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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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midmachine
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midmachine,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 6:11:06 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
If I understand it correctly, UEFI is primarily for secure boot. I installed WIN8 for a giggle on a Dell laptop that was 10 years old. It ran beautifully, no driver issues and it was really fast.
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 5:50:08 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
It was a skinny first generation dual core but I have known of many older motherboards being successfully used in a Windows 8 upgrade.

I did download the win 8 upgrade software on a 64 bit system and put it on flash drive so I had my XP 32 upgraded to an Win 8 64.

I did not check to see if it is using UEFI but I think the motherboard is capable. I don't know if it is a requirement of Windows 8. I found two different references when I googled it.

'I have a non-UEFI based laptop perfectly running the developer preview'
and
"You don't lose any features of note on non-UEFI systems besides some boot speed optimizations, and of course Secure Boot."

I always suggest people run the MS program that checks the system to be upgraded.
midmachine
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midmachine,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 5:06:08 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
Really? Use Chrome OS for productivity applications? Hardly.....
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
7/25/2013 | 5:03:40 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
As Microsoft abandons XP, so will customers abandon Microsoft. I'm still running XP with IE8. IE 9 and 10 are not available on XP. As I run into more and more sites that don't support IE8 I've moved to Chrome and Firefox instead. Same will happen with the OS, looking at Chromebook and iMac.
moonwatcher
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moonwatcher,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 4:59:23 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
Did that old motherboard support the new "bios" uefi? If not, how did Win 8 install on it? Thanks.
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 4:55:15 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
I have found less software crashes on Win 7 than XP with more opportunity to kill the stuck program.

I upgraded an old retired XP to Win 8 and the upgrade brought it back from the dead.

I have run an XP and Win 7 system side by side for a long time and now have a Win7 and Win 8 running side by side. These are the two most solid Operating Systems that MS has put out.

Most people deciding not to upgrade do not write their own code. Your thoughts on coding might be correct or you could just go back to Poke and Peek when you code.
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 4:49:29 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
No company that I am aware of supports their products like MS has for XP. It has been an incredible long time of support. Also, they give you an upgrade path.

I am not an avid fan of MS. I have had most of the O/S since DOS and have learned the Microsoft Salute and used it often over the years much to my dismay (Ctl Alt Del).

I also paid MS to fix my Vista by having to buy Windows 7. So I am not a fanboy, but Windows 7 and Windows 8 are a solid O/S. XP, although good, was a little flaky for me and not as solid as Win 7.
remmeler
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remmeler,
User Rank: Strategist
7/25/2013 | 4:43:17 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
They will hang on as long as they can. When they start finding that it is not to their advantage or safe, they will change.

Lack of support by Microsoft is only the start of it. There will be lack of support from their third parties and that is when they will make the change.

The good news is that Windows 7 is not a jarring change for them. I ran a Win 7 and Win XP system side by side for a long time.

Also, after a while, when all the Win 8 haters settle down, they will realize that with a couple of changes in defaults and remembering a couple of things that will fit on a Post it note. They don't need the Start Button/Menu or they can just add Classic Shell.

I now run a Win 7 and Win 8 system side by side, both with dual monitors and I never see the bolted on Modern Front End unless I press a key on my keyboard. Who knows, the front end might even be useful someday. Right now I just store my less used programs in tiles so I can easily find them.

The two systems run identically and I am never shot back to the front end. Before upgrading an old XP, run the MS program that checks to see that everything is compatible.

Windows 8 is a slightly improved, slightly faster Windows 7 with a few new features that I find useful, especially for a dual monitor environment.

By the way, because I was scared but the upgrade was only $40 at the time, I first upgraded a old retired XP and it brought it back from the dead. A friend of mine now uses it everyday.
Birdlives
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Birdlives,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/25/2013 | 3:40:31 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
Because of their myopic and money hungry view, Microsoft will make more enemies and open the door to other OS's.
If they could start a subscription program so that XP users could still

receive support for, lets say, $10.00 a month and If there are 2 million users that is $20 million a month or almost $250,000,000
a year.
As with our politicians, it is to simple an idea and therefore will never be implemented. Microsoft is opening the door for others to sell their systems and maybe they will be better that MS.
SarK0Y
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SarK0Y,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/25/2013 | 3:32:03 PM
re: Windows XP's End Of Life: Readers Respond
here we can point out key factors of XP's longevity.

1. New processors get focused on multithreading.

1.1. So old applications have zero speed-up on them. frankly, they could run even slower.

1.2. R&D of new apps takes more time & money.

1.3. Performance of multithreading code is very hardware-dependent. + software collision issues could affect speed as well.

2. Power efficient processors are more vulnerable to EM noise.

3. to move onto new hardware/software is very cause of losses for businesses up to bankruptcy.

4. Security issue of old software mainly has been a fearmongering: well-opted network is quite solid against the most of cyber threats.
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