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7/24/2013
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Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond

Windows XP loyalists have a bone (or three) to pick with Microsoft.

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You could fool yourself into thinking that people who still use Windows XP are just laggards, a bunch of change-fearing folks stuck in the age of flip phones and Web 1.0. You could also buy into a theory that XP usage stats are inflated by PCs that will never be upgraded or replaced; those machines will simply grow old and die, and tablets and smartphones will rule the world.

Neither perspective would adequately explain why so many of the world's computers still run on XP. It's a dozen years old and nearing the end of its so-called life -- which just means that Microsoft will soon end support for the operating system. No more security patches, bug fixes, driver updates, you name it -- all of that goes away on April 8, 2014, which poses potential risks for businesses and individuals who plan to stick with XP beyond that date.

Yet less than nine months from XP's retirement party in Redmond, one in three PCs still run the OS, give or take. OS usage statistics tend to vary based on a variety of factors. Microsoft estimates around 30% of its small and midsize business (SMB) customers still use XP; recent market share data from Net Applications said XP accounts for 37% of PCs around the world. These aren't exactly "margin of error" numbers.

Recent emails and story comments from InformationWeek readers shed some light on the Catch-22 that XP has become for Microsoft. XP has a been a whopping, enduring success -- so much so that its most loyal users have little interest in buying newer versions of Windows nor, in many cases, newer hardware.

[ What's holding back Windows 8 tablets? Read Windows 8 Tablets' Big Flaw: Hardware Compromise. ]

Here's what those readers have to say. (Note: Minor changes have been made to some responses to ensure clarity without altering content.)

We Just Like XP Better -- So Why Change?

Reader "sholden334" wrote in a recent story comment: "When I got my new Windows 7 PC, I loaded Parallels and transferred my whole XP work environment to a virtual machine. I find Access 2000 and Borland's C++ very productive, Excel 2010 handles bigger spreadsheets and XP is rock solid. Why should I change?"

The Honda Civic Of Operating Systems

Likewise, Lee, an IT pro, wrote via email that he can't foresee any good reason to stop using his XP machine, especially when it's more reliable than his newer PC. "I still have an XP computer that is running fine. The original hard drive was dying and it was ghosted onto the current drive," Lee said. "It boots faster than my Windows 7 computer. Everything runs fine. Why should I get rid of it?"

In a piece a while back on my own Windows 8 hesitations, I felt oddly compelled to mention that I drive a 2002 Honda Civic. There might be something to the Civic mentality -- and some common ground with XP in terms of long-term reliability. By way of explaining his XP usage, Lee wrote: "I had a 1988 Honda Civic for 19 years and 140,000 miles because I turned the key and the engine started."

We'll Move When We Must (And Not A Moment Sooner)

"Moonwatcher" wrote in a story comment: "Businesses will move when they HAVE to. I'm still running XP on my main home machine. Why? Because I've spent hours and hours configuring programs to work as I want them. I'm not looking forward to repeating the process just to make Microsoft some money. I did have to buy a new PC recently to run a computer-aided design (CAD) program for work and unfortunately at the time, Dell would not allow me to get Windows 7, so I got stuck on (and hate) Windows 8. I only use that PC to run my CAD program. For all other things I use the old, reliable XP box."

We'd Love To Upgrade -- If Only It Weren't So Difficult

Some businesses would like to upgrade but find themselves stuck in a constant tug-of-war for resources. Roy Atkinson shared this hypothetical scenario in a story comment:

"If I am an application developer at a large, say, healthcare institution and 80% of the PCs there are running XP, when we institute electronic medical records (EMR) software, what OS am I developing and testing for? XP, of course. The project managers and hospital administration are likely pressuring me to complete the EMR rollout, so I cannot stop now and then begin developing and testing for Windows 7 or 8, as much as the desktop support folks would like me to. So, now we have a larger problem. I can't test for Win7 because I'm on a deadline, but I can't stay on XP because it's on a deadline. My speed is holding up deployment of new equipment and OS.

Many desktop support groups I talk to are losing sleep because they are stuck in this situation. They know exactly how vulnerable XP will be once the patching stops, and they'd love to get a new OS rolled out, but they can't."

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FuzzyTheBear
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FuzzyTheBear,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/27/2013 | 5:25:39 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
A question that i never had an answer to : is Microsoft legally right to end a product's life. Did we ( somewhere in the EULA ) agreed to buy a product that had a predetermined lifetime ? That's what has been bothering me most about this.

Those who bought the last packs were clearly aware that their product was reaching end of life and that updates would no longer be available in say 2 3 years down the road ? I think not , but i'd like to hear the legal eagles on that one .
TStruble
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TStruble,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2013 | 2:45:42 AM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
linux
SarK0Y
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SarK0Y,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/26/2013 | 1:20:17 AM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
if to say of software collisions, the're two very reasons for:

1. Wrong dll version(s).

2. registry items could be rewritten o/& get changed permits.

-------------

XP hasn't internal mechanisms to handle #2. However, additional utilities make possible to monitor & fix such issues. in fact, very cause to kick XP out would be the need to deal w/ x64 apps. to run old apps on w7/8 has no solid sense because even w/ flawless compatibility there may be significant performance penalty.
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 9:47:33 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
On many previous MS operating systems I have had problems that seemed to indicate a conflict between programs and Windows 7 and 8 has better protection or Compartmentalization then previous O/S.

It was just a possible reason why I found Window 7 and by extension Windows 8 more stable.

I ported my software from XP to Win 7 and subsequently from XP to Win 8. Same software, more stable than XP. I don't know if that was the reason, just less problems.
XP was the most stable of all the O/S since Dos but now 7 and 8 seem to be the most stable
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 9:36:43 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
I meant that their would be no business case for third party support in my below comment
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 9:35:51 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
One reason why the business case for third party support is that it will cost less to upgrade and get free support than to pay for private support. In general from what I have been reading in comments, cost is a big factor for them to upgrade.
Another may be that it is illegal to hack the Microsoft Operating System.
A third might be that the group doing the support would have to have a more intricate knowledge of the Operating System than they have or could possibly get to do a cost effective or even just an effective job.
SarK0Y
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SarK0Y,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/25/2013 | 9:26:00 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
personal experience varies from one situation to another. to say something useful upon your case needs more closer look in.

1. What a kind of software you're talking about?
2. How those apps were opted?
3. Were there any debug reports?
------------------------
+ software crashes ain't clear criteria to judge OS. However, facts are Just facts:
1. XP is stable.
2. Fast.
3. Has good set of apps.
4. Nice support for different hardware (drivers).
5. Needs humble resources to run.
***************
+ if you need new OS to run modern hardware, out the alternatives have existed + to avoid ms has obvious advantage to reduce security risks, to reduce software cost as well.
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 9:04:04 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
I have not seen any articles that say that there will be any third party support.
Most article say the Blackhats will target XP to commandeer your grandmothers computer to build botnets and infect XP based SCADA system computers that have only an XP core and will be difficult to upgrade and are only incidentally connected to the internet.

"it will effectively leave millions of existing Windows-based computers vulnerable to continued and undeterred cyberattacks, many of which hold the potential to find their way into consumer, enterprise and even industrial systems running the latest software."

"the dangers inherent in many SCADA systems stemming from an inadvertent connection to the public internet. Many companies are under the impression that their SCADA networks are disconnected from others, Sarwate wrote, when in fact they may be just as susceptible to malware as corporate or at-home desktops."
proberts551
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proberts551,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 8:09:24 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
Windows XP Update support is a Huge opportunity for a 3rd party development company to write security fixes for XP as needed for a fee. I bet that some will use it.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/25/2013 | 6:54:24 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
I applaud the old school, keepin' it real point of view, but using XP is just a liability in too many ways. Not just technically (slowness, security holes, archaic UI, limited to outdated versions of IE) but what it says to your employees. It says we don't care enough about you to upgrade to a modern OS -- make do with XP. No thanks.
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