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10/25/2011
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Windows XP At 10: No Life Support

Businesses that have not begun the Windows 7 transition may find themselves scrambling, Microsoft says.

A Microsoft official said the company has no plans to extend Windows XP's looming retirement date in order to give companies whose business systems run on the aging OS more time to migrate to a newer version of Windows--and that could be a problem for those who have yet to begin the transition.

"There's absolutely no chance" that Windows XP's April, 2014 end-of-life date, when Microsoft will end all support, will be extended, said Rich Reynolds, general manager for Windows Commercial marketing, in an interview.

Windows XP officially turned 10 years old on Tuesday. Microsoft introduced the software back in 2001, following development under the code name Whistler. It featured numerous enhancements compared to its most immediate predecessor, Windows 2000. XP introduced a streamlined, task-based user interface that allowed users to more quickly find their go-to applications and files through the Start Menu or lockable Taskbar.

That, along with improvements to power management, faster startup, new networking features like Internet Connection Sharing, and a general reputation for stability, made XP Microsoft's most enduring enterprise OS to date.

[ Will Windows 8 PCs lock out Linux users? See Windows 8 Secure Boot Fears Continue. ] In fact, it may have been too successful for Redmond's liking. The company has had difficulty getting customers to upgrade to newer versions of Windows. Only a handful of enterprises moved to the widely-panned Windows Vista and it's only now, two years after its release, that businesses are starting to adopt Windows 7 in significant numbers.

About 25% of all currently deployed enterprise systems are now running Windows 7, though 90% of businesses have a plan to migrate the OS, according to Reynolds.

Reynolds said he's worried that businesses that have not begun the Windows 7 transition may find themselves scrambling as XP's expiration date draws near. "What we're concerned about is organizations that haven't started yet," he said. Aircraft manufacturer Boeing, which began upgrading its 187,000 employee desktops to Windows 7 last year, won't have the rollout finished until next year, said Reynolds.

"It takes anywhere from twelve to fourteen months to do the planning and application remediation," he said.

Microsoft is offering a number of tools to help business plan and execute the move from Windows XP to Windows 7. Its Springboard Series on its online Technet forum provides numerous resources to help enterprise IT managers plan the switch. And its Application Compatibility Toolkit, available as a download, is a server-based tool designed to spot compatibility issues that might hinder the upgrade.

Reynolds said very few organizations are planning to move directly from XP to Windows 8, which won't arrive until sometime next year and features a new, Metro-style interface borrowed from Windows Phone.

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LaughingMan
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LaughingMan,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/7/2012 | 11:25:08 PM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
None of the legal stuff matters. MS will just say that when you installed their product you should have read the User Agreement. Like all other businesses they placed literature in there that states you wave all rights to complain or sue them for their racketeering ways. Similarly to how EA said that to use Origin you have to allow it to scan your hard drives and allow that data to be reported back to them.

We need tighter CP laws against what companies can nullify in these agreements, like they cannot force you to be unable to take legal actions against them for example. Since that will never happen because all of the politicians, or at least most, are in the money sacks of the lobbyists we will continue to get screwed over.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/27/2011 | 7:25:00 PM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
There's a saying that "you can't please all of the people all of the time". The XP EOL issue is one good example. Microsoft gets dinged for not being nimble, fast, and innovative while at the same time expected to support - literally - everything they make... ad infinitum. Oh, and every product (not matter the age) is expected to play nice with each other as well. What a Utopian concept.

Microsoft is making a decision. And, that decision is to start taking the bull by the horns and being more progressive. The legacy crowd just needs to deal with it and move on.
rmanske53101
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rmanske53101,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2011 | 8:55:36 PM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
I would bet that those commenting here about upgrading a 10 year old OS and Microsoft making money from it are some of those who wait in lines to by the next iPhone or download the next verison of their phones OS the day it comes out. Let's be real and honest, don't we all want better, faster, safer, flashier and yes, a more stable OS for our IT devices? While Vista was bad, Win7 is better, XP was better that 98, 2000 was better than NT 4.0, 98 was better than 95, 95 was better and Win3.1, etc, etc, etc. Please stop bashing Microsoft just because it's Microsoft.
ThePrisoner6
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ThePrisoner6,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2011 | 1:00:39 PM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
I agree with your sentiment - nobody likes to upgrade for no reason, however there is also a cost to leaving your network vulnerable to intrusion, and incompatible with customers and contractors who stay current with more recent builds of the OS. Legacy hardware is always an issue, but you can often find third-party drivers to fill in some, if not all gaps.

Ultimately, however, there is a life span to everything, and replacement costs should be factored in as part of the business plan. Migrations take a long time. Retail sales of WinXP ended in 2008. We all probably could have been thinking and planning for this upgrade a few years ago, knowing that XP would inevitably lose support.

If you're looking for a cheaper OS that plays relatively well with existing hardware on a Windows network, there's always Linux - and I mean that seriously. Linux is a very robust alternative, although there can be other costs associated with that kind of conversion - training and support being among them, and there is sometimes spotty availability for legacy hardware drivers as well.
ajones320
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ajones320,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2011 | 11:57:18 AM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
I agree, especially since nothing beats W2k when it comes to networking. Being forced to use W7 at work I spend endless minutes waiting for network resources to come available. Connecting to the same resources with a W2k box is a snap. And for anything like running bare bones commodity tasks W2k has everything you need without the excessive overhead.
ajones320
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ajones320,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2011 | 11:55:04 AM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
There is also a concern to cost. Why replace a well working XP with a well working W7 when it brings little to no gain in any area, but costs hundreds of dollars for a new license and potentially more to replace legacy hardware not supported under W7?
Nic Oatridge
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Nic Oatridge,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2011 | 8:15:06 AM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
Microsoft will not support XP because it makes more money by withdrawing a product than keeping it going. The underlying software is perfectly robust - indeed if Microsoft had donated NT into the open source community they could have killed Linux. Microsoft is again missing an opportunity with companies wastefully spending money on migration that could actually go to Microsoft if it were to adopt a pricing model whereby companies and consumers had to pay to upgrade XP rather than expect it as a freebie. it is naive to say that people who are happy with XP could stick with it (something i remember Gates saying) when the reality is that products canoot stand still unless the whole technology sector does. Microsoft should recognise that their old business model needs a dusting off and that throwing away good product is profligate. Around XP they could create a whole marketplace of security, usability and performance add-ons, and then customers could have a genuine choice - pay to keep XP or pay for a different product.
jcrane559
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jcrane559,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/26/2011 | 12:26:39 AM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
It is an interesting environment inthe business world we exist in. The truth is is that these XP machines were doing their job! and doing it quite well for most users. The transition is a welcomed one for architectural reasons but not as necessity for workflow. I ran XPx64 for the last few years of XP before 7, but it was not an improvement in processing significantly. In fact it seemed to run worse than 32bit versions of Windows OS for some things perhaps by overutilizing the data path inefficiently??
retired, not
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retired, not,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/25/2011 | 8:40:12 PM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
IF M$ cared about getting people off of XP, they wouldn't charge 4 times as much as Win 7 is worth. I have three XP machines - and they will run XP, isolated, until I choose to dump the hardware - at which time I'll be looking real hard at alternatives.
jrapoza
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jrapoza,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/25/2011 | 8:01:03 PM
re: Windows XP At 10: No Life Support
While important, end of support isn't really the big issue. As has been pointed out, there are still more than a few companies out there with significant Win 2000 deployments. As in that case, there will be third party tools available to keep systems patched.
The real problem is that nothing else will be updated to run on Win XP. Browser makers won't make new versions for XP, AV software won't run and, in general, you'll be stuck running a lot of old, and potentially unsecured, software.
(this post made on a system running Win XP)

Jim Rapoza Contributing Editor InformationWeek
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