back to article Tick-tock! 40% of PCs start Windows XP malware meltdown countdown

With one year to go until Microsoft kills free support for Windows XP, if you haven’t got a migration plan in place it’s time to start doing something about it... but don't panic, say the migration experts. One year from today, on 8 April 2014, Microsoft will stop fixing broken code and no longer release security patches for …

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Stuck

Win XP = Rock

Win 8 = Hard Place

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stuck

If you really dislike 8 so much, but need to use a supported version of Windows for a pretty long time, 7 is the OS for you.

Personally I like 8, but I realise that others' don't, that said, I wouldn't use it in a corporate environment as it's not old enough yet. Maybe by the time that you come to upgrade from 7 in something like 8 years time, you'll like the MS OS available then, or in XP style have just got used to the new UI (I held out against the new XP UI for ages, but quite like it now.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stuck

Win 7 = Goolies?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stuck

Ah the joys of having your balls (or equivalent lady bits) in someone else's vice. They can turn the screws and make you pay or dance the little "time to change" dance and there is nothing you can do.

All those crap applications that only work with certain OS versions, or browsers, or office software because they used non-portable calls that even MS has dropped and don't care.

Any idea of the typical migration costs? Must hurt a bit.

Not that other OS vendors are much better, but if only those application vendors had been compelled to test and support their software on more than one platform/version so much pain would be spared.

While I am mostly using Linux now, my old DOS and Windows program continue to work (until, of course, they removed 16-bit support recently for DOS) because they were written as multi-platform and did not use the whizz-bang features that MS added and then forgot or actively pulled out.

If your balls are in that vice, then maybe running XP in a VM without (or with very strictly controlled) network access is going to save you some pain. But still staff training will be needed no matter what solution you choose.

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if you have got 300 computers you would be do mass install images not installing each pc one by one, its getting the first computer running windows 7 and getting all your programs working on that box first is the issue the other 300 computers are none issue if they are all new, if they are old they need ram upgrade thats all as most of them will be probably running 512mb of ram

or if they switch to VMware stuff then the pcs are not important at all as all the work is done at the server end

i used to do this at ICL at fujitsu i used to do mostly on my own 100s of computer image an asset tagging a day

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Anonymous Coward

500K puts ten Linux support techs or five engineers on staff.

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Anonymous Coward

5000K is the sum required to port your existing applications over to UNIX.

1000K is the sum required for legal advice because your partners refuse to port your company application over to Linux.

10000K is the sum required to pay off all of your workers because you couldn't get things running correctly.

Linux is a "possible " solution but by no means should it ever be considered "the" solution.

I fucking hate these linux twat comments blindly thrown out in order to annoy others. Personally I couldn't give a shit which OS my company uses as long as it get the job done and keeps my company running.

If someone came into my company stating that Linux is "the solution" without them having previosuly done some kind of study in order to determine "if" Linux can be used and also having determined the "real" cost of porting everything over then I would kick his/her arse for being a complete and utter twat.

The Linux community need to realise that not every company wants or needs to employ "fanbois" just because that "might" save 10K. It might also cost them 100K.

Just for info : Our company uses both MS and Unix solutions both have their purpose and both have their ups and downs.

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Anonymous Coward

Where do you work? £50k for support and £100k for engineers? Are you including the infrastructure for them as well as pay?

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Silver badge

Re: Linux support techs

What good would they do in a windows environment?

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Mushroom

Things that are intolerable from anyone but the monopoly.

> 10000K is the sum required to pay off all of your workers because you couldn't get things running correctly.

If you're workers are that stupid, they are already costing you that kind of money.

It's like the "Linux migration problem". Just wait and Microsoft will create one of it's own for you. (Win8/Vista/Ribbon)

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Mushroom

"Our company uses both MS and Unix solutions both have their purpose and both have their ups and downs."

Your preamble to this remark was boring and very twatty. Read like the typical prattle of a wannabe management scold. If you are interviewing people who avow one or the other solution as The Solution, then you've got something wrong with your Human Resources department (probably gave them a very twatty job description).

Pro Tip: You want people who say this at some point in the interview, "I want to deploy solutions I can support."

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 14:09GMT - You don't have to mention Unix

We know you're a proud Windows shop but I'm OK with that. However I have one small correction to make for you : I don't give a heck about the OS my company is using (starting with CP/M or newer) as long as they are paying me to use it. There, I fixed it for you!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Things that are intolerable from anyone but the monopoly.

"...If you're workers are that stupid..."

Classic!

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Anonymous Coward

Twatty?

"...Pro Tip: You want people who say this at some point in the interview, "I want to deploy solutions I can support."..."

Well done. Using the word "solutions" effectively removes all hint of "twattyness" from the debate.

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Boffin

Re: Linux support techs

There is this "myth" that Linux support techs are better at administering Windows boxen than Windows support techs. Just my two cents ... it makes a hell of a lot of sense, though, if you ask me. Linux administration requires a certain level of technical expertise most Windows admins lack. I remember laughing coffee out of my nostrils when Powershell came out ... I kept reading articles, blog posts etc about it with sentences to the tune of:

“You know, you really ought to dot source that script when you run it.” If that doesn’t impress your colleagues then nothing will.

Seriously? No, seriously ... I guess the idiot who wrote that had never heard of the "set" command (cmd.exe), SET/ENDLOCAL or ksh.exe.

The only thing that I can think of that will confuse the Linux techy are the different regular expression implementations in Windows (VB[A|S], findstr, powershell), but they also confuse hardcore Windows admins as there is no standard Microsoft implementation and none fully adhere to Perl regular expressions; powershell regex implementation being the worst, imho. Maybe one other thing as well, on a 64bit system, the 64bit binaries are in the System32 folder and the 32bit binaries in the SYSWOW64 folder.

The command line beats any mouse user most of the time, if you know what you are doing. This is why I install sshd on my Windows systems. I access that from UNIX systems, because cmd/powershell terminals are crap, been cursing them since Windows NT days. Maybe that is the reason why the Windows User icon on here is an image of a poor sod, BTW.

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Happy

Re: Linux support techs

Well, they could show you a dozen ways to do imaging and deployment without paying any per-seat license charges, and with script-ability second to none. All starting with booting an appropriate stand-alone Linux environment off removeable media or off the network.

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Thumb Up

Re: Twatty?

Fair enough!

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Bronze badge

Re: Linux support techs

>There is this "myth" that Linux support techs are better at administering Windows boxen than Windows support techs.

There is no myth that mainframe admin's and support tech's are generally better than those who's only experience is with either Windows or Unix/Linux, however they aren't in such plentiful supply ...

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Re: Linux support techs

Maybe its time to stop thinking that you need a Windows environment.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS Security FAIL

<YAWN>

Must troll harder.

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Meh

I'm not going to run out and bin my XP netbook just because official support has ended. Decent router plus no java plus AV plus Chrome equals minimal risk for personal use.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

That would be month after month on patch Tuesday.

Remind me why I should take any notice of your claimed knowledge of how bad Windows is when you don't even know how often patch Tuesday is.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Meh

That would be month after month on patch Tuesday.

Remind me why I should take any notice of your claimed knowledge of how bad Windows is when you don't even know how often patch Tuesday is.

Because, as always, what Microsoft Marketing tells you and what the reality is tends to be quite a bit apart..

Sometimes there is an extraordinary Patch Tuesday, 14 days after the regular Patch Tuesday. There are also updates which are published daily (e.g. definitions for Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials) or irregularly.

Of course, you have been sold the story that Patch Tuesday was for your benefit, allowing you to organise the massive resources you need to keep up with patching in a bit more controlled way, but the sole and single real reason that Microsoft instituted Patch Tuesday was to hide the sheer volume of updates required to keep that train wreck called Windows from derailing altogether. The reason why Vista was thrown out by many people was that it made clear that "Gold" quality standards at Microsoft were at best labelled "beta" anywhere else, and patching was Microsoft's way of surreptitiously bringing the code up to a standard that was almost acceptable, obviously not helped by the fact that such shoddy code also had massive amounts of vulnerabilities.

The situation has admittedly gotten a LOT better with Windows 7 which is even privately acknowledged by some anti-virus resellers as getting towards acceptably secure (it's far to early to assess Windows 8 in that respect), but putting your trust in Microsoft statements is a bit like being prepared to buy swamp in Florida: Ill advised.

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Bronze badge
Pint

" it has been 13 years"

Only assuming you jumped first. Those clinging to XP will likely be those who also clung to NT etc., so more like 5 or 6 years then.

My last desktop NT machine died last year. We had a wake.

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Yag

Re: " it has been 13 years"

Most of our NT machines were upgraded to XP at least... 2 years ago.

And we still have a few of them around.

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Happy

Re: " it has been 13 years"

Did you make an image of the hard drive? It could live on as a 'hologram' in a Virtual Machine, like Rimmer!

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Re: " it has been 13 years"

XP is really NT with some coating, and plenty of new bugs, of course. So you switched from old NT to a more Microsoft-ised NT. Not much of a change. Not that the never NT versions (known as Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8) are any different. Just more sugar coating.

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Re: " it has been 13 years"

I've got a few NT4 boxes within spitting distance. Hardware replacement is more of a problem on them than software. Some of the interface cards are just not available on new hardware. And even when they are, you can't just port the software over (even via VM) as the drivers won't speak to the old software.

We could just upgrade the lot to something new, but the customer doesn't like spending money. We'll see how that goes when the plant is down for a few weeks because our only source of hardware is ebay.

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Bronze badge

Anyone else still considering installing WinXP systems?

I know we're still installing them at work, but I'm seriously considering doing so at home...

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Re: Anyone else still considering installing WinXP systems?

I snagged some licences for it when I still had my student MSDN account. Using them on some old laptops and a netbook, why not? all I use them for is hooking up to the TV to watch something on netflix.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone else still considering installing WinXP systems?

Yeah, I installed an XP VM a few weeks ago. Does the job, I had a licence, so why not. End of support doesn't mean that it's going to evaporate overnight.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anyone else still considering installing WinXP systems?

I have installed a couple of dozen "new" (2nd user) machines at work, this year.

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Bronze badge

Re: Anyone else still considering installing WinXP systems?

Yes I've installed a few XP VM's just so that I can install some key applications (ie. MS Office, Visio, Project etc.) and associated company specific templates etc. in a working configuration and (hopefully) won't have to re-installed them again on future versions of Windows... Given that MS are further reducing the support for earlier Office document formats in Office 2013, I'll probably change to either Calligra or Libre Office this seemed a sensible thing to do.

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monopoly?

Isnt it time the EU told Micorsoft they have to keep patching as they have a monopoly. Either that or they must give the source code to a third party who can charge for updates. Microsoft cannot be a monopoly and then expect to get away for free.

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Re: monopoly?

A monopoly on what exactly? Certainly not 32-bit operating systems. Imagine if General Motors was still required to supply parts for cars that are 4 generations old.

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Stop

Re: monopoly?

Factually incorrect. Look up the actual definition of a monopoly an any good business book (or even Wikipedia!).

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Anonymous Coward

@VaalDonkie

I think the analogy is that GM would have to allow others to provide the parts if they were no longer interested in 4 generations old cars.

Even that analogy is strange, because cars get better with time where as OS seem to only get bloated. Other than some better security and even more ability to spy on you, what can you do on a desktop with Win7/8 that you can't with XP?

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Anonymous Coward

@VaalDonkie - Re: monopoly?

Yeah but GM does not prevent every other company from supplying parts for cars that old. Last time I heard Ford allows you and anyone else to make spare parts for their Model T.

Although this does not qualify as a monopolistic behavior, governments should still persuade Microsoft to take care of the needs of their locked-in clients. Microsoft tired of supporting Windows XP ? They should just outsource that to any company willing to do it.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 15:58GMT - Re: @VaalDonkie

Definitely there are things that can be done better with Win7/8/9...

It's called DRM and it is getting better with every new version of Windows.

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Silver badge

Re: @VaalDonkie - monopoly?

They don't prevent others making parts but installing certain power train, electrical or suspension components can void any factory warranty.

That being said forcing MS to continue maintaining a 13 year old product is not worthwhile.

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Re: @VaalDonkie - monopoly?

Microsoft were "smart" enough to sign contract with a number of European governments over Windows licensing. That should at least make them legally bound to support whatever they sold at the time.

Of course, I would not be surprised if the wording of the licenses is in the tune of "you take whatever we give you" (meaning "you are obliged to upgrade to whatever new version of Windows we declare is current"). In which case certain government representatives need to face some criminal charges.

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Bronze badge

Re: @VaalDonkie - monopoly?

>can void any factory warranty

This is only a problem for cars under manufacturer's warranty - which tends to expire after 3~5 years.

MS will, like any business, continue to maintain a 13 year old product if it makes commercial sense... Once their business model changes to a subscription service I don't expect the new product launches to be anywhere as frequent as they are now.

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Linux

Re: @VaalDonkie - *tax payer forced funded* monopoly?

I have a problem with being forced to fund a company that damages innovation for all and doesn't pay its fair share in Tax.

What I mean is the fact that schools, hospitals, police, etc are all using Windows desktops still when there is absolutely no need (better) free alternatives exist. his is due to the fact they got a monopoly during the 90's when competition didn't really exist and use tactics outlined in the Halloween documents (at the end of the 90's) to keep their position by ensuring that competition cannot viably exist and 'customers' get locked in forever.

I'm going to have a major issue when schools/public services want to spend my hard earned money on their Windows 8 'upgrade' , unless they stop using Windows that is where they are heading.

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Bronze badge

Re: @AC 15:58GMT - @VaalDonkie :@AC 19:12GMT

"It's called DRM and it is getting better with every new version of Windows."

I like the different take on "things that can be done better with Win7/8/9" - most people would look at this from an end user/consumer perspective rather than a content creator's...

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Anonymous Coward

On your own against hackers?

It will be tragic to no longer have a wonderfully prompt helping hand from MS to counteract issues, especially the bad '0 day' attacks.

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Seems amazing that there are so many companies out there with bespoke software for Windows XP. Does everyone have their own software made for them? Surely quite a few of that 40% of WinXP computers have no bespoke software and will just upgrade before the deadline.

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Anonymous Coward

If said companies are anything like the IT dept. at my work then it doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Our techno-tards have an impressive track record of foisting intranet based software [or "solutions" as they would doubtless call them] upon us that only work on Windows 95 and certain versions of Internet Exploder. This is in one of the biggest colleges in the country, where about 25% of the computers are running OSX.

One recent highlight was when they scrapped the old online registers and coursework marking system and replaced it with a shiny new one based on... wait for it... Microsoft Silverlight! not long after Microsoft had taken Silverlight out the back and put a bullet through its head. A couple of months after that, every staff computer in the college was suddenly unable to access the system when an overnight automatic update to a newer version of the SilverShite plugin broke their fabulous new software. IT had to remotely login to everyone's computer and downgrade the Silverlight plugin to the older version to get the system back up and running again.

So it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest to learn that there are thousands of businesses out there running software which is held together with string and sealing wax, is ready to collapse at the first breath of wind —and has been extensively tested only on whatever computer and software combo the IT "expert" had sitting in front of him at the time.

More popcorn over here please!

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Gold badge

This seems to be about the most solid argument for Open Standards: longevity of deployment. The second one is the ability to swap out components for others that suit better or improve on functionality. It'll never be a perfect swap (you'll always end up tweaking a few things) but this strikes me structurally a better idea than linking any "solution" to the foibles and fate of any one organisation.

It also means you're not going to be beholden to one particular set of skills, but there are different ways to take the risk out of that one..

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