Feeds

back to article Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan? Neither does anyone else

Applications are the glue that connects people with IT, that much is obvious, and in turn software has a powerful influence on business performance. Yet, to our surprise, a survey of UK enterprises revealed blind spots in the deployment of applications. We talked to 200 UK CIOs and IT leaders, and discovered that these blind …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge
Linux

Company Plan

1. Stick the 50% of the Company's computer users who weren't doing anything but checking their stocks and buying personal stuff from Amazon and Ebay onto Linux Mint. They won't even notice the difference (except their machines will run a helluva lot faster and be a helluva lot more secure).

2. The other 50% get Win8 with Classic Shell. Make it log directly in to the desktop, and hide all the full-screen apps from them. They'll hardly notice the difference, except all the rounded corners are now squared off, and they get prettier wallpaper choices. And their machines will run a helluva lot faster and be a helluva lot more secure.

3. Problem solved.

12
22
Anonymous Coward

Re: Company Plan

Like the great crash of 1929 there will one day be a great explosion/implosion in IT. From the ashes there will emerge a new and more streamlined IT entity.

At the moment they keep piling bricks on what is becoming a very insecure foundation, this will become too heavy and topple into an abyss. Remove the rubble and start again.

3
2
Anonymous Coward

'helluva' lotta rubbish!

Assumption is the mother of all f*uck-ups @Andy Prough...

How much do you know about OS software under the hood? There are legacy apps tied to legacy hardware such as medical devices at hospitals and engineering equipment at engineering firms, that simply will not work in Win7 or 8 without modification. Your 3 point plan is like government sponsored oversimplification!

11
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

"medical devices at hospitals and engineering equipment at engineering firms, "

Special purpose devices (rather than generic desktop PCs) such as these, and others, might be prime candidates for running Windows XP Embedded, which doesn't go EOL until 2016 [1].

Meanwhile, the device supplier can be (should have been?) working on becoming Windows-independent by replacing the software in existing devices where there is sufficient value in doing that, or replacing the device if a software update is a problem technically or commercially. After all, if it already runs Windows, how difficult can it be to run some other OS instead?

Personally I haven't seen electronics test equipment such as a logic analyser or similar mid/high-end equipment running Windows for a very veryy long time. Maybe I'm not looking properly? There was a period when they were around, and obviously I still see software-controlled kit, but now there is no visible OS, certainly no visible Windows.

[1] http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/?alpha=Windows+XP

5
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

Your examples of legacy apps apply to perhaps 2% tops of business use, true there are these awkward cases but no need to let the tail wag the dog.

4
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

"Your examples of legacy apps apply to perhaps 2% tops of business use, true there are these awkward cases but no need to let the tail wag the dog."...

About 10% of family and friends I know have a legacy scanner that won't work on Win 7. Around another 10% have a legacy camera or webcam that also won't work. No earth shattering issue for sure, but these users are blissfully unaware of any problems, and it will be a pain for them because they are entrenched in their locked-to-the-device editing suites... Not to mention money is tight...

2
1
Bronze badge

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

How old are those units? And does the driver say "I will not work" or "I am not supported"? IIRC some HP Scanners said "not supported" but after clicking "do it anyway" worked nicely under Win7.

Sure, money is tight and dropping "still working" hardware is something many (me included) do not like. But after 5-10 years a new device might be ok.

1
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

"Does the driver say 'I will not work' or 'I am not supported"

......I was referring to legacy Genius colorpage scanners. Several were bought at the same time by my wife's family looking for cheap scanners etc. It just wasn't possible to revive them under Win7.

"But after 5-10 years a new device might be ok."

......For tech folk, no prob, its our life, always changing. But for others, relearning is a largely unaccounted for PITA! For my circle, its the busy mums and busy dads without tech day jobs. They loath starting over, entrenched in what they've always been used to... Put it this way, taking up dieting would be easier!

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

"Meanwhile, the device supplier can be (should have been?) working on becoming Windows-independent "

While I agree with the 'Should', the real world can be quite messy. I was taking two examples from the past 3 years. First, two intertwined Vehicle parts companies that have 5-20 staff each. Second, three Irish regional hospitals that are using legacy medical diagnostic equipment. In both cases the original developer / installer had long gone out of business. XP is so dated now, other similar cases are likely.

3
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

>"About 10% of family and friends I know have a legacy scanner that won't work on Win 7. Around another 10% have a legacy camera or webcam that also won't work."

WTF does that have to do with all the "advanced engineering and medical device" hardware/software incompatibility problems you laid out earlier?

Idiot. And more than half of that shit works on Linux by now anyway.

Complete Fail.

3
7
h3
Bronze badge

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

The stuff you need (As in try all other reasonable options first) to then you move to either XP Embedded / XP x64 (Or Server 2003 if you have licenses lying around).

All those are still supported for the foreseeable future.

That sort of hardware (Medical / Engineering) should have been running embedded versions from the start anyway.

https://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedded/en-us/evaluate/windows-embedded-roadmap.aspx

0
0
h3
Bronze badge

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

Depends what the device is

My grandfather a Nikon SCSI film scanner (Really good with Vuescan really expensive originally not getting replaced) that to work with a 64 bit modern Windows would need a new card. Half reasonable ones exist but there is a lot of annoyances. (The only cheap suitable Adaptec one is a PCI-X card (That works in just PCI but it is obviously the PCI-X size).

For what he needs an AMD APU and a decent amount of RAM and a 256GB SSD would be fine.

Making the case big enough to take the Adaptec card (And hoping it works on the boards).

I dunno about USB->SCSI or Firewire->SCSI

It will be sorted out before the XP EOL (Probably by me). But I can see why people wouldn't bother.

0
0
Facepalm

Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

Genius colorpage!? In normal operation, they were lucky to make it out of warranty before failing. If any of those are still working then they aren't being used so the owner won't notice that it isn't plugged in.

0
1
Silver badge

My plan?

To shout - excellent, I have a proven OS that my users are very familiar with, that runs great on that 5year old HW and which MSFT is going to stop trying to break with updates every week.

So I don't get security updates - most of which fix the security flaws that were introduced by last week's update. Or that new IE feature to allow my phone to share cat photos with my car through facebook (or my cat share car photos - I'm never sure)

So I firewall my XP machines (and funnily enough my vista/7/8 machines)

I have rules to stop people opening attachments (in fact since most of my XP machines are doing real work - they don't even have outlook installed)

And basically breath a big sigh of relief and wonder how long I can put off the Windows9 upgrade

24
6
Anonymous Coward

Re: My plan?

My main workstation at home is about five years old and as it was upgraded to 4GB not too long after it was purchased, has run Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 just fine.

A firewall will not help you protect against a vulnerability in a core component which is exposed via internet connecting software to the outside world. Flash, I'm looking at you...

3
2
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: My plan?

The lack of a business case was cited as the key barrier to Windows XP application migration in 79 per cent of these organisations.

Translation: Why should we change if what we are doing works fine?

"lack of a business case" = "No reason to spend a truckload of cash to buy Win7".

I've said it before and I'll say it again: My brother's laptop runs Windows XP SP3. He hasn't used Windows Update in five years. He uses Outpost Firewall and a good antivirus and has never had a problem.

3
0
Bronze badge

Re: My plan?

@Yet Another Anonymous Coward: I assume you aren't old enough to have been around when NT4 went EOL. Many companies tried precisely that strategy, because heck it probably won't matter. And pretty much every one of them ended up spending a lot more trying to bail themselves out of the hole they dug themselves into when things started to go wrong than they ever would had they taken a considered and planned approach.

0
1
WTF?

Re: My plan?

But that's *it*, isn't it? Aren't we *assuming* that all legacy machines running XP-specific hardware absolutely HAVE to get online??? Why do we assume that? And why can't a layered solution be applied here? I really think people aren't creative enough.

For example: me. I develop software for Excel 2003 (VBA) which I need to tweak and debug at home. (I know, don't take your work home with you. Whatever.) And at home, I run Linux Mint nadia. Simple solution: VirtualBox. Run Office 2000 in XPPro in VirtualBox... done and dusted. There's a lot more options available today than when these businesses first invested in their OS and hardware.

The big thing lacking isn't options: it's creativity.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: My plan?

Works for that case. Will not work for other situations i.e where special hardware is used that does not have a Linux driver. I wrote quite a bit of stuff for Interfacing (isolated) PC networks with S5 based networks. The cards would not run under Linux. And when the OS upgrades came, the boxes got upgraded as well since the small IT stuff was not willing nor had the manpower to support more than three OS (SCO Unix, Org/M and a current Windows)

0
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

Eadon, I know that you won't believe this, but for some people, one of the biggest factors against using Linux is you.

40
9
Silver badge

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

Sounds reasonable. Just a few points to iron out :

1. Would old hardware efficiently support a VM for XP?

2. If Yes, and it is an OEM XP license, does the XP EULA allow installation in a VM?

3. If new hardware, would a new XP license (OEM or otherwise) be available?

4. If Yes, is it possible to avoid paying for a Win7/8 license to get the hardware?

Answer me those and I'll consider your proposal..

14
3
Silver badge

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

"Eadon, I know that you won't believe this, but for some people, one of the biggest factors against using Linux is you".

I don't have any trouble believing it, but... why?

You would seriously deprive yourself of what may well be the best computing solution for your needs, because someone you don't like (but presumably have never met) recommends it?

Sounds like a Darwin Award candidate to me.

14
7
Anonymous Coward

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

>I don't have any trouble believing it, but... why?

>You would seriously deprive yourself of what may well be the best computing solution for your needs, because someone you don't like (but presumably have never met) recommends it?

@T Welsh

I don't think Turtle was referring to people who know what they are doing (since they can weigh up for themselves whether Linux would suit their purposes - in which case Eadon's evangelism is redundant), but rather people who might require some hand-holding. Eadon does put out the conflicting messages of "Everyone should use Linux, its really easy!" and "I can use Linux because I'm really smart!".

It probably doesn't encourage the casually-curious user that whenever a new version of a popular Linux distro is featured in the Reg, the comments section is filled with stuff that reads like "It's rubbish, Pistachio Choc-Chip is much better" or "I use the Exploding Bovine fork" or whatever.

There is no need to take any notice of Eadon- as the vast majority of Reg readers know, it is dead easy to try out a Linux distro for themselves. And the vast majority of Reg readers have a better idea than Eadon does of whether Linux suits their own needs.

13
0
Bronze badge
Angel

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

@Tom Welsh

I'll answer that!

I am new around here so I have no idea if the gold vulture next to your name affords you special deus ex-machina status, but plough on I will

As a manager, one of those that turns left when I get on the 'plane, people like Eadon are a big reason for drooping on LINUX.

Now back in the day AIX and HP-UX had great support and dev people who understood business plans and the need to keep the money making machine whirring.

But a lot of the LINUX people my junior managers want to hire (in extremis I must say) seem to have no attachment to reality and are just a fucking pain in the neck most time. Visiting HR to adjust their behavior.

I came on here as I was recommended for light relief - and thank heavens Eadon is here to reinforce my prejudices, I thought I might be losing my touch.

I’ll be off now must go an randomly abuse a junior manger

15
7
Facepalm

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

How does running XP In a VM avoid the problem of XP EOL? If it is unsupported on physical hardware it will be just as unsupported in a VM.

7
1

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

Machines running XP wont be running any form of hardware capable of supporting VM's. The CPU's might not even even support it properly!

1
4
Go

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

You are thinking of crufty old XP machines with nasty antivirus.

You might be surprised to see how well they run Linux, even with a minimalist XP VM for those legacy apps (that for many people will be only occasional anyway)

7
0
Go

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

An XP VM doesn't avoid the problem altogether of course but since you wouldn't be using for your main apps it's a much lesser problem. For many, those legacy apps would be for occasional use only anyway. For you main email, browsing, office, media, skype, security apps etc you wouldn't need the VM at all

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

> How does running XP In a VM avoid the problem of XP EOL? If it is unsupported on physical hardware it will be just as unsupported in a VM.

Yes, it'll be unsupported, with no patches, and probably will get hosed with malware on a periodic basis, but VMs have one big edge over a physical machine running the same OS: copy-on-write block devices.

You can set up your virtual machine, install the applications you need, then, set up a new virtual disk, which references the pristine set-up. Changes are written to the "overlay" disk image, leaving your original alone. Any documents and files are accessed via a network drive or persistent disk image which can be frequently and easily backed up.

Ideally, when you shut down the VM, the overlay image is chucked out. So if malware infects, simply shut down the VM, toss out the infected overlay disk, create a new one (which will take mere seconds) and voilà, you're back up again.

This solution does not require Linux of course, you can do it in Windows or MacOS X too. Easily. However, if your problem is a lack of a viable OS for the host, then Linux is a reasonable choice.

3
2
Anonymous Coward

it's 2013. Where's my copy-on-write disk storage?

"VMs have one big edge over a physical machine running the same OS: copy-on-write block devices."

Genuine, naive, questiion: Is this really still the case?

It's 2013, isn't it? Is there really no simpler (better?) way of getting copy-on-write storage than putting the whole thing in a VM?

Back around 2000 or so, DEC had the StorageWorks Virtual Replicator for Windows NT, which did copy-on-write storage as a layered driver, no VMs needed. And surely there must be (must have been?) storage controllers that did something similar? (Again, I think DEC's StorageWorks hardware stuff did it...).

Almost a decade and a half later, and the PC world's answer to copy on write disk storage is running the whole thing in a complete virtual machine? I mean, I entirely approve of the concept, but the implementation seems a bit OTT (though running in a VM may bring other advantages).

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

"Machines running XP wont be running any form of hardware capable of supporting VM's. The CPU's might not even even support it properly!"

So? Virtualisation existed before the x86 vendors added hardware support, didn't it? For occasional non-critical use, it'll work well enough, won't it? It does where I work, where VMware on XP on ancient Dells is a relatively common relatively satisfactory workaround for the IT department's inability to understand why anyone would ever need anything other than XP.

2
1
Silver badge

Re: for occasional use only anyway

If it's an app that's too expensive to migrate, that usually means its a hideously old IE6/ActiveX internally developed app that at least one-third of the company live in.

Otherwise you're spot on.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: it's 2013. Where's my copy-on-write disk storage?

> It's 2013, isn't it? Is there really no simpler (better?) way of getting copy-on-write storage than putting the whole thing in a VM?

Well, some OSes do support COW filesystems. BtrFS in Linux is one such file system, but it's still in development.

The other problem with running Windows XP on modern hardware is tracking down drivers. Hardware makers aren't producing Windows XP drivers these days, and so making your new piece of kit work with the older OS is going to become an uphill battle, especially for things like motherboards and video cards. The VM, although it'll have some overhead, will insulate you from a lot of this change since the VM's hardware is emulated to mimic some older hardware, and will probably work better with Windows XP.

QEMU can emulate ISA hardware if needed for example. Good luck finding a new motherboard with an ISA slot today.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

Are you really, actually seriously telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux is easier than moving between Windows XP and Windows 8?

Really?

5
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

@Tom Welsh - I'd say the reasoning goes along the lines of:

Rabid shoutey Linux fan goes around making obviously factually inaccurate comments about even the most simple elements in Windows, so one is encouraged to think that if he can't get basic things right about what he's criticising, why would he be any more reliable when talking about what he claims to love. Also, he never comments positively about Linux, only negatively about Windows, suggesting that he doesn't really like Linux, but _really_ hates MS, why would one take advice from someone like that?

8
2
Bronze badge

telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux

Linux mint is more like XP from the user POV than Vista is.

Windows 8 is nothing like XP.

So of course it is.

7
3
Bronze badge
Coat

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

Amen, Turtle.

It's gotten to the point that each time I hear some fanboi shrieking "Ditch Windows and go to Linux!!!", it's like nails on a chalkboard.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux

You do realise that there is rather a lot more to a migration than how the users like the new UI?

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Anonymous Coward

@Stuart Longland (ISA motherboard)

If you need an ISA bus motherboard:

http://www.bressner.co.uk/productdisplay/mb-el620-c

Supported to 2015 and takes up to quad core CPU. Works fine for Linux as well, and technical support even provided the info needed for the lm-sensors package.

1
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

> Are you really, actually seriously telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux is easier than moving between Windows XP and Windows 8?

Erm, well yes actually.

My Linux Mint machine running MATE looks and behaves a lot more like XP that the shite interface of Windows 8.

5
3
Bronze badge

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

@Eadon: How exactly does XP in a VM remove any of the problems associated with continuing to run XP? And why would anyone introduce voluntarily introduce new problems from running/managing a Linux network when every user still has to run XP as well?

As usual, you're living in some deluded dream world where you imagine every problem just goes away because you'd like it too.

1
2
Bronze badge

Re: telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux

For most users XP->8 is an easy transfer. Those users do not use "Windows" they use "shiny green/blue/black/red icon" starting Word, SAP-Client, Datev-client and a special in-house software. Many big companies have long since written launchers or portals that abstract away the OS. As long as there is a Windows-API the actual version is of little importance. User in small companies typically pin the 4-10 applications they use to the desktop (or if advanced the task bar).

So all you need to do is configure Modern either on a "each client" (small companies) or "centrally" (larger companies using Windows servers) base and it is done.

1
2

Re: telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux

"You do realise that there is rather a lot more to a migration than how the users like the new UI?"

Well duh - but how the users react to the new UI should be a pretty high priority. They tend not to be MS fanbois, so they won't just drink the UI Previously Known As Metro koolaide.

Ignoring the opinion of the users regarding the UI could cost millions in a large business. Lost productivity due to employees simply getting, well, lost. Extra helpdesk staff and phone infrastructure to cope with the increased calls. IT is meant to support the users, not enslave them.

If Linux with an XP theme does what they need, they'll be far happier and get on with their jobs, leaving the IT people to consider other behind-the-scenes work.

1
0
Linux

Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

Are you really, actually seriously telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux is easier than moving between Windows XP and Windows 8?

Really?

Really.

It's a piece of piss.

I'm slowly but surely migrating elderly customers to it, so they can continue to do the things they like (ie use their computer for things other than watching TIFKAM's pretty colours).

In most cases the only question is "Why didn't someone tell me about this earlier?". A few have trouble grasping that they no longer are expected to waste a ton of money on "AV", and some take a day or few to understand that their machine really didn't have to be so hard to use.

8 is much harder to learn than Linux. At least for those who've been using computers for the last few years. Maybe someone who is new to computing might find it easier - but then 2yos find big bright buttons easier to handle anyway I guess.

3
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Silver badge

Re: Installation easier with Linux

It's now quicker and easier to install Linux even on modern computers than it is to install Windows.

Apart from the "a gnat has farted near your computer - reboot" messages

I don't miss trawling dozens of manufacturer's sites trying to find drivers.

10
13
Anonymous Coward

Re: Installation easier with Linux

What about the seemingly endless

Patch/reboot

Cycle you have to follow in order to get your windows system 'uptodate' usually just in time to download another raft of patches?

Server 2008 R2 + .Net runtime V4 = 10 patch/reboot cycles. I did this only yesterday.

Linux is most certainly easier to install than Windows these days.

11
5
Linux

Re: Installation easier with Linux

with many many installs Linux Mint I've not had to search for drivers for years. I'm not saying that no-one would - but you'd be a fool to not try it

Blank PC to fully working in 15 mins is typical and all your apps are there too!

8
1

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.