Software // Operating Systems
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2/19/2014
09:06 AM
Jeff Bertolucci
Jeff Bertolucci
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Windows XP Shutdown: 10 Facts To Know

The clock ticks for Windows XP holdouts. Explore the key issues before making your next move.
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Twelve years is an eternity -- no, several eternities -- in the tech industry. When Microsoft launched Windows XP in October 2001, desktops and laptops ruled, smartphones were in their infancy, and consumer tablets were nearly a decade away. Most operating systems from that era are long gone, but Windows XP has proven surprisingly resilient. According to web-tracking firm Net Applications, in January 2013 Windows XP was the second most popular operating system among desktop PC users, holding steady with a 29.23% market share.

Windows XP, the successor to the business-oriented Windows 2000 and consumer-focused Windows ME, remained entrenched in the enterprise even as Microsoft released newer versions of its flagship OS, including Windows Vista (2007), Windows 7 (2009), and Windows 8 (2012). All operating systems must die at some point, of course, and it appears that Windows XP's time finally has come. Microsoft will cease support for the venerable OS in April, a move that will leave XP users highly vulnerable to security risks.

How did XP manage to last this long? Perhaps it owes much of its longevity to the shortcomings of two of its three successors.

Windows Vista suffered from a variety of technical maladies, including slow performance, software and hardware incompatibilities, and reduced laptop-battery life. While Microsoft eventually resolved many of these glitches, Vista's reputation never recovered, and the OS was largely shunned by enterprise users.

Windows 7 was a notable improvement over Vista, offering faster startup and better compatibility. It soon became Microsoft's most popular OS and remains so today. According to NetApplications, Windows 7's desktop PC market share last month topped 47%.

And then there's Windows 8.x and its controversial redesign -- a touch-oriented UI bolted on top of the traditional Windows desktop. Needless to say, Win 8 has been a disappointment thus far, particularly among organizations reluctant to retrain workers to learn its new tile-oriented Modern UI. Microsoft may be campaigning hard to persuade Windows XP users to migrate to Windows 8.1, but Windows XP upgraders may prefer the more comfortable confines of Windows 7.

Many PCs running Windows XP are big iron beasts from the new millennium, and there's a good chance they'll prove too old to upgrade. This could spur sales of Windows PCs, or so Redmond hopes. Microsoft badly needs a catalyst to boost business and consumer interest in its flagging Windows 8.x platform, which is selling at a slower pace than Windows 7 did at this stage in its life.

Now dig into our slideshow and learn more before deciding how to proceed.

Jeff Bertolucci is a technology journalist in Los Angeles who writes mostly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Saturday Evening Post, and InformationWeek. View Full Bio

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J_Brandt
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J_Brandt,
User Rank: Ninja
2/27/2014 | 8:51:59 PM
Strike a Balance
Windows 7 was good, but I think it is possible to strike a balance with Windows 8.  I have a few XP machines, but my newer non-touch machines are all using 8 – just minus Metro.  I have been pleased with the speed and compatibility.
proberts551
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proberts551,
User Rank: Strategist
2/25/2014 | 8:46:55 AM
Re: Migrating away from XP
For a home computer, Linux will be my next Purchase.  And the good part is, that I will not have to buy a new PC to run it, and it will be very cost effective.  Linux has all the supporting applications I use.
proberts551
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proberts551,
User Rank: Strategist
2/25/2014 | 8:42:23 AM
Changing with the times
We live in a throwaway society, a society driven by the monetary system.  Innovation and technology is not about building the best possible product, but building something slightly better than the last, in order to justify making more money.  That's now, how the world turns.  Microsoft could spend more time building their operating system and make it to near perfection, but would rather dribble out slightly improved versions. 

Windows XP is Microsoft's first real stable workhorse, not without its problems.  It was sort of the Model A for Microsoft.   At the time, it was great, and did what it was supposed to do.  Without bad people trying to constantly steal, or destroy information, we would not have to think about unplugging it from the Web. But because of the "Bad" in the world, it is time to move forward.

What is disconcerting to me is that Windows 8 as new as it is, already has many, many updates.  This takes away my confidence that Microsoft did the job right the first time.  It is really sloppy to have to mop up, back pedal, and "Update" after you release your great new prized operating system.  Not a good example to follow.  Soon, Microsoft will realize, there are more games in town, and they better get with it.  

 
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
2/20/2014 | 10:51:50 PM
Re: Migrating away from XP
For the average user like me, it really isn't that much of a problem. For under $250,I was able to pick up a basic, refurbished machine with Windows 7 and an extended warranty - and that was a few months ago. The problem is going to be all those machines and systems of every type that are based on XP computers buried in so deeply that their proprietors aren't even aware of the issue. Make sure you have a month's supply of any prescription medicines you need and plenty of cash on hand by the second week in April. It's going to be a bumpy ride, just like Y2K would have been if they hadn't prepared for it - and nobody is prepared for this.
anon2315407751
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anon2315407751,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/20/2014 | 4:08:32 PM
Re: Garbage In, Garbage Out
If XP still represents over 30% of Microsoft customer base it is likely the largest share and or the best selling system they ever had.  Why would anyone discontinue the best selling product they ever had? 

If the numb nuts in Redmond thought about this at all they would re-release XP instead of discontinuing it. 

I will probably pick up a little Google machine to surf with but continue to use my lumbering XP desktop to run my business and everything else.

 
Zedwardson
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Zedwardson,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/20/2014 | 1:24:14 PM
Migrating away from XP
I know a lot of folks who are working on leaving the XP system, almost everyone i know is going Windows 7, Mac, or Linux.   No one wants windows 8 or 8.1, its another vista.
asksqn
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asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
2/19/2014 | 9:10:11 PM
Garbage In, Garbage Out
The fact that practically everything computerized from ATMs to POS runs on the XP platform, it is absolutely mind blowing to me that there isn't more blowback resulting from the obvious ploy by MS to pump up sales of its crappy Win8.x system by shutting down XP permanently.  It is my fondest wish that MS shoots itself in the foot and causes migration en masse to Linux. 
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
2/19/2014 | 5:37:16 PM
When operating systems die, is it from natural causes?
All operating systems must die sometime, true, but this is a man-made event, not natural causes. I'm not sure it's responsible of Microsoft to end support for an operating system that's used by nearly a third of its Windows customer base. Microsoft can say it's for the customer's own good, but I'm not so sure. A company desperate to move more Windows 8 might be doing so for its own good. Its the security exposure for continued users of XP that's so sensitve here.
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
2/19/2014 | 2:51:40 PM
Re: Win XP is fine, just do it yourself
Agreed, and even in IT circles there are different types of specializations, if someone is not from a security background then their security could be weak. Specialization makes it cheaper for letting someone else handle their security without investing the time needed to gain a high level of security standard.

Consumers like things to be easy, that's one of the reasons why Smartphone and tablets are so popular, no need to worry about the hardware or setup.

If a machine is only used for multimedia and gaming (no data should be on that machine) then XP could be used for a few more years. Eventually, 4k video or video games will need newer GPUs and the drivers for them will not be supported by XP.
kallinghamk2l
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kallinghamk2l,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/19/2014 | 2:22:11 PM
Re: Win XP is fine, just do it yourself
Most people running XP are doing so on older computers. Generally, they can't be upgraded (except maybe to a Linux OS- but they don't know anything about that). So for most of these people, upgrading means buying a new computer, buying MS Office all over again, and reinstalling all the apps that they like. The new machine and MS Office alone means maybe $2000. And the computer they have now is good enough for what they do. Telling them that they better upgrade, or else, is like talking to a brick wall. Might as well tell them to buy a new car to improve gas milage, buy a tin roof in case it hails, or replace their old air conditioner before it stops working. No amount of explaining is going to change their minds.
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