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3/25/2014
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Michael Endler
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Windows XP Game Over: 9 Upgrade Options

Some of you don't want to say goodbye to Windows XP any more than you wanted to retire the Atari. But support ends on April 8: We break down your best upgrade options.
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Image: cooling999, deviantart.com
Image: cooling999, deviantart.com

You've held out a long time, brave Windows XP user. Maybe you joined the XP game in 2007, when you steered clear of Windows Vista. Or maybe you've been using XP since the operating system debuted all the way back in 2001, when many of today's youngest Microsoft employees weren't even in high school.

Security experts have chided your hesitancy to upgrade. Microsoft, which is now tempting XP users with $100 off Windows 8.1 devices, has been practically begging you to move along. Your PC takes 10 minutes to boot up. It relies on components that are outclassed by what's inside your average smartphone, let alone the latest PCs. But you've remained unmoved by these bells and whistles. Let's give credit where it's due: In an age when the newest, flashiest devices have become status symbols, your resistance to new tech is impressive.

[How will Windows XP's end-of-service deadline affect government IT? Read Windows XP: Feds Brace for End of Support.]

Yes, you might be getting by with XP because you're also using a smartphone or tablet. Or you might still be using your antiquated PC for almost all your computing needs, just as you have for years. Maybe you've replaced a hard drive here or there to keep everything up and running. But as long as your computer still boots, you've been determined to squeeze every drop of life out of it, the alleged benefits of newer, shinier machines be damned. For today's wired youths, you are the technology equivalent of walking uphill both ways in the snow, and there is some virtue in that.

But nothing lasts forever. Whether you've delayed upgrade for reasons of principled austerity or financial necessity, your day of reckoning is almost here. On April 8, Windows XP will officially become an unsupported operating system. Unless you're a big company willing to shell out millions for extended support, Microsoft will no longer update your XP machines or protect them from new cyberthreats. Right or wrong, like it or not, if you're running XP, it's time to make a decision.

Based on the reader emails we've received in recent weeks, a lot of people are approaching this decision with uncertainty: "Do I really need to upgrade? And if so, to what?"

The answers are fairly simple. No, you don't have to upgrade, but if you have to ask, you probably should. If you want the option that's closest to Windows XP, Windows 7 is probably the best bet. If you use your XP machine primarily for email and the Internet, literally any modern replacement device, tablets included, will be adequate. If you also do moderately heavy word processing, anything with a keyboard will suffice, although smaller devices might be more cramped than you're used to.

Beyond these basic guidelines, let your individual needs, sensibilities, and budget guide you. We've broken down the pros and cons of various upgrade options. Which one will you choose? Have you already made a decision? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below.  

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Strategist
3/25/2014 | 12:54:52 PM
Re: Installing Auto Cad 2000
bill, If you are not creating any 3-D models in AutoCAD 2000 and are using is as a bread and butter 2-D program, you might consider trying the FREE Draftsight program. It works great - as good as AutoCAD LT, and like I said it is FREE, and has a lot of support help files, documents, and forums available. Do a Google search for it. Dassault Systems puts it out as an adjunct to their full blown 3-D solid modeling program called Solidworks.

It will run on several different O/Ses....Windows 7, 8, and maybe even Ubuntu....

We use it a lot where I work for easy manipulation of DXF and DWG files.

Good luck.
pajaritomt
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pajaritomt,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2014 | 12:43:01 PM
Should I buy Win 7 Pro or Win 7 Ultima?
What does Ultima offer than Win 7 Pro 64 bit doesn't offer?   How do I decide which to buy?
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Strategist
3/25/2014 | 12:42:57 PM
If Microsoft really cared, they'd offer $100 off the upgrade price of Windows 7
Instead of using the demise of XP as an excuse to further push an unloved O/S (Windows 8, etc.) on the masses, it would have been far better to have offered Windows 7 Home Premium (or whatever version) at $100 off the suggested retail price.

Many would jump at spending $30 to $40 to move to Windows 7, especially those with circa 2006 hardware.

Well they didn't, so I've done the next best thing: Installed Ubunutu as a dual-boot option and made a back up of my drive image to an external drive and the necessary rescue disk. I plan on only using the XP box on the Internet for iTunes and perhaps a subscription music service called MOG. Otherwise I'll use Ubuntu for Yahoo, Facebook, and other sites.

My 73 year old neighbor is using Ubuntu already and was up and runing after only 20 minutes of instruction. She is happy, but has also moved to an iPAD and a wireless AirPrint printer.

I still hate to see so many millions of perfectly good PCs end up in the landfills. That will be sad.

And please. No one I know still running XP has a machine that takes more than just a few minutes to boot. In fact, it is almost as fast as my Windows 8.1 box and far easier to navigate.

I will drink a toast on April 8th to good old XP. We knew you well, and will mourn your passing. Imagine, some of those Microsoft young employees might have gone from grade school through college only using one O/S: Windows XP.

One can only hope that memory will serve them well as they morph the disaster of Windows 8 into Windows 9.

Ross
dlats
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dlats,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2014 | 12:42:35 PM
ReactOS
Another alternative is ReactOS. http://www.reactos.org/ It's compatible with all software and drivers written for win xp. Fittingly there is a new version that will be available on April 8.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 12:39:45 PM
Re: The Windows/Mac crossroads
"But Microsoft should be wary of XP holdouts coming to a crossroads where they're turned off by the radical redesign of Windows 8 and are looking to make a fresh start with a Mac or an inexpensive Chromebook."

Indeed. The May and June desktop usage share reports should be very interesting. In February, there were still upward of half a billion XP systems in use. With a lot of people rushing to upgrade, all that market share has to go somewhere. I think it's safe to say that Windows 7 will absorb more XP users than any other OS. But how many people will stick with XP over the next three months? How many will jump to a Chromebook, a Mac, or Linux? How many of the XP PCs will be replaced by a tablet instead of another PC?

With Windows 7 and 8.1 still accounting for more than half of PC users, it's not like Windows is going to evaporate in importance overnight or anything, especially in the enterprise. But I think it's likely that Windows falls below its historical 90% share of the PC market. But how far below? It might seem far-fetched, but if Windows were to fall to, say, 85% of the PC market, I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of doomsday commentaries about the future of Windows (as opposed to, say, the future of Microsoft software that lives in the cloud, instead of tethered to the OS). 85% would still be a huge number-- but it would represent tens of millions of lost core customers. It would also suggest a much grimmer share of recent PC sales, and given the prominence of Windows 7 in the workplace, a near-complete flop among consumers.

Since Nadella took over, Microsoft has been emphasizing cross-platform opportunities more than ever. On the one hand, this rhetoric is in some ways a natural extension of Ballmer's "software and services" framework, which was never proposed as a completely closed garden. But on the other hand, the ramped-up emphasis might imply that Microsoft realizes Windows is less important than it used to be, and that the company isn't in position to reverse the tide.
AndrewL437
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AndrewL437,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2014 | 12:35:03 PM
Windows XP
There are countless work and personal computers using XP that will continue to function after April. For computers working without an internet connection or behind adequate firewalls and security systems XP will continue to work just fine. The real issue is when a replacment is required. As computers age the components become more difficult to find.
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Strategist
3/25/2014 | 12:30:59 PM
Re: Installing Auto Cad 2000
i FOUND THIS ON A FORUM: Information to help you load and run AutoCAD 2000 on your Windows 7 (64bit) system.
I had to upgrade from Windows 7 Home edition to Windows & professional ($90.00)
Then I downloded Windows virtual PC and Windows XP Mode (free download). The Windows XP Mode runs in the background (in its own window). I loaded AutoCAD 2000 Architectural Desktop from my software CD. As I was doing this I had to go to the program compatibility (start-programs-accessories-program compatibility - pick 'from C D drive') I changed the compatibility to windows 98/ me.

I was glad to have found this so I don't have to spend $1000 to $5000 to upgrade AitoCAD.

Also I have a driver that lets me run my HP 750c+ plotter on Windows 7 - 64bit if you need that.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 12:27:41 PM
The Windows/Mac crossroads
Staying on XP just seems reckless at this point due to security and performance weaknesses. At some point old school becomes Old. I imagine most XP users who enjoy the Windows experience will want to stay with it via a Win 7 PC (if they can find one) or Windows 8. But Microsoft should be wary of XP holdouts coming to a crossroads where they're turned off by the radical redesign of Windows 8 and are looking to make a fresh start with a Mac or an inexpensive Chromebook.
YaarovS134
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YaarovS134,
User Rank: Strategist
3/25/2014 | 12:24:39 PM
My XP laptop works like a spare tire
It just sits in the corner of the room, unplugged.

When my Vista laptop crashes for any reason, I will turn on the XP laptop to continue cyberlife journey while getting the Vista fixed.
billcird
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billcird,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/25/2014 | 12:23:43 PM
Installing Auto Cad 2000
I have Auto CAD 2000 on my XP. What system will allow me install this program?
<<   <   Page 7 / 8   >   >>
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