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back to article Microsoft fears XP could cause Indian BANKOCALYPSE

The Indian banking industry could be facing a partial meltdown after Microsoft revealed new research claiming over 34,000 publicly-funded bank branches are still reliant on Windows XP. The report from Ascentius Consulting revealed that XP penetration in the banking sector is at 40-70 per cent. Some 34,115 branches were singled …

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rav

XP 2.0?

Seems to me Microsoft should seriously consider XP 2.0. Why not fix it? Folks sure don't want Win 8. I know that I don't want win 8. So much in fact that when my 2009 vintage Lenovo T500 laptop died I found 2 more online exactly like it to bung in the XP hard drive.

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Anonymous Coward

Running scared Y2K

Just like in 2000 when all the computers in the world were supposed to reset themselves and cause chaos.

It became a non-event.

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Re: Running scared Y2K

There was a massive amount of work put in prior to y2k to ensure risks were actualy known or fixed. It was a non event because of the work put in to fix issues, not because there were no issues

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JDX
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Re: XP 2.0?

XP 2.0... like W7 then?

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Re: XP 2.0?

re: 2009 vintage Lenovo T500 laptop died

Yes, my 2008 T60 (Core 2 T7200) with a 1400x1050 screen running XP is living on borrowed time, but these higher spec'd systems don't seem to come up for sale very often.

The scary thing is that it's UI (trackpad, screen etc.) seems so much more responsive and precise compared to a new HP 650 (i3-2328M) running Windows 8 provided by a client - this isn't a dig at Win8 (although there are features I don't like) but that I found the newer system less satisfying and slower to use.

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Re: Running scared Y2K

It was a non-event because all the Y2K promoters were bingeing their ill-gotten gains on an immense best-forgotten blowout and were oblivious to all problems for a few days.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: XP 2.0?

"Seems to me Microsoft should seriously consider XP 2.0. Why not fix it?"

They did. It's called Windows 7. Migration is a well proven exercise with very few unknowns at this point....

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Re: XP 2.0?

Migration is a well proven exercise with very few unknowns at this point....

And a price tag that would go a long way towards buying a new PC.

If Microsoift were serious about getting people off XP they'd offer W7 upgrades for $50, but they'd obviously prefer to line their distributors pockets with cash from people forced to buy new PCs instead.

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Re: XP 2.0?

Or rather, Windows FLP 2.0?

This was a cut down XP for Pentium 2s etc. that allowed some corporates to migrate from Windows 98 onto the XP kernel.

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Re: XP 2.0?

Not really. Having been part of a migration from XP to W7, I can tell you that there are plenty of pitfalls to migrating directly between the two.

1. Drivers. Let's face it, not every device you may have used under WXP will have drivers on W7 and the existing WXP drivers, while some might actually work, quite a lot don't. You end up with the headache of how to work around this or, in extreme situations, replace.

2. Bad programming. To be honest, this is not directly a Windows fault but it goes back to the bad old days where a programmer expects all users to be running as a default administrator straight out of the box and does not plan services properly. This causes all sorts of problems with file access, database access and in some extremes profile access.

3. Functionality changes. Not every single WXP option or control has its analogue in W7 and, when they do, it isn't quite what you expect. One example was the "root certificates" which, on WXP, was updated regularly as a Windows Update patch but, on W7 and Vista, is supposed to be updated on the fly as it is needed which does not account for possible security issues. This leads to plenty of certificate errors on otherwise legitimate sites.

That's before we get to the "where did x function or y control go" which is a problem with every update of Windows since the very beginning.

Yes, WXP to W7 is a good way to go on the whole, but it's not a painless procedure and it certainly couldn't be called WXP V2.0, though given W8 and all that has occurred, I can still see W7 taking hold of the market for a similar amount of time, despite Microsoft's bullying tactics when it comes to selling systems.

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Re: XP 2.0?

XP 2.0... like W7 then?

Yes, but without the newly introduced features which tend to get in the way. In fact, a good XP2 would be XP with a few of its bugs killed.

Adding new bugs and bits that annoy users is not the way to encourage take-up. If W7 worked as promised then there would be about three XP machines left running in the UK. The fact that there's a strong reluctance to regrade must indicate to someone that there's not a real compelling reason other than scary stories of trolls under the bridge watiting for the unwary who don't have Aero to protect them.

I would be a massive fan of W7 if the following basic conditions were met:

1. It would run as fast as XP

2. XP Compability mode were compatable with, say, XP

3. The networking would be stable and not lose shares, machines or even forget where the machine was

4. That File Explorer would refresh if two, or more, instances were open

The last two, I would have thought, were basic and relatively easy to solve. The second should have been mandatory before W7 left the 'manufacturing plant' and the first point, whilst I can't expect miracles, it ought to come close.

Fix these four things and I will say Goodbye to XP forever.

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Re: XP 2.0?

None of these things are unknown. Any IT department with a clue will be able to workaround them and migrate to XP, the only barrier being cost.

I say this having worked for two very different companies migrating to W7.

- You build a deployment infrastructure (MS deployment tools are ALL free) - you dont really need a powerful box either, just a lot of storage

- You identify legacy apps that *might* not work, and put in workarounds to get them working (these vary depending on the issue) - all else fails? Build a VDI.

- You build a driver repository with 32 AND 64bit drivers in this infrastructure

- You deploy and point anyone with a question about "where do I find X" to the MS help & support pages

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Re: XP 2.0?

While I agree that XP 2.0 would be a good idea I'm not sure where this apocalypse will come from. PCs that worked before will continue to work as will all applications. The only risk I can see is that they will become more vulnerable as there will be no further patches.

On the other hand anti-virus software could and probably will be used to block attacks so I doubt we'll see much difference. All the major banks I've worked for in Blighty are also still using a lot of XP so I assume they're thinking the same (or possibly not thinking at all).

In fact most XP machines I've worked on are a long way off being up to date with patches but nearly all are up to date with anti-virus software.

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Re: XP 2.0?

Any IT department with a clue will be able to workaround them and migrate to XP, the only barrier being cost.

Exactly. (my emphasis)

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Re: Running scared Y2K

"It became a non-event."

You were obviously too young to be a part of it and must have read this bullshit statement off some website somewhere!

We spent 18 months at my tiny little shop checking everything from software to kettles ( seriously, we did have sign off Y2K on things that didn't even have clocks! ), signing everything off at least 2-3 months before the grand date. Come the glorious night of 31st 1999 some of us didn't get to see the fireworks or drink champagne as we were sitting in offices watching system clocks tick over and making sure the world didn't come to a screaming halt!

That's why it was a non-event, millions of people worked hard to make sure it was a non-event so when everyone awoke to their hangovers in 2000 the planes hadn't fallen from the sky and you could still go down TESCO and get your 1st Jan 2000 newspaper!

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Flame

Re: XP 2.0?

Microsoft should include a hidden XP update that forces XP users to auto-sign up for a Google+ account if they don't upgrade. Windows 8 sales will skyrocket!

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MJI
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Re: XP 2.0?

Windows 7

Great, you cannot run full screen MS DOS .exes

NETBIOS removed

2 huge fails.

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Childcatcher

Re: Running scared Y2K

That's why it was a non-event, millions of people worked hard to make sure it was a non-event...

I worked for a bank at that time and had the joy of watching the fireworks from the top of one of our buildings because our shareholders wanted reassuring. Of course, the CEO was busy enjoying the festivities elsewhere... Anyway, banks are extremely risk averse when it comes to changing technology. Changing the OS their business uses to make profits requires more than its support being withdrawn. The only things I can think of that will reliably cause a bank to make a change of that scope are a loss of profits deriving from the OS, and a merger. Come to think of it, I know of some banks that fought changing their OS as part of a merger.

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Re: Running scared Y2K

" ( seriously, we did have sign off Y2K on things that didn't even have clocks! )"

Was that not a clue that at least some of this 18 month marathon was actually unnecessary?

I'm sure IBM's mainframe division did sterling work in keeping up their systems, but that was a purely internal matter for IBM. In the more open PC world, where most of the y2k analysts lived and worked, there was never much to worry about in the first place. Most software that had to handle dates had needed to handle post-2000 dates long before y2k. Most of the rest was never likely to cause more than minor inconvenience.

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Re: XP 2.0?

>XP 2.0... like W7 then?

No more like XP-SP4 plus the additional functionality that MS could of and should of released for XP but decided on commercial grounds to only release with Vista and W7. Remember the purpose of XP 2.0 would be to not introduce lots of new things, but to get paid for maintaining XP Pro (32-bit only?) for another 10+ years.

So the launch 'product' itself is more of a new licence key combined with a Windows Update.

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Happy

Re: Running scared Y2K

>"Most software that had to handle dates had needed to handle post-2000 dates long before y2k."

Like Excel, which whilst it could handle post-2000 dates doing stuff with them could be problematic ...

Actually what Y2K made every one realise was just how many things now had clocks/calendars in them and we didn't know what the impact might be when things rolled over - hence why the net was widely caste.

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Re: Running scared Y2K

> That's why it was a non-event, millions of people worked hard to make sure it was a non-event so when everyone awoke to their hangovers in 2000 the planes hadn't fallen from the sky and you could still go down TESCO and get your 1st Jan 2000 newspaper!

Indeed, and perhaps I could add that we did indeed find a lot of problems, particularly with PC bioses, with an upgrade being mostly all that was required.

We did have one customer that had an automatic pricing machine at a photofinishers run by an old PC. It couldn't be BIOS upgraded at all and the manufacturer had gone out of business. The PC itself had to be replaced and all the hardware retro-fitted.

The Y2K situation was a big deal for a lot of people.

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Re: XP 2.0?

XP 2.0... like W7 then?

Windows 7 - Aero + Classic Shell

That gets close.

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Re: Running scared Y2K

Some did.

I had a couple of law firm customers whose ancient *nix machines kept resetting their clocks to 1970 at each reboot. They put up with it because they didn't reboot often and they had a migration plan in the wings.

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Re: Running scared Y2K

"Anyway, banks are extremely risk averse "

Why are they running windows anything?

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Re: Running scared Y2K

"Most software that had to handle dates had needed to handle post-2000 dates long before y2k. Most of the rest was never likely to cause more than minor inconvenience."

Amongst other things, without updates most spreadsheets running on Windows would start giving subtley wrong answers after y2k.

That's even worse that failing entirely, as was the fact that a lot of security systems treated 9/9/99 as an impossible date and shut down that day (many stayed that way until restarted), or that a lot of systems running NTP broke in late February 2008 as the standard implementation treated the time as a signed long instead of an unsigned one

Let you think that NTPbreaking is minor, it was on unix systems, but it caused ALL routers built on Allied Telesyn code to start crash cycling. As a result 80% of china's IP backbone was out of action for ~ 12 hours. Analysis of the issue came from New Zealand within 30 minutes of things breaking starting but it takes time to disable NTP on 200,000 routers which are crashing every 90 seconds.

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Re: Running scared Y2K

Oh, spare me. That work needed to be done anyway and should have been done sooner. It wasn't like anybody didn't know that the year 2000 was coming. Just because businesses left everything to the last minute don't expect to be lauded for your sacrifice or whatever you think you were doing in solving a problem that was the product of short sightedness anyway. The only question to ask is , Was it worth saving the two bytes ?

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Re: XP 2.0?

"Windows 7. Great, you cannot run full screen MS DOS .exes"

Try Windows 7 x64. It won't run ANY of my old dos code. I've been meaning to port some of it anyway.

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Re: Running scared Y2K

IBM didn't do all the work for mainframe systems. Every big bank and insurance company set up a group to go through all their mainframe code and identify date error potential (and get it fixed). One common error besides the 2-digit date (which most of us had coded for) was the fact that 2000 was NOT a leap year -- an exception. We used scan packages to find mentions of dates, but each hit had to be reviewed by a human. Followed by changed and tested, of course.

I also got to write scan code for the non-COBOL systems. That was a lot of fun. Most of them were written in C and would be OK until the date overflowed in 2036 (if I remember correctly), but there were also a lot of STRUCT definitions that were dodgy. There are tons of other languages used by various systems, and lots of screen scraping. A fun time was had by all. Any problems found were referred to the system owners.

The management of this enormous mess was also a challenge. When the final hours came, I was there in the secret control centre with top management, running Lotus Domino servers and taking reports from all over the globe. It was exciting, and nothing very terrible happened.

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fear

it's what's for dinner!

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Happy

Re: fear

Delicious and nutritious. Tastes just like chicken.

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Cloud?

Businesses DON'T WANT the cloud, unless the cloud is in their own datacenters. Companies are extremely finicky about letting people hold their trade secrets and other confidential documents, especially after all these NSA spying hoohah. Microsoft should get that into the thick head of theirs.

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Re: Cloud?

Not only the hoohah over the spying issues, using the cloud when you could have your own in-house datacenter means your business is reliant on two different 3rd party services, the cloud and your internet provider. It might save the business a bit of money if things go smoothly, but if they don't then you could be galloping up diarrhea drive without a saddle.

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Re: Cloud?

I work in a bank that still uses XP, we have been using "the cloud" for as long as anyone can remember, even back in our OS/2 days. No documents are held locally on any machine, all files are on robust, backed up, network shares in the datacentres. You work on a laptop, you either VPN onto teh network, or store the bare minimum on an encrypted drive.

It isn't called the cloud, and all our files aren't held by a third party, but it seems to be pretty much the same thing. No windows 8.1 needed!

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Re: Cloud?

Especially small businesses that will be forced to use cloud Email with the demise of SBS 2011, or buy a full version of Exchange.

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Devil

One final XP patch!

Given the awful truth facing those unwilling or unable to upgrade to Windows 8.1, with the unspeakable collateral damage to innocent customers and bystanders, there is only one obvious solution which is paramount to saving the world: one final XP patch in April, 2014.

It will retract the OS license and wipe the XP drive.

Problem over. Call 1-900-BUY-MORE for assistance.

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Don't panic, until we tell you to.

" Microsoft said failure to migrate would mean banks not being able to support biometric readers, ...."

Isn't this about drivers for the readers? If so, the manufacturers had better write some XP drivers; or maybe Linux drivers :)

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Is the new Indian Mars probe running Windows XP? I'd like to see how they can do an upgrade to Windows 8 on that thing.

Oh no wait, you can't upgrade. You have to do a full clean install....

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You can upgrade if it's 32bit to 32bit or 64bit to 64bit but you can't cross the streams.

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Don't you have to upgrade from 32bit XP to Vista-32 first, then 7-32, then is there a 32-bit 8? It's probably about 24 hours "work" answering the odd question every 20 minutes or so. And if you believe anything will still be working after that completes ....

There's no direct upgrade path from 32-bit XP to 64-bit Windows 7 (or 8). Why not, Microsoft only knows. It's not as if nobody wanted it. They'd even pay for it.

As for that April deadline, it's like the USA debt ceiling. I'm 99% sure they'll take it to the wire, and then announce another year's support. That'll probably happen twice. Because the world's governments aren't going to make the deadline, and they will quietly explain to Microsoft what will be the consequences to Microsoft of not providing XP updates past next April. By which I mean, punitive (multi-billion) fines for abuse of a their monopoly, and terminal loss of government contracts. If you have to do an emergency migration anyway, why not migrate to Linux, and never again be held to ransom by a monopolist's finger on the kill switch?

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> Don't you have to upgrade from 32bit XP to Vista-32 first, then 7-32, then is there a 32-bit 8?

No.

You can go straight from XP to 8 (and yes, there is an 8 32bit).

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FAIL

XP to Windows H8

No it is not that easy. In MS's infinite lack of wisdom, perfectly usable hardware cannot run on Windows H8 'in your interests' because it does not have the DEP type functions on the processor. You might go to Windows 7 or Linux but NOT Windows H8. The fact that 8 will not work with most of the other hardware in a heterogeneous network is yet another reason to avoid 8 like the plague.

The attempts to force cloud take up is yet another, all clouds are good for is thunderstorms, hail and floods. No thank you, I see another off site storage company has just taken gamers money and data to the scrap yard, what a great idea this 'who knows what, where, when and for how long' storage idea must be.

No touch not cloudy, no new interface rubbish, wow is XP the new operating system of choice?

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Re: XP to Windows H8 @Richard

Why are you even contemplating on upgrading ancient computers to Windows 8?

I wouldn't bother even with Windows 7 on Pentium4/Athlon era CPU, and you'd still be limited to 32 bit OS on those processors.

What a complete non-issue.

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Boffin

@Nigel 11

"There's no direct upgrade path from 32-bit XP to 64-bit Windows 7 (or 8). Why not, Microsoft only knows. It's not as if nobody wanted it. They'd even pay for it."

Before lambasting Microsoft's policies, can you give examples of upgrading a 32-bit desktop OS from ca. 2001 to a 64-bit OS from 2012?

How many Linux distros support jumping from 32-bit to 64-bit when upgrading?

Next, try to upgrade your Fedora Core 1 (from 2003) to the latest 64-bit version. Jumping through the hoops may in theory be possible but I certainly would start from scratch.

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So MS Channel Sales

Man the phones, get those meetings and bug the hell out of the banking IT managers into selling their first born so they can purchase shiny new windows licences earning you a nice fat commission.

Meanwhile in a parallel universe. The ever resourceful Indian nation who are able to send a mission to Mars for £45M, go FU MS are you joking a that price ? No thanks we'll go Linux .

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Re: So MS Channel Sales

"so they can purchase shiny new windows licences earning you a nice fat commission."

The vast majority of companies will be paying for software assurance (support and maintenance) so no new licences will be required....

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Windows Lite

Suggested this before, but they should release an upgrade for this that will run on the existing hardware but limit it so that it does not cannibalize sales otherwise. They would make a mountain of money at a stroke, report a couple of quarters of spectacular earnings to goose up the stock price, sell their shares and flee that sinking ship.

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Pirate

Nice bank you got here

It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it.

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Don't Panic!

XP IS NOT going to stop working in 100 days time.

Also I am sure that the Indian banks are using more 'up to date' back end technology. All XP is used for is as desktop. It will continue to run most applications and with a browser it can access the internet and the cloud. If they really needed to upgrade they would probably go for Windows 7.

Microsoft are sh1tting themselves because, like the rest of us, no businesses in their right mind wan't to purchase Windows 8.

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Re: Don't Panic!

+1 All that will happen is that uSoft will no longer provide patches for any newly emerging zero day. Given how long xp has been around and how generally robust it is I fail to see the need for panic .. Except of course for the uSoft account reps who can't sell the upgrade.

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