Windows XP Game Over: 9 Upgrade Options - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Software // Operating Systems
News
3/25/2014
11:06 AM
Michael Endler
Michael Endler
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

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.
Previous
1 of 10
Next

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

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 10
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 3 / 3
Michael Endler
50%
50%
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 2:07:56 PM
Re: Should I buy Win 7 Pro or Win 7 Ultima?
I'm pretty sure the difference is that Ultimate includes BitLocker and support for more languages, and takes up more drive space. Otherwise, it's essentially the same as Pro. Windows 7 Ultimate is basically a repackaged version of the Enterprise edition that Microsoft sells in volume license deals to businesses.
Michael Endler
50%
50%
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.
Shane M. O'Neill
100%
0%
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.
David F. Carr
100%
0%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 12:10:13 PM
Re: Where to buy Windows 7?
As the story mentions, it's still possible to buy an OEM license. I found them on NewEgg.
Michael Endler
100%
0%
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 12:08:00 PM
Re: XP to Linux
Thanks for that link, David. I think Linux is a terrific alternative for machines that would otherwise go into landfills.
Michael Endler
100%
0%
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 12:06:00 PM
Re: Where to buy Windows 7?
Lots of system builder Windows 7 licenses are available online. They don't entitle you to the normal customer support you'd get with a new PC, or with a Windows 8.1 license, however-- so be sure to read the fine print before purchasing. Also, in early April, Microsoft is expected to release a Windows 8.1 update that will make the OS more usable on non-touch hardware. I'd expect to hear details at Build-- that is, a few days before XP loses support. So if you can afford to wait until the last minute, Windows 8.1 might become more viable.
David F. Carr
100%
0%
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
3/25/2014 | 12:03:14 PM
XP to Linux
Sometime InformationWeek contributor Ellis Booker has built a side business around helping consumers and businesses make the jump to Linux, rather than sending their old PCs to the landfill. Check out YourHomeLinux.
<<   <   Page 3 / 3
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Commentary
New Storage Trends Promise to Help Enterprises Handle a Data Avalanche
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  4/1/2021
Slideshows
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
Commentary
How to Submit a Column to InformationWeek
InformationWeek Staff 4/9/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll