back to article Microsoft shouts 'Long Live XP'

Microsoft’s dream of a Vista only world moved farther out on the horizon yesterday as the software firm admitted it would extend sales of Windows XP by another five months. XP was supposed to be off the vendor’s price list by the end of January 2008. Now it will stick around until the end of the second quarter. The cut down …


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  1. Keith Turner Silver badge

    egg on faces

    "UK retail chain PC World blamed the non-take off of Vista for an over-stock problem in its most recent results, with CEO John Clare saying “gross margins have been materially impacted as a result of increased promotional activity to reduce one-off hardware stock levels that resulted from lower than expected demand for Vista products.” "

    Oh yeah?

    How about "We never really ask our customers what they want, we only buy stuff on the recommendation of sales promoters from our major suppliers."

    Or " We really screwed up on this one, never saw it coming."

    While I'm waiting for a Linux distro for oldish laptops with wireless and on-board graphics chips, I'm relieved to know that I will be able to rebuild a machine that would struggle to run Vista but is happy with XP.

    (or we told 'em so)

  2. Phill

    Vista isn't an option

    The specs are too high for medium / large businesses to run on their existing kit. Most companies prefer to avoid a mixed environment as well so until there down to their last 50 vista incompatible machines you just won't see the potential benefits to move up a platform.

    Anyway what does he mean "more people are buying vista with new machines than ever before"? Does he mean the software forced onto people who buy new machines is doing well because overall sales of PCs are up (of course not influenced by MS) or because OEMS are pressured into saying "up to date" with newest hardware and software regardless of if it is better or not?.

  3. Simon


    Looks like a shot to the foot.

  4. Simon Martin

    Just how bad can the Vista experience be?

    I am forced to use XP for some things at work I really struggle to come to terms with the concept of preferring XP over another OS.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay for XP

    Sure, its not perfect, but it beats the arse off the all flash/no pants Vista.

    Plus you don't have to retrain your entire bloody business as your users have been using it at home for years.

    XP Service Pack 3 is coming soon kids, no reason to switch for a long time.

  6. Mark

    I'm planning to avoid Vista

    My PC isn't well at the moment so it could be time to buy another. It's the first time I've seriously considered switching to a Mac - anything to avoid the unfinished Vista.

    Apple must be loving all this...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Five months...

    "extend sales of Windows XP by another five months..."

    Will that be long enough?

  8. Matt Dodds

    Downgrade rights?

    I'm wondering if anyone can confirm whether, once Vista is all you can buy, you'll still be able to exercise "downgrade rights"? That's normally a get-out so although you have to buy Vista, you can then immediately wipe that OS and install XP instead.

  9. Stu


    Its about goddamn time! Here's hoping MS are forced into extending it beyond even the next 5 months.

    Wouldn't it be great for XP to actually be kept alive and current enough to mature (via patching & service packs) into something resembling a decent OS before the 'bigger and better' (lol) OS stomps on it?

    ...Would make a change.

  10. Robert McCracken



  11. Ferry Boat

    A long time ago...

    The best OS they ever had was DOS 3.3 nothing better since. Although DOS 5 was pretty good too. Oh, and Windows for Playgroups with that multiuser hearts game.

    I worked for MS during the Win95 launch in Australia. Best comment ever from a Joe Public user on the phone support desk. "I've bought this Windows 95 thing and until it's fixed I won't install it".

  12. Stuart Harrison

    Vista = The new Windows ME?

    It certainly seems that way. Thank God I've got a Mac.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft full of bull as usual

    they fail to state that the reason people are opting for vista on new PCs is they are not offered an alternative. Most suppliers are telling customers that PC's and Laptops with XP are no longer available, forcing people to by this new pile of garbage known as vista

  14. Vince

    Vista Licenses and Downgrade Rights


    I'm wondering if anyone can confirm whether, once Vista is all you can buy, you'll still be able to exercise "downgrade rights"? That's normally a get-out so although you have to buy Vista, you can then immediately wipe that OS and install XP instead.


    This only applies to Volume Licensing and yes, still applies in the same way it did before.

  15. Robert Lee

    Simply buying time

    I suspect that MS is buying time for the launch of SP1 which most claimed to solve most of the major problems of Vista, so when SP1 is launched, the punters wont have any excuse of not using Vista anymore.

  16. steve

    I remember when.......

    Xp first came out and i said to myself "I'm touching that, it's way too unstable". Then microsoft launched Vista and now i'm thinking "Thank God for xp, i don't have to put that half finished pile of C*ap Vista on my pc".

    We tried to install it on a PC at my work place, but after 3 hours we just reformatted the box and put xp on it. Vista just isn't worth the trouble.

  17. JeffyPooh Silver badge

    I like Vista...

    I like Vista... it'll be nice when they finish writing it.

    My laptop happens to have 2GB of ram. When I turn it on (and wait several minutes for it finish calculating another thousand digits of Pi, or whatever the heck it's doing during boot-up), the memory meter gadget typically reports that it is using 48%. In other words, about a gig of ram just for Vista to get out of bed in the morning.

    I tried the ReadyBoost feature with a nice 4GB USB stick. It really does make the system fly (after a ten-minute background copying session). But when the laptop goes to sleep with a ReadyBoost stick stuck in its ear, it wakes up stupid. That's seems to be one of the areas (ReadyBoost + Sleep mode) where the Vista code plus BIOS interface isn't quite done.

    One thing I'm not doing is trying to load on all my old software. I just downloaded Open Office and started fresh. I suspect that makes a huge difference.

  18. Allan Rutland

    Re: Downgrade rights?

    As far as I understand it, just like with XP Pro, if you have Vista Business or Ultimate you can downgrade to anything before it...XP, 2k, whatever.

    HP and a few others are using this on certain machines by throwing in a old XP restore disk with the Vista one also since the license supports it.

    Then again, in a business environment, XP is still working well. Will be quiet interesting to see how MS does Vista embedded...but currently can't see anything happening at all in that line. But there are so many things which XP is used with, which currently, there just isn't anything else.

  19. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Best bit of MS news I've heard for ages... if they can just permanently "disappear" sharepoint as well and the world will be a better place. For now anyway.

  20. adnim Silver badge

    between the lines

    "Nash also said, “We’re also seeing more retail customers purchasing their new Windows operating system when they get a new PC than we ever have before, rather than purchasing it standalone.”"

    From this I read... No one is purchasing vi$ta off the shelf. vi$ta is being foisted on users who buy a new system because they have little choice unless they request XP. All new PC sales will be regarded by m$ as a vi$ta sale even if the user chooses to upgrade to XP. Yes I said upgrade from vi$ta to XP. In my opinion the worse thing one can do to a fast and efficient PC is to cripple it by installing vi$ta.

    For all Joe Sixpacks and Radio One listeners everywhere, before you accept vi$ta think on this: All that glistens is not gold. And you can't polish a turd, even though m$ managed to put a party frock on one and call it vi$ta.

  21. Andy Turner

    They created their own problem..

    .. it's because these days, XP is so solid and functional that no-one sees any need to change to anything else. Vista has a lot of advances for developers, but it'll take time before those new Vista-only developments become killer applications.

  22. Kevin Eastman

    Offices still going XP

    My office will be replacing about 11 computers and getting a couple of new lap tops in the next couple of months. I found out today, they they will all be coming with, you guessed it, XP. Most everyone in the company knows it and the bugs are all mostly worked out. We don't need dual core 64 bit systems to use Microsoft Office (I did say this was the office, I use Open Office at home) as well as other customer relations related software. So for us, XP is the perfect operating system. So why would we want to dish out for the extra hardware to get an operating system, like Vista, which we don't need, and will require everyone having to learn?

  23. Geoff Webber

    Win 2k !

    many of our customers (the small ones) are still using Win2k quite happily and see no reason to change. It costs then too much in outsourced IT to upgrade.

    The big ones install from an image and are more than happy to continue with XP which is robust and has little or no compatibilty issues with legacy systems.

  24. John Angelico

    @Downgrade rights?

    But in that scenario, the monopolist still gets your hard-earned bread.

    I prefer to look elsewhere - eCS 2.0 is almost ready, I hear about a thing called Ubuntu and others have mentioned an Apple a day to keep the Ballmer away.

    John A

    OS/2er from Down Under

  25. Brian Miller

    XP is EOL, Vista is beginning of hell

    At work I've been given a monster laptop with Vista Home Premium. Yes, a work machine with Home. Core 2 Duo with 2Gb RAM, and its not a fun experience. The first order of business was removing all of the garbage-ware from the system, and then trying to make Vista behave in a more reasonable manner.

    It is not simply a matter of a few quirks in a new OS. The OS has been ridiculously divided into half a dozen different marketing schemes. This fragmentation is entirely unnecessary. The different schemes range from horribly crippled to slightly useable.

    The laptop was a "factory refurbished" unit. Vista claimed that the key was inappropriate, and wanted another key. So I put in the key from the sticker on the bottom of the machine. Vista still didn't like that key. Finally I had to activate the machine over the phone. Once activation was completed, Vista claimed that it was non-genuine. A quick trip over to the MS Genuine page solved that.

    I don't appreciate my experience with Vista. It used to be that all you had to contend with was loading drivers. I wish that I could run a different OS. Unfortunately, no. Its the only Vista machine at work, and its needed for development and testing. *sigh*

  26. Chris Adams

    Aero UI

    The main problem with the Vista launch as I see it, is much was made of the Aero UI as the defining feature of the OS. The problems being that a) You needed a PC upgrade that most modern games wouldn't require, in order to run it or else b) you had to "upgrade" to a copy of Vista without the "Wow is Now" Aero factor and it just wasn't worth it.

    Now, if I'm buying a new PC *anyway*, then, sure, I can be sure the spec will be sufficient and I'll go away happy and get my whole Vista experience.

    Then I will remember it's just an OS and I'll need to install all my old programs I used to run on XP anyway.

    The best reason I've heard to upgrade to Vista so far? "Eve Online is releasing DirectX10 graphics so I need Vista and an nVidia 8 series." There is no compelling reason for anyone else to splash the cash just so they can ooh and ahh at Aero.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vista Retail Price

    The retail price of Window here in the UK is anything from £160 to £369.99 (PC World's web price for Ultimate on 28 Sep 07). How Microsoft is surprised at the slow uptake is beyond me.

    The license conditions on the OEM version are almost so restricting it wont be long before removing the PC's lid will invalidate the guarantee and require you to to buy a new copy of vista.

    Honesty how can any one be surprised Vista's uptake is slow. Its *Too* expensive to buy retail.

    The price, and the number of problems manufacturer's seem to have producing reliable graphics and sound drivers for their high end cards. Nvidia and Creative still haven't got it right 8 months after the launch. Even the native sound driver for my Intel motherboard splutters and crackles now and then.

    I'm using vista. An OEM copy that came with my PC, but for ages I kept my old PC, running XP, to play the games that Vista wouldn't even start. I might have been better staying with XP. When I raised a couple of game related problems, earlier in the year, in the Microsoft support groups. I was told by a MVP "What do you expect when you buy a bleeding edge OS". I'm sure that wasn't the response Microsoft would have liked.

    Then again the number of customers buying Vista isn't what Microsoft would have liked either. I've been a fan of Microsoft since the 80's. They started an unstoppable move to personal computing and for that I salute them. Their operating systems got better and better and more reliable, starting with NT

    Vista is questionable. Is it really a step forward? Well not if you play games. Yes, its supposed to be be more secure, but is a pain in the backside for the ordinary user. Its so complicated, few know what to do when it breaks. If I was still working in PC support, my future would be even more secure than Microsoft's. I'm retired I play lots of games :)

    Oh and my old PC? Its running Ubuntu and I'm extremely impressed. Be very afraid Microsoft the penguin is coming.

    Steve B

  28. Ian North

    RE: Downgrade Rights


    As long as you buy the PC with Vista Business or Ultimate or have an SA agreement to get Enterprise, you do have downgrade rights. However you don't with the Home editions.

  29. John

    Has M$ had their peak??

    The poor vista sales are due to the fact that vista is a pig, difficult to use and doesn't play well with others. Despite it vast flaws, XP is good enough for most people and most people see no reason to switch.

    The M$ golden age has been and gone, it's all downhill from here on in. XP will be the best product they ever produce. How long until the next OS? 10 years? Bet it will be even more of a pig than vista. I give M$ another 20 years before they fold.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft should rise XP prices and take Vista back to programers

    I think they just not understand the oportunity to earn from XP with dubling the price - because XP is "old and borring".

    Personaly - I would triplle XP price if being Microsoft !!! - and so have another 30,000,000,000 to invest in Vista...

    - They are just too good to people who buy trheir products...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What was the point...

    ..Of making a new O/S XP seemed usable enough, no need to spend stupid amounts of money on new hardware, the games could cope. but then you get the numpty music/movie industry whining about copy protection which microsoft blindly tried to get involved and made a complete hash of it. Whats the saying if it's not broke don't bloody fix it.

    And whats will all the widget crap eating all your memory and locking you out of your HDD. I have been informed that Vista is actually useful to criminals as forensics have problems getting through some of the locks and encryptions.

    i see a new market... Vista for Terrorists.

  32. Daniel

    Nostalia ain't what it used to be

    About the time it first came out, I recall non-Windows team members at Microsoft would often refer to XP as 'the Vomit-colored abomination' (I kid you not), citing unnecessarily high hardware specs for what was, essentially, a Windows 2000 kernel wrapped in slippery green graphics. Now we have another NT 5 kernel wrapped in even more vomit-coloured graphics, and people are yearning for a down grade to XP.

    Talk about a dog returning to his vomit....

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    time to stock up on a couple of XP licences ...

    Vista is total and utter junk. A lot of software / hardware has problems with Vista.

    Let alone the constant nagging 'this software has not been signed blabla' if you run 2 or 3 year old programs.

    What do they want ? us to upgrade all our software ? that would mean i'd have to shell out wel over 20 grand per pc ... (CAD software) forget it. I'll stick to XP

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Downgrade rights

    Vista Business and Ultimate have downgrade rights and you can later upgrade again to Vista.

    Confirmed by MS as of last week.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More verified 64-bit drivers...

    ...for older hardware before quite a few people will upgrade. In this person's particular instance, Adaptec & M-Audio need the small & gentle word. I have the problem of Adaptec's AVA-2904 & M-Audio's Midisport 8x8/s not being supported with 64-bit drivers, at present. Why should a person have to dump good peripheral hardware (as well as everything that depends on it!), if it can be made to work? Obviously, MS wants the world to go 64-bit, like Apple, Intel, AMD, etc., yet the peripheral hardware manufacturers aren't all pulling their collective finger out. The case will remain with the next Microsoft OS, & the one after that, if nothing can be done about this. Is Microsoft actually less than capable, when it comes to negotiating with smaller hardware manufacturers for support?

    In the meantime, if anything breaks (hard drives & motherboards etc.), then it'll get fixed to something resembling it's former condition with XP, rather than upgrade to Vista64. The least expensive option & the difference in price, for the questionable improvement at present, doesn't make it truly worthwhile. Vista32 is a non-starter, as there is no substantial improvement over XP. The drivers & memory limits are similar, the OS costs more, has to be re-learned, & would generally be more sluggish; with all of the candyfloss switched on & no significant basic hardware upgrade. As it stands, DX10 is unnecessary for non-gamers. Occasional gamers can get by happily with just DX9c, as well.

  36. Guy

    But it's Sparkly!

    I'm using Ultimate as I wanted to use the Media Center software.

    So far I really like Vista, except maybe the speed which isn't there, and having to use so many beta drivers to get my hardware working.

    The file copying issue was amusing as well.

    Having said all that though, going back to my XP partition does FEEL like a step backwards, I think I may be part jackdaw, I'm captivated by the sparklyness that is Aero. Sure I can work faster, and all my kit works, but it just doesn't feel as good.

    Plus I only had XP Pro before, so no media center software (other than 3rd party which worked, kinda) and I really like media center, even if you do have to click like 15 buttons to get anywhere.

    So yeah, leave Vista alone, it's pretty and I like it, I know I shouldn't I'm a professinal geek damnit, I should be swayed by functionality over everything, I have Linux boxes all over the place, as firewalls / routers, LAMP servers etc. yet I can't find it in me to dislike Vista. Heres looking forward to Vista SP1, 2 & 3!

  37. b166er

    NT 4

    I wish MS would release the source code under an open license. Then someone could code some proper USB/DX9 support, tidy up the file system a bit. I quite liked NT 4

  38. alistair millington Silver badge

    Makes me smile.

    "As it stands, DX10 is unnecessary for non-gamers. Occasional gamers can get by happily with just DX9c, as well."

    Never mind occasional gamers, hard core gamers won't use Vista regardless of DX10. Dx9c is fine thankyou very much. Better to have a working DX9c than a broken Vista with Nvidia driver running DX10 and constant crashes.

    I have OEM Vista Ultimate, Last MS product I will be buying. Such a high price, no wonder people are hacking it or turning away.

    Come on the penguins...

  39. laird cummings

    @Win 2k !

    Hell, it ain't even small business still plumping for Win2K. I work for a pretty damn big Pharma, 50k+ employees, and we're still deploying new boxes loaded with Win2K. It's solid, it's fully patched, it doesn't fall over easily, nor does it gobble more than a moderate mount of resources (relatively speaking). Result is an operating platform that our internal software developers can trust, that runs all our applications reliably, and that our users are happy with. Winners all around.

    XP can wait, and Vista can go wait in a dark hole.

  40. John Dallman

    Oh, the irony

    I was going to buy a new machine shortly, to get oner with XP rather than Vista. Now, I can wait a bit longer. Probably not what the hardware vendors wanted to hear...

  41. Corrine


    You know the media software comes with Premium right?

    Here's to spending 250 more than you had too. (Or did you get bilked because you needed the networking features?)

  42. regadpellagru

    Ah ah, good one Kro

    “While we’ve been pleased with the positive response we’ve seen and heard from customers using Windows Vista, there are some customers who need a little more time to make the switch to Windows Vista.”

    LOL, what a pleasant way to say punters are waiting for next gen. CPUs and more than that, a config with 2GB of RAM for an affordable price, in order to at least be able to run any app whatsoever like they could on XP with 1GB or even less.

    Surely, this time, Microsoft won't have to support any old driver since the OS ressource consumption will have killed all config older than 1 year.

  43. O

    I second 'Vista is not an option'

    There's simply no way that I'll ever willingly use this prime example of DRM infected bloatware, cum O/S. I intend to buy a new laptop with XP some time in the New Year. Then in a couple of years - when Linux has matured and eaten more Micro$oft market share - I'll move to which ever flavour of Linux seems most attractive.

  44. Morely Dotes

    re: Just how bad can the Vista experience be?

    "I am forced to use XP for some things at work I really struggle to come to terms with the concept of preferring XP over another OS."

    Well, if by "another OS" you mean Mac OSX, or Linux, I'd have to agree. Right now I have a Vista machine, an XP machine, and a Kubuntu Linux laptop on my desk. The Vista machine has roughly 4 times the hardware horsepower of the XP machine, and equal performance. The laptop has one-quarter the hardware horsepower of the PX machine (or less - it's only 128M RAM vs. 2 gigs on the XP box) and nearly-equal performance.

    So, yes, people who actually want the PC to do some *work* (as opposed to running pretty screensavers, and having a user interface designed by some horrible gene-spliced combination of Fisher-Price and the Marquis de Sade), most people prefer "another OS" over Vista.

  45. A. Merkin


    "Anyway what does he mean "more people are buying vista with new machines than ever before"? "

    He means: "Fewer people are buying standalone OS upgrades than ever before!"


    "The only people buying Vista are those that get it bundled with a new machine."

  46. Scott Silver badge

    I haven't decided yet

    if my next PC be a Mac or Linux only right from the start.

    When people want to play games, then Microsoft can get some money for xBox games. There is no reason to run Windows on a PC by anything except by emulation.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux - here I come

    The only thing standing between me and Linux after I have will be forced to abandon XP is Visio... Can anyone suggest a good solution?

  48. Ed

    I'm switching

    I've always followed Apple and encouraged friends and family to get Macs (because I don't have to support them!), and I'm finally about to switch myself. There's no reason not to now - you can run Windows and Linux on Macs anyway...

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hee Hee

    "gene-spliced combination of Fisher-Price and the Marquis de Sade"... that cracked me up. The person that decided Windows "balloon tips" was a great idea should have a special place in hell...

    I was running Vista RC1 at home, as well as XP and Ubuntu. I noticed that Vista was using 680MB! of RAM just idling, while Linux was using around 90MB. Also worth noting is that almost every app I run (including games) run faster on XP Pro 32-bit vs. XP Pro 64-bit edition. And if you think finding drivers that work is bad with Vista, just try finding them for XP 64-bit! (though still somewhat easier than certain drivers for Ubuntu) My favorite error from Vista--using a FAT32 drive for my media--Windows reports that I need permission from Everyone to access my files. To anyone that likes Vista's Aero interface... Seen Beryl? Makes Aero look like Windows for Workgroups by comparison.

  50. Jacob Reid


    Build your own. Stock built pcs = fail.


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