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7/18/2013
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Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening

Many businesses say they still have good reasons to run Windows XP -- and ignore Microsoft's ongoing warnings to ditch the OS that's on life support.

If hardware costs are the steady jab, then application compatibility delivers the knockout punch for Windows shops. Some businesses and their IT providers have too much at stake in certain applications, on top of their hardware investments, to bear the burden of saying goodbye to XP.

Oleg Moskalensky, president of Productive Computer Systems in the Seattle area, pointed to one of his clients, a resort in Idaho. He developed the system that the entire property runs on -- reservations, scheduling, housekeeping, you name it. That was around the time of XP's turn-of-the-century launch, and Moskalensky built the system in the Office XP version of Access, using Virtual Basic for Applications (VBA) and running Windows XP.

"It's still running to this day," Moskalensky said in a phone interview. "People kind of open their eyes when I tell them I'm still running Access systems from back then, but they are."

He's been "stuck" since Office 2003 rolled out, which wasn't compatible with his large, complex system built with Office XP. New versions of Windows complicated the matter for Moskalensky and the Idaho resort, among other customers -- he compared it to being frozen like Han Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back. Application compatibility is not a click -- or touch, in Windows 8 terms -- of a button for some businesses.

"Microsoft wound up doing it in such a way that, on the one hand, it's a situation where we're moving into the future where you need to give people more features, flexibility, innovation, things like that -- so I can kind of appreciate it," Moskalensky said. "At the same time, it suffers compatibility-wise and kind of forces people -- like it forces me and my clients -- to run XP."

It's not just a SMB issue, either. Moskalensky, who has done training and consulting for a couple of Fortune 500 firms in the Seattle area, said IT pros at those large enterprises are also still married to XP. "For their IT department, it takes a long time to migrate and they already have all these applications that are developed and running in that environment," he said. "[XP] is prevalent because people get used to running what they're running, they bought these machines that are still functional, and so until they wind up buying new computers which have a shiny Windows 8 sticker on it, they don't really feel they want to take [on] the hassle."

For some of Moskalensky's customers, moving off of XP means, in brick-and-mortar terms, demolishing everything and rebuilding from scratch. It's inevitable, but not in any way that businesses like the Idaho resort are excited about. When the time comes, Moskalensky said he'll move those client businesses to the latest version of Windows, in large part to hopefully hedge against future compatibility headaches. Until then, though, expect him and plenty of SMBs to ignore Microsoft's reminders about the end of XP support -- and the corresponding pitch to move into the devices-and-services world Windows 8 was built for.

"It's the human deal about not wanting to change," Moskalensky said. "XP's running pretty reliably for most things, and so [businesses] are still running it, it's still working for them, why change? Just because Microsoft announces something newer and shinier?"

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mykiralspirelli
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mykiralspirelli,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/1/2013 | 12:51:14 PM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
Um no 32-Bit is not the way to go, unless you're a lazy programmer who doesn't want to change software to run in a 64-Bit environment.
Nematoad
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Nematoad,
User Rank: Guru
7/23/2013 | 12:10:48 AM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
You numnut, if your people hate win 7, then they will surely hate macOS. you guys need to stop using wordpad and upgrade to office2003.
proberts551
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proberts551,
User Rank: Strategist
7/22/2013 | 1:42:30 PM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
Microsoft has caused its own problems. People are sick and tired of Microsoft pushing out canned Operating systems for profit, not for quality, and security. If Microsoft made an Operating system with a small kernel, efficient with great RAM memory management, fast, reliable, robust in managing resources, and last of all
SECURE, EASY TO USE, people would be loyal.

Instead, we see a huge behemoth blundering its way through the market offering only tid-bits of improvement with each new operating system. Now, the Giant wants to force everyone to use a touch GUI that has little use in the desktop world in business.
Secondly, Windows 8 is a flop; the GUI was designed sloppy, illogical, and
difficult to navigate through to do simple tasks. The Genius developers of this
operating system did not beta test this on inexperienced computer users to see
how easy it is to operate. "Not so Genius"

The use with a mouse is secondary though in design, and people should have a choice of the primary desktop during installation, or be able to easily flip which will be dominant. People do not want to be forced in to submission. We have a choice, and like the Windows XP / Windows 7 for the desktop. Microsoft MUST change and give the consumer a definitive reason to upgrade out of choice, not because Microsoft says to do so!
SMB Kevin
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SMB Kevin,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/22/2013 | 1:21:36 PM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
It's a good question. I've heard a variety of opinions ranging from "you'll be fine if you use good security software and best practices" to "security apocalypse!" (i.e hackers and malware makers will have a field day once Microsoft stops patching holes in XP.) It will be an interesting story to follow next spring. (Or not, if security concerns turn out to be overblown.) At minimum, XP users need to know they're on their own security-wise come April.

-Kevin Casey
mcook300
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mcook300,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/22/2013 | 11:29:50 AM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
The article and comments talk about "support" and EOL; but don't see much mention regarding addressing vulnerabilities. If patches quit coming - will people (and businesses) just let their machines get more vulnerable?
MarkSitkowski
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MarkSitkowski,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/21/2013 | 4:55:33 AM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
What???

I've ported applications written in 1995 on BSD 4.1c to Solaris 10, various flavours of Linux, AIX, and HP-UX, with only a change of header files and a recompilation .
I'd like to hear someone claim to have done this for a Win 3.1 app to Win98, Win2k, Win XP, whatever.
On the other topic, the thing that put me off upgrading XP to Win7, was the fact that I'd have to backup all the applications, install the new O/S, which would trash the applications, then reinstall them, with no guarantee that they'd work.
M$ can look elsewhere to boost its revenue. J'y suis, j'y reste.
BGREENE292
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BGREENE292,
User Rank: Strategist
7/21/2013 | 3:44:49 AM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
Microsoft is like a marauding army-- without new plunder, the army falls apart. In the same way, Microsoft cannot allow its XP demographic to prosper with XP, because its revenue stream would constrict enormously.

Ironically, despite its own history and every monopolistic tendency Microsoft has demonstrated, the company cannot "innovate" its way out of unabashed success with XP. Instead, Microsoft has decided to poison the well of XP users, driving them away from their preferred operating system for reasons having nothing to do with the merits of XP, itself.

Yet, even as Microsoft's decision is largely unrelated to XP performance, and has everything to do with future profits, those XP users who refuse to buy a new computer system and buy into Windows 8.x refuse to do so because of their own dwindling, erratic revenue stream. Suffering through a full economic recession, they have budget and cash flow to worry about, as well-- this is not the time for Microsoft to bulldoze them away from an operating system they like and use daily.

XP is the least offensive of Microsoft bloatware, as anyone who thought about installing Vista or Widows 7 has discovered already. Bloatware is not merely a threat to resource and data volume management, but impacts system performance. All that code baggage conspires for heavier hardware budgets, simply to run Windows properly.

As for termination of Microsoft "support" for XP, when was the last time anyone called Microsoft for help with a serious Windows problem? Most users have learned to do without Microsoft involvement, since a good firewall and AV application remain primary guarantors of acceptable security.
s404n1tn0cc
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s404n1tn0cc,
User Rank: Strategist
7/21/2013 | 12:56:16 AM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
Focus Bill Focus.
s404n1tn0cc
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s404n1tn0cc,
User Rank: Strategist
7/21/2013 | 12:55:24 AM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
XP works excellent with my production michines I maintain. 32 bit is the only way to go.
Midnight
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Midnight,
User Rank: Guru
7/21/2013 | 12:44:53 AM
re: Microsoft's XP Eulogy: Not Everyone's Listening
As a consultant for Micro, Small, and Medium businesses spanning over 20 years, here's the message I've gotten consistently from clients... "Quit radically changing things!" And after a lot of follow-on detailed discussion the 3 main points are:

1. The hardware cost of changing every 3-5 years is just not going to happen anymore. "We will run them till the physically die and then replace them"

2. "They (meaning Microsoft) finally got what we want and can work with packaged as Windows XP. We like it, we have customized it and do not want to incur the redevelopment roll-out costs." I hear that from other techs as well as clients, the architecture and management is well documented and understood.

3. "We are not willing to spend the money on retraining our entire staff just to find where Notepad is hidden on the menu now. Until they quit changing the front end that we have to deal with, no more upgrades. We like and are used to XP and Office 2003. Why not just make that better and not rearrange things. We will pay for more security and for god's sake running faster, but not for even a temporary business efficiency due to an unfamiliar desktop."

Hmm summary, churn of the hardware upgrades is too expensive, under the hood is tuned and stable, and time/cost of retraining for an unfamiliar "look & fee" is unacceptable as a reduction in business productivity.

Microsoft.. These are your customers talking. They are the ones who give you the money. Keep them placid and content with a familiar surrounding and they will continue to give you money for ages to come. Muck with the UI and they start "exploring" other options. We as your evangelists can only do so much, and as long as you keep looking at the also-ran OS's (read Apple OS) as a template, you are going to go the way they went with market share.. you will lose big. Business does not want it. They want familiar, stable, predictable and functional. All four. So fire the "creative marketing team" and get back to giving us what we really need. Leave the smoke and mirrors to Apple, the magic was the technology of the tablet they stole from 2001 a space odyssey, not the UI on it. Get back to the classic feel and expand from there, then you may have something.
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