is only £61 per computer for a couple of years to prepare forthe upgrade. It does seem to me that Windows 10 makes much more sence that 8.1, but that depends on the availabel hardware. Some older systems will run 8.1, but not 10. (Security hardware requirement) Free Win 10 is really not an issue. It was not availble to enterprizes that get their OS through software asurance, etc. The "Met" probably already have acess to 10 if they want.          
  • You are correct. I had a quad core AMD 955BE and could not install the 64 bit win10 on my hardware setup, which made my 16gb ram worthless... So I fortunately had an AM2/3/3+ MOBO and dropped a FX8350 in it, as well as (while im upgrading) and 380 GPU and a 750 watt platinum PSU to be safe. It cost $400, but was well worth it, and was able to get the 64 bit Win10 OS installed. The reason it had to be done, was security architecture in the CPU was lacking requirements for win 10. So 27,000 computers on XP probably wont even be able to get upgrades to run Win10, without whole new computers, which is probably why they are going to 8.1
  • Huh? I installed Windows 10 64bit no problem on my 955BE lol.. That problem was certainly user error.
  • I've seen a lot of ATM machines here in India still running Windows XP, and i doubt they will ever upgrade.
  • Well, it wasn't a free upgrade from XP.
  • It is a way govt agency to take tax payer money..First you upgrade to next version. Later upgrade one more time to latest version. Why need to directly upgrade to latest when you can take more money in stages. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "Despite the fact Win10 was free for a whole year.." - Technically the area of 'free' for a business does seem to be a little grey. It's not free to upgrade for a business, as far as I know, so there you go.
  • That comes down to a lazy IT staff or they use a program created by a third party company that hasn't update it in years. At the end of the day, it still comes down to their IT staff not being diligent and keeping up with tech because they can also research and fine modern programs for their staff and update it too!
  • UMM cortANA MINING OFFICER DATA, WHAT THEY SEARCG  etc umm no thanks but win xp is out datedm  but win 8.1 or linux would be the best move for police workforce!    Despite Windows now trying to be this bussines end brand i still find it more appealiing to consumers than business!
  • You're funny Cortana is on 8.1 too
  • I'll agree computer ethics should play a role here and I believe helping people make bad decisions is a slippery slope. Some people never pick up the phone to report drunk drivers heading the wrong way down a freeway because they didn't hit them. But a what point do people in the computer profession tactfully require clients placing others at risk to make transitions to newer operating systems or cut them off to protect others? Because it costs us all when it does...
  • There is no real need for mobile devices. The met spent millions on digital communications on their radio system. My father in law is a dog handler for the Met, and he can see no real benefit to the regular officer to have w10m devices. Detectives maybe, but then again, if you aren't on W10 desk top, there wouldn't be much point. Plastic Police could benefit from a mobile when out and about in the community, but with all the budget cuts, its unlikely again.
  • Over 2000?  Man... how did you keep count?
  • 10 mobile :)))?? are you joking? why? to have their phones reboot over and over..
  • This is disgraceful. Upgrading to Win 7 would have saved them time, effort and money.
  • First you have to have people that care. All government agencies are monopolies with no market forces motivating them to improve or else die. So naturally they stagnate.
  • The US Navy still uses XP, but they pay Microsoft money to get security updates.  Don't get me wrong, but XP is still the third more used OS on the desktop because it has great support for legacy custom software which hasn't been ported to Windows 7.
  • Apart from 16bit-software, I haven't encountered a single package not running on Win7. I also struggle to find the sense of perpetuating the use of software, that goes completely unsupported. Must be some public services badass thing... we cannot change, because computer says 'no'.
  • What do you base this staement on? What is your source?
  • Spoken by someone with no knowledge of large enterprise IT use. How many of those 27,000 PCs still run programs that they have used for 20+ years, full of data and for which there is no easy upgrade path? Data migration takes time and needs a phased approach. Spoken from several years of painful experience.
  • If police departments such as NYPD which has way more than 27,000 PCs can upgrade in a fairly timely manner, then so could the MP.
    If the hospital that I worked at, with over 60k PCs at just my location - never mind the other Hospitals that made up HHC - could upgrade in a timely manner, then so could the MP.
    And if the MP is still running the same software after over 20 years, then they are an even bigger joke.
    But hey...you're the IT expert.
  • You dont really have a clue on how this works in the business, corporate or public departments. It's not a simple computer upgrade. It's very expensive, esp when you have 25,000 computers using speicalty software that has to be rebult from the ground up. We are not talking just the cost of the machines/windows....they are talking millions more to get the software done. It really is a different world.... And YES, I am an IT professional for over 20 years, I have gone through this type of thing at least 20 times now...and IT is always the ones who get the lowest budget when it comes to business.
  • Yes, Mr IT Professional....some of us mere peasants are aware of the fact that it is thousands of machines and it is an expensive project. Yet the MP is still going to have to upgrade and if those in charge of the budget had facilitated the upgrade to 7, it would have been a free upgrade to 10. That saves money. That's my point. They need to have a better attitude about funding important upgrades instead of stagnating and spending money needlessly elsewhere.
  • Again, you dont have a clue. Windows 10 FREE upgrade was only for home users. Corporate or busness was NOT free.  Small business could get away with it but, large business no. You should just shut up while your ahead....You really have no idea what your talking about.  
  • I stand corrected. I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong.
  • Will their IT staff has has years to prepare. What is the responsibility of their IT staff from your perspective?
  • IT Staff needs money for those things you know? You simply don't know the real reasons. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I remember the good old days, I installed different themes just to make it look nice but ended up slow my pc down. I remember yahoo messenger on XP with the taskbar showing orange when there's a new notification. If you've used windows prior to XP, you'll understand better. Nice shiny blue compared to grey in previous windows
  • It looked like a cartoon
  • That would be Windows ME.
  • >That would be Windows ME. As I call it.....Windows A$$ As it was the biggest joke Microsoft ever created... It's one of those OS's they should of skipped instead of trying to go for a cash grab...
  • But.. but .. I had Win95, and mouldy floppies, ... and just adding IE4 to it was amazing....
  • That might be one of the reasons they are so slow sending out police reports. The other reason is the amount of red tape.... Ah, the Met.
  • SMH...
  • Great to hear that the kind of institutions that are candidates for being hacked are running such old versions of Windows.  Makes me feel so secure.  Mr Robot laughs at how easy they make his life...
  • Haha so true. More so, this vulnerable OS is paid out of both met and London TaxPayers money. Gotta love that part. (Also, off topic but, Mr Robot is such a great series to watch! :D)
  • It gets updated under special agreement Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • 8.1 huh? Wow, just wow... Can those computers even run 8.1???!!
  • I would expect they are running XP on more modern hardware.
  • Doubtful. Windows 8.1 was made to support old hardware, I have a 14 year old laptop that supports 8.1. I'd say they are running into problems with the hardware running Windows 10 though. My 14 year old laptop isn't supported. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Oh come on, most of the UK governments IT infrastructure is still on Windows XP. Too much costly legacy code to migrate to W7
  • I agree with the assembly member. They should go to 10.
  • They should but it would mean they would have to replace all 26k PCs with modern ones, that's a million dollars in hardware plus probably another 3 million at least to have the PCs assembled, secured, and set up. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Its about security, testing, integration with thousands of other systems.  The OS is the core and would take a long time and massive amount of money to make the changes, there are LOTS of businesses still on XP (better the devil you know) - Windows 7 would be the right choice, Windows 10 for the MET after only a year and hidden telemetry? no way for any PD.
  • I still use XP on a Acer Aspire One netbook from 2008 with Atom and 1GB of RAM.  Why?  Because it works, and it gets job done as my secondary device. Firefox is still getting updated in XP so its much better to work here than on an iPad tablet or a Android Pixel tablet.  Android and iOS sucks for productivity, thats why XP is still such a good option.
  • That equipment must be out of warranty. Who is selling them new PCs with Windows 8.1 and not 10?
  • Pretty much most businesses still purchase windows 7 licences and images for their workforce for application compatibility reasons. My company of 110k employees image Win 7 to this day and will probably for 18 months in the future
  • My grandma still runs Windows for Workgroups 3.11/MS-DOS 6.22 on the 486DX266 that I built in 1992 - she uses it for Lotus AmiPro word processor & Solitaire.  I tried giving her my old Pentium 166 with Windows 95 and Office 97 when I left for college in 2000.  Then after I graduated in 2005 I tried giving her my Celeron 300A system running Windows 98SE/Windows 2000 & Office 2000.  In 2010 I tried giving her my 2.4GHz AthlonXP system running Windows XP & Office 2003, and last year I tried giving her my E8400 system running Windows 7 and Office 2010.  She wants nothing to do with any of it and still enjoys connecting to the Internet via dial-up to check her email.  I did find my old external 56K/v.44 modem to upgrade her internal 14.4K ISA modem, and I did upgrade her RAM from 8MB to 16MB.  Recently the ancient 130MB hard drive finally died so I installed the OS on a 4GB CompactFlash running on an EISA adaptor board; everything else works without an issue.  She's even using the 15" Sony CRT I gave her (at least it's 0.25DP).
  • EISA?  Geez, that's a super rare slot.  Surprised you found an EISA adapter for compact flash. 
  • Thanks to your comment I checked my records and the adaptor features a standard ISA interface - not an EISA interface (thanks for encouraging me to check).  I did install a Diamond Stealth 24 VLB video card with 1MB RAM so I could play Doom and Doom II on it, along with a SB16 card with a SCSI interface to enable the installation of a 2X Plextor CD-ROM.  My uncle even bought a Roland SC-55MkII external MIDI device so we could enjoy the music as it was meant to be.  I even got crazy and maxed out the L2 cache to 1024KB and installed a Tag RAM to eke out every ounce I could because I couldn't afford an upgrade to the Pentium 166 until 1996.  At one point I ran DR-DOS 6, PC-DOS 6.3 and MS-DOS 6.22 on this machine, along with Windows for Workgroups 3.11.  I can't believe I was only 12 at that time.  My first machine was actually a used IBM PCjr!
  • Nice.  I jacked up my DX-2 66Mhz too, similarly to yours.  8MB RAM, 240MB Hard drive.  The diamond stealth 24 was quite the card back then, I had a Paradise VLB card with 1MB.  Played both dooms quite well.  But for sound, I had a Gravis Ultrasound with 1MB RAM, and also a SB16 with a Roland SCD-15 daughtercard mounted onto it for premium music in games.  I hated all DOS 6 versions, so I stuck with DOS 5.  Also flirted with OS/2 and Desqview, and was also on Windows 3.0 at that point.  I remember Windows 3.1 was a huge upgrade; they said it should have been windows 4. Those were the good old days.  No plug and play, you had to find free IRQs, DMA, and ports, and manually configure your hardware via jumpers so they didn't conflict with each other.  IDE Drives had to be master/slave.  It was harder to set up, but it was rock solid once it was set.  Much more reliable than USB deciding everything for you.  Sounds like we had a lot in common.  Though my first computer was a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A.  Learned to type and program on that thing.
  • DR-DOS 5 is probably my favorite DOS ever.  Yeah, I do miss the old days of jumpers and editing HIMEM and other files for improved memory usage (I had to deal with 4MB of RAM until I could afford the $200 for another 4MB of FPM 60ns RAM on that old 486DX66).  With my Pentium 166 system I had the luxury of using 50ns EDO RAM, a Plextor Quad-speed drive and an AWE64 Gold soundcard (along with that old Roland SC-55MkII).  I still have that Roland SC-55MkII to this day!  My uncle and I installed a Diamond S3 VIRGE/VX 8MB & Diamond Voodoo1 4MB combo for Quake/GLQuake. We even had a 4.5GB SCSI drive that screamed (both literally and figuratively).  I could talk old-school nerdery all day...apologies for the thread digression.
  • The Old SoundBlaster AWE cards ..... sweet memories, my first PC was a 8086 ..... the 286, 386, 486sx then dx2, Pentium, P2, PIII, P4 (which i still have and it runs XP fine, even plays C&C First Decade ok, though it is offline and has Office 2010 on it), currently have a Athlon FX but I hardly use the power of it as I do all my gaming on my xbox now .... only use this for FB games and rip the odd DVD for my NAS. I use my iPad for everything else in the house.
  • Geez, you went through almost every generation processor until the Athlon FX.  But back then, each generation gave a HUGE jump in performance.  But now, you are lucky to get 5-10% of a speed increase from the last gen.  8086 to 286 was a monumental leap.  286 to 386 was huge as it gave access to 32-bit instruction set and memory adressing.  486 was a gigantic leap in performance.  I remember by 386DX/25 was like 3 MIPS, but the 486DX/25 was 15MIPS.  huge jump.  Then the Pentium integrated the math co-processor so they were no longer separate, and no longer had to be bought separately.  Pentium II was decently faster, but performance jumps between generations were starting to become smaller at this point.  Still enough to warrant an upgrade, but less so than before.  ​I built a PC last November, and went with a Haswell CPU (5820K).  Already two generations old, but I knew the desktop performance difference would be so insignificant to comparable Skylakes, it would be negligible.  But back in the day, could you even imagine buying a 286 in the era of the 486?  Unthinkable.  Nothing would run. 
  • Some of the excuses being given in these comments for not upgrading at least to Windows 7 a few years ago are a joke. Windows 7 was extremely compatible with software for XP and a program should have been implemented to test all the software for newer OS's as XP entered exttended support. The improvements in computer management and security would have paid for themselves many times over by now. Now they have had to shell out £60 quid per XP machine for extended support that has limited secuirty guarantees and still had to pay all the costs of verfiying software compatibility and such by upgrading now.
  • How about money? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • That has to be the strangest tech support phone call a tech could get. Young Techguy "Hello, Geek Squad" "Hi. This is Sergeant Nigel Finch of the Metropolitan Police Service." Young Techguy "Yes, what can I do to help" Sergeant Nigel Finch " 9 of our computers are behaving rather strangely tonight. Can you fix em." Young Techguy: "Nine??  Absolutely!! How would you describe the problem they are having?" Sergeant Nigel Finch "Well, we were trying to do our nightly backups and they got stuck in there" Young Techguy "The backup stopped?" Sergeant Nigel Finch "No, the backup finished but we couldn't get 'em out." Young Techguy "Ah huh. couldn't get em out? Oh you mean the reports from your laser printer right?" Sergeant Nigel Finch "No sir that's not it. We keep em in a box and they all stuck in there. We pushed the button and we couldn't get em out. Hell, we all tried but they wouldn't come out. Can you come and fix em?" Young Techguy "Absolutely. Are these Windows computers?" Sergeant Nigel Finch "Yes." Young Techguy "Windows 10?" Sergeant Nigel Finch "No, its little older than that." Young Techguy "Oh ok. Windows 8?" Sergeant Nigel Finch "I think its little older that that. Let me get one of the floppy disks and read the name off of it." Young Techguy "Floppy disks?  What's that? Sergeant Nigel Finch "That's what stuck in there. Bring a box of pre-formatted ones when you come over. We'll pay you for em. Bye!" Young Techguy "Floppy disks? What's that?
  • Sigh... I come from the days when computers had no hard drives, you ran everything on floppies.  Insert your OS disk and boot, insert your program/game disk and run it, then reinsert OS disk after you are done.  It started to get pretty fancy when computers starting coming with TWO floppies.  wooooo, the illustrious B: drive!
  • Ahhh the days of MSDOS 5.1 and wordperfect lol  In our school we had one ZX81, I was lucky enough to get hands on time, made a ladder and a man going up and down.  First computer I had was a Commodore 16.  How technology changes, now you can download the equivalent of 100 3.5 floppy disks to your phone OTA under a minute.  The worst mistake ever was giving programmers more memory than they could use, they have become lazy and holes everywhere.
  • Why not just use linux? And spend that money on linux software.
  • I guess you could ask that of all the government bodies and local councils that did that and regretted it.
  • apart from ubuntu or redhat other have very poor security as well as get broken eaily.. unle you are willign to spend on sskilled linux workforce who are more costly to maintain than win equivalent, plus the main thing being educating the  current staff to linux would be a night mare to make! In an Ideal world linux would be a sucess in  all govt bodies but thats nto the case! 
  • Ubuntu? Huh. Not so much. Most of Linux distributions made for security and stability are based on Debian Stable or even Oldstable. Ubuntu contains too fresh packages to be considered a serious corporate system. Old LTS releases maybe, but there's little point of not using Debian then. Also, it brings a load of preinstalled packages, which is good for desktop users, but really bad if you want it to do it's only job. P.S. Ubuntu Core/Server? Same debian, but with less packages in repository. RHEL is a whole different story, it's support and license costs someone more than corporate Windows license.
  • Law enforcement doesn't need preview builds.
    A network connection and a fingerprint scanner will save the country.
  • I have no words...
    LOL
  • I had a good laugh reading all these comments. "Yer doin it wrong, install our beloved win10!" I've been working in government hardware and software company for 3 years now. First thing I've learned - don't touch anything that is working good on It's own. If a PC does a single task over and over again, and does it well, why on earth would you endanger its stability by installing a new OS? XP just works, and OS that's been developed for so much time is really stable. I mean, you don't need to touch it for years. Moreover, porting and testing needs money, and for some projects, which were built 10-15 years ago, a significant amount. Some people left the job long ago, some retired, some even died. You'll need new people to support very old legacy code, and even with good documentation(and some of it is probably lost), it is still hundreds of megabytes of code to read, probably in C. What is more important - this will not bring the company money. Not even a buck. This process can't pay off. And it will be very long, even despite having the best programmers in the world(which you don't). You can install it for new projects, but legacy code remains where it was created. This is like a core law of corporate programming.
  • This is called 'technological debt'. And like its monetary cousin, it grows by neglect and inaction.
  • There is one thing that you don't understand. Most of the long-term government projects(look at the history of military airplanes, for example) do have very strict technical specification - down to a single build of OS(which means, if, for example, there is 10 10240.80, it can't be updated at all). Updates are turned off as well. For every device there is a list of versions of software and libraries used in development. Reasoning behind this is that if you want the device to work independently for 20 years without a single restart, you just don't take chances. All bugs of fixed software versions should be known and worked around, other bugs won't show. Updating would mean that some bugs are disappearing, while others appear. You can't give a guarantee of stability under such circumstances - you don't know what you'll deal with. That leads to 1) unstable progress - yes, 1 crash in a year is instability; 2) constant need for support, in addition to your own bugs; debugging and testing OS is not a priority for govt companies. 3) need to teach your staff to work with new versions - which is a waste if can be avoided.
  • At least their data isn't being sent out to Microsoft like in Windows 10
  • I bet it is... .
  • Thats the best part!
  • Oh it is
  • Talk to the Australian defence force. They still use it and will be for over a year or more to come. They're upgrading to windows 7 then. Just in time for support to end.
  • If their computers can run 8.1 i suppose the CPUs support nx/dx-bit and then atleast Windows 10 x86 should be no problem? In our organization 10 years old PCs can run Windows 10 x64, but we mostly install the 32bit version if memory are less than 3GB.    
  • Surely they have an agreement, 'select' or otherwise that enables them to instantly change to the latest version?  Come on you lazy ass I.T. people.
  • PC Plod?
  • Talk about beating a dead horse.. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Imagine all the wasted time waiting for them to boot up.
  • "Windows for warships" is also still out there; based on Win2k.
  • What's so bad about XP ? It works with amazing efficiency !
  • What encryption standards are supported by WinXP?
  • Many schools and companies in Vietnam still running Windows XP too.