back to article 500 MEELLION PCs still run Windows XP. How did we get here?

Six months from now, on 8 April 2014, Microsoft will stop pushing out security updates for Windows XP – and that's going to be a big deal. At time of writing a whopping one-third of the world’s millions of PCs were still running Microsoft’s 13-year-old client operating system. According to Gartner, the global installed base …

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  1. Mage Silver badge

    But slowly – over time

    If you use Disabled Autorun on all media, Libra Office, Firefox & NoScript, don't click to install Tool bars or addblockers or codecs from random sites and an external Firewall the risk is very very very low.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      ...try again @Mage

      Recommendation to NOT installing toolbars etc isn't a solution - limiting user rights is a solution and has worked wonders with my IT declined parents for example.

      1. paulc
        Linux

        Re: ...try again @Mage

        Both my parents (in their late 70's) are using Linux now... they're sick and tired of windows borking itself and suffering from viruses and Windows 8 was the last straw...

        I had great joy in wiping Windows 8 off their new laptops and sticking Cinnamon Mint on them instead and pulling down both XFCE & LXDE for them and defaulting them to LXDE for their desktops...

        They were already using Firefox, Thunderbird & LibreOffice on their windows machines, so the transition was pretty painless.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: ...try again @Mage @Paulc

          On the other hand, if you are having problems getting legacy software to run on Windows 7 or 8, you are going to have even more problems getting it running under Linux!

          For home use, it can work. My mother visited and said my "Windows" was much easier to use than her Windows. She ended up taking my SUSE laptop back with her! :-D The support calls stopped, but she kept phoning up to brag about her Tetris scores!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: ...try again @Mage @Paulc

            > On the other hand, if you are having problems getting legacy software to run on Windows 7 or 8, you are going to have even more problems getting it running under Linux!

            Believe it or not, there are *some* pieces of older Windows software run better under Wine than they do with the latest versions of Windows, particularly those that run into permissions issues. Not many I'll grant you, but they do exist.

            I find Wine is great for a lot of things, not perfect or complete by any stretch, but getting better all the time.

            1. Sandtitz Silver badge

              Re: ...try again @Mage @Paulc @skelband

              Could you please name some of these software that runs better on Wine than latest versions of Windows?

              1. Goat Jam

                Re: ...try again @Mage @Paulc @skelband

                "Could you please name some of these software that runs better on Wine than latest versions of Windows?"

                Well, three or four years back I found that Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion ran better on wine than Windows.

                It's is a typically Bethesda game (ie: prone to crashing) but hardly ever did so when running under wine. I don't really use wine for anything these days so I can't provide more recent examples.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But slowly – over time

      Yes very good but......

      XP applications will no longer be supported by vendors so no FF. LO. etc updates and these apps now become vulnerable.

      So either move to Linux or W7, forget W8 it's shit.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: But slowly – over time

        "FF. LO. etc updates and these apps now become vulnerable."

        No they don't. Either they (and XP itself) are already vulnerable or they aren't. They don't gradually become vulnerable due to age and/or lack of support/updates.

        1. Joe 35

          Re: But slowly – over time

          .... but they do gradually become vulnerable due to new bugs being discovered, which now wont be patched.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: But slowly – over time

            "new bugs being discovered"

            I think you mean newly discovered, old, previously unknown bugs, which was the point I suspect you and the other downvoters spectacularly missed.

        2. Andrew Dyson

          Re: But slowly – over time

          Technically correct, but actually the "gradual" analogy is better because it takes time for the bad guys to discover the vulnerabilities, even though they may have been there the whole time. So from the outside world's perspective, the likelihood is that the apps will become gradually more and more vulnerable to existing threats.

      2. illiad

        Re: But slowly – FF IS supported!!

        you havent asked the mozilla forum have you???

        they say as long as you have XP SP3, and latest FF, you will have no security problems...

        1. mrfill
          Happy

          Re: But slowly – FF IS supported!!

          "they say as long as you have XP SP3, and latest FF, you will have no security problems..."

          and they are giving a money-back guarantee as well

      3. MCG

        Re: But slowly – over time

        "Move to Linux"

        Haw haw, no wonder you posted as AC :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: But slowly – over time

          > Haw haw, no wonder you posted as AC :)

          http://threewordphrase.com/ahawhaw.htm

      4. Ian Johnston

        Re: But slowly – over time

        Vendors? For Firefox and LibreOffice?

    3. BobChip
      Linux

      Re: But slowly – over time - and maybe not...........

      Do what I have done to support old Win software.

      1 Move to Linux for all your day to day productivity and comms

      2 Install VirtualBox or other Vware

      3 Using the original discs, clean install Win XP in VBox

      4 Fire up XP (or Win 7 if you prefer) and DISABLE ALL INTERNET CONNECTIVITY

      5 Install your Win-only software and use it as before

      6 Never, but never let the Win system to talk directly to the internet - move files/data through the host

      Your Win software will work fast and flawlessly - probably until the end of time, or at least until it is directly ported to Linux or the Linux equivalent becomes available. The simple secret is NEVER to let Win call home and become corrupted by "security" updates.

      1. Carl

        Re: But slowly – over time - and maybe not...........

        @BobChip

        That's sound advice my friend.

        The only problem is only 10% of windows users know how to follow it.

        And I include a large of CIOs and CTOs in that number. Sigh.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But slowly – over time - and maybe not...........

        "Move to Linux for all your day to day productivity and comms"

        Great - and have ~ ten times as many security patches to evaluate - and have to upgrade the OS every 2 years or so when it goes out of support. That will do wonders for any business...

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Mushroom

          Re: But slowly – over time - and maybe not...........

          > Great - and have ~ ten times as many security patches to evaluate

          Don't be an idiot. It's Unix. It will chug along happily until you decide it needs to be changed. Since it's not a festering pile to begin with, you can forgo the updates if your Windows experiences have made you afraid of them.

          Same goes for a Mac really.

          If you are a real business user and not just some poser, your real problem with be "support". What obscure vertical market apps do you need and what platforms do those run on? The current version of monopolyware might not be supported yet.

      3. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: But slowly – over time - and maybe not...........

        > 3 Using the original discs, clean install Win XP in VBox

        Personally I like this idea. Although I am not sure how noob friendly it is. Running an entirely other OS in a VM may also be too much for your XP era hardware to handle.

    4. Homer 1
      Terminator

      Be careful what you wish for

      It seems that, in its quest for world domination, Microsoft entrenched its customers a little too deeply into the Windows ecosystem, and as a result they're now stuck on XP/IE6, unable to migrate to newer versions of Windows, and thus unlikely to spend any more money with Microsoft.

      How ironic.

      Recommending an alternative to Windows isn't very helpful at this stage, at least not for businesses. In the long term, companies will need to somehow disenfranchise themselves from XP/IE6, and if they have to do that anyway then they may as well use that as an opportunity to move to a free alternative like GNU/Linux, or better yet do it in a standards-based, platform-agnostic manner where the underlying OS is irrelevant (i.e. the "Cloud"). But in the short term they really are stuck, lacking both time and money to upgrade hardware and software.

      Meanwhile, home users are rapidly losing interest in the rather antiquated PC, as we see a paradigm-shift to mobile. For them, switching "desktop" platforms is moot, and simply not worth the effort. Whatever little they still use their PCs for, XP is "good enough" as far as they're concerned. After that ... well, there is no after that for the home PC market I'm afraid, so I'm not expecting a mad rush to GNU/Linux. The Wintel PC will die a slow, lingering and quiet death, much like the Amiga, serving the needs of a few die-hards and retro users. Although it may get a new lease on life as a games console (see Valve's forthcoming SteamBox).

      1. Mikel

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        @Homer 1

        If you chew your leg off to get out of the XP trap and put your remaining foot into W7 or 8 you are just going to have to chew that one off too. The desktop is going away - the legacy cruft has become unsustainable and the better security model of trusted whitelisted app stores is now well proven. So good luck with that.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Be careful what you wish for

          "The desktop is going away"

          Like the mainframe and Cobol were in 1990.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Be careful what you wish for

          "The desktop is going away "

          Not anytime soon it isn't. There is no significant movement to anything else in the corporate world as yet.

      2. illiad

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        No, windows was going along FINE until they made some very bad decisions...

        (and the PC industry, desperate for more ways to sell stuff, blindly went along, without even thinking if it was 'fit' for the PC's they they were installing in on...)

        - hey mobile windows is lovely, lets use it on HUGE screens! :( :(

        - deadlines!! nah leave out that startbar stuff, and that other stuff in win7 that 'most' people dont use, not enough time, and metro is lovely.... :(

        - hey *everyone* uses a touch screen, dont they???

        I think you know the answer to the above.... :P

      3. vonRat

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        They're not 'stuck' on XP, they just haven't seen any reason to replace the PC that's been chugging happily away under their desk for the past 6 years or more. Hardly any non-technical domestic users choose to change or upgrade their OS, they just use whatever happens to be installed on their new computer from PC World.

      4. Goat Jam

        Re: Be careful what you wish for

        "It seems that, in its quest for world domination, Microsoft entrenched its customers a little too deeply into the Windows ecosystem"

        Exactly, it's worth noting that XP/IE6 were produced around the time that MS were busy in court defending their actions in the browser wars against Netscape.

        As part of that defence they did their utmost to embed IE6 and other networking stuff as deeply into the core OS as possible in order to support their claim that it was not possible to provide Windows without a browser as the claimant and court was suggesting.

        Those chickens have now come home to roost.

    5. Mikel

      Re: But slowly – over time

      Don't forget to say the Lord's Prayer before every click, and a Hail Mary after if the page loads without giving you malware. For luck.

    6. Kunari

      Re: But slowly – over time

      That will not work long term, you need to migrate off XP. Plus software companies will also stop supporting XP and won't make versions compatible with, some already are.

      If you're "stuck" on Windows for specific apps, then suck it up and get Win 7 or 8. 8 is the "Vista" of our time but it's the latest Windows so you better get used to it.

      If you can, try Linux Mint, it's free so doesn't hurt to try even if you're "stuck" with Windows. Install Windows in a VM even.

      What we're doing at my place of work is we've setup Terminal Servers for the Windows apps and use Linux clients for the desktops. They just RDP into the TS for the specific apps.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: But slowly – over time @Kunari

        8 is the Vista of our time? Possibly more like the XP of our time, well Vista was the XP of its time, but 7 came along before SP 2.

        Don't forget a lot of people loathed Windows XP and its Fisher Price looks when it came out. They were reluctant to move from Windows 9x or Windows 2000 until MS went away and worked on security, coming out with Service Pack 2. Only then did it really take off.

        We've already moved to Windows 7 here and are rolling out Windows 8 with new machines - at user request, I might add. All of our software runs fine with Windows 8, so we don't have the big problems some companies are facing - and our customers can comfortably upgrade as well, because we "eat our own dogfood".

        Now, getting people to upgrade their Linux and UNIX servers is another thing, some are still running SUSE 6 or have old DEC Alpha minis in their computer rooms! :-P

        1. Martin Huizing

          Re: But slowly – over time @Kunari

          @Big D

          What are you talking about? Only reason people didn't go for xp that time was cause most pc's were running on less than minimum -or barely enough memory required for xp. That was also a time most memory wasn't compatible with one another. People who upgraded to xp had to w a it 1 or 2 minutes start up for office docs due to page swapping. Until my hardware was up to it, I was happily using 98, second edition. ME was a disaster, IMHO.

          1. big_D Silver badge

            Re: But slowly – over time @Martin Huizing

            When it first came out, many businesses were reformatting and installing either a Windows 98 or Windows 2000 image on the machines, for mainly the same reasons companies are still on Windows XP today.

          2. paulc

            Re: But slowly – over time @Kunari

            You might laugh, but I actually bought a machine with ME on it rather than XP when XP first came out...

        2. Andy Gates

          Re: But slowly – over time @Kunari

          I'm pretty sure Microsoft are in a cycle like Star Trek movies, with a good one followed by a horrible one followed by a good one.

          We're replacing XP with 7 (about 1/4 done, eek) as PCs get replaced in tech refresh; cataloguing apps is herding cats ,the alternative is a pain but reconnaissance-by-fire is usually accurate.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Operating Systems should be free

    Paying $200 or more for an operating system is insane. Especially for one with a desktop for kinky gardeners.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Flame

      Re: Operating Systems should be free

      > Paying $200 or more for an operating system is insane. Especially for one with a desktop for kinky gardeners.

      The real cost is more like $90. Just get an OEM copy. These are pretty trivial to find.

      Only a total rube would buy the "consumer boxed version".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Operating Systems should be free @JEDEDIAH 14:09

        He's just cutting and pasting something he posted/saw the other day. Probably the same saddo who repeatedly posts the "Why is everytime there's a problem it's Microsoft? People using it need to give themselves a good shake" thing. Not an exact quote, but as near as I can remember. I dislike calling people trolls, but in this case I can't think of anything else he might be. And a damn lazy and unimaginative one at that.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XP is good enough

    And so is the hardware.

    1. Vector

      Re: XP is good enough

      And therein lies the true tale.

      XP was the first desktop OS Microsoft produced which was widely perceived as truly stable (I always thought Win 2000 was a pretty good deal but I don't think it ever really made it into the consumer channel). Microsoft followed it with Vista which was crap on so many levels, so the upgrade cycle breaks and most users (business or otherwise) start realizing they really don't need a new OS or Office suite.

      The real problem is that when IT goes to the business, the first question they face is "What is this upgrade going to get me?" Security is a poor answer in that situation because only IT cares about security. What they will hear is "It'll keep doing what it's doing." So, in essence, what you're telling them is that you want to spend huge amounts of their budget and disrupt their operations for an extended period and when they come out the other side, they'll see no obvious benefit (because security is only a problem when it fails).

      And the reality is, the only reason for this massive disruption is that Microsoft doesn't want to support the OS anymore. This is where the business model really flounders: when the new features just don't justify the move.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: XP is good enough

        Yep.

        I've moved to Win7 at home, and the only benefit that I get out of it is that hovering over winamp gives me a media player control bar which I didn't have in XP. (if you don't count foxytunes in firefox)

        At work? being able to log in with a second user when a first locks the desktop is the only benefit that I have identified so far.

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: XP is good enough

        Very true, and to extend it... a computer is a tool to help you to get a job done. If a tool continues to work and continues to allow you to get your job done using it, why would, or even should, you need to replace it? This is, quite correctly, how the majority of small businesses and similar users see their PCs - tools to get a job done.

        <rant>A lot of the software problems are down to past incompetence on the part of developers. They chose to do stupid things, shun best practices, ignore the well documented correct file usage protocols, embedded suicidal technologies in place of effective design and embedded systems together that had no need to be integrated in the way that they were. Many of these problems were down to lazy coders assuming that all users had administrator access, could create and write files in program locations (i.e. utterly failing the basic concept of separating data files from programs), opening the registry assuming administrator access (or just using the registry at all as it's a ball ache of inefficient nastiness that benefits nobody), using ActiveX in any of its forms, embedding external controls over which the developer had no control or expectation of support state and so on... That's before the stupid applications that start trying to interact with the OS in kooky and unnecessary ways (especially looking at you Corel) and those that "work" through making assumptions about basics such as time zone, locale (date formats) or even screen resolutions. To top it off, then there were the fucktards who developed web applications to non-standard "standards", as in anything "designed for Internet Explorer" rather than using established web standards - it's annoying but not that hard, but many developers were too lazy or stupid to do it. Even now I still see idiotic "web applications" that rely on Java controls that barely work where they could have just put the data in plain HTML and enhanced the core application with Javascript, falling back to less efficient server based manipulation if this failed. </rant>

        I think I need to take some tablets now... :)

      3. big_D Silver badge

        Re: XP is good enough @Vector

        You are missing out that people rejected XP when it first came out. It wasn't until 2 years and 2 service packs later that it really took off.

        1. Vector
          Facepalm

          Re: XP is good enough @Vector

          You are missing out that people rejected XP when it first came out. It wasn't until 2 years and 2 service packs later that it really took off.

          You're right and I shouldn't miss that point since I, myself, rejected it for possibly longer than that. As noted before, I kinda liked Win 2000.

          But eventually, it did stabilize, blue became a less familiar color, and we all got happiliy on with our lives doing useful stuff.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: XP is good enough @Vector

          "You are missing out that people rejected XP when it first came out. It wasn't until 2 years and 2 service packs later that it really took off."

          In what universe? XP was bacon sandwich popular in my neck of the woods. I had to hold off buying myself until 2002 but that was a hardware acquisition cash flow problem, not an inherent desire not to buy the first decently bullet-proof user-oriented OS MS had put out (I was using a pre MMX Pentium 1).

          The only blue screen I ever saw at home with XP was solidly tied to Norton Nagware too. I never saw one at work until two months ago, when the motherboard on my workstation was starting to show squirrels. I'd asked for months to get it swapped for a new 64-bit Win7 machine, but I'm low man on the ladder and work for the Government and your scarce tax dollars mustn't be spent unwisely on fripperies,.

          We know this because taxpayers tell us so.

      4. Carl

        Re: XP is good enough

        @Vector who quoth:

        'The real problem is that when IT goes to the business, the first question they face is "What is this upgrade going to get me?" Security is a poor answer in that situation because only IT cares about security.'

        Which is correct and also the reason why, these days, my conversation goes like this:

        Q: "What is this upgrade going to get me?"

        A: "Immunity from ${AMOUNT} in criminal negligence lawsuits when security lapses that you knew were likely resulted in material losses to ${NUMBER} of ${ANGRY&POWERFUL} users."

        1. Vector

          Re: XP is good enough

          Q: "What is this upgrade going to get me?"

          A: "Immunity from ${AMOUNT} in criminal negligence lawsuits when security lapses that you knew were likely resulted in material losses to ${NUMBER} of ${ANGRY&POWERFUL} users."

          In my experience, this works about 1 time in 3 (that might be optimistic). The rest of the time the response is "Oh, they're just overreacting." Until they've been burned, it's a threat they just won't take seriously.

          As mentioned above, this is just a tool to them and they don't see any reason to fix what doesn't seem to be broken. And it's really not broken, the support is just slipping out from under it. If Microsoft had moved their business model towards support and away from new products as the OS stabilized, we wouldn't be having this discussion. But support isn't sexy, new and shiny are (or, that's the theory, at least).

        2. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: XP is good enough

          Riiiiiiight, because every chain-smoker quits smoking IMMEDIATELY when you tell them going on doing it is going to kill them. Suuuuure...

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: XP is good enough

        Reminds me of our company's move from Lotus Notes to Outlook.

        Now you guys may all bit%% about Notes, but the thing is 98% of the users only care about email and calendars. So 3 years later and multi millions later, 98% of the users are using only email and calendars. Also, local control of Notes has been lost to corporate control of Outlook. And some of our apps still only run on Notes, so we need to have both installed. Ain't progress grand.

  4. Richard Jones 1

    Not The Whole Story

    Some Windows XP systems are more like dedicated or embedded systems running hardware or devices for which later OSs do not offer support. It is highly likely that these systems do not even show up on the stats since they will not access the internet except to possibly obtain updates when they fall due.

    In some cases the devices they support are not only not supported elsewhere, neither is their function so the cost of upgrade is not only the OS, but the specialised hardware - not everyone can afford the £ 500 ~up to infinity to replace other devices CAPEX is a real issue for many of us.

    I cannot do so for one, so I have four XP machines, mainly sat as spares to support the functions lacking from more modern, oh so wonderful failures of more modern OSs.

    PS For regular work I use Windows 7 but expect to reconsider PC use when support for that ends and I face the stark choice between a PC, the pen and paper, do nothing, or let others do it all. Windows PlaySkule edition (Windows H8) still walks fish and swims like a bicycle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not The Whole Story

      Embeded & not on the internet are not really an issue.

      Until recently we have an W2K machine just ticking away minding it's own business connected to a single bit of kit, it's only when it decided to go pop one day did we replace it.

      Lets face it, if it's built into hardware, not on the internet and hasn't needed to be updated in the last few years, chances are it will never need to be.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Not The Whole Story

        Isn't XP-embedded a whole other OS with different service policies anyway?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Not The Whole Story

          Yes but these aren't "embedded" embedded, they are regular PCs running CNC machines, assembly lines, weather stations, alarm systems etc etc - lots of machines that people have forgotten about, central IT don't know exist and might be on the internet

          1. JDX Gold badge

            lots of machines that people have forgotten about

            If all those forgotten about 95/98/NT4 PCs are running, adding XP shouldn't change much should it? I mean you're already wide open to a gazillion attacks!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not The Whole Story

            XP Embedded is the same OS as XP Legacy.

            Same OS, same binaries, different licence, different support.

            Different EOL too. How does 2017 sound? (Windows Embedded 7 is allegedly 2025....)

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

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not The Whole Story

          No it's the SAME OS with different service policy. The binaries are identical between XPe and XP, Microsoft even boast that in their embedded literature, But it's not serviced via Windows Update.

          However it does mean any patches done for XPe would also work out the box on regular XP...

          1. Philippe

            change the license

            Dell our vendor of choice visited us last week to "talk about it".

            We told them we won't be rushing our W7 upgrade ( no cash for it) . After a while they told us to change our licenses to XPe. That'll give us an additional two years of support and plenty of time to migrate.

            thanks guys..

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Not The Whole Story

            Server 2003 is also the same codebase as XP and XPe, and W2k3 *is* serviced by Windows Update and doesn't go out of extended support until 2015.

            So Microsoft are going to be developing patches and going to be offering them through Windows Update. Presumably they won't be offered to XP clients on the grounds that they haven't been tested for that particular SKU. But the development work will have been done.

            1. Richard Gadsden

              Re: Not The Whole Story

              Not quite - it's the same codebase as XP64, but not standard (32-bit) XP.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Not The Whole Story @RJ1

      Then kick your vendors where it hurts.

      We upgraded our embedded and industry terminals to Windows 7 2 years ago and our customers get the option to move to Windows 7, if they want - most have.

      On the other hand, I had a Siemens telephone system and it only works with XP and only at a physical level - I tried XP Mode and an XP virtual machine, but it "hits the metal" somewhere along the line and refuses to work in a VM. This on a product that was still being sold last year!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not The Whole Story

      I recommend getting others to do it all.

      Because if you are seriously telling me that in the year 2013 you havent planned and executed a strategy to get off of XP that doesn't involve that or a pen/paper combo you should probably carefully assess whether you have the wit to try.

  5. JP19

    Hmm

    One minute they moan that half the computers in the world are not kept updated with security fixes and the next that the world is going to end when new security fixes are no longer available.

    How many undiscovered vulnerabilities are left in XP?

    If there are a handful of hackers with enough understanding of a vulnerability to exploit it isn't there going to be a rather bigger handful of hackers with enough understanding and a desire to patch it?

    1. Brian Miller
      Mushroom

      Software is not magic!!

      Fixes to software requires a very special thing called "source code." These are the human-readable instructions that are translated to machine code. No source code, no fix. Microsoft is not going to release its XP source code to the general public. Ever.

      The things that you see in movies, such as hacking alien computers, writing amazing extensions with a few keystrokes, the Force, it's all fiction. You can't just throw some code in there and then the holes are fixed. A lot of that code is utterly horrendous, and they even lose their source code! (Yes, at an interview, one of the fellows mentioned this.)

      The reason that XP has lasted so long is that the successor OSes have sucked. I threw Ubuntu on a spare drive on my XP machine, and suddenly the machine is ever so speedy and responsive! Wow! Microsoft has effectively done nothing to produce a faster Windows OS. Microsoft boldly states that if you have a Windows XP or Vista machine, chuck it out and get new hardware, because the new OS will run like a dead dog on it.

      Jumping to a Mac isn't the answer, either. At work for iOS development we got some Mac Minis. I can right-click on something, and then wait. Yes, that's right, wait for a tiny context menu to pop up. I have never had to do that with any other OS. I have an old laptop with a 1.2GHz CPU and I don't have to do that with Ubuntu. But a brand new Mac? Oh, yeah.

      Sure, there's ReactOS. And that's been in Alpha stage forever. Maybe that will be in a Beta stage in the future, but it will always trail what's available with Linux.

      The real question is, can you migrate to Linux and Wine? Apps that can run on Wine will run faster than on Windows. There's nothing to be lost by trying that path for a migration.

      1. dogged

        Re: Software is not magic!!

        Apps that can run on Wine will run faster than on Windows.

        Anyone else smell bullshit?

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Sample of 1

          The only Windows app I still use runs quickly in WINE on an ancient laptop. Most of the time it is used remotely with a raspberry pi as an X server. I think someone with a larger XP legacy will find mileage will vary. Even if it only solves half your problems, at a cost of $0 forever, WINE is worth trying.

        2. TimeMaster T
          Linux

          Re: Software is not magic!!

          WINE runs ONLY the software binaries of your application.

          XP, and Windows in general, have a ton of non user application crap running in the background, shading on the mouse pointer, animated pull down menus, etc., that slow the OS down.

          If you have a clean no frills base install of Linux (I use Debian) then WINE and your application get more CPU time and runs faster than it would otherwise..

          Don't believe me? Go into "system settings" on ANY Windows system, find the "Performance" options and turn everything OFF. You will be amazed at how much faster your system has suddenly become, and if you turn off all the "helper apps" like the quicklaunchers it gets even better.

          I once ran a boot time comparison once between my Athlon x2, 2.0Ghz, 2GB RAM laptop running 64bit Debian and my boss's Athlon x4, 3.5Ghz, 8GB RAM desktop running 64bit Win XP Pro,.

          The result,

          my laptop: power on the desktop, including login, 55 seconds.

          Boss's system: power on to desktop, including login, 2 minutes 45 seconds.

          When I first set up my Boss's system I booted it to a Debian based Linux live CD (Knoppix) for a hardware test. It was so freaking fast I couldn't believe it was the same system when I rebooted to Windows.

          Just goes to show what the hardware can do if it is not wasting time getting the bells and whistles running.

          1. PJI

            Re: Software is not magic!!

            Forget most of those login time comparisons etc.. In an organisation of any size, the PCs are networked; their updates, security etc. are network applications and the front end does little more than run a browser, email and MS Office. Even applications tend to be using networked discs and facilities. So the real brakes on performance are the network speed, competition for shared disc access, databases behind it all and number of fellow users, as well of course as some heavyweight anti-virus and other security and backup software.

            Just try your boot/login times at the beginning of the day and the end, when several hundred people turn on their PCs to start work.

        3. bean520

          Re: Software is not magic!!

          No, this is usually the case if an app is supported correctly and there aren't any bizzare bits of code in the app.

      2. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Software is not magic!!

        I upvoted you Brian, however, I have to take exception with the Wine comment as well.

        Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't and sometimes they don't run at all.

        For example, there are less than a handful of programs I need that are only available on Windows and won't run in Wine or I would have ditched Windows at home years ago.

        1. Ian 55

          Re: Software is not magic!!

          The only Windows programs I care about that won't run under WINE won't run in XP either (thank you, Microsoft for removing something that was in Win2000 in one case, and authors of games making stupid assumptions that undocumented stuff would stay the same across versions for a couple of others) so they're in a VM.

          I've just gone from a Linux Mint machine that did have a dual boot into XP, but was never used in that - whenever there was a kernel update that needed rebooting, I'd let it boot into XP first and do the security patches, then reboot back to Mint - to one that had Win7 put on (the motherboard's BIOS update is only done via Windows) but will probably never see Windows again.

          I did see enough to know that Windows 7 is actually better than XP and Win8, and therein lies Microsoft's problem. Vista was a pile of crap, so people held off updating, and very few people want Win8 but Microsoft is reluctant to do what's necessary to change that.

      3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Software is not magic!!

        "The reason that XP has lasted so long is that the successor OSes have sucked."

        I think it's more that XP is still good enough. Win7 certainly doesn't suck, but it's not often a necessary upgrade either, especially on an older machine that hasn't had, or needed, any hardware upgrades since it was first turned on. I held off on the switch to 7 until decently sized SSDs and more than 4GB of RAM were reasonably priced and it became necessary to support those upgrades, and I wouldn't go back.

      4. MCG

        Re: Software is not magic!!

        "Microsoft boldly states that if you have a Windows XP or Vista machine, chuck it out and get new hardware, because the new OS will run like a dead dog on it."

        Here in the Real World (TM), Windows 7 and 8 run very well on any machine that could handle that old slug Vista, while XP era machines from 2005 on can easily handle Windows 7 given a little more RAM.

      5. PJI

        Re: Software is not magic!!

        >> At work for iOS development we got some Mac Minis. I can right-click on something, and then wait....

        Pardon? You must be one of those clever chaps who know much more about the system than the makers and "improved" it. I've got an "early 2008" macbook, rather overloaded by now and I never "wait" for such responses. All the reports on the mini are positive. Windows, on the other hand, well the W7s I used at work and the ancient XP on an old Thinkpad at home: what can I say? Patience is a virtue and I am not very virtuous.

        And do stop rabbitting on about Linux variants being the dream answer: I've administered sites using a couple of variants and spent the last couple of years implementing a biggish project on Redhat (on VMs, so I admit that is a big factor); I never found it as impressive as the zealots claim, not for real world work. It was all right, given enough resources. But Solaris seemed rather better, and any BSD, not that any of those are genuinely suitable for the average end user at work, who has to produce MS office documents of various kinds that are compatible with all the systems not run by their firm or use software that is only on Windows. I dislike Windows. But reality is, it will be after the end of most of our working lives before we can dispense with it everywhere.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Devil

          Re: Software is not magic!!

          >> At work for iOS development we got some Mac Minis. I can right-click on something, and then wait....

          > Pardon? You must be one of those clever chaps who know much more about the system than the makers and "improved" it

          One of my stock Minis felt like a bloated pig until I broke down and took a putty knife to it. The thing was pre-configured with a hardware configuration insufficient with the OS that came with it. It needed a memory upgrade before it was really usable.

          Having blind faith in Apple is rather foolish.

    2. illiad

      Re: Hmm

      the point is that XP is not 'high profile' enough to be worth virus writers attacking... more are using win7...

  6. David Martin

    Ubuntu LTS + XP VM guest

    That's what I do with my old Windows-only apps anyway. Sandboxes them from a security standpoint. Many older apps run well in WINE too. Doesn't need the newest hardware either.

  7. Herbert Meyer

    why am I bothering ?

    Despite the fact I seldom use it, I have XP on a couple of dual booted computers at home. One is a "desktop" that I use for a file server. It has been rumbling lately that the pata disk that I use for a primary disk is failing. I have the pata because unpatched XP cannot run sata.

    So I shopped about a bit, found a 1 TB sata disk, and an OEM 64 Win7, total cost under $180. As soon as the boxes arrive on the porch, and it rains (I have a driveway to seal), I will pull the pata, replace with sata, split in half for use with a linux fit for humans, and install the Win7.

    I use the XP to run a TV tuner card, the linux DVB does not quite work yet. Unknown is what will happen to the data on a sata data disk in the chassis when I turn off pata emulation in the bios. Will sector mapping change ? I have backups, matters little.

    I still don't know why I am bothering, the tuner is connected to a settop box for cable, I just use it to record the occasional movie. The other XP computer with is a netbook with a GPS nav application that I need once a year or so. Nostalgia ?

    1. Richard 22
      Stop

      Re: why am I bothering ?

      Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy a network-connected TV tuner and ditch the windows partition?

    2. Fihart

      Re: why am I bothering ? @Herbert Meyer

      "I have the pata because unpatched XP cannot run sata."

      XP works with SATA if your PC's BIOS has a switch for AHCI Mode (choose IDE Mode).

      1. cobo04

        Re: why am I bothering ? @Herbert Meyer

        One of my PCs has unpatched XP at SP2 and works well with 2x500G SATA drives.

        Keeping with XP as (has been mentioned) the 'updates' from MS are such crap. My laptop came with Windows 7 and looking for a new laptop. they all come with Windows H8. and no option to upgrade to win 7.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: why am I bothering ? @Herbert Meyer

          "looking for a new laptop. they all come with Windows H8. and no option to upgrade to win 7."

          Are you sure you're looking at it right?

          If there's nothing special about your laptop needs, brand new business class laptops from the usual suspects should still be available with Win7. They know which side their bread is buttered.

          If you don't mind your hardware being a couple of years old, perfectly adequate refurb business class laptops from the usual suspects should be available from various MS-authorised refurbishers with Win7. I've used several suppliers in recent years, all have been OK (I haven't bought a "new" desktop or laptop for me or a friend/neighbour for a very long time).

          And not many weeks ago I bought Windows 7 OEM (CD+licence) from Amazon UK (and not Marketplace either). It's still for sale today. £70 gets you Windows 7 Home Premium. I'll use that approach if any of the friends/neighbours I occasionally support can't cope with (e.g.) SuSe or even a tablet. Yes I'm aware of the MS OEM Ts+Cs, and I will do it legitimately but it doesn't need to, and won't, involve the purchase of a complete new PC.

          Ebay probably have even more interesting offers for folk who are prepared to pay Microsoft but not comply with the Ts+Cs.

    3. Truth4u

      Re: why am I bothering ?

      "the linux DVB does not quite work yet"

      Worked for me using the cheapest possible DVB dongle and that was several years ago. Much easier than on Windows in fact.

      You can change channels without having to say your prayers first. Because the vendor supplied Windows software is generally not fit for purpose. At least the people who write open source DVB tuners actually care about making the channel change function work. Windows coders on the other hand, only care about making sure the channel change button appears on the screen, and if it doesn't actually do anything, that's your problem.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: why am I bothering ?

        Let's not get into how well (even well known) TV tuners work / are supported under Linux vs. Windows, for the heat death of the universe shall arrive and I'd still not be done with half of my rant...

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Happy

          Re: why am I bothering ?

          TV tuners are a really esoteric thing to bring into this argument. We're talking about people unwilling to upgrade machines from 2 Windows releases back. This is probably not the crowd that's lining up to use a Hauppage or Ceton card.

          ...although while we are add it: I have been happily using video capture cards in Linux since 1998.

  8. Nigel Brown

    XP? Pah!

    I have a CNC machine under my authority that still runs off Win95!

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: XP? Pah!

      Exactly. And your favourite saying as a manufacturer will probably be "If it ain't broke . . ."

      (I am also that manufacturer).

    2. stuff and nonesense

      Re: XP? Pah!

      I have a milling machine running DOS....

      1. ElectricFox
        Coat

        Re: XP? Pah!

        I have a hammer and chisel

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: XP? Pah!

          "I have a hammer and chisel"

          ...and the students don't know how to use them. They are told that haptic input and 3D printing will remove the need to get their hands dirty - and they can get bronze castings outsourced to the usual offshores.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: XP? Pah!

            "I have a hammer and chisel"

            A Hammer? Lucky you. I wish I had a hammer. We know a song about that....

            If I had a hammer,

            I'd hammer in the morning

            I'd hammer in the evening,

            All over this land

            I'd hammer out danger,

            I'd hammer out a warning,

            I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters,

            All over this land.

            1. DropBear Silver badge

              Re: XP? Pah!

              Yup, they told me everything would soon start looking like a nail...

      2. craigj

        Re: XP? Pah!

        I have a Sundial running CP/M

        1. Armando 123

          Re: XP? Pah!

          I have a Hyundai.

      3. shawnfromnh

        Re: XP? Pah!

        My old shop closed about a year and a half ago and the CNC multihead drill/routing machines were all DOS running Norton Commander "I believe", and then run into the controllers from the early 80's that still had chromatic screens and the old paper tape feeders on them still but the things were still running decades later till the day the shop doors closed. Hell the newest machine the V Score machine was running Windows98SE and that had more problems than the DOS machines that from time to time just had the hard drives die from old age.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: XP? Pah!

      I have 2 rocks that I bang together!

  9. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

    ...why not go the whole hog and change over to Linux?

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

      why not go the whole hog and change over to Linux?

      I'm inclined to agree with you, but this won't make the problems go away. A surprising number of distros seem to release new versions that can only be installed by zapping your old installation.

      1. Tomato42 Silver badge

        Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

        true, but I've yet to find a distro that will get infected if you let it connect to Internet during installation

      2. PJD

        Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

        "A surprising number of distros seem to release new versions that can only be installed by zapping your old installation."

        A surprising number do, but if that's a problem for you then it's equally true that a not-so-surprising number don't require zapping your old installation and you should probably chose one of those..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

      I suspect that the people who can't be arsed to update from XP, really couldn't be arsed to move to an entirely different OS.

    3. Potemkine Silver badge

      Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

      why not go the whole hog and change over to Linux?

      Because so many applications runs on windows only, because so many users are used to Windows UI, because finding and installing drivers on Linux can be such a pain in the arse, because WS servers, Active Directory, centralized authentication, GPO are so useful and easy....

      I'm not opposed to a move o Linux, but changing all our our infrastructure for our desktops would have a very huge cost and impact that it is for now not worth the risk.

      1. bean520

        Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

        Lets work through your reasoning

        "Because so many applications runs on windows only"

        Chances are there's a more-than-viable alternative on Linux. Even if you think Libre-Office doesn't cut the mustard, Kingsoft Office will more than easily fit the bill to replace Microsoft Office, for example. Else, run WINE

        "because so many users are used to Windows UI"

        Which is being deprecated by Microsoft in favour of Metro. At least most Linux distro's keep some sort of familiarity

        "because finding and installing drivers on Linux can be such a pain in the arse"

        And almost always not necessary. Even if your driver isn't built right in, the Hardware Driver tool in Ubuntu will do it all for you

        "because WS servers, Active Directory, centralized authentication, GPO are so useful and easy"

        WS Servers: I assume you mean windows server. And no its not any easier to set up, its just different.

        Active Directory: Supported in Linux. Look up Samba

        centralized authentication: Supported in Linux. Look up Kerberos

        GPO: that ill give you, but there's still NIS

        1. Trixr Bronze badge

          Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

          Oh, god, the effort contained in setting up Samba to replicate an AD makes no sense at all. Buy the Windows Server licence, slap it on, install AD services/DNS, DONE. For that purpose, it *is* easier to set up.

          And then suggesting you go through the PITA process of setting up Kerberos on top of it and then configuring all your clients? Uh, you already did that when you installed your domain controller and joined the workstations to the domain.

          Look, I think Linux is great (I wouldn't run web services or email gateways on Windows) but for a tightly-controlled enterprise environment with more than a few dozen workstations where you're running business-critical Windows apps, you need to get real. if you think Kingston Office good enough for, say, a legal firm where macros and templates are crucial, you're having a laff (and it doesn't support ODF, WTF?). And this is not to mention the specialised apps running on Windows - if you think Air Traffic Control systems aren't running on Windows, have another think.

          1. Goat Jam

            Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

            "Buy the Windows Server licence . . . "

            . . spend another 2 months trying to figure out how many and which types of CAL you need to purchase.

            There, I FTFY

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

            "if you think Air Traffic Control systems aren't running on Windows, have another think."

            Citation welcome. And readers will not be interested in the office document interchange stuff (which may well be running on Windows), they will be interested in where the ATC folk sit. Which are obviously two very different classes of requirement.

        2. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: If you've got to do all this work to change your OS..

          > Active Directory: Supported in Linux. Look up Samba

          Active Directory? Really? I hardly think that heavy AD users are the driving force in the lingering of XP.

          It's like the tangent about video capture cards. Probably completely out of scope.

  10. Joe Montana

    Doomed to repeat...

    Despite all the pain associated with being locked in to xp and various other microsoft technologies, very few of their victims seem to be looking at ways to prevent this happening again. If you just migrate your apps so that they are now locked into windows 7 (or 8) instead of xp, then you will have the exact same problem a few years down the line.

    Now is the time to look at cross platform, especially open standards html based applications... Not only will they run in multiple browsers today, but they will still work in tomorrow's browsers and will run on ipads etc too.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Doomed to repeat...

      Moving everything toa web-app is just another trendy way to go though. In 10 years we might be complaining about having to write desktop apps to replace them!

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Doomed to repeat...

        Quite frankly, target platforms are ALWAYS a moving target. They keep changing, and there's no way to predict where it'll go next. Perhaps in a few years web apps will no longer be trustworthy because of hacking/BIg Brother issues, forcing a return to local apps. Only thing is, will you need to code for Android now because powerful Android devices are now working as desktop replacement (just a scenario)? Technology moves so quickly compared to human thinking that it's hard to plan for it; it's like trying to catch a fly in midair (you never know which direction it'll go next).

  11. Ken Y-N
    Linux

    Just last week I upgraded

    My grotty old netbook was slowly deteriorating with mysterious pauses while various background processes (usually Windows Update check and other MS stuff) whirred away, so I went for CrunchBang Linux, a Debian-based distro with a very minimal UI. Surprisingly almost everything worked, and I've found replacements for all my usual tools - hacking up a GEdit macro or two has actually made my most common task much more efficient - and it's now chugging along faster than my XP+corporate crapware-filled high-end laptop. I suspect upgrading that to Windows 7 will be more painful than my shift to Linux.

    1. SolidSquid

      Re: Just last week I upgraded

      Got to admit, I do like crunchbang. Would be nice if it were easier to edit the menus, but it's a very nicely polished, minimalist system which works great on my netbook. Actually supports the hardware better than windows did too

    2. N2 Silver badge

      Re: Just last week I upgraded

      Well done,

      I must admit the words Microsoft & Upgrade always send a shudder down my spine, so good luck with that.

  12. Joefish

    How did we get here? You really have to ask?

    Apparently, we got here by offering a broken upgrade path (Vista), then rushing to fix it (Windows 7) then in the ensuing unstoppable march of progress breaking it again (Windows 8). When the only viable upgrade path is one its own vendor is trying to say is now outdated, what's the point of even bothering?

    The real question one should ask, rather than recycling press releases from vendors and consultants, is what proportion of those machines running XP would still run if Win7 were dumped on their drives? Or, what would be the real capital expenditure on upgrades for every business pared down to survive a recession, even before you start to panic about software compatibility.

    1. Joefish

      Re: How did we get here? You really have to ask?

      Come to think of it, I shall mark the day Microsoft stop pushing upgrades to XP in my diary as a day to celebrate. At least then it might stop suddenly launching new background processes to pre-compile .NET code that I never use expcept for one piddling config tool.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you do need XP

    Then try and grab a copy of Steady State (although no longer on MS website) and bang that on with disk protection turned on.

    hey presto, Instant "VM"

    Failing that use a 3rd party one (at a cost) such as Drive Vacine or Deep freeze.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your Mileage Will Vary

    Browsium works well in most cases, but it is no silver bullet.

  15. At0micAndy

    internet optional

    i know at least one very large organisation whose Windows XP pc's do not connect to the internet and hence there is no security risk (USB also locked down, CD drives disabled etc). Peeps who want the internet go to internal internet kiosks or cafe's that are airgapped from the main network by sheepdips etc. it isn't difficult and it stops people wasting time trawling the internet rather than working. So far, no issues. ever. Those that do need to view the internet (procurement, finance, BOFHs etc) seem to manage very well with the current arrangements. Why should they spend money to upgrade at the moment when WinXP/Office2003 etc meet 99% of the corporate needs?

  16. Tweetiepooh

    XP is invisible

    is a pretty good insight. Most users look at a PC as a way to run applications, mostly email and browser, so don't really care what the underlying platform is. So most users could migrate to Linux fairly easily after all it can be made to look like Windows and it's only when locked into Outlook to stymie the email side things get a bit difficult. Most of the rest probably could too if they don't use MS specific tools in office products as mostly Libre/Open Office would do very well indeed.

    The big issue is supporting the thing. If you've got a load of Windows experts and the infrastructure all based around Windows, Active Directory and the like it becomes much harder. Then there are those applications that only work on Windows (bless) and even in browsers are only supported by vendors on IE.

    For myself, I'd love to have Linux as a prime O/S with Windows as virtual. That way IT could install Windows 7 along side XP in virtual machines, ensure a user has all they need working on the newer before removing the older. As a plus we have lots of MOTIF based apps so having X on the desktop would be a real help.

  17. JDX Gold badge

    the gap in hardware needed for Windows 7 or Windows 8

    Considering 7/8 are more efficient than Vista, is this really true?

    1. dogged

      Re: the gap in hardware needed for Windows 7 or Windows 8

      No. XP->8 is especially painless from a hardware point of view provided it's got more than 512MB of RAM.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the gap in hardware needed for Windows 7 or Windows 8

      I've got some WinXP Dell Optiplexes (..plexii?) - they pass muster for Win8 compatibility so the question is

      £200 + time & effort to slap a new O/S over old hardware that may have 3 or 4 years life

      or

      £600 to go Win7 with newer hardware that will have 3yrs warranty and probably last a further 5.

      I suspect the finance will go a mix - renew the OS on a couple of the youngest XP boxes, replace some others with new boxes. The remainder going to spares/recycle/non-networked-tasks.

      1. Caesarius
        Headmaster

        Optiplexes

        Optiplices?

  18. MacGyver

    Easy peasy.

    Vista - skipped because it sucked and need 9 trillion gigs of RAM to work.

    Win 7 - skipped because it looked like Vista, and still needed too many resources.

    Win 8 - skipped because it looked stupid, was hard to switch to because it is counter-intuitive, nothing like XP's interface, and also needed too many resources.

    I imagine that the majority of those XP devices are going to go to the trash or some Linux distro before they ever go to Windows 8.

    Truth is for non-networked POS (point-of-sale) and kiosk setups, who cares, XP will continue to work fine.

    Even a networked XP box behind a good hardware firewall with a current browser will be fine if they keep their browser, antivirus, and adobe crap updated.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Easy peasy.

      7 looks nothing like Vista, doesn't really need all the resource hyped and I almost to say it, runs very damn fast.

      1. MacGyver

        Re: Easy peasy.

        I was speaking from the XP users point of view, the same way %38 like Obama Care verses the 60% that like the Affordable Care Act. That is why I said "trillion" and "sucks" instead of "because Aero was a memory intensive "

  19. fortran

    I'm still looking for the good HOWTO, about moving the XP half of a dual boot to running under an open VM under Linux. No upgrades to XP happening here.

    1. Roaima

      Install KVM and run "kvm -m 1536 -hda /dev/sda -boot c -k en-gb"

      You MUST select your XP option at the boot menu, because otherwise you'll end up with your Linux-based system writing to the same disk from the host and the guest. Therein lies not only madness but also a trashed filesystem. Oh, for similar reasons ensure you don't have the XP partition mounted on the Linux-based system when you run kvm.

      There are more elegant ways of solving this problem (personally I use libvirt and its Virtual Machine Manager tool), but the example Works For Me.

  20. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    For those commentators above (and I'm sure many more coming below) who are spouting Linux as the be all saviour of the world. Please stop the evangelicizing now. Your average worker knows Windows, they have used it in the office, they use it at home. If you ask them to learn something else, you will need training courses, extra helldesk, continuous IT support, etc. just to keep the lusers happy. You give them Windows they know it, they use it, you can keep IT support costs down. This is what comapnies want. So companies will not move away from Windows for that very reason.

    This is also the same reason why, as mentioned in the article, that companies are staying away from Windows 8, because with its new and different (read: scary for the luser) interface, engenders the exact same additional support costs as moving away from Windows. In a few years if Windows 8 takes off for private users then maybe companies will move to it because then they dont need to train people as much, but personally I dont see that happening for at least 2-3 years.

    I'm sure some clever bunny will mention that you can create a linux distro that looks and operates just like Windows, but the first thing that the luser spots that is different (the missing windows icon for a start) will cause all that lovely (read: annoying) anxiety to come out instantly and you're back to the high support costs.

    The only options for most companies with a bigger workforce then 10 people is to stick with XP, move to Win 7, or be prepared to fork out massive costs to bludgeon the workforce over to a completely different option (Win 8 or Linux). Guess which 2 options are most popular?

    1. James Hughes 1

      You lost me when you used the word 'luser'. You may have had something usefuil to say, but I stopped. Right there.

      That word usage shows a distinct lack of respect that sadly appears all too common in IT departments. Here's a heads up. IT departments are there to help the company do its business. You are not there because you make money for the company. That's done by the people you call 'lusers' - yes, those same people who earn the company money so they can pay YOU to do your job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @James Hughes 1

        I find it is generally matched by a complete lack of respect for the IT department who enable the workers to make money, particularly in financial services - sometimes leading to conversations such as this:

        Trader: "Do you know how important I am, I am responsible for making xx million a year for the company"

        IT Bod: "And I make sure that 100 people like you can make that money - that's xx hundred million I am responsible for".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @James Hughes 1

          To continue your conversation:

          Trader: "But the money I make pays your salary."

          IT Bod: "But not necessarily yours. We've been studying you and the others' trading techniques and been applying them to an expert system. Did you know we're getting ready to go into High-Frequency Trading? That's all run by MACHINES."

          1. M Gale

            Re: @James Hughes 1

            The thing about expert systems, is you generally need experts on hand to train them. AI is generally done top-down, not bottom-up. The moment the latter happens to any extent where experts are no longer required, is the moment we start building our own (perhaps slightly perturbed) GSVs and other Minds. Or rather, it's the moment they start building themselves.

            Then we're all out of a job!

            1. GSV Slightly Perturbed

              Re: M Gale

              [Broadcast Eclear, sent 1380651914.2]

              xGSV Slightly Perturbed

              oBOFH Reg Readers

              The moment the latter happens to any extent where experts are no longer required, is the moment we start building our own (perhaps slightly perturbed) GSVs and other Minds.

              Ah say ah resemble that remark.

              As for the rest of the conversation: No Comment.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ James Hughes 1 , and here is the problem, attitude on both sides. We are all part of the same team. you need us and we need you, it is a symbiotic relationship that people on all 'sides' seem to forget. Yes we are here to help you do your job and most of us try to do that, without us your job would be much more difficult or not possible at all so we are no less important. Equally, as a user you deserve to be treated with respect and spoken to like a human and not called a 'Luser' by a friendly knowledgeable IT person. In the organisations I have worked in IT staff and support staff of any department generally (especially low paid ones) are treated as 3rd class rubbish who apparently deserve to be shouted at and abused at all times (never thanked of course) for what is stillan important cog in the system. I suspect this is why IT departments have turned into their own mini-companies within companies with a bit of an agenda because of this negative feeling and lack of inclusion. I am not saying that is right but I think before you go smearing IT it is worth remembering you reap what you sow. So although some market trader does make millions he wouldn't be able to do that if some very clever people in IT hadn't worked hard to reduce latency on a connection to a market, or some desktop admin making sure the porn he attempts to view at lunch doesn't affect his trading performance because his PC now has some weird proxy rubbish installed.

        As Cameron said, we are all in this together, sadly it seems this also is not true in most businesses.

        End

        On the XP note, we will not be finished migrating because some of our clients provide software that isn't workable on 7 or 8. But we had the same issue with windows 98 so I imagine in a few years we will be 100% migrated, for now 99% will have to do!

    2. keithpeter
      Windows

      Empirical

      "...you will need training courses, extra helldesk, continuous IT support, etc. just to keep the lusers happy."

      A witty wag could argue we need all that anyway just to carry on as we have...

      I suspect the main issue for many organisations is the back end (e-mail, server based applications, locally authored business applications), as was mentioned in the article.

      Empirical note, sample size around 20 people: I've handed a laptop running a customised CentOS with one bottom panel to a convenient sample of students, colleagues, friends. They can all find the web browser and can start an office file. Many can plug in a USB stick and save something to it. I take your point about some icons being in a different place and the actual applications being different, and I am not suggesting adoption of Linux for businesses.

      Observation: A local University has CentOS (5.9 I think) based desktops available to students in open access areas along side Win7 and Mac OS X. No big issues apparently (have not asked in detail). Perhaps as the undergrads move into the world, expectations will be different and support costs lower...

      The tramp: $400 per year is more than all my kit and broadband costs!

      1. Ron Christian

        Re: Empirical

        > A witty wag could argue we need all that anyway just to carry on as we have...

        One might even argue that going from WinXP to Ubuntu is a smaller leap than going from WinXP to Win8.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Extra Support

      You've never actually used modern Linux, have you?

      As for the poster who says IT doesn't make the company money, try running your company without a computer. I've personally rescued several million dollar deals only to still be treated like an adopted orphan and have to deal with attitudes like yours.

      Any company large enough to have an IT dept, NEEDS that IT dept in order to keep making money. I've seen many companies flounder and go down because they treated IT like building maintenance.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge
        Alien

        Re: Extra Support

        I don't remember anyone else working in the IT dept at my last company... were you my replacement?

        (If so, you have my deepest sympathies)

    4. Herbert Meyer

      scuze me, microsoft breath.

      "The average user" is abandoning PC entirely for phone and tablet, because they never understood PC in the first place. "They" made them use them. Now "They" (who must be obeyed) are using web-cloud apps that just talk to browsers independent of architecture, os, etc. Soon the only ones left with PC will be us nostalgic techs. And we can run whatever we damn please.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If you ask them to learn something else,"

      Yeah, cos, like, Windows 8 looks just like Windows 3.1 and Office This Week looks just like Office 4 and no one ever needed any familiarisation or retraining anywhere in between because they all look and work the same.

      "Guess which 2 options are most popular?"

      Who with? The IT Departments with their flocks of Certified Microsoft Dependent System Administrators desperately trying to preserve their budget and their relevance, or the rest of the organisation who see today's IT Departments as about as relevant as most IBM-style mainframes were in the 1980s.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XP Embedded

    Still another 3 years of support, so quite clearly Microsoft WILL be doing patches, just not sending them to XP Desktops.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: XP Embedded

      In other words.

      1) they are not going make XP Embedded patches if they are needed

      2) they are going to make XP Embedded patches but prevent XP owners getting their mitts on them.

      Either way, it's not really on for one or the other...

  22. bag o' spanners
    Meh

    Vintage OS wranglers have been here before with M$

    If you want my 98SE, you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    XP SP3, sensibly maintained , is good for another decade. If you have posh software/hardware that runs perfectly well on a legacy operating system, but will cost you many hundreds of beer tokens to replace, It makes more sense to browse with a tablet or netbook, and use an airgap to keep your XP box free of filthies. Anyone would think that MS expects us to be umbilically attached to yonder interweb at all times, in all circumstances. Even when it's a distraction or a major security risk..

    1. Roger Greenwood

      An airgap is not always that easy to get - not when your input/output currently goes to a networked printer or networked disk/shared resource. Make it hard for users (e.g. via USB disk etc) and they will laugh and bypass it given half a chance.

      If you start splitting the network or resources then your costs rocket.

      I suppose the moral of the story is plan your next but one upgrade before you do anything else. Not something small businesses are well known for, but the cloud does look suddenly more attractive.

  23. Pete 2

    Devils advocate: Why should anyone care?

    We had Y2k: lots of talk that aircraft would drop out of the sky, that the financial system would crash and burn, that shops would be emptied of food, that utilities would stop working. None of which happened.

    Now people are being told that something as small as Microsoft no longer pestering them with updates to some old piece of software - updates they never bother applying, anyway - is a bad thing?

    I expect that a lot of individuals won't even be aware that the end is nigh. I expect that a lot of companies simply consider PCs to be a commodity, like chairs or employees and will need to actually see something catch fire before they are willing to consider an abstract concept such as a lack of bug-fixes to be anywhere on their priority list.

    On top of that, it's not as if they could just take a PC, apply some "stuff" to it and voila! the problem has gone. No, the hardware will need to be upgraded, possibly the software too - maybe even the peripherals (now many modern PCs have VGA ports, or parallel ports). So given that this lack of "support" won't actually stop anything running, whereas mitigating it will be (a) expensive and (b) disruptive, then sitting with your thumbs up your bum waiting to see what (if anything) happens, is a rational strategy.

    That's certainly what I intend to do with the 3 "retired" XP computers that are now just instances that run under VirtualBox, if I need one of their applications, like Photoshop. I'm definitely not planning on spending £££'s upgrading that (legal copy). Or dropping cash on a copy of W7 or 8 to upgrade them, either.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Devils advocate: Why should anyone care?

      The reasons no planes fell down, or financial systems didn't fail was precisely because a hell of a lot of work was done to mitigate the risks. Not that there wasn't a risk in the first place.

      There is a risk in this case also.

      1. Pete 2

        Re: Devils advocate: Why should anyone care?

        > because a hell of a lot of work was done to mitigate the risks.

        Indeed. I was one of the people doing it. However you don't get rewarded for problems that never happen - only for fixing the ones that do.

        1. Joefish

          Re: Devils advocate: Why should anyone care?

          > I was one of the people doing it. However you don't get rewarded for problems that never happen - only for fixing the ones that do.

          You mean, you didn't leave a little harmless one in there for someone to find so you could do one last fix in front of everyone? James Doohan must be turning in his own little orbiting dust cloud...

  24. Eradicate all BB entrants

    I for one will .....

    ..... miss XP, in regards to enterprise for me it has made my life quite easy. Group policies worked well with it, much better than Vista and when it had issues they were relatively simple to fix. XP served as my main home OS (Long time PC gamer .... since my 286) until Win 7 came out. I wish Win 8 was just the Win 7 GUI with 8's improvements but it looks like that will never happen, so I will be enjoying 7 for a good while longer.

    And please don't give me any switch to SteamOS crap because of gaming, I will still need a Windows pc to stream my games from.

  25. SirDigalot

    i still have 1 xp machine

    it is the only 32bit windows box I have.

    to be fair I booted it up the other day to install some appalling diabetes monitoring software, and it was actually quite snappy, admittedly there was nothing else on it, but still brought back some memories, I almost dug out a 95 CD but then realized I was having a "moment" and stopped myself.

    unfortunately the software still was crap and it was all a waste of time, but a nice trip down nostalgia lane

    For seldom used machines now I use a Linux mint usb stick and no hard drive... saved faffing about with stuff.

    still xp... has a place in my heart ( along with the stints ) :D

  26. Alister Silver badge

    At time of writing a whopping one-third of the world’s millions of PCs were still running Microsoft’s 13-year-old client operating system

    I would be intrigued to know how many Windows 2000 desktops there are still out there in daily use. I know a number of our clients still run it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Win2k

      "I would be intrigued to know how many Windows 2000 desktops there are still out there in daily use. I know a number of our clients still run it."

      I decommissioned our last Windows 2000 production server last week. Or so I thought until I realised our managed Telephonetics system is still running it. I suspect it will be lurking around in dark corners for years to come, like those old Netware boxes that ran for years in cupboards under the stairs, providing what people tended to think of as simply 'the F: drive'... out of sight out of mind.

  27. Hayden Clark
    Devil

    What about fitness-for-purpose?

    Xp was sold as a retail product. You buy a licence, not rent it. The whole issue of "support" is a smokescreen for "fixing faults". Why should Microsoft support XP for ever? Because every security failing is a defect in the product, either present when it was sold, or added by Microsoft in subsequent updates (delivered to fix faults present at point-of-sale).

    Unlike physical products, software is not subject to wear-and-tear, so effectively has infinite life. The subsequent detection of faults in it does not constitute some kind of decay.

    Sue them, I say!

    1. dogged

      Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

      Good luck with your 13 year old car.

      1. Ron Christian

        Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

        > Good luck with your 13 year old car.

        Shrug. We have one 13 year old car, and one 19 year old car, and they still run fine, thanks. We haven't had to make a car payment in a very long time.

        Also still running Windows XP and Office 2000 at home.

        The similarity is this: The purpose for a car is not to own a car, but to have personal transportation. The car still fills that need, so there's no reason to replace it, until it gets more expensive to maintain than payments on a new car. And please, don't go on about leaded gas -- that went away over 30 years ago, and mostly only affects collectors now.

        Similarly, the Windows XP machine exists to load programs and provide a certain set of system resources. While it continues to do that, there's no point in replacing it. One does the normal stuff -- don't use IE, run a current antivirus, (I use AVG) and run behind a properly configured router. But that's normal stuff that a cautious user does anyway.

        We need to remember, the OS is not the application. The OS exists to load applications. As long as it continues to do that adequately, there's no reason to upgrade.

        1. Colin Critch

          Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

          You run AVG! good luck with that. You know firewall don't stop zero day exploits? Guess you wont be running an software built on higher than .net 4 then.

      2. dajames Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

        Good luck with your 13 year old car.

        What's wrong with my 13-year-old car?

        Apart from the fact that the stereo doesn't have a USB port or play MP3s, of course.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

          >> Good luck with your 13 year old car.

          > What's wrong with my 13-year-old car?

          > Apart from the fact that the stereo doesn't have a USB port or play MP3s, of course.

          Just get an aftermarket stereo. Then your "clunker" will have a stereo that's the envy of a BMW owner. You don't have to spend a lot to achieve this effect either.

      3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

        My 16-year-old car continues to work perfectly and flies through its MOT each year.

      4. JEDIDIAH
        Mushroom

        Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

        > Good luck with your 13 year old car.

        Stop buying total sh*t from Detroit.

        I expect both of our cars to be purring along quite contently when they are 13. They may be doing that purring in some 3rd world nation less infested with "consumers", but I expect they will be running just fine.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

      But technology still marches on. Specifications can change, like they can for cars (When was the last time you could buy leaded petrol?). Software can still become obsolete (and faster than cars because of the speed of the industry--lifecycles in a few years).

      1. Getriebe

        Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

        "(When was the last time you could buy leaded petrol?). "

        In the pits at Santa Pod - moohaha

    3. SPiT

      Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

      Under European legislation you have a fitness of purpose case only against whoever sold you the Windows XP and you'll find that wasn't Microsoft so fitness for purpose doesn't really get you anywhere. And most XP licences will be hardware linked and that kit really is looking a bit old.

      The proper legislation is the UK Sale of Goods act which gives a lifetime warranty that the product is fit for purpose and free of manufacturing defects. It doesn't warrant that it is defect free. However, it is a lifetime warranty.

      p.s. The Microsoft "we don't warrant that this software is fit for any purpose" doesn't work as a get out.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: What about fitness-for-purpose?

        "it is a lifetime warranty"

        The majority of claims are limited to 6 years under the Limitation Act 1980. This limit includes claims under contract law and for most torts (but not all).

  28. dacian
    Happy

    open source Windows XP

    How about if Microsoft releases the sources under GPL or other license the code? :) Yes I know it would be like asking for rain in the desert but who knows. I mean in the end Microsoft was great with Kinect mods...

    I would gladly make a petition to see how many people would support this idea but I don't know how. Maybe someone that has an idea can post a reply... or start such a campaign.

    As far as I remember win 7 and win 8 have completely different kernels so it shouldn't be a problem. And people could continue to commit patches to keep XP secure. Maybe do a better result then Microsoft :P

    I would definitely support this as my photo scanner doesn't work with newer OS-es and the buggers from Fujitsu don't want to open their drivers.

    ...

    I wonder if anyone will even read this post...

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: open source Windows XP

      Persistent Rumour is that there are bits with no source.

      Why else is Services tab changes never remembered or same bugs in parts of Explorer for over 10 years?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: open source Windows XP

        I've never heard that romour, and I strongly suspect it's incorrect, particularly because there are many people outside of MS who have the code and someone would have mentioned this. Even if some source did get lost, they'd just recode it.

        1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

          Re: open source Windows XP

          I suspect that it might be hard to find volunteers to work on an open-source XP project. There's not much kudos in patching up 13-year-old cruft.

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: open source Windows XP

      First of all, since Microsoft rarely replaces stuff in their operating systems, large chunks of Windows XP are probably still in Windows 8, so they'd effectively open source that, too.

      Second people would be embarrassed by the typical bad code quality inside of a commercial OS being fudged with for a decade.

      Third, why would Microsoft do that? The end result would be another competitor. One that could run all Windows software, but be faster and (after a while) more secure than their current offerings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: open source Windows XP

        @Christian Berger: When some MS source code was leaked a few years back, the one thing that a lot of people agreed on was that it was actually pretty well written.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: open source Windows XP

      MS Source code is already available to companies, universities and governments under NDA. However even if they wanted to, I suspect they won't be able to release the code more generally because it contains licensed technologies from other companies and MS proprietary technologies which are used in current versions of Windows.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NHS and Golden Wonder crisps

    XP in the NHS? Sheer luxury.

    My partner works there and is stuck using Vista.

    I once attended the business launch event of Windows 7. One of the speakers was an IT manager from Tayto, who following the Golden Wonder takeover, migrated their systems from XP to 7.

    He said it was useful in that those couple of apps that really needed XP could use either XP mode or an XP shim.

    At home, I've got Windows 3.1 applications (eg. Clarisworks - still surprisingly useful for basic drawing) running on Win7 (32 bit).

  30. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    It is possible to build operating systems where version upgrades can be installed without major disruption to the applications they host. VMS, for example, managed a migration to a new processor architecture (VAX to Alpha), though obviously native applications had to be recompiled. The secret, I suspect, is to take more care when creating the original system than Microsoft ever did.

    That said, I wonder how many directors of companies that still run XP are driving around in 13-year-old cars?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My Car's 12.

      Do I win some sort of prize?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: My Car's 12.

        Mines 14.

        My previous was 16.

        I like my newer one far better than the previous. Just like I don't miss that POS XP.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: My Car's 12.

          True, when I was in the transitional period of having the new car but not yet getting rid of the old one, I truly realised what an awful bucket of shit the old one was. The new one would brake in a straight line for starters!

          1. DropBear Silver badge

            Re: My Car's 12.

            "The new one would brake in a straight line for starters!" - Sure, but does rolling up all the windows and restarting the engine help when a broken windshield wiper sensor you don't know about sends your car into the bloody "limp mode"...?

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      I think a lot of it depends on the speed of innovation in a particular market niche. For your VMS example, what other forms of hardware changed in the meantime, and how quickly did they emerge? Did VMS have to negotiate other, more fundamental hardware changes like a change of bus structure, a change of memory mapping or memory type, a transition of peripheral card or drive bus design, etc?

      In the 13 years since Windows XP was first released, we've had:

      - A transition from AGP to PCI Express, which in turn has had two improvements on top of it.

      - GPU has evolved from a dedicated side processor to a more general-purpose processor that can be used advantageously for certain tasks, meaning heterogeneous computing: something relatively novel in the PC world.

      - A transition from USB 1.0 to 3.0, with corresponding changes in the command structure to account for the new SuperSpeed bus.

      - A move from 32-bit to 64-bit as well as the mainstream acceptance of multiple-core CPUs.

      - A shift from Parallel to Serial ATA, and along with it a different address mode that isn't necessarily legacy-compatible.

      - Solid-state drives became mainstream, ranging from bus-mounted to slot-mounted, and each with its own quirks concerning optimal performance and service life.

      - The new Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) to supplant the BIOS.

      - Hard drives so big they basically REQUIRE said EFI to function properly (you can bodge it, yes, but your mileage may vary).

      - At least two jumps in major motherboard architecture (brought about due to competing CPU manufacturers), which also signalled the shift of memory controller from motherboard to CPU.

      - Memory tech has kept moving on, from DDR to DDR2 to DDR3 on the mainstream RAM font with even more exotic solutions appearing in the enterprise.

      I probably missed a few things here, but the main point here is that a lot's been going on in the meantime, and given the breadth of those changes, it can be tricky to be able to handle ALL of them relatively smoothly (because you never know when one of these will change a low-level function).

      1. JEDIDIAH

        > In the 13 years since Windows XP was first released, we've had:

        ...mostly new hardware released.

        It doesn't matter if the bus changes. It's just a different set of device drivers. You would need that anyways. Tech changes and progresses regardless of what names you give stuff.

        Even the bit about multiple CPUs is a little bogus. That's mainly a difference between server computing and consumer level computing. Multi-CPU "desktop" systems were commonplace before XP ever came along.

        As a version of NT, something that once ran on Alpha processors, there's nothing on that list that should be at all disruptive to the Windows NT line of operating systems. It all should either seem like old news or be taken in stride.

        An OS vendor should be ahead of the curve, not behind the 8-ball. Doesn't matter if that OS vendor is consumer focused.

  31. 080

    I can see why M$ want to sell XP users a new OS but there are many millions that can not or will not move so why not just sell updates for XP at a reasonable price, say $1 a month/year, that will make them more money than WinPhone.

  32. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  33. David 45

    MS forcing extraction of money

    I have a ton of programs that I use on a regular basis on my XP machines - some obtained on a "once-only" 24-hour offer, so what do I do? I dare say that many will probably not work under Win 7 or that heap of an OS, Win 8. All my machines are pretty well locked down, as I speak, security-wise, but I'm tempted to get a cheapo one loaded with a Linux distribution and use it purely for browsing and block the others from the net.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS forcing extraction of money

      Make a VM of your XP machine, that's what I did for my wife's ageing laptop. We now have an XP image on one of my VMware servers, quietly ticking over as soon as XP support ends, it will be consigned to no Internet access. You don't have to have dedicated hardware like a VMware box, you could use VMware workstation (other virtualisation products are available.) If I recall correctly the top versions of 7 and 8 have XP virtualisation support via Hyper-v, which isn't bad, unless you need USB.

      That said, if you'd got a load of stuff on a one off offer, I would have worked out a snapshot or backup policy before now...

  34. Ron Christian

    XP works

    XP works. Win7 is basically XP with transparent frames for $150 more. Win8 sucketh mightily. XP is stable and runs all the legacy stuff. For the great majority of the rank and file, there's no reason to take action, other than vague warnings of some future doom. Kinda like global warming.

    1. loneranger
      Stop

      Re: XP works

      Are you kidding? XP works? True, it's better than Win95, but compared to Win7 it's awful, IMO.

      I bought a Win7 pc several years ago, and I have been so happy with its ability to recover from crashes, ability to run for months, even years with no need to reinstall anything unless you just want to clean out the garbage that builds up over time, that I've never looked back at XP. Win7 is so good that Microsoft may have just worked itself out of the OS business for a long time. That's no exaggeration. I don't need Win8 either.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: XP works

      "XP works. Win7 is basically XP with transparent frames for $150 more."

      You're trolling, right?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: XP works

      I take it you haven't made the leap to 64bit yet then?

      Away and take your face for a shite.

  35. loneranger

    Is that really true?

    "Such is the gap in hardware needed for Windows 7 or Windows 8 that it requires a massive spend on new PCs."

    I have doubts about that statement in the article. I just upgraded a friends old Dell laptop from WinXP to Win7 and it works much better than before; and it didn't need any new hardware at all, other than a used SSD to replace the old hard drive. But other than that, no new memory, processor, etc.

    It was an old Dell Vostro 1000 bought in 2005 with only 1.8 gigs of RAM. It was previously using WinXP 32 bit, and it's now running Win7 64 bit (it already had a 64bit AMD processor).

    1. Oldfogey
      Windows

      Re: Is that really true?

      That is NOT old hardware. The world is full of people running hardware twice that old and more. I have just put XP on an old Thinkpad - PII 233, 160Mb, 8Gb HD. Works fine as long as you stick to doing one thing at a time.

      1. MCG

        Re: Is that really true?

        XP in 160Mb? Well, good luck with that. In my experience it sucks donkey dicks on anything less than 1GB...

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Is that really true? @MCG

          It depends on whether you put all the necessary essential add-ons, like service packs and antivirus.

          Take a 2002 XP retail install CD. Install it on anything with at least a PII processor, and look at the memory footprint. It's tiny. Now add SP1, SP2 and SP3 in sequence, and note the memory footprint each update. It goes up significantly each time. Now put an anti-virus package on.

          You've now got to the point where 512MB of memory will allow the system to boot, but not actually run anything at a reasonable speed. If I was cynical, I would say that MS have been deliberately bloating XP in the later service packs to try to get users to upgrade their systems (most people don't know how easy it is to upgrade memory), which will normally equate to a new system with a new install of a recent version of Windows that they can count as a sale.

          I still think carefully before putting SP3 on the few XP systems I have, because of the detrimental effect on the performance of the systems (but I have double NAT and a hardware firewall in the environment that the systems sit on, and have told everybody to not use IE to browse). But somehow MS managed to get autoupdate turned on on my father's laptop, so he's ended up with SP3 anyway! His Thinkpad T42 with 512MB of memory is now crippled because of lack of memory but he's continuing to use it, because at 84, he does not think that investing £300 for a new system is justified. (note to self - I must find him a memory upgrade, or a second-hand Win7 system sometime. 2nd note - Must replace my T30 as well).

          My first XP system from 2002 had 128MB of memory, and worked well enough at the time with Office 97, Netscape and Lotus SmartSuite, as well as running Counter Strike and other contemporary games quite well.

    2. Alien8n Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Is that really true?

      Main problem I've found is that the PC I have at home now runs like a total dog on Win7. It's also completely messed up my screen resolution. On XP it would output 1920x1080 without any problems, but now if I try to output 1920x1080 it seems to spread out and and I only see a quarter of the screen. Hopefully a new graphics card at a later date with HDMI output will fix this. (P4 3GHz Win 32 with 2Gb of RAM)

      Then again with all the photo editing I'm now doing I'll be building a new pc anyway... got my sights set on a new i7 3.5GHz Haswell setup (will be doubling up as my new MMO machine ready for ESO)

  36. Dr?

    So Spine will be accessed using XP machines.

    My missus works on the Connecting For Health project, putting medical records online. She just confirmed that yeah, most NHS PCs run XP. And worse, NHS trusts all deal with their IT separately meaning there will be no bloody chance all PCs will be switched in the next 6 months.

    All of our medical records accessible from unpatched Windows PCs....

  37. Volker Hett

    Wine!

    We still rely on financial software from 1995, it even has to be on a path which screams netware :)

    Remember .pif files? Yeah, that's it!

    So I gave wine a try and I got it to work on my macbook first and CentOS 6 later.

    1. Dr?

      Re: Wine!

      You're positively space age. The financial software used where I work is still green screens and the software was original designed for punchcards.

  38. Decade
    Angel

    Non-profit discounts now apply to religious non-profits, too.

    Microsoft has long tried to lure non-profits into using current Microsoft software by providing severe discounts through organizations such as TechSoup. Now, I just noticed that they added religious non-profits, so there are fewer excuses for your random parish office to stick to pre-2010-era Microsoft software.

  39. DougS Silver badge

    One of three things will happen

    1) the big companies paying $200/seat get patches, which escape into the wild via the employees of those companies and someone creates a "XP updater" application which grabs those from a central place and installs them, so people can remain secure (well as secure as they are now) on XP even without paying for support.

    2) one or more bad guys are sitting on 0 day exploits now, waiting for the last patch Tuesday and keeping their fingers crossed no one finds out about them before, when they will all be in a race with each other hoping to create the biggest botnets of the unpatched XP machines. Microsoft doesn't care, because they warned people.

    3) same as #2, but Microsoft does care because it makes them look bad and/or those people start migrating to Linux, so they release the occasional XP patch here and there for the most truly critical XP security issues.

    Probably will be a combination of the above.

  40. ecofeco Silver badge
    FAIL

    XP is obsolete

    Period.

    You are gambling with your data. But go ahead. This just means you'll be paying for my retirement, only for me to have to tell you after hours and hours of very expensive billable trying, (because the younger techs have no clue and XP is sloooowww) there is no way to retrieve your data because hardware and software replacements no longer exist.

    Here's the bill. COD. And it's far more than the cost of upgrading. Which you will have to do after all.

  41. Javapapa

    My choices

    Yours may differ.

    We have a 7 year old Thinkpad R60e with WinXP Pro, 1GB of RAM. Over time it ran slower despite defrag, good firewall/AV practices, etc. Drove the wife crazy.

    1. Purchased an HP Pavilion Chromebook for $300. Limited, not best Chromebook for using Developer mode, but good enough for my purpose, like the larger screen. Not a direct replacement for a Windows laptop.

    2. Bought the wife a new Toshiba budget level laptop for $350, with Win 8. She loves it, I hate it. Installed LibreOffice.

    3. Finally converted the R60e to LinuxMint 15 (Olivia) last night. Everything worked out of the box - screen, keyboard, mouse, Wifi, CD/DVD. Came with Java, Flash, LibreOffice. Only issue is battery not charging; might be a driver issue, runs ok with AC adapter, ordered a new one anyway. Plan to add 2GB just for fun.

    4. The company where I work still has 9 older machines, some are old T60s, some are two year old T420s, the rest are newer running Win 7 Pro. We plan to upgrade a few of the newest ones for loaners, sell off the rest dirt cheap to staff, who can either upgrade, install Linux. or use for target practice (we live in Texas).

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: My choices

      Sounds good. I agree that chromebooks are surprisingly useful, and it's amazing what you can do with them. In many cases I can see it will be better to use a combination of solutions as you have, rather than another expensive monolithic solution.

      We now have 3 x small tablets in the house + 2 x chromebooks along with older computers i.e. a lot of redundancy for less money. Same principle could work for many businesses.

      p.s. in the UK we are discouraged from using old kit as target practice and just chuck it over a hedge instead.

    2. Dr?

      Re: My choices

      Thinkpads are nice pieces of kit. I'm writing this on an x200 running Windows 7 and it flies. Cost me £135 on fleabay a couple of months back. I'd much rather have this than an entry level laptop.

  42. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. and-job

    Tell Microsoft to go shove it

    and get rid of Windows and install Linux. Maybe then Microsoft will learn not to use blackmail threats against the people that have already paid for their operating system once.

    It would be different if they had a 'nominal' upgrade fee but they gouge the customers and then supply an operating system that is barely either unusable because of bugs, my bad undocumented features!

    Microsoft don't grasp the idea of 'stack them high and sell them cheap' they stack them high and then use threats and blackmail to try and make people pay their over priced upgrade fee. Have they not realized yet that maybe that is why people and companies don't want to upgrade with each new iteration of the operating system.

    Maybe they should have learned from Apple who charge a low fee for their OS upgrade on their Mac range and most people upgrade but Apple don't make demands that they upgrade and buyers are aware that eventually their Mac will not be upgradeable! They don't scare the crap out of their users into buying upgrades for PC's that will either barely manage to run the latest OS and really leave the PC unusable.

  44. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Hardware problems and upgraders.

    Regarding people regarding this as a "hardware problem", they might as well. Windows 7 (let alone 8) require so much more resources than XP, that they can either a) spend money on more RAM and possibly other upgrades, on a system that is approaching retirement age anyway or b) not do that and realize it'll be replaced soon. (Partially, upgrade cycles are simply unncecesary, but realistically the systems will start to become less reliable as fans fail and so on.)

    Regarding: "Where did all the upgraders go?"

    I've seen several big causes of them evaporating:

    1) The same people that balk at Ubuntu or whatever being too different, see Windows 7 and especially Windows 8 and also find them too different. They are rather irrational and find ***ANY*** change compared to bone stock XP to be some huge deal.

    2) They find out the REAL choice is buy a new computer, put Ubuntu (or something) on the existing one, or keep it as is -- these are not business users worried about a hardware upgrade lifecycle. But, tthey have a laptop or whatever where it will not meet 7's requirements, and is not upgradeable to meet the requirements either. I've upgraded 3 of these cases to Ubuntu (with Unity turned the hell off, replaced with gnome classic), after their XP install got totally pwned (and no reinstallation CD or partition of course). They could not be happier.

    3) Even worse, people that were interested in getting a new system with 7, then see the systems now have Windows 8... at which point, they plan to NEVER upgrade. Yes, people would rather use a 10+ year old PC than Windows 8.

    1. Colin Critch

      Re: Hardware problems and upgraders.

      I agree with you on this one. One problem that is not well know is that adobe made the latest flash require SSE2 CPU extension. So older PC can not play flash any more.

      So for a usable Linux intall you need CPU with SSE2, 1GB Ram, SATA1 disk ( get a £60 SSD hybrid for ebuyer ). 64 bit and dual core is a nice to have, a CD rom drive. Distros that run well are SolusOS, Debian and Kubuntu.

  45. Shannon Jacobs

    Blackmail as a business model, eh?

    Life imitates art, and Microsoft must be imitating the neo-GOP in America. Blackmail is NOT the best way of doing business, but bean counters have no qualms about extortion if it seems to add shareholder value (or attract more lobbyists, in the Congressional case).

    I've been using Windows 7 for a while now on a couple of machines. If I had the choice, I don't see any reason to do so. As far as I know, there is not a single new feature that I need or use. (There is one feature I do like and probably would use, but it is deliberately crippled by the ISP involved with that machine. However, even that feature is possible with Windows XP, though it's more difficult to do.)

    In short, I'm only using Windows 7 because I was forced to adopt it. There is NOTHING there that would actually make me want to replace Windows XP. If Microsoft had the guts to offer the choice, I would probably be willing to pay a SMALL amount for improvements to Windows XP, but if Windows XP were competing FREELY against Windows 7, it would have to be a very small amount.

    WIndows 8? Sorry, Microsoft, your extortion needs to be ramped up. However, I hate dealing with extortionists.

  46. gnufrontier

    More media generated paranoia

    Who can blame Microsoft for being tired of fixing its old mistakes and wanting to concentrate on its more recent set. Big deal, XP support ends. They are taking away your rubber crutches. What a surprise it will be when you find out that you could walk all along.

    As for the security issue ... spare me. The user is the first and last line of defense. Tell them quit clicking on stuff they don't recognize from people they have never heard of in order to find out what it does.

    After all, it's not like machines weren't getting infected when Microsoft was spewing out updates and offering support. Take it away and what really changes.

  47. gnufrontier

    Enough with the meellion

    What is it with that spelling ? Is that some sort of trademark for the Register? I guess its original purpose was emphasis but it has been so over done that it has become trite and annoying.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Enough with the meellion

      ...but then you'd have to remove that other script line that says "scientist" / "researcher" / "doctor" / "professor" / "expert" / "engineer" / "consultant" / "technician" / "lab janitor" / "anybody who can read and ever opened a phone book" -> "boffin" too...?!?

  48. Zot

    People confuse 'new' with the word 'improved' all the time.

    An OS should just be a background management system. Barclays Bank uses XP, and many shops use XP. Last time I looked, a high street phone shop used a DOS like system. The guys working there hated it, but the guys that wrote it know what it's doing at all times, as the users don't go on the Internet, and don't bend rules, they are perfectly controlled. And the computers are really, really cheap.

    MS, Apple, and Google are in the business of selling the 'new' and 'improved' and a lot of trendies buy it because it's all about being with the highest version number they can get, which is kind of sad. These companies are in the business of making people jealous of others with the latest bit of kit. It's their business model.

    I bet If Apple invented the guitar, they would have redacted the strings long ago! ;) Hah.

    But that's not the point. Being a software developer makes me one of the trendies, but not the majority.

    My old dad uses XP, he can print stuff, use the Internet with Chrome, and write emails in Thunderbird; what do most people use a computer for? Human stuff, of course. Many, many millions of non-tech people that don't need change for the sake of it, and they think their ten year old PC is actually still 'new?' Wonderful.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: People confuse 'new' with the word 'improved' all the time.

      The thing about the current version of Windows is not that it is "improved" but that it is SUPPORTED.

      It's the operating system full of holes. You need the support so that you can get the holes fixed.

      It's much like any business that cares about vendor support. You upgrade to the current version no so much for the shiny shiny but because you have to in order to be taken seriously when you call up the vendor and say "this thing is broken".

      1. BongoJoe
        Windows

        Re: People confuse 'new' with the word 'improved' all the time.

        Supported you say?

        The Windows 7 network bugs have been known for ages at Redmond. Who do I speak to to get a patch for this?

        Or are they going to ignore these bugs and not support the supported operating system? Your idea of support may differ to mine here.

  49. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Vista screwed them

    Remember the upgrade path? It was "Upgrade to Vista", but wait, you have to buy a new PC because most XP systems couldn't run Vista according to the MS upgrade tool. So very few people upgraded and then since they didn't buy a new PC they assumed that they couldn't run Win 7 either - or Win 8.

    They really didn't think it through.

  50. Ramazan

    "business-critical apps tied into Windows XP via its IE6 browser"

    ROTFLOL

  51. DavidAtEeyore

    Why not XP2?

    If Microsoft were serious about keeping the millions of XP users with older, working PC's inside the MS tent, they should consider devoting a crack team of OS developers to reengineering XP to overcome the security issues that will arise without a constant stream of obscure patches to "fix" bugs.

    it (I suggest XP2) could borrow from Win 7 (not Win 8) some of the newer features if they could be implemented without breaking the XP model. MS could then offer XP2 as a say, $25 upgrade with a time-limited voucher to buy a discounted Win 7/8 OS licence.

    There's an awful lot of Win32 business software developed on XP for deployment on XP; smaller businesses are not going to shell out for new stuff just on a Microsoft whim.

    If MS insist on their present approach, the gradually increasing bleed to Linux, Android and (gasp..) the fruity ones will become an avalanche.

  52. Tim Bates

    Windows 7 Upgrade?

    We've got a few customers still running XP on older PCs bought during the early Vista era - they'd run Windows 7 fine in most cases, and the hardware is fine... But MS has made it terribly hard to get Windows 7 without paying a premium... You can only do a Windows 8 downgrade from OEM licenses, which you can't install on the existing PCs. You can't buy Windows 7 Upgrade anymore, which leaves 2 options:

    * Windows 8 (ugh - no).

    * Windows volume licensing (5 license minimum)

    Neither are very good options, particularly if you only have 3 or 4 PCs.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Windows 7 Upgrade?

      Sometimes you pay for your laziness. This is one such case. Neither the EOL of XP nor the W7->W8 switch came as a surprise. So a smart person would have gotten the licences needed prior to the W8 release OR go with W8

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 7 Upgrade?

        Go with Windows 8? I'd rather stuff a dead crow down my trousers.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about all the cash machines?

    1. mmeier

      Same as with every other box that does not connect to the internet and only runs some dedicated software - updates and security patches do not matter.

  54. teapot9999

    Mac OS

    I have a 6 year old Mac running the latest version of OSX, never had to wipe it to install newest version.

    Downvote if you like, but it is a fact.

    1. Stevie Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Mac OS

      Do you know how to turn it on?

  55. David Hager

    Hassle

    I think Microsoft has had the stronger need for new versions than the end user. Hard to keep a business growing if new product isn't out there for sale. But, all the non-geek end-user can see is hassle. Why buy new product if what I have works well enough? While geeks find this stuff to be interesting, the rest of the world keeps it's pickup truck and changes the oil regularly so long as it still gets them to the grocery store.

    I sometimes wonder if a hidden goal of pushed updates/patches is to gradually bog down a system enough to motivate users to buy new hardware/software.

  56. Stevie Silver badge

    HM Revenue and Customers???

    I hope the services you are speaking of do a better job than your automotive spill corruption.

  57. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    So, don't operate day-to-day tasks logged on as Admin, d****ds!

  58. Fred Goldstein
    Windows

    No clean upgrade path from XP

    When they came out with ME II, I mean Vista, XP could be "upgraded" (I use that word loosely) to it in place. But Win7, while based on a fixed Vista, can't do that. You can't just run an upgrade disk. To replace XP with 7 or 8, a whole clean install has to be done. So applications have to be reinstalled, data copied, etc. It is a major job, and sometimes requires buying new applications. And on an existing system, it needs a lot of spare disk space, which many XP systems, being older, don't have. This was Microsoft's choice -- they made it hard to move off of XP and by gum we're not going anywhere until the hardware dies or is retired.

  59. The Godfather
    Windows

    time gentlemen please..drink up

    It's not in the interest of those providing the operating systems to have them last forever. Some are just more blatant at ripping you off.....no names of course.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Options

    Alright. Lets see the CEO gets retired, Bill Gates want to be retired, Microsoft want to retire everything to sell you a new lemon. One more desperate attempt to grab money

  61. Steve Evans

    XP?

    I had to take the moggy to see the vet the other day... Whilst she was having her temperature checked in a most undignified way, I looked the other way...

    Toward the LCD screen on the desk... Hmmm, looks old... Closer look at start menu icon...

    Windows 98 at best (could have been 95).

    XP is still a dream to some!

  62. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Somebody oughtta...

    How about we put all the boring/tedious security wheeze into a wee feisty little box, with two Ethernet sockets: one dirty one for the Interweb and one sanitized one for your PC? Pay some boring/tedious security-wheeze drones to keep that wee feisty little box up-to-date. Obviously the https client and the like would have to be moved to the wee feisty little box (*our* man in the middle).

    You'd probably want to glue-shut the USB ports and do something about the optical drives.

  63. Uncle Siggy

    ILOVEYOU

    I was going to make a Piers Anthony reference, but how crass is that?

    Since leaving XP and Microsoft products behind, having moved my workloads to a mix of Linux/OSS, Solaris and Apple products, I don't have any issue with 300 MEEEELION Zombies flooding the Internet with its filth. I began the migration from M$ products once a co-worker got the Isle of View virus in May 5th, 2000. What's that? I did get a Piers Anthony reference into a thread about Windows XP? +1 to me!

  64. Asher Pat

    I sort of hoped it wud be my precious Apple, 500 million, yes, how did we get here!?

    yes we know that everybody sees Microsoft as the only thing that stands between the iSheep and world domination.

  65. This Side Up

    Microsoft doesn't want your business

    "The message is clear: Microsoft doesn’t want your business - so get off Windows XP."

    - so get off Windows. Period.

  66. Bob Camp

    My problem is the opposite. At work, I have apps that only run on XP and the companies that wrote them have either disappeared or simply refuse to update them. The apps go with equipment that's also old but would cost $50,000 to replace each one of them. So upgrading to Windows 7 would cost us over $1 million just in lab equipment.

    Not only that, but a lot of those apps come with old hardware that use actual serial ports and PCI cards. The USB-to-serial adapters don't work nearly as well as the real thing for some reason, and modern motherboards are doing away with PCI slots. (Even then, would there be a Windows 7 driver for it?)

    We've been using Firefox. Anti-virus and firewall software still support XP (actually some still support 2000), and the company firewall is up to date. So we're plodding ahead with XP.

    My daughter's PC at home is also running XP, as she just uses it to surf the Web and play Minecraft. The PC is plenty fast enough for that. That PC doesn't even run any anti-virus software and just uses the built-in Windows firewall. It is behind a router that also has some built-in firewall capabilities. So far, in 12 months, no malware has infected the PC.

  67. John Munyard

    Why people don't move on

    I would suggest that many people, both home users and businesses don't upgrade from XP for what are fairly basic reasons:

    1) There is little functionality of real value within either Vista or Windows8 which is not supported by XP. Most home users do browsing, email and maybe some media storage. Most businesses can use completely decent (if old) versions of Office on XP without upgrading.

    2) For many people a move on from XP will also necessitate upgrading hardware and existing software packages as well. Why spend money and mess with stuff that works perfectly well? Who wants to chance that your router, printer or NAS drivers are supported in Windows 8?

    The underlying problem for Microsoft is that most people (except boffins and excitable journalists) have everything they need and don't give a toss about cloud-enabled functionality or other such junk. There is basically no justification for spending the money and supporting Microsoft's bloated business model.

    Rather than tring to scare the world into upgrading from XP, perhaps Microsoft could massively discount Vista instead and continue to sell that. Without a very low cost option, people and companies will (if forced) undoubtedly look for other cheaper platforms which won't pull support all over again in another 3 years time.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Why people don't move on

      And what about those people that got XP-prebuilt computers and have no desire or money to step up the OS, meaning they're stuck with the OEM XP and the sticker on their machine? Plus the software they're using isn't Linux-, WINE-, or VM-friendly, meaning they're stuck with the machine, essentially.

  68. MyHandle123

    IT Malpractice

    An operation the size of the NHS is so big, they could maintain their own Linux distribution. They're so big, they could even operate their own 'white box' PC operation and make PCs to whatever specifications they want. The idea that they're wasting so much money to lease commercial software from the likes of Microsoft is ridiculous.

  69. Sly
    Alert

    Windowns 98 still living large

    All this noise about XP and we're still using Windows 98 on 3 systems at work because of the attached test equipment and the software to run it will not work on anything newer. Why are the XP machines not being upgraded? Same story. Systems without this hangup have either been replaced or are slowly being upgraded to Windows 7.

    And then there's this OS9 system (nothing related to Apple and everything related to Microware) that's almost 20 years old now and still running. Upgrade stuff? Someone want to provide 200K to 3 MEELLion to upgrade the equipment to be able to use the newer OS, sure, but until then...

    No touchy, no touchy!

  70. BongoJoe
    Happy

    Upgrade

    I upgraded my wife's Windows 7 laptop the other week. It now runs appreciably faster on XP.

    And under XP it doesn't lose the network, doing get confused if it's at home or at workl it just gets on with the work and it does a better job than W7.

    I'll be looking for more XP licences soon enough.

  71. Roger Mew

    The problem really is that many machines are set up to use XP. What does one do if they have several machines working on XP with say 2 or 3 computers backing each other up running say the region electrical system. M/S has not worked this through and it could actually be the finish of MS. So lets say that the regional electrical system is operating using an XP base (remember there was no linux back then) it is not practical, nor feasible to change OS. If you do, then the software will not run anyway, so if that is the case then MS will lose a client. The new machines will not run MS and slowly but surely all will migrate to linux. Sooner or later people will say MS, what's that, oh yes a disease.

    Its a very silly move. I personally lost programs that no longer run, I did not bother to get updates, just discovered free work arounds. So I will make XP operate one way or another.

    Stop taking the piss MS, as you see you are similar to a nasty disease.

    As an aside, I used a computer from a supplier some many years ago that used its own system. Very good, very reliable, was tested by a then expert and it was far better than the MS 3.1

  72. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    React

    This would be a *perfect* opportunity for ReactOS to fill in the void left by XP. All it would require is for ReactOS to be, oh, lets say **10 YEARS** further along in it's development...

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: React

      And you wonder why they're so far behind? Because clean-rooming an entire OS with all its quirks is, simply, A SLOG. Especially when under the legal onus of VERIFYING their clean-room procedures (a slip of which caused a complete code review at least once). Plus they're chasing a moving target in that Microsoft has released three new versions of Windows (which include significant revisions) in the meantime.

  73. Reggy
    Mushroom

    What are the copyright/ legal reasons that prevent XP security updates being outsourced from Microsoft ?

    100 years time the company won't be around anywise and unless a Windows system is already installed on a machine (hopefully with a system backup on an independent disc) future legacy loving computer users with a fresh disc copy of any Microsoft Window system - if they want to - won't be able to use it. Microsoft won't be around to activate the licence &c. The same goes for the Adobe CS series.

  74. DBJDBJ

    M$FT can solve this very quickly

    M$FT should simply "give away" W8 licences for *free* in return for XP licences. Whoever owns XP licence key should be given W8 one for free.

    Inside a single financial year M$FT will recoup the losses (and make even more profit) by accommodating hundreds of millions of newcomers with Office subscriptions.

    Also. Suddenly W8 "Apps" will become a focus of millions of Apps developers.

    Also. W8 newcomers will all of a sudden become aware of Windows Mobile devices (which soon will run the same OS)

    How simple ?

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