Barney's Rubble

Keeping XP Alive

Doug muses on the future demise of XP -- and why it may never completely go away

All of my family cars are considered old. I've got a '72, '78, '80, '95 and a '96. For motorcycles, my favorite rides are my '76, '79 and '83. All these vehicles are simple, mostly uncluttered by useless gadgets like power windows or A/C that breaks as often as it works.

That attitude is why so many prefer older software. Take Office 2007 and Office 2010 with the Ribbon interface. Many of you can't abide the Ribbon and pine for the good old days of pull-down menus. Meanwhile, Microsoft is pushing like mad to move you to the Ribbon.

Office is important, but you could argue an OS is far more fundamental. That's why IT pros and power users take their OSes so seriously. And that's why it's upsetting to see Windows XP sunsetted, even if the support won't end until April 8, 2014.

That seems a ways off, but until recently, netbooks commonly came with Windows XP, and Windows XP shops, like CVC Construction, bought PCs with Windows XP until the OEMs finally told them no. "The few new computers we bought last year from Dell came with Windows XP Pro, with the option to upgrade to Windows 7 when the company was ready. That option for Windows XP preinstalled is no longer available. You're forced to use Windows 7," complains Mark Drebert, IT manager for CVC.

Windows XP is well understood, and common problems easily solved. And it still works. "Windows XP is the most reliable and functional OS that Microsoft ever developed. We've had nothing but problems with Windows 7," argues reader Dick Shultz.

Others think Windows XP death fears are overblown, even if they plan on sticking with it.

"Are all the computers running Windows XP just going to die on that day? In just about three years, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP. That doesn't mean it's dead," says reader Gary Lea. "It just means we won't be getting the updates every Tuesday. We probably won't need them because the hackers will be concentrating on Windows 7 or

Windows 8, or whatever the current over-bloated Microsoft OS is at the time. My theory has always been that if it works there's no reason to change. I know people who are still using Windows 98!"

I've upgraded to Windows 7 and I'm glad. Chris Bailey thinks IT should do the same.

"Those who are in love with Windows XP need to move on. I always thought IT staff needed to stay one step ahead of end users. IT becomes irrelevant or unnecessary when those we support are using more-current systems at home than we provide," argues Bailey, a projects supervisor.

What do you think about older versions losing support? Write me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 MidnightDistortions Chicago, IL

Honestly, there are some people who are still using obsolete versions of Windows. Some companies even use Windows 98, if it works then why get rid of it. And with Windows 8 new style there really is no point in upgrading. Windows 8 is dysfunctional and i'm surprised that some people like a stupid tablet interface on their desktop PC. Developers like Google, Firefox and Avast would be smart to continue support for the XP systems so if people want to keep it then let them. Who cares about MS dropping support. That doesn't mean the system is going to stop working, there will be people who will want to stick with XP and not think about moving up. As some other comments on here they don't like Windows 7, i don't like Windows 8.. i think it's a horrible system that should be removed from the market. Keep Windows XP & Windows 7 alive!

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 clark Northern New England

Windows XP is the most efficient OS MS has released yet...as every new OS comes out there are more clicks to accomplish basic tasks. i use a computer to get work done, not to have the latest technology. i still have a few W2000 machines that are power hard wired color printers...10 years old and they work fine (no web access that is). I would just like to be able to buy a new machine with WXP pre-installed, as was possible until recently.

Fri, Jun 1, 2012 Bryan Milwaukee

I'm in the IT biz, I do computer repair. I work with 7 all the time but my machines have XP. It is just more productive, I get things done faster. As others said, functions are missing in 7, functions I use! XP is, of course, faster on the older machines, but it's that much faster on new machines also. My home computer will remain XP, even after they stop supporting it. There is s market here, I'd pay for continued support on XP and I know there are many other that would do the same, so why can't the people at M$ see that and makes some money that way??

Thu, Sep 29, 2011

Why upgrade to Windows 8 when the new UEFI prevents users from uninstalling and putting linux on their computer. Problems with new hardware installs and linux support makes me say stay with Windows XP or Windows 7. I will never upgrade to Windows 8.

Tue, Sep 20, 2011

I was part of the prerelease for Win 7 and I use both XP and Win 7 everyday. I really hate Win 7 user interface with a deep purple passion. Windows 7 took away functinality and the user interface is hard to use and disfunctional in some respects. The lauded new features in the user interface are rather insignificant. Everything you do is more clicks and mousing. The titlebar not having contrast makes it hard to distinguish an outlook message from the application behind it. It's a very frustrating userinterface. While nowhere near as bad as Win 3.1 it's no where near as good as everything in between. Never thougt I would say I like Vista but I used one recently not realizing at first it wasn't a Win 7 machine. I wondered how the person had configured it to be easier to use. Then I realized it was Vista.

Tue, Sep 20, 2011 Walt Mitchell

As an IT person, you should always move up to the new OS if at all possible. If you are going to keep an older machine and it is funtioning well and you are not going to put the money into it for upgrades, then keep it until it dies. I don't see the big deal. In today's economy as an individual, you deal with the problem as you see fit. As a corporation, its a business decision. You make the move it it makes sense.

Thu, Sep 8, 2011 Gail Hughes

It may be in microsoft best interest to keep XP in there arsenal if they plan to be a competitor against the fearsome 6. google,salesforce etc... Me2.0 was founded with this program,microsoft may lose out..

Thu, Sep 8, 2011

My various home systems will be on XP, probably until they die. I can't justify $200+ OS upgrades for machines worth $50-100. The machines work fine, and do what I need, so I can't justify replacing them.

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