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back to article Win XP alive and kicking despite 2014 kill switch (Don't ask about Win 8)

Uptake of Windows 8 for desktop computers – which was never particularly fast – has slowed, according to stats for July from web traffic pollsters Net Applications. Microsoft's latest operating system held a 5.4 per cent of the global desktop OS market last month, up 0.3 points on June which was up 0.83 points on May. A glance …

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Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Techies hitting the beach perhaps. With their netbooks, all of which are perfectly equipped to run XP.

Win7 starter on a netbook was like Win95 on a 486. Doable but too slow and bloated to get anything useful done. Has anyone dared put Win8 on a netbook?....

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JDX
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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

W8's supposed to be leaner than W7 so probably would be OK if you can get driver support.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Almost exactly what I was thinking. It could just be that XP is still big on home PC's, July is summer, people on staycations and wfh will be on these dust buckets more often.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

I think the normal 1024x600 netbook screen is less then the 1024x768 that windows 8 wants (1366 x 768 with snap). So not much chance it would install (not that I've tried).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

" It could just be that XP is still big on home PC's"

Nope, its also HUGE on kiosk machines. I've seen the telltale signs of WinXP (eg BSOD, legacy screensavers) on machines everywhere from airport display boards to train station ticket machines. Even a cash machine I saw being remotely managed (via CMD window) in Victoria train station the other week looked suspiciously like a WinXP desktop - although to be fair that would well be Win7 running with the desktop in 'classic' mode.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7 on the same hardware. It is the UI that is the problem, not the underlying operating system.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Yes, I've installed Windows8 entreprise on a Sony Vaio Netbook.

it runs OK with 2GB of memory but you need to do some registry Hack because of the 1024x600 pixels resolution.

I have removed all the Microsoft Apps (bing, Internet Explorer, travel, etc etc) and to be honest never used the TIFKAM part.

It's used only to watch some movies in bed and do a bit of skyping.

it came with Windows 7 Starter but it was unusable.

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Boffin

Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Well, I saw a POS terminal that was still running the first version of Windows 98 the other day. It took me by surprise as well. On the other hand, it was a somewhat backwater town, so I guess that was expected somewhat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

RBS cash machines run on XP.

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More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

Really, we're supposed to believe their information is accurate to hundredths of a percent? Please...

I highly doubt there are any new Windows XP installs happening to increase its penetration by 0.02% in a month. At the rate old XP machines are likely dying off, and new Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines entering service, there would have to be a pretty significant number of new XP installs for this to be true. Given how simple it is to run a pirated copy of Windows 7, and the rather moderate hardware requirements by today's standards, there is no reason for even the lowest end PC maker in the third world to be stamping out new Windows XP machines. There are likely a few embedded users still stuck on it, but they aren't going to deploy hundreds of thousands of these things in a month.

Their sampling just isn't quite as random and/or their sample size as large as necessary for the amount of accuracy they are providing in their numbers.

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Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

I still sometimes deploy virtual machines with XP, because it works fine for what I want it to do, and the hardware requirements are lower than for Windows 7.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Why use a bloated hulk like W8 with a colossal footprint just to watch the webs? Just install Ubuntu already, will take you 20 min and is much easier to use.

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Mushroom

Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

>Just install Ubuntu already

Or if you want a UI that is usable and makes sense then install Linux Mint instead.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Windows 8 Home runs nice on my Lenovo Lynx K3 tablet which is basically a netbook all crammed in to a 11.6 inch screen.

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Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

"I highly doubt there are any new Windows XP installs happening"

You say that, but only a few days ago I installed a new Windows XP instance (activated and everything, the licence for which I've had kicking around for ages) on VirtualBox so I could run some Windows-only camera raw-converting software to process some photos I'd taken on a brand-new Pentax MX-1 the format of which AfterShot Pro (running on Linux) doesn't know about yet. OK, so large businesses are hardly rolling XP on thousands of desktops, but enough people like me doing the odd install to get something working /could/ bump up the figures a bit now and again...

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Re: Mint for Windows Users

I suppose Mint might be more useful to a Windows XP (or Gnome 2) refugee, but I've not had good luck getting people exposed to Windows 7 or OSX onto Mint. Since most people with these old machines will have used at least one of those at work/school I'd lean more toward Unity as the more user friendly interface. That's probably hard to fathom if you were used to Gnome 2 and experienced the abomination that was early Unity. As of 13.4 though its really becoming quite mature and is is a joy to use once you get over the learning curve. I, like you, initially resented being forced through that learning curve and went over to Mint, but Canonical had some tough decisions to make with Gnome 3 looming ahead and in the end I came back and now believe they made the right call. (I also missed getting security advisories, come on Mint...)

With normal people (non-technical) Mint has been a non-starter every time I've tried to get anyone to use it. For example, I set up a small company with System 76 desktops (which replaced XP Dells) a few months ago and didn't have to do any training whatsoever. Everyone from the baby-boomer management to the high school student warehouse folks just took right to it. Several of them have even contacted me to find out how to install Ubuntu at home. Mint is a very nice desktop OS, don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't recommend it to Windows users. The 3 times I tried to get that done they were over to Windows 7 in a week, but 12.10 onward no one has yet rejected Ubuntu. Seeing this happen is what convinced me to give it a try myself.

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Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

In order to move the XP share up, there would have to be more than one person deploying an XP VM for every two who deploy a Windows 7 or 8 VM. I don't think you are going to argue that's the case.

I recognize there are a few niche uses for XP (kiosks and other embedded uses probably being another) but there would need to be flood of new deployments happening to maintain let alone increase a 37% market share when you think about how many PCs are sold every single day.

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Stop

Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

"With their netbooks, all of which are perfectly equipped to run XP."

Perhaps, but the problem is for XP to run on the latest machines. The percentage of XP machines would even be higher now if it were not for the fact that both Intel and Microsoft have conspired to engineer XP out of existence by not updating XP drivers for the latest hardware.

Despite that, XP lives on. We have NO intension of replacing XP on our many machines after 2014. Anyway, the fact that Microsoft is not providing patches past 2014 is irrelevant, as most of our machines are not patched past service pack 3 (it's irrelevant as many are never online).

Using replacement industrial control boards mostly solves the XP driver problem as this hardware usually works with existing XP drivers.

Why bother upgrading to Windows 7 when it offers no significant advantage over XP? We're long past having to keep up appearances—and being hip by using the latest Microsoft 'fashionware' is the least of our concerns.

In fact, Windows 7 is a bloody pain to use. For starters, Win 7 is full of dross that we do not want and never will use—and even Explorer.exe has been buggered beyond recognition. And having to use chown.exe or run icacls * /T /Q /C /RESET etc. etc. to change/reset permissions to just access files and directories is totally unacceptable. And that's just the beginning of our complaints.

Unless Microsoft brings out a version of Windows for industry, engineers and scientists etc. which gives the user 'superuser' status and full control over the O/S then I expect XP to still be around in substantial quantities for well over a decade past 2014. In fact, this problem is so significant that I know of some cases where existing *Windows 2000* installations are NOT expected to be replaced until the industrial plant it is installed on is replaced in about 2025.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

I assume the figures are based on activations or kms reports so they are accurate as far as activations are concerned.

W7 has replaced xp for us for a number of reasons, first we found w7 actually supported some hardware that was flaky on xp (a room of casio keyboards in sibelius) that surprisd me. Second, lack of drivers for new notebooks replacing our old ones. Third, office 2013. After the jump from office 2003 ive put 2013 due to pdf edit capabilities (possibly my number one asked for feature from staff)

It has been a natural progression for us. W8 can burn in hell though (purely due to the UI)

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Linux

Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

No, but Xubuntu works like a charm.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

"... not patched .... it's irrelevant as many are never online"

How irrelevant? These boxes are not online to the Internet, presumably? Are they also not online to the corporate/shopfloor LAN? No USB ports? No removable media at all? (No application updates or data transfers?)

You're aware of Stuxnet, right? And the many other varieties of malware that spread using sneakernet?

"Using replacement industrial control boards"

Industrial automation? You, and the people you work for and with, need to be fully aware of Stuxnet and friends.

"Unless Microsoft brings out a version of Windows for industry, engineers and scientists etc. which gives the user 'superuser' status and full control over the O/S"

Just wondering if you are aware of Windows XP Embedded and its (almost certainly irrelevant) successors, and whether you've rejected it, and if so, why?

Apart from anything else, Windows XP Embedded (which is Windows XP renamed and with a different licence) continues to get security patches (at no extra cost) till 2016. Look it up. It allegedly has a configuration tool which allows you to configure bits of the OS in and out. But the licence is a bit more restrictive than a generic XP licence.

If I was in your apparent position, I'd be wanting to skip MS's embedded offerings and look at one of the embedded-market Linuxes. Readers mostly won't have heard of them, but will likely have used several of them recently without even realising.

Yes there'll be pain initially, maybe substantial quantities of pain. But you're heading for pain anyway if you stay with MS. Move off MS to (embedded) Linux in this market and, just as per your wish, you control your own destiny.

"I know of some cases where existing *Windows 2000* installations are NOT expected to be replaced until the industrial plant it is installed on is replaced in about 2025."

That's going to get expensive as the years go by. I guess you knew that.

Best of luck. If you need any help...

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Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

Still deploying virtualised XP machines here because some businesses depend on internal websites that can only run on IE+XP (yes, you better believe we tried every combination of IE on W7, and W8 to no avail, even the developers confirm it).

There's also all those ex-gov Core2Duo machines constantly available on eBay that keep the XP [re]installs going.

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Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

Actually almost all Cash Machines are XP. Since they just use PPP over ISDN2e. They do not connect to the internet in any way.

Ive also deployed hundreds of Outdoor kiosks recently, again all XP. Security updates do not really matter, since its just a simply app that runs full screen, on a closed network with no web access or gateway.

I also know of a certain MoD site with over 3000 XP desktops. Again, internal security is not an issue since there is no gateway to the outside world.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Not a problem if you just want to use desktop apps.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Windows 8 runs fine with the low resolution, Metro apps won't run though. It's also pretty responsive. Incidentally you can hack the intel drivers to scale the screen to the minimum resolution and run metro apps but it isn't worth it because A: it looks terrible and B: metro is slow as molasses on Atom.

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Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

> They do not connect to the internet in any way.

In an ideal world, but then managers started asking why they were paying so much more for ISDN than they were for internet when the branch already had fibre.

So a few gateways and they were able to save a lot of money and the gateways are secure because the maker said so

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Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

Whoever posted those percentages has clearly never read (nor, in all likelihood, even heard of) the TV Tropes <a href="http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LudicrousPrecision">Ludicrous Precision</a> page.

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Boffin

Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

Actually, their level of precision is consistent with their sample size.

With 160 million unique samples, 0.01% = (160,000,000 * 0.0001 =) 16 machines. They could actually measure a difference as precise as (0.01%/16 =) 0.000 625%.

In this case, they saw ~32 more XP machines than last time, and ~1,328 more Win8 machines.

The real questions are:

1) How representative is this sample of the entire population? (i.e, is there a sample bias based on a factor such as the websites used to track?)

and

2) How big is the entire population? (from which we could calculate the relative sample size and thence the confidence intervals)

Precision is not a legitimate beef with this study. Accuracy and confidence may be.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

I bought a netbook to use while I looked for anew laptop. It had W8 installed, so I thought I'd at least give it a try. Nothing wrong with the performance (my Acer has 4GB of RAM), but the interface sucks. Even after installing Classic Shell, or whatever it's called, I just couldn't live with the fact that the OS contains so much crap that has no place on a PC. So I installed W7.

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The cash point at my local Sainsbury's had a BSOD just before it deep throated my debit card.

Personally I would have preferred a Guru Meditation, but so few machines run on Amiga Workbench.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

But RBS cashmachines will not be included in these statistics, unless someone is browsing the web from them?

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Re: @AC - Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

What's interesting about all these XP installations for stand alone industrial/kiosk machines is that they are not even counted in most of the statistics gatherers because those gather stats from web usage. These machines never see the web, certainly not through a browser, so they aren't counted at all. I suspect windows XP (and 2k et al) have far more usage than the stats show. I believe, the end of XP support will drive some businesses to change, for legal reasons, but the vast majority will just continue to hum along. Also, when businesses buy new machines with a Win8 license, they can downgrade to 7, vista or XP and plenty will.

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Alien

"We have NO intension of replacing XP"

Well said RobHib.

Despite all the humbug being put out by MS and it's band of forced fed marketeers, XP operators will be around for along time after 2014. Unless of course Ballmer realises how popular XP is, and then give it a new lease of life with a SP4 release!

Not too sure how many versions there are of the 'Leo' species, but how clever Apple have been to retain the 'OSX' OS, just by giving the old cat different names to it's service packs.

BRILLIANT!! Now that's what I call good marketing AND looking after your customers.

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

The hard part of installing Windows 98 (preferably 98 SE) is that it can't cope with more than 512 MB memory. For those machines with more that, I either had to somehow get the memory physically to 512 MB or less, or somehow run it as a virtual machine. Once it was completely installed, there was an unofficial roll-up of all the official Windows 98 patches as well as an unofficial patch that would allow you to run Windows with more than 512 MB. I still have it in my archives here given how much legacy I have to deal with (back all the way to WfW).

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Windows 98 ... can't cope with more than 512 MB

>The hard part of installing Windows 98 (preferably 98 SE) is that it can't cope with more than 512 MB memory

Strange. I've never had a problem installing Win98 with 1GB memory.

Office 97 Pro can't run MS Access with 1 GB memory until the Office service pack is applied, but even so I've never had to reduce the memory to get it to install.

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@Anon Coward - Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Oh here we go again. Precis a comment and it becomes all too simple and misinterpreted.

1. Stuxnet - who cares? The machines I'm talking about are not connected to the NET and most aren't connected to a LAN either. They're used on simple general purpose apps. If a virus hits--which has never happened then it's just a matter of ghosting the O/S back on--there are no data loss issues (the real problem is hard drives carking it--not viruses).

2. Industrial mother boards that'll run XP I'm taking about--not industrial controllers.

3. On industrial controllers we use real software like QNX O/S--not toys like Windows.

4. Windows XP Embedded--do people really use that stuff? If QNX and dedicated apps aren't suitable then here it's usually Assembler (we like to control the environment, not have it control us).

5. Linux is also commonplace--it's the networked software.

THE FACTS:

6. The ubiquity of Windows means that's it's almost impossible to eradicate completely in industrial environments (but in a mixed environment it can often be isolated to non-critical tasks).

7. You need to get out more! You would be very surprised by the amount of Windows XP and older (Win 2K and NT4) that is still hanging around in industrial and work environments (by work I don't mean offices or work places where you can play solitaire--that's the upgrade market). If Windows is installed in an industrial environment it's usually employed doing some prosaic/utilitarian task and it sits there doing it until it rots. That's a fact.

8. I know of a large multinational German company that's just opened a huge brand new manufacturing factory--most of the general purpose machines run Win XP (they were moved there from another factory and as they worked AOK previously--and as they don't want teething problems at the new establishment--they used what they knew would work first time--XP!

9. Whilst it's not my idea of the best way of doing things, I know of NC (numerical control/CNC) machines whose controllers use Windows (instead of the recognized brands such as the well known FANUC). Moreover, the multi-axis machines I'm referring to cost $600k to 1M or more each and were installed around 2000. The service life of these machines is upwards of 25 years and they came with Windows 2000--the W2K is still running AOK and there's no plans to upgrade it (there is no need as the O/S is a self-contained system--it's just the operator window which links to the machines' industrial controllers).

10. There's many other similar examples of Windows XP in set-and-forget applications. Such applications include displays and even university lecture theatre monitor systems etc. Ask those who run and maintain them and they'll almost universally say "it's working so leave well enough alone--and besides why would I be silly enough to pay Microsoft unnecessarily monies for troublesome upgrades".

Like it or not, it'll be many years before XP is fully eradicated from all these 'industrial' applications.

Remember, not all copies of Windows are installed in corporate offices or on fashion-conscious gamers' machines.

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FAIL

Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

As "Windows 7" is NT 6.1 and "Windows 8" is NT 6.2, it is not surprising that there are no problems with the underlying OS. It is that appalling UI that is killing Windows and therefore PC sales. What IT Director wants to try and justify the Win8 user training costs? - say 3 to 4 hours per user x 10,000 employees - I DON'T THINK SO!!!!!!

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Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

But why pay for a new OS on a low-power machine?

SuSE 12.3 on my 1.5G RAM centrino which runs as video/web client is plenty. I think it has XP on it too (I found a COA sticker underneath and thought I'd see if it works.) KDE is fine with all the bells and whistles though LXDE is my default for low-glitz.

Mmmm, old laptop.... 1200x900 screen, DVD, stereo sound: $100 and MS wants how much for an OS?

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Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

How about... students leaving their "go to college" PCs at home hitting the beaches and businesses carry on running XP?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

Cash machines don't browse the web though!

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How many of those XP machines

are - like mine - virtual machines on a Linux box ? Totally bulletproof (as long as you run from the Day0 install image).

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Re: How many of those XP machines

Not just on Linux.

I have to connect to 15+ customers for my work, and invariably they all use some flavour of VPN that doesn't play nicely with any other VPN (different versions of Cisco, or Juniper, or Fortinet, or Shrew, or...). So I have one VM for each customer, each loaded with all the appropriate connection software for that customer. And whilst my main OS is Windows 7, every one of the VMs is XP Pro. Easily cloneable, light enough to run several at a time (although I do have 32GB RAM on the Win7 lappy) and perfect for the job.

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Why are we throwing this away?

So we should take a mature operating system and heave it into the trash bin? XP has been poked, prodded, and patched. It is as secure as anything can be despite M$ backdoor for the federal government. So why are we throwing all this effort away?

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Re: Why are we throwing this away?

"So why are we throwing all this effort away?"

You are not, MS is; past sales mean nothing to MS, it's churn, churn, churn to get the cash registers ringing.

So whatever you have invested in XP is just road kill as far as MicroSoft's sales is concerned.

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Re: Why are we throwing this away?

Microsoft is trying to get you to throw XP away so that they can screw more pennies out of your wallets.

Take Win2K, throw in better gaming compatibility... find out that it was not secure... fix it in SP2 and the world is a better place.

XP should never had been given as many updates 2002 to 2006 but because it was XP remained relevant. Vista was poor in comparison, partly because of the extra time spent on XP.

Because of its market presence hardware manufacturers produce(d) drivers. These drivers have been on the whole stable because of the maturity of XP. Its a known quantity.

XP is the success story Microsoft must hate. People won't give it up!

I prefer Win 7 though I dislike the culling of utility applications e.g. Hyperterm. (PuTTy is my friend though not as friendly as Hyperterm)

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Re: Why are we throwing this away? (@ stuff and nonesense)

" (PuTTy is my friend though not as friendly as Hyperterm)"

You can install the Hyperterm program by just copying two files from an XP install -or decompressing them from an installation disk. The process is explained here.

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Coat

@Mephistro - Yeah, but why should he have to?

Yeah, but why should he have to? (See my comments above.)

Facts are that much of the Microsoft Windows upgrading process can be considered as 'fashionware' designed just to sell product.

The issue is that no one from M$ bothered to consult whether Hyperterm was still needed or not. Such unilateral decisions are the problem, they're of the same magnitude as M$'s decision NOT to fix issues in XP or provide it with updated drivers but rather to bring out a new version so M$ can increase its revenues.

The continued popularity of XP shows that many users have finally woken up to the con-job.

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