back to article FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS: Microsoft faces prising XP from Big Biz

Windows versions are a bit like Star Trek movies – every other one tends to be a bit duff. It happened with ME, then XP impressed everyone, then it happened with Vista, then Windows 7 came along – and now we're at Windows 8.1. So far, adoption rates of Microsoft's latest hope for cross-device domination haven't been great. …

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  1. Dr Trevor Marshall

    Google will save the world. While perhaps doing only a little evil.

    Google will support those who fail to migrate (at least with a competent browser). I have no doubt that other software suppliers will follow Google's lead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Google will save the world. While perhaps doing only a little evil.

      it was exactly the same when support for Windows NT 4 ended. It still took many companies and organisations years to migrate. And some still havn't!

      Move along, nothing to see here....

      1. HarryBl

        Re: Google will save the world. While perhaps doing only a little evil.

        The touch screen counter machines at the UK Post Office and the IBM tills in Starbucks all over the world run on NT4.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Google will save the world. While perhaps doing only a little evil.

          It can't have been that long ago since I saw an ATM that was stuck on a Windows 95 boot screen.

        2. Parax

          Re: UK Post Office

          Doesn't the UK post office fall under banking regulation compliance?

  2. Mage Silver badge

    Or

    Not move at all. In reality the lack of patches doesn't make much difference to a sensibly used XP behind a firewall.

    Surely there is a non-MS alternative too? Not if you have a large investment in old Windows and DOS programs, some of which don't work on Vista/Win7 and perhaps more don't work on Win 8, so the very people that can easily move to Win8 due to legacy baggage perhaps can move from MS. Many people I meet even with Win7 already are talking about Apple OS X or Linux. But the danger with Mac and OSX is that Apple has no loyalty to customers. Where are the Apple Servers today? If Mac and OS X is too much less attractive in Income than a cool styled "notebook" based on ARM and iOS Apple will drop the OS X based Mac family.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Or

      "Many people I meet even with Win7 already are talking about Apple OS X or Linux."

      When someone competent in enterprise It is involved, those are generally pretty short conversations....

      1. ISP

        Re: Or

        "When someone competent in enterprise It is involved, those are generally pretty short conversations...."

        That'd be why our CIO's office old me that I had to migrate to a more secure operating system. By which they meant Linux...

        And you are right, there was no conversation. Just an edict.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Or

          "And you are right, there was no conversation. Just an edict."

          Presumably until someone pointed out that Windows has had far fewer security vulnerabilities that were on average fixed faster than any enterprise Linux distribution every year since 1994....

          Linux adoption has stayed at near zero ever since Munich council proved it was a waste of lots of money. Tens of millions spent and a decade later and they still havnt finished migrating. And when they need to do real work - such as use a version of Office that actually works - they still have to use Windows (via Citrix!)

          1. Rick Giles
            Linux

            Re: Or

            I'm sorry, you must be in upper management, so I'll type slowly.

            I'm not surprised it is taking them this long to drop the deeply entrenched money sink that is Microsoft. I suspect that there is a lot push back from external sources that MS has in their back pocket to make just such an endeavor that much harder.

            There are several fine MS Office alternatives out there. The problem is, they all use a recognized standard for document interchange. MS does not.

            "Presumably until someone pointed out that Windows has had far fewer security vulnerabilities that were on average fixed faster than any enterprise Linux distribution every year since 1994...."

            Um, sources or I call BS.

            1. Pookietoo
              Linux

              Re: Um, sources or I call BS.

              It's possible, when you consider how much more software there is in the average Linux distro than is included with Windows - I doubt that notepad and minesweeper present too much of security risk.

            2. Chemist

              Re: Or

              "Um, sources or I call BS."

              He's always banging on about vulns. or Munich, funnily enough he often gives links to documents that often show exactly the opposite of what he's claiming. What on Earth he get off on with all of this I don't know. - doesn't really matter he's just an AC and should be ignored.

            3. JohnG Silver badge

              Re: Or

              I like LibreOffice and use it at home every day - but the idea of a Linux desktop for corporate use is dead in the water for as long as Microsoft doesn't provide Office for Linux and keep changing their Office file formats as every upgrade.

              1. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge

                Re: Or

                You have a good point about office if you and your business associates are working on complex documents. However for sending each other the odd invoice or spreadsheet to look at then one side on Open Office and one of MS Office is fine. There are pretty similar problems with different versions of MS Office as there are to Open Office.

                As long as we have XP and Windows 7 then Linux on the desktop is not a huge advantage. It's a different story with servers.

                1. Rick Giles
                  Linux

                  Re: Or

                  "As long as we have XP and Windows 7..."

                  Yes, but half of your argument is going away April 8th, 2014...

                  Can we assume full steam ahead on Linux for you then? Good, I knew we could.

                  Next customer in the queue, please!

              2. Jim 59

                Re: Or

                No. What keeps Windows on the desktop throne is MS' control over manufacturers. Every purchase of a PC is a forced purchase of Windows.

                The KDE and Gnome projects have also done their best to keep Linux off the desktop by despising their users and writing themselves into irrelevancy. I use XFCE and LXDE.

                1. Philip Lewis

                  Re: Or

                  "forced purchase of Windows"

                  That is (and in fact always was) illegal.

                  Alas, reality is the same anyway, and here in the real world, things haven't changed.

              3. Rick Giles
                Linux

                @JohnG Re: Or

                Microsoft doesn't need to provide an Office for Linux. They need to adhere to the fscking standard the rest of the world agrees upon.

                If everyone would stop being a sheep and stop using MS Office, then they will have no choice but to comply and use as standard we make them use.

          2. darklordsid

            Re: Or

            Oh, rly?

            That's why over 50% of servers runs Linux.

            That's why over 50% of embedded devices runs Linux.

            That's why Google framework runs Linux and it even chose to based Android (that already have as many active machines as wintel ones) on Linux kernel.

            Your Win+Office+somethinginMSandNSAcloud is not the whole world.

    2. naw

      Re: Or

      MS have screwed up in a major way, first with MS Office, and now with Windows. If you tear up your User Interface, forcing your users to completely re-learn core apps, then you open the door to alternatives.

      Fact is, it's as easy to go from XP & Office 2003 to Ubuntu & Open Office as it is to go to Windows 8/8.1 & Office 2007/2010/2012/2013.

      In fact my wife and mum totally gave up on the latest from MS and both opted for Ubuntu & OO - it was just an easier transition. So MS effectively abandoned 2 customers - and they're never going back to MS - Why pay for something you can't use.

      Also Ubuntu installed perfectly on both their laptops while I spent weeks searching for XP drivers for a FJS Amilo laptop (having given up on the horrific pre-installed Vista). So MS (under the stewardship of Steve Ballmer and his pals) opened the door a crack for OpenOffice with the MS Office Ribbon menus (the Ribbon simply does not work with the new wide-screen format laptops). Then they opened it a bit more for Ubuntu and finally, for Android, they took it off its hinges and broke it up for firewood with Windows8.

      That's what happens when you give your adolescent kid (Ballmer) the keys to their first car (Microsoft). They try to put their stamp on it. Paint flames down the side, smoke the windows, furry dice air freshners, lower the suspension, ruin performance with a fat exhaust. Then they crash and burn at the first corner with their pals on the back seat yelling encouragement.

      Apple's next ;-)

      1. phil8192
        Go

        Re: Or

        You automobile restyling analogy cracked me up.

    3. Jim 59

      Windows XP

      XP is good by Windows standards, but not that good. Using it here, I don't even have virtual desktops. Even Windows 3.1 had that (ok it was Bigdesk freeware).

      1. Tridac

        Re: Windows XP

        Then you should look at the sysinternals "desktops" addon to windows. Free, very small footprint and gives you 4 separate virtual screens. It just works...

  3. loneranger

    I don't think so

    XP isn't nearly as dependable or sturdy as Win7. I had to reinstall everything every few months with XP. But with Win7, never, unless it is just to clean out the digital garbage that builds up.

    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Re: I don't think so

      > XP isn't nearly as dependable or sturdy as Win7. I had to reinstall everything every few months with XP. But with Win7, never, unless it is just to clean out the digital garbage that builds up.

      Of course your mileage may vary, but my Desktop has been running XP for over 10 years and has proved more stable than my W7 machines.

      XP isn't sufficiently broken for anyone sensible to actually want to throw it out and spend all the money required to replace it.

      Most sites will only replace it when the systems its running on break or are no longer fit for purpose.

      The likes of MS seem to constantly fail to understand this fact. They think people will throw out their working stuff and replace it with this weeks shiny thing. Life just ain't like that.

      If it ain't broke, you don't fix it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't think so

        "If it ain't broke, you don't fix it."

        How can an OS be out of money? Or did you mean broken?

        Over a few years an upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 will save most organisations money compared to supporting a legacy infrastructure - from the lower TCO - including fewer security vulnerabilities, better performance, greater reliability, better power saving, etc. etc.

        1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          @MS deep web social media shill

          "Over a few years an upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 will save most organisations money compared to supporting a legacy infrastructure "

          Bullshit. Prove it.

          I could invest in some firewalls, imaging software, IDS and a few other things to defend perfectly working estate. As an alternative, I can buy all new Microsoft software and the same stuff, because I'll still have to defend my estate against emerging threats.

          Oh, and with XP retail boxed, I can RDP into my system from as many devices in the world as I wish. With Windows Vista or newer I have to pay $100 per device per year. That's after I have to buy in to a much more expensive Enterprise licence with software assurance that in no way benefits me.

          Don't shit in my hand and tell me it's gold. Back your malarky up with evidence and hard numbers or go crawl back into the Redmondian gutter you congealed in.

          1. Philip Lewis

            Re: @MS deep web social media shill

            Nice one Trev.

            That $100/seat/year is just fucking horrifying. Monopoly pricing at its worst!

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: @MS deep web social media shill

              It emphatically isn't $100/seat/year. I would galdly pay Microsoft 100$/seat/year to be able to use RDP or proper VDI to access software on systems that I own.

              No, this is far - far - worse. This is $100 for every single device used to access a given system pet year. Do you own a home PC, 3 tablets, 2 smartphones, RDP in to your home VM from inside other VMs, servers, client sites, hotels, etc? $100 per device per year. Last year I clocked myself in at over 300 devices.

              Microsoft says that if I upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 I have to pay them over $30,000 a year just for the right to access my personal virtual machine at home.

              That's way different from $100/seat/year.

              So where is Microsoft's "I take weekends and evenings off" paid shill on this topic? Where are his facts and figures? Where are the numbers showing me ROI and TCO that apply to my situation and that of my clients? Indeed, that of any real-world clients that aren't a cherry-picked group of American Enterprise customers who use access methods and patterns from 10 years ago?

              I want to be wrong on this, Mr Microsoft marketing guy, please, do prove me wrong on this.

              Oh, and no, that bullshit Redmondian line that RDS is as good or better than VDI? Fuck that noise with an angry goat. I have applications that will only work on client operating systems and refuse to work on Server ones. Besides, even if I could get it to work...why should I have to pay thousands - and put in a significant amount of administrative effort trying to get shims to work - just to to what I can do on XP Pro by enabling RDP?

              Remote desktop services is not VDI. It's a fucking kludge - a terrible kludge - that we have to put up with only because Microsoft's dark-side clown brigade (composed of the most elemental evil this universe has to offer, congealed in the darkest gutters humanity has ever known) decided that we just aren't allowed to run the client OS in a VM and use it in a manner that works perfectly fine except for their ridiculous licensing.

              I want persistent desktops for my users, Microsoft. Centrally located and administered. Simply put, I want the ability to field persistent Windows 7 desktops. No layers of complex management. Just working systems that are simple to set up, simple to control, simple to use.

              I'm waiting, Microsoft. Tell me how your upgrades are adding value and going to save me money. Tell me how upgrading isn't going to choose between bankruptcy or retooling my entire personal - and corporate - data access workflow to something far less efficient. Tell me how you're out there for the customer, Microsoft.

              Engage with me, damn it. I'm a tech blogger, a Microsoft partner and - far more importantly - a customer. Surely one of those categories of individuals still matters to the corporate overmind.

              Answer my goddamned questions. Provide me with facts and figures. Show me how I can do what I want to do, how I want to do it and do so in a manner that will in fact save me money by upgrading.

              Don't run and hide when I ask you the hard questions, you fucking cowards.

              Your paid shills are all over this forum. What good are they to me, to you or to any of your customers if they can't answer the simple questions put to them? If they can't prove their claims in front of all?

              Prove me wrong, Microsoft, and I'll gladly write you a massive article series about how wrong I was, and how awesome Microsoft is. I'll write several. Prove that my understanding of your licensing and it's impacts on myself any my clients are incorrect and I will champion Microsoft and it's policies...because if you can do so then Microsoft will deserve to be championed.

              Until then, stop lying to people in the forums of The Register. Put up or shut up. Can you do so before XP turns into a pumpkin? The clock is ticking.

              Tick tock

              Tick tock

              Tick Tock

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @MS deep web social media shill -@Trevor_Pott

                I may be reading too much into the subtext, but are you possibly a bit upset with Microsoft?

                ...5 more working days to go till I retire and can start to forget everything I know about Windows. I can feel my blood pressure dropping in anticipation.

                1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  Re: @MS deep web social media shill -@Trevor_Pott

                  No. I am not upset with Microsoft. There are plenty of amazingly talented people at Microsoft producing excellent technology to the best of their abilities. I am furiously livid with Microsoft's licensing department.

                  Microsoft is not a homogenous entity. I can loathe and despise one collection of soulless cretins while being quite enamored of the others.

                2. Mark 78

                  Re: @MS deep web social media shill -@Trevor_Pott

                  "...5 more working days to go till I retire and can start to forget everything I know about Windows. I can feel my blood pressure dropping in anticipation."

                  You want to be careful this week. The laws of "Film Cop Movies" mean your chances of being killed are going up exponetially at the moment.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @MS deep web social media shill

                Wow. You need to turn off your computers and phones and take a long vacation. Maybe a round the world trip. When you come back find a new career and a few pastimes. You won't regret it.

                1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  @AC Re: @MS deep web social media shill

                  Great riposte. Respond to the hard questions with ad hominem. I should thusly consider your opinions valid why?

        2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: I don't think so

          Dropping Xp makes no sense. The reason people stick with Windows is to support their legacy apps. So it makes sense to use an OS from the same era. Changing the OS is sure to cause more problems than it solves.

          1. Richard Jones 1

            Re: I don't think so

            It is not just legacy programs, legacy hardware that cost more than the PC that drives it and cannot now be replaced is another boat anchor to XP because new systems are not compatible.

        3. JohnMcL

          Re: I don't think so

          "If it ain't broke, you don't fix it."

          NB. This does not apply to aeroplanes!

          1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

            Re: I don't think so

            "If it ain't broke, you don't fix it."

            NB. This does not apply to aeroplanes!

            I thought it applied to aeroplanes too, just that with aeroplanes you need to check everyday and in every way that they "ain't broke"

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I don't think so

          "Over a few years an upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 will save most organisations money compared to supporting a legacy infrastructure - from the lower TCO - including fewer security vulnerabilities, better performance, greater reliability, better power saving, etc. etc."

          Yep that's pretty much the party line. Truth is that new SW brings new problems, sometimes just new versions of old problems. More importantly it brings new opportunities to sell you more stuff you already own or new education to use the stuff you already know or new support agreements to help keep the new unstable stuff running that was previously mature and stable.

          That's why the world actually runs on 40 year old Mainframe technology - you might access them with a 5 year old PC via a Web interface or a Smart Phone / Tablet App, but the truth is you unknowingly use Mainframe technology unknowingly every day of your life for most things that you consider essential (except AFAIK facebook and google searches of course)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I don't think so

        "If it ain't broke, you don't fix it."

        Reminds me of Windows 2000, rock solid even from the alpha but now gone to OS heaven a good few years after MS stopped security patches for it. While XP is solid, it didn't have much more than 2000 really.

      3. John Malaney

        What about statutary / regulatory compliance?

        If your organization is part of or interacts with credit card agencies, financial services companies /regulators, or connects to government networks your next audit will include a requirement to remain on a supported version of all operating systems( windows and non-windows!). Failure to have plans to mitigate this could be disastrous either to the organizations reputation or financially. Sanctions could include,inability to connect to government networks (including PSN & GCSX in the UK, removal of authority to process credit card payments or refusal to allow connections to customer networks to provide remote support.

        Moving from Win XP to Win 7 isn't a trivial job in itself for our estate of 4000+ pc's and 200 windows servers, Moving to win8 or a non windows OS for these services would be a complete none starter. Like many other organizations we in IT were unable to get this project to the top of the corporate priority list until there were none other options.

        If you genuinely have no government/ public sector financial services customers and never want any and don't process debit or credit card payments then maybe you can stay with XP but for most of us in corporate IT departments there really are no other options.

    2. mr.K

      Re: I don't think so

      At some point early last decade the MS operating systems became so stable that I at least have never really seen a crash that was related to the OS itself. Sure I have seen them crash, but always due to poor hardware. Software may of course crash, but that really shouldn't bring down the OS and it doesn't. Bugs in the drivers are the exception to that, and of course that is kind of a hardware issue as well. The only way a hardware vendor has to correct a fault with their hardware is to write in a workaround in firmware or drivers, and this does indeed happen. Not only software makers ship products littered with bugs. Even though testing is more rigorous on hardware, this does happen, and you can't rewire a shipped product.

      You would be amazed on how many hardware errors you can run with on a modern operating system and all you notice is the occasional blue screen or similar, if you are unlucky. But people blame the operating system, and they are then made to try to cope with faulty hardware, but there are limits.

      And of course it is possible to manage your computer so badly that you do indeed have a buildup of digital garbage as you call it and that you have to either learn how to clean it up or reinstall. But that isn't really the OS' problem. Personally at least the last time I reinstalled a Microsoft OS on my home computers was after a disk crash over ten years ago. And no, they are not slower than when I got them. They rather tends to run smoother and smoother as new drivers and updates come along and I myself get a better and better handle on them.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

        Re: I don't think so

        My sister's netbook, running Win 7 basic version, had become sluggish. I did a 'disk cleanup', including system files. This seemed to remove a lot of crud, from MS auto-updates and from various other things, eg skype, that had been installed and then removed.

        It then ran swiftly.

      2. Rick Giles
        Linux

        Re: I don't think so

        "At some point early last decade the MS operating systems became so stable that I at least have never really seen a crash that was related to the OS itself."

        Does being a Microsoft shill pay much?

    3. naw

      Re: I don't think so

      "XP isn't nearly as dependable or sturdy as Win7. I had to reinstall everything every few months with XP."

      Thats funny I only ever had to reinstall XP once after a disk crash. Windows ME (remember that) and Vista on the other hand was every few months. You're probably right about Windows7, nobody is using Windows8 so nobody knows yet.

      But the fact is WindowsXP is plenty good enough for most users, so there's no reason to *upgrade* other than catastrophic HW failure. The majority of home and education users (not corporate yet) are actually upgrading to Linux in the form of Android. Those same people will ultimately influence the buying decisions in business over a 5-8year period.

      That's how Sun got into the corporates, by first getting into the Universities. Thats how Apple got into corporates by first getting into the home. MS on the other hand got into the home by first winning the corporates, back in the 1980's when people couldn't afford PCs / laptops at home - it was right for that period but not today.

      The next generation of IT users are growing up with Apple, Android, Google, Facebook and eBay so why are they going to invest into MS products? This is a long game (well 5-8 years) and MS have already lost.

    4. naw

      Re: I don't think so

      - sorry to post again so soon - but I should add that MS know their model is broken, that they are hemorrhaging users and business and are in rapid decline. Previously they made money by selling you new versions of stuff you already had. But Windows XP & Office 2003 are pretty robust and does everything most people need, so there's no need to upgrade continually - so what if it's out of support, when did you ever call MS for help anyway.

      So the first action to generate repeat sales was to stop supplying media on pre-installed systems, not to stop piracy but rather to stop you reinstalling the SW you bought onto your new machine and force a re-sale of stuff you already own.

      Now everything is available online, so MS are looking at a new model to keep revenue coming in - Office 365. Now we get to rent our SW and own nothing which looks like a great deal for a year. But compared to the value we got from XP & Office 2003 - lets say maybe £500 over 10 - 15 years, then thats just £33 /year, MS needs much more than that to keep pay those world class execs fat & happy.

      WindowsXP has become a curse to MS. Initially, it was simply good enough, but by SP3 it was too good (for users to bother upgrading every three or four years). Most users would be perfectly happy to keep XP and just install it on to their new HW, but MS change the HW specs that manufacturers have to follow for WindowsVista/7/8 to ensure XP cannot be installed onto new kit

  4. btrower

    Even Win 7 is iffy

    We have switched to Win 7 or Server 2008R2 in most things. Win 8, for the type of stuff we do, is a disaster. We have two machines (notebooks) running on Win 8 because they came with it. Majority of servers are already Linux of one flavor or another. Win XP and Server 2003 are still used and running on a bunch of VMs for various support stuff.

    If I had a hundred boxen running XP and had to decide on whether or not to splash out for $15 or $20K for Win 7 licenses and required upgrade hardware or to put in Linux, I would be going to Linux.

    Win 7 is not bad, but it is not great. IMO, XP, for its time was better than Win 7 is for its time.

    There is an opportunity here for someone to develop a drop-in replacement for XP with security updates, annoyances removed, etc. I will be looking at this myself because I do not expect to ever move to Win 8 and Win 9 may either be too little or too late.

    1. TechW

      Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

      I respectfully disagree with your comment that Windows 7 in iffy. Window 7 is an excellent operating system and I have had less trouble with it than any other operating system I have used in the last 30+ years. XP was never better than Windows 7.

      I find Windows 8 usable only if I install Start8 on it. At that point, it works reasonably well for me. I look forward to trying Windows 8.1 but, it will not install on my notebook as I am running Windows 8 in a virtual hard drive and it will not install on it from the store which is a big pain.

      I do like a few current versions of Linux and many open source applications available for it. I would recommend going that route for many who have limited needs such as web, e-mail, word processing, etc..

      1. btrower

        Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

        @TechW

        What I meant was that Win 7 is 'iffy' in that for many (millions anyway) of the 500 million XP users Win 7 is simply not a viable alternative.

        Both a switch to Linux and a switch to Win 7 involves broken software and a learning curve. However, Linux can be tailored to look more like XP, does not involve new hardware and avoids a $150.00 licence fee per workstation. A switch to Win 7 involves staying on the slippery slope with MS as it abandons Win 7 in favor of Win 8 and attempts to force users into monthly payments to keep using their systems.

        Switching from Windows to Linux involves significant pain. It could also involve costs as some software may need to be replaced. However, it is possible to use RDP out of a Linux workstation into a Windows Box or Terminal Server to ease the transition.

        Microsoft is playing a very dangerous game of chicken. Although there is a steep barrier to adopting Linux, once it *has* been adopted it is nearly impossible to lure people back.

        Win 7 is still the likely alternative to XP, but it is not nearly as solid as it should be.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

          "However, it is possible to use RDP out of a Linux workstation into a Windows Box or Terminal Server to ease the transition."

          You obviously don't work with foreign language keyboards.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

            "You obviously don't work with foreign language keyboards"

            Good point - it takes a second to switch between multiple keyboard layouts on Windows - right from the task bar. Linux is far less mature in this space....

            1. Pookietoo
              Linux

              Re: it takes a second to switch between multiple keyboard layouts

              On Linux - I either click the icon on the task bar, or just hit both Shift keys to toggle.

              1. Angol

                A user's view

                I'm a user, not in IT. I regularly use five different layouts - US English, UK English, Polish, French and Spanish - often using several while working on a single document. I also use some financial and translation software that's written only, or updated first, for Windows Effect = I'm locked to Microsoft. For the record I'm running Win7 on three machines, including an Atom netbook and an i5 desktop, and I've no intention of moving to Win8.

          2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

            > You obviously don't work with foreign language keyboards.

            My main job involves working with people all over the world connecting into some Windows desktop servers in the US, I can tell you that M$ aren't perfect on that score. Lots of countries keyboards don't map correctly with the Windows remote desktop platform running from a Windows desktop (mostly W7) through to Windows servers.

        2. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

          Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

          @btrower

          I have migrated from Open Office to MS Office. Mainly because collaboration with others on a document is less troublesome.

          Even if we all used open source software, Open Office versus Abiword v K Office v etc... would be a nightmare.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

            "I have migrated from Open Office to MS Office. Mainly because collaboration with others on a document is less troublesome."

            Quite - Open Office might suit the most basic of home users, but it's not fit for any sort of business use....

    2. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward
      Windows

      Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

      Currently migrating 2000 XP users onto Windows 7. This is an international public sector organization customer, so things only get done here when there is no other choice,

      Verdict?

      Most of the users are loving WIN7. The fact that most of them already have 7 installed at home helps.

      It runs faster than XP and virtually all their apps (with some small exceptions) are working just great. In my opinion 7 is one of the better desktop OSes ever released by Microsoft, with XP a close second.

      Before the anti-MS down voters swoop down from the rafters, I'm have also been a *nix user since the mid 80s. Different strokes for different folks. Large organizations will keep buying Windows because is easier to manage, support and deploy, not because it provides any perceptible technical superiority over other OSes.

      1. Rick Giles
        Linux

        Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

        "Before the anti-MS down voters swoop down from the rafters, "

        SWOOP!!!<Downvote>

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

      Plural of ox = oxen

      plural of box = boxes, not boxen.

      I thought you might like to know that.

      1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

        A pity. I rather like boxen.

        Origin:

        < French: box; Old French boiste < Vulgar Latin *buxita, for Late Latin buxida, formation based on Latin pyxis box (see pyx), stem pyxid-, conflated with buxus box3

        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bo%C3%AEte

        The Oxford Dictionaries site gives:

        Origin:

        late Old English, probably from late Latin buxis, from Latin pyxis 'boxwood box', from Greek puxos;

        http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/box?q=box:

        Next you'll be telling us that it's not 'irony' but 'ferrous'.

      2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Even Win 7 is iffy

        Have a downvote for not knowing your old-school memes. You'll be saying the plural of Vax isn't Vaxen next.

  5. Lusty Silver badge

    Oh come on...

    Any IT admin who genuinely thinks that not upgrading is an option needs to be shot. Look at the guys who held on to NT4 until too late, costing their companies millions in hurried upgrades too late, do they stil have jobs? If you work in IT and seriously can't understand Windows 8 or 8.1 even after reading the release notes explaining the interface and watching the post install video then you shouldn't be working in IT. More to the point, what are you doing reading the Reg? This is a NEWs site for NEW things. Please get out of our profession so the rest of us can get on with improving IT!

    1. MysteryGuy

      Re: Oh come on...

      > If you work in IT and seriously can't understand Windows 8 or 8.1 even after reading the

      > release notes explaining the interface and watching the post install video then you shouldn't

      > be working in IT.

      Or maybe some do understand Windows 8 and recognize it as a backwards step in productivity and an attempt by MS to lock you into their version of a 'walled garden'.

      Today, I would take Windows 7 any day over Windows 8 for Business/ professional use. I see the Windows 8 attempt to deprecate the 'old' Desktop Interface for the 'Metro' interface as just plain bad for productivity.

      In this case, I don't consider 'new' to be synonymous with 'better'.

      1. John P

        Re: Oh come on...

        Don't know what you're using your computer for but I've been using Windows 8 for over a year and my productivity has gone up after the initial 5 minutes learning curve. If it takes you more than 5 minutes to figure out Windows 8, you really shouldn't be in IT.

        Walled garden, as opposed to the completely open ecosystem that is Android and IOS? Difference is the Windows one is optional, I don't use any TIFKAM apps bars the mail app because it is actually quite good. Don't like it, just use desktop apps and carry on. Try that same approach on an Android or iDevice and see how much you have to root the device before you escape their walled gardens.

        1. Red Bren

          Re: Oh come on...

          "If it takes you more than 5 minutes to figure out Windows 8, it really shouldn't be installed on your computer."

          There. Fixed that for you. Because most people don't work in IT and most people don't want to relearn how to do the tasks they could already do.

          "Walled garden, as opposed to the completely open ecosystem that is Android and IOS? Difference is the Windows one is optional, I don't use any TIFKAM apps bars the mail app because it is actually quite good. Don't like it, just use desktop apps and carry on. Try that same approach on an Android or iDevice and see how much you have to root the device before you escape their walled gardens."

          I can install apps on my Android device from Google, Amazon, Samsung, or if I navigate my way through a single layer of settings menus, I can tick a box that lets me install apps from anywhere. As walled gardens go, that sounds like a knee high picket fence, with friendly neighbours that don't mind you playing on their lawns, and if you're daft enough, you can wander onto the dodgy estate at the end of the road and pick up something nasty.

          1. Ragarath

            Re: Oh come on...

            Because most people don't work in IT and most people don't want to relearn how to do the tasks they could already do.

            Yet everyone advocates a move to Linux instead. What do you think they would have to do then? Let alone the amount of times certain distros changing interfaces more often than I have hot dinners.

            1. Ross K
              Linux

              Re: Oh come on...

              Yet everyone advocates a move to Linux instead. What do you think they would have to do then? Let alone the amount of times certain distros changing interfaces more often than I have hot dinners.

              What? You can't slag off linux on The Reg...

              Linux found a cure for cancer last week, and next week it's off to Syria to negotiate a peace treaty.

              It's an appropriate solution for all software issues in the enterprise. Didn't you know that? Huh? Huh?

              1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

                Re: Oh come on...

                I'm told it can also raise old hardware from the dead.

                But that is only for very young versions of Linux, not the modern matured(?) versions.

            2. Red Bren

              Re: Oh come on...

              "What do you think they would have to do then?"

              The same as what Microsoft is demanding of them. But with linux there are a variety of stable interfaces and you can choose the one that meets your needs. Stick with Microsoft and in another few years you can expect to go through this process again.

              MS have painted themselves into a corner. Their customers are happy with the existing interface but sales and marketing can't sell an upgrade without some radical new shiny shiny.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Oh come on...

              CentOS / Red Hat / Mint / Kubuntu have a far more logical interface than the wreck that is Windows 8. Even Ubuntu's Unity keeps to one paradigm, even though I would agree it does require retraining. Mint especially is very much like XP in terms of user interface.

              In a business environment users are about as likely to be messing in the command line, as they are in the Windows registry. For browsing, email, web applications, and many Office tasks, there is no real learning curve.

              I would agree that a home user who is not a power user probably needs someone to help them set Linux up, but then the same can be said of XP and Windows 7. I have lost count of friends who aren't computer literate who have needed help with (in my opinion) basic tasks and set up on their Windows machines. Incidentally I have installed Mint 13 with MATE and Mint 13 with Xfce on friends computers, the MATE install being from someone who wanted to junk XP with the expiry of it coming up soon, and didn't want to go down the Windows 8 path, and the Xfce for someone with an old second hand computer who just wanted something to browse and for word processing. Once set up for them they had no issues with Linux, and just considered Linux as "XP but interestingly different".

              Windows 8 deliberately causes issues with the dual interface. I am sure that a pure Metro interface (with a logical way to close programs, and an easier way of task switching), may actually suit some people. However the majority of people who want a computer want a computer to run like a computer, not a device, and Metro gets in the way of that. Jumping from one interface to another is illogical and makes little sense, and with two versions of the same program for different environments of the same operating system, hidden obscure menus and so on, makes it a complete mess.

              I am not advocating Linux as the solution for every single user. It clearly isn't. Windows 7 is still supported until 2020, and does things extremely well. For many people Windows 7 is the right choice. However the direction Microsoft have been going in is leads many people to wonder what it is playing at, be it Metro, the ribbon, the ridiculous captialised menus in Office, the obsession with Microsoft Accounts and internet connectivity to use stuff that doesn't need any of that, and the fact that marketing, PR and sales types seem to hold very senior positions at Microsoft, as opposed to programmers, engineers and interface specialists. This level of uncertainty makes exploring the various alternatives essential. In comparison I look at the direction Linux is going, and CentOS and Red Hat are making the right noises for large scale business deployment, and Clem's Mint really is shaping up to be a fine XP replacement for home and small business users.

            4. Rick Giles
              Pirate

              @Ragarath Re: Oh come on...

              "Let alone the amount of times certain distros changing interfaces more often than I have hot dinners."

              You must be an IT manager then. Real IT folks are stuck with the cold sandwiches from the machine in the break room...

            5. Pookietoo
              Linux

              Re: move to Linux instead

              I suspect it's easier to make Linux look and behave like XP than it is to train non-technical XP users to use W8, and cheaper too. If most of their software runs under Wine or RDP to a server it almost seems silly not to take that route.

            6. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              @ragrath

              If I invest heavily in moving my applications, changing interfaces and retraining users should I

              A) Invest in another iteration of the same locked-down, lock-in ecosystem from a vendor that demonstrably gives no fucks whatsoever

              B) Invest in a corporate stable Linux distro that allows me choice?

              The costs are roughly the same - I ran them - and the Linux option doesn't require me to scrap and rewrite my entire business plan and end-user workflow in order to support it.

              To wit: fuck Microsoft with a bag of badgers until they both listen to end users regarding interfaces and fix the fucking VDI licensing so that we can use computers how we want to.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh come on...

          We've all figured out Windows 8 in five minutes. Figured out that for the users we support it is a no go, and a complete waste of time, money and resources.

          1. (AMPC) Anonymous and mostly paranoid coward
            Windows

            Re: Oh come on...

            Agreed, the only way to justify an investment in WIndows 8 is if you have already justified the investment in touch screens and smart devices that will make it usable.

            Otherwise there isn't much point. When everybody starts working on tactile screens and tablets, Windows 8 (or 9) will probably surge into the workplace.

            In the meantime, Android tablet and smartphone devices will keep getting people very interested in the new eco system that is touch computing.

        3. Not That Andrew

          @ John P Re: Oh come on...

          Could you explain how Win 8 makes you more productive? I'm genuinely interested. I agree that once you gain familiarity with it's idiosyncracies you can be as productive as on any half-decent OS with a good range of applications. But I can't think of how it makes you more productive that if you used OSX or Win 7 on the Desktop.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh come on...

          "If it takes you more than 5 minutes to figure out Windows 8, you really shouldn't be in IT."

          You continue to claim this, and generally insult the professionals here and by inference impugn their intelligence

          1: I am in all likelihood a great deal smarter than you

          2: I have in all likelihood quite a deal more years experience in IT than you have.

          3: Windows8 is a waste of my, and many others' time. A bad idea for a large part of the target audience. Live with it.

          4: Fuck off.

        5. MysteryGuy

          Re: Oh come on...

          > . Don't like it, just use desktop apps and carry on.

          Except that the real long-term plan for Windows 8 appears to be to get rid of the Desktop completely, and have an all TIFKAM all the time experience. We were supposed to only use the old UI as a transition aid in their plan.

          With 8.1 they at least allow you to start in Desktop, but it doesn't seem to me like they have really given up on attempting to expunge the 'old' desktop over time... Hence the 'No Start menu' in 8.1.

          I'm just saying 'No' to the whole thing...

    2. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Oh come on...

      For many systems, the cost of conversion to a new operating system is too high.

      If you have (as is all too common) a system with orphan software (bespoke software where the supplier has gone out of business or no longer supports it) then moving to a new OS may well involve man years of development and debugging.

      For embedded systems (e.g. industrial control systems) moving to a new OS may well be impossible without scrapping the associated equipment.

      For non-networked systems, the fact of the supplier having dropped support may well be irrelevant as there is very little chance of security vunerabilities being exploited.

      For systems that are connected to the internet then the question needs to be asked - at what point will security software such as Norton fail to provide adequate protection - by that point either the system has to be upgraded, discarded or disconnected from the internet.

      Please note - there are still embedded systems running Windows 3.1 (and even DOS) - loss of manufacturer support does not matter to an isolated system.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Oh come on...

        "For embedded systems (e.g. industrial control systems) moving to a new OS may well be impossible without scrapping the associated equipment."

        Hear hear on that. I once had a blazing row with a rapidly-former supplier: You want me to throw away a fifteen-thousand-pound printer because you can't be f***d to put a f***g fifteen pence Centronics port on your f****g 200 quid computers???

        1. Ross K
          Mushroom

          Re: Oh come on...

          "For embedded systems (e.g. industrial control systems) moving to a new OS may well be impossible without scrapping the associated equipment."

          Hear hear on that. I once had a blazing row with a rapidly-former supplier: You want me to throw away a fifteen-thousand-pound printer because you can't be f***d to put a f***g fifteen pence Centronics port on your f****g 200 quid computers???

          XP Embedded is supported by Microsoft unitl January 2016. If you're running XP Embedded SP3 you have a further two years after that.

          If industry can't get its shit together by 2018, something is drastically wrong.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Oh come on...

            The life expectancy of a multi-billion pound industrial installation normally exceeds 5 years. In case this never occurred to you.

            1. Ross K
              Holmes

              Re: Oh come on...

              The life expectancy of a multi-billion pound industrial installation normally exceeds 5 years. In case this never occurred to you.

              You're addressing me with that comment I take it?

              If you're a multi-billion pound industrial installation you:

              * can afford to spend some money on software development.

              * can presumably employ people who have already planned (or are planning) for the demise of XP, or XP Embedded in 2016-2018

              * won't have critical systems connected to the internet.

              I await your next enlightening comment with bated breath...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Oh come on...

                >> "If you're a multi-billion pound industrial installation you:

                >> * can afford to spend some money on software development.

                >> * can presumably employ people who have already planned (or are planning) for the demise of XP, or XP Embedded in 2016-2018

                >> * won't have critical systems connected to the internet."

                This reads as if you have never worked in "industry", whether banking, telecomms or even something fairly small scale with, e.g. 20 PCs.

                There are many costs and, perversely, the bigger the firm, the more difficult and relatively more expensive it gets.

                1. Hardware: for instance, very small scale, I've got an ancient system at home that runs XP. It is far too low a spec. to run w7 or w8 and can not be expanded further. Large firms, with tightening budgets today, may have hundreds or even thousands of machines that may, with a light load and a following wind, just about be able to boot W7 or W8; but just start email and Word to run at the same time, or an Excel spread sheet or Powerpoint, while running all the anti-virus software, the centralised distribution mechanisms, perhaps some conference software, if the thing managed to finish booting and install all the centrally distributed updates before the end of the working day it would be an achievement. So, there could be a significant hardware cost.

                2. Planning, preparing and doing the installation for systems that are running, in anger, every working day, all working day and often at weekends too, is not trivial, not cheap and includes salaries, training (installation staff and users), data migration, extra back-ups, fast networks. This is excluding validating all the applications running on or via the workstations and servers, updating as necessary, testing the security model etc., even without legally required conformance testing as in, e.g., pharmaceuticals, railways.

                3. All support staff have to be trained, documentation prepared, tested.

                4. How much time can users (the business) afford while the final installation occurs? Will it all happen within, shall we say, a weekend or a bank holiday? Should it be one, big bang or rolled out in stages? If the latter, what compatibility problems may occur? What will the downtime cost?

                5. Critical systems connected to the internet: all very well and glib. Reality is that computers of every stripe get used for more and more applications that are not always recognised as "critical". What is "critical"? A message warning that a problem has been detected somewhere else? A calendar system raising reminders for some critical task? Loss of a contract ,through lack of computer access, that costs enough money to push a firm over the edge? A scheduled task producing a daily report needed by traders or chemical engineers for critical, daily action at a specific time? I worked with one system, thankfully on UNIX, not a PC, that produces payment schedules at a specific time, based on data received at a specific time from an external, remote, international service. If that fails, the manual fall back is started within 30 seconds of the expected time to avoid astronomical financial and reputational consequences. A couple of the components transmitting the data are on Windows PCs (not XP however). Is that critical?

                So, the reality is that a change of this sort is a risk and very expensive in time, resources, money and risk. In these straightened times, even more than before, those holding the purse strings still have to balance budgets and be persuaded that the IT cost is necessary, now. Business managers have to be persuaded that the downtime and risk are necessary, now. Other work has to be delayed or dropped to release the staff and systems to plan, prepare and do.

                This is not to say that one must not upgrade; but in a large firm, an upgrade could require years and considerable expense at a time when even the largest banks and pharmaceutical companies are scrabbling to save money, reduce staff, extend the life of hardware and reduce "downtime". I suspect that, if one hunted around even in Microsoft, one would find some XP systems still in daily use for routine work.

                My last employer, with many thousands of employees, did upgrade to W7, last year and early this year. They will not look at W8 for a long time. As it was, it went remarkably well; but some software systems never ran again and a lot of hardware had to be replaced. It was not a quick, cheap or easy option.

                1. Ross K
                  WTF?

                  Re: Oh come on...

                  This reads as if you have never worked in "industry", whether banking, telecomms or even something fairly small scale with, e.g. 20 PCs.

                  Industrial ≠ a bank or call centre

                  Industrial = oil refinery, chemical plant, power station

                  I didn't bother reading the rest of your post because, to be frank, somebody like you who doesn't understand what "industrial" means is obviously an idiot.

                  Just as well you posted anonymously...

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Oh come on...

                    Wow, you reaffirmed your ignorance again.

                    Speaking as someone who actually has delivered systems for power stations,I will, succinctly, call you a berk - an exceedingly ignorant one at that.

                  2. poopypants

                    @Ross K (Re: Oh come on...)

                    Actually I believe he wrote "industry", not "industrial".

                    I also believe there are such things as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (http://www.finra.org/) and the Telecommunications Industry Association (http://www.tiaonline.org/about/), which does rather support what he wrote.

                    I'm sure that was an honest mistake on your part, rather than a dishonest attempt to misrepresent someone's views in order to make an irrelevant point. I hope that clears things up for you.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Oh come on...

                  You'd be surprised actually. MS actually dog food it a lot, and most of them are on Win 8.

              2. peter_dtm
                Flame

                Re: Oh come on... @Ross K

                if your control system is embedded in your plant (as they tend to be)

                and

                your capex was based on a 15 to 20 YEAR life

                and

                a shut down of the plant of more than 3 hours means a total re-build of the line (or plant going bankrupt)

                why would you take the risk ? By the way the plant I am thinking of has been running now with out break for about 10 years - another 5 to go before we can take out the Win2K kit in there; the one with the Win NT kit turns 15 next year and is being shut. The company expects to do a rebuild on the WIn2K plant - it will take about a year - the control system will be some 10% of the cost of the rebuild. It is a multi million euro bit of plant - when rebuilt it will be 1/3rd of the factory (currently just 1/4). The plan for the rebuild is currently 2018 to 2020 window. Fortunately this is not a validated plant - so its fairly cheap to do.

                OR

                your control system is VALIDATED so ANY change to it requires mountains of paper work and man weeks of validation; a MAJOR change (such as changing the control system to one that will work with the latest fad from the IT world) imposes a masive cost. Example - approx £20K of engineering time for a small upgrade in an Oil & Gas plant (less stringent than Pharma) after going through the validation process required to ensure it is safe put the final bill at £250K. AND there was NO PC hardware changes; the alternative we looked at with a SMALL hardware update doubled the final cost - but only added about 8 hours more engineering time and a couple of £k for equipment.

                obviously; you sir; have NEVER been in a modern automated factory. Get hold of this fact : in a modern factory you can NOT just arbitarily change bits of the control system; and courtesy of MS nor can you mix not very old (XP) with more recent kit. We have to deal with 15 to 25 year PLUS life spans.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Oh come on... @Ross K

                  Precisely, just another clueless moron. The type is easy to spot, and trivially simple to avoid.

                  One client I had had a dozen factories all over EU operating 24*7. The largest and newest factory had a measured downtime cost of €100 per second in lost production. It is not expected that this installation ever stops other than precisely scheduled preventative R&M.

                  In this case, thankfully, it did not run on windows, but that is irrelevant. Once the system was tested, validated and commissioned, then it stayed in production. There was no such concept of upgrading OS's - for reasons that should be palpably obvious to even the moron claiming otherwise.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Oh come on...

                I don't need to respond.

                You have managed to express you own profound ignorance on the matter for more succinctly than I might reasonably achieve.

          2. Charles Manning

            XP Embedded is not the issue

            Most "embedded" use of XP (eg. industrial machinery) actually runs on regular XP boxes. Very few run XP Embedded. Thus extended support of XP Embedded is pretty meaningless.

            The industrial systems are expensive. Having to upgrade all your fully functional industrial systems just because of an OS change is going to be pretty hard sell.

            Much of that hardware runs software that only runs properly on XP.

            Heck, even Microsoft's Windows CE developmpent environment does not run properly on W7/Vista.

            Most businesses only like to spend money if it increases revenue. Just spending money for no benefit is galling. Many companies are going to take a hard look at this and ask the big question. "How did we end up here and how can we avoid it in the future." The clear answer is to fund an alternative where some huge corporate giant does not lead you around by the nose.

          3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: Oh come on...

            "XP Embedded is supported by Microsoft unitl January 2016. If you're running XP Embedded SP3 you have a further two years after that.

            If industry can't get its shit together by 2018, something is drastically wrong."

            I still have stuff running on Windows 2000. The manufacturer of the original industrial equipment is long since out of business. Replacing all units with the nearest replacement equipment (which frankly isn't as good) would cost 5 year's worth of annual gross revenue.

            Should we just close our doors because legacy support offends you? How about you explain that to the new mother who just gave birth? "Sorry, lady, you won't have a job to come back to because it offends some anonymous asshat on the internet?"

            Get real. Life's bigger than your prejudices and certainly bigger than your massive "worldly" experience.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. peter_dtm
        IT Angle

        Re: Oh come on... @ Duncan Macdonald

        Not to mention the factories - Pharmaceutical & Food & Drugs Admin compliant sites that would have to completely re-validate the entire control system - AFTER the control system supplier has validated their kit with the new system

        That'll be a couple of million in Engineering costs per plant - the cost of the hardware and its licencing is trivial.

        I have pharma companies running plant 24x7 on Win NT servers and NT clients.

        Not to mention off shore rigs still running DOS box based systems

        Engineers 1st rule : if it ain't broke - don't fix it

        XP ain't broke - which leads to the interesting question - if MS release a patch that exposes XP boxes to risk; could the Pharma world start a class action ? (I think a few Pharma firms working together may be able to afford more expensive lawyers than even MS could)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh come on... @ Duncan Macdonald

          "Engineers 1st rule : if it ain't broke - don't fix it"

          The adjective is "broken". Unless you are talking about being out of money...

          1. peter_dtm
            Mushroom

            Re: Oh come on... @ Duncan Macdonald @AC

            burk !

            the adjective is broke

            it is a deliberate piece of bad gramar - to underline the lunancy of fixing stuff that ain't BROKE.

            when you was taughted english as good as like what i is; then and only then would you perhaps have a chance of gaining a smattering of enough common sense to understand such gramatical constructs.

          2. dajames Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Oh come on... @ Duncan Macdonald

            "Engineers 1st rule : if it ain't broke - don't fix it"

            The adjective is "broken". Unless you are talking about being out of money...

            No. The adjective ought to be "broken", but it isn't. Similarly the verb ought to be "isn't" but it ain't ... er ... I mean isn't.

            In the case of the venerable and well-known adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" tradition trumps correctness. Trying to correct it just makes you look like a smug pratt who's missed the point.

      3. Lusty Silver badge

        Re: Oh come on...

        "For many systems, the cost of conversion to a new operating system is too high."

        With the exception of systems which were certified on XP for medical use or similar I have yet to see one which won't run on Windows 8 which would run on Windows XP. Those applications which did get certification will very shortly be running completely without support - If Microsoft won't support it then other vendors can't support their apps running on it. This would be considered negligence in a court should anything happen, so expect to see all of those medical apps updated and recertified in the next few months, the process has already begun, and for those where it hasn't you can expect a change to a different app.

    3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Oh come on...

      I spent the time when I was eight learning how to type WITH ALL MY FINGERS. I am *NOT* prepared to go back to single-digit finger painting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh come on...

        "I am *NOT* prepared to go back to single-digit finger painting."

        Lucky that Windows 8 supports 10 point multi touch screens then....

  6. jmk89

    From my cold, dead hands is appropriate in my situation

    I work for a pretty big bank, which is currently in the process of upgrading everybody's PC's, from Windows XP to.....Windows XP.

    They are literally getting computers with Windows 7 on them, removing 7 and installing XP! in 2013!

    To quote Frank Grimes, "it boggles the mind".

    Windows XP is going to be around for a while.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: From my cold, dead hands is appropriate in my situation

      Which will run IE displaying a page which is screen-scrapping a 3270 terminal application running on a mainframe - why upgrade to windows 8?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From my cold, dead hands is appropriate in my situation

      Unfortunately banks have a habit of hiring "security professionals" whose idea of security is to disconnect everything and never upgrade :(

  7. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Bottomless money pit?

    "don't want to splash the cash necessary for a major upgrade" ?

    Don't *have* the cash necessary for an unnecessary upgrade.

  8. WaveSynthBeep

    Are you feeling lucky, punk?

    So we have a face off: Microsoft v half a billion people.

    MS are turning off support for XP simply because they want people to pay up for a new version. There is no other reason, it's not an edict from God or a Security Council resolution They'll still be fixing the security holes for their 'special' clients. It's purely a commercial decision not to provide them to everyone else.

    MS might find that people aren't prepared to go along with their plans, and will carry on using XP. Being interesting to see who yields first. My money is on MS. Easier to fix Microsoft than fix half a billion PCs.

    1. btrower

      Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

      @WaveSynthBeep:

      Re: "Being interesting to see who yields first. My money is on MS."

      Interesting notion. I am mulling this over, but you may be right.

      MS might manage to turn this into a big win by issuing a 'Windows Classic" upgrade that improves XP without increasing its footprint. This is technically possible. If it would actually improve the operation of the existing machine and they gave a new three year window of mainstream support, many using XP would have little choice. If they could herd a little over 100 million of those users into a $99 upgrade, they could pocket a cool $10 billion. That's chump change by their standards, but it would keep people from escaping to Linux. It could produce a couple of fat quarters during which senior execs could unload shares.

      To ensure that the cheapy $99 upgrade did not cannibalize what would otherwise be moves to Win 7 or Win 8 they could limit the upgrades to 2GB machines and 2 cores or less or something like that. Essentially limiting the upgrade offer to machines that can't move to Win 7 anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

      If MS offered XP update support on subscription, it'd probably pay.

      I was surprised though that Win 8 minimum recommended hardware specs are quite low, probably similar to what XP required.

      In my experience, Win 8 runs quicker than 7 too, just install Classic Shell (freee Open Source) to get start menu back, and away you go.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

        "In my experience, Win 8 runs quicker than 7 too, just install Classic Shell (freee Open Source) to get start menu back, and away you go."

        If only MS would "see the light" and offer Windows with user choice.

        A:

        "We understand you love our tried and tested Windows 7 interface and you have a large investment in training and applications that your business relies upon every day. We also appreciate your purchase of Windows 8 which includes core improvements which increase the security and performance of Windows on your systems. Choose this option to maintain the Windows 7 user experience while improving the overall performance and security that Windows 8 offers."

        B:

        Congratulations on purchasing Windows 8 which includes our award winning new tile interface, specifically designed for tablets and touch screen environments. Windows 8 also includes improvements which increase the security and performance of your systems. Choose this option to improve your user interface experience and enter the exciting and innovative new Tile World (tm) of Windows"

        Something along those lines would see Windows 8 take up sky rocket.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

      I'm certainly no fan of Microsoft, but trying to paint this as a money grab is naive and ridiculous. XP is TWELVE YEARS OLD! Should they be obligated to support it forever as long as enough people still use it? If so, how many is "enough people"?

      The vast majority of people won't even realize XP is no longer supported, any more than they realize the day the warranty on their TV set runs out. If Microsoft was out to make this a money grab, they'd add an update that changed XP's background to "DANGER - UNSUPPORTED OPERATING SYSTEM", with a big skull and crossbones and the black and yellow nuclear symbol for good measure.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

        If they had sold it to you then no.

        If, as they claim, they merely sold you a non time-limited license then you get to use it as long as you like.

        If it had security bugs when you got it then you then they should fix the design defects, if they introduced them with other fixes then they fix them

      2. Ralph B

        Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

        trying to paint this as a money grab is naive and ridiculous.

        I repectfully disagree. The XP support team at MS is probably not more than 10 or 15 engineers. They only have to produce a couple of patches every few months. This is peanuts for MS.

        MS want to drop XP support because their customers don't want to stop using it. The continuing support of XP, in MS's view, is preventing sales of Windows 8 (or, in their less delusional moments, Windows 7.)

        In other words, it is a money grab. (But one, I think, that will fail, as users will either nevertheless stick with unsupported XP, or move to Linux/OSX/ChromeOS/whatever in irritation.)

        If MS were cleverer they would make XP support a subscription service. Charge no more than, say, $10/license/year and let the support team continue working. Money for old rope.

        But since they've now invested so much in the unwanted Windows 8 they probably feel they have to gamble everything to get people to use it.

        1. WaveSynthBeep

          Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

          Once MS get over imposing this artificial cliff, there's plenty of more nuanced options they could take.

          For example, charge a subscription for updates. Maybe there could be two tiers of subscription - the gold 'we support everything in XP' and the bronze 'we reserve the right to disable functionality if it's too much of a pain to secure' .

          Also impose further conditions, like not being able to activate new XP licenses or transfer old ones. So it will die with the hardware. Though I haven't thought through all the second-order effects (prices of secondhand XP machines will rise, maybe a blackmarket in XP transfers).

          The biggest headache is those XP machines that will stop receiving updates and become zombie fodder, because nobody is paying attention to them. I can't think of a solution for that case - short of the last update formatting the hard drive and setting fire to the network card.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

        Well, my gas boiler is >40 years old. With spares readily available (but never required) and a downtime record of approaching zero. The pilot light blew out for 12 hours 22 years ago! Should I update it for a new one with a service life of less than 10 years and maintenance costs of £500 a year? I can see no case for updating from XP which works adequately. A new controller update might be OK, but it mustn't break anything.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

          Yes - you consider replacing it because it's less efficient than a modern boiler ... we don't have pilot lights any more. :-)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

          £500 a year to service your boiler?

          Unlike Microsoft and desktops, there are a lot of people who install and service boilers and who aren't British Gas,

          The payback on replacing our old boiler was 5 years when we bought it, and less than 4 years at present gas prices.

          The example is completely different. It's all a matter of a cost/benefit analysis. In some cases, as Trevor Potts is pointing out, Microsoft's policies militate completely against change. In others they don't.

          However, recently we are seeing that the reactions of companies like Oracle, Microsoft and Apple to competition is to sue where possible and gouge the customer for as long as possible. The assumption is that customers have short memories.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

            Why should they be forced to support it? And who is going to force them? It sounds like you want to pass a law saying that Microsoft must support XP forever, so long as people are willing to pay for that support. If there's still one person who wants to pay for support in 2030, they'll still have to keep doing it? Or is there a threshold of say 10,000 customers, below which they're allowed to cut off support?

            If a law like that was passed, and it applied to everyone, not just Microsoft, I think they'd carefully read the letter of the law to find a way to avoid it. Had it been in effect a decade ago, Windows 8 would be known as Windows XP SP 9 (but with service packs long since not available for free, of course)

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: Are you feeling lucky, punk?

              A) I entirely agree it should be in place for all vendors.

              B)The threshold for legal support should be "a given % of remaining active users as compared to peak usage."

              C)I see it as a natural extension of laws in many countries requiring guarantees or guarantees of support combined with laws that ensure third parties are allowed to manufacture parts for cars and other such equipment.

              To put it more bluntly: if a company (Microsoft) isn't willing to provide support for a product when a significant % of peak users are still using that product then a third party should be allowed to obtain the source code and maintain it under license. It is no different in my mind than saying a third party can manufacture brake pads and shoes for your car (thus extending support beyond that which the manufacturer would provide on their own with no laws or competitive forcings.)

              Microsoft is the subject of immediate discussion. Do not make the mistake of assuming I feel they should be uniquely beholden to these principles.

              Of course, of you're one of those rabid Tea Party types that is viciously opposed to consumer protection laws, you'll be violently against such things and the conversation can go nowhere but horrible from here.

      4. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @DougS

        They should be forced to support it forever, so long as people are willing to pay a support subscription...and that subscription should be available even to consumers.

        $100/year/installation would be acceptable.

        Or they could just fix VDI licensing.

  9. gerdesj Silver badge

    Win 2000 is still out there

    I know of one or two firms that still wont budge. They think of IT like plant or cars - they still work so what's the problem?

    Me - it's penguins all the way FROM SOURCE CODE (mmm Gentoo). I've got machines that have done the equivalent of going from Win 2003 server to Win 8.1 desktop gradually or vv. or whatever (the analogy breaks down a bit for some of my systems).

    I personally consider many of the folk who comment here as some form of addict - I'm probably borderline alcoholic so I believe I know what I'm on about. There are few good reasons for sticking with Windows (without an X) and if you are really desperate to get a fix then FreeRDP is phenomenal if you have to go back for a while.

    Get a grip troops and bin it (Windows). You know it makes sense - really think hard about the way that you are required to make huge changes to the way you work in the name of progress by a marketing firm in MS.

    They promise you so much: I remember being told about the joys of VB3 at a dev conf, yonks ago. Skip some time, then there was Silverlight and other things created and binned at a whim.

    Bugger that.

    Choose choice (oh and it's somewhat cheaper) and free as in err freedom. Linux or *BSD - take your choice but I might suggest starting off with Linux Mint. You are probably not ready for Gentoo or Arch yet.

    It's a bit different and a lot easier than it was in the past. Printing for example is a doddle and has a nasty habit of supporting devices that Windows has forgotten. Oh and you get wobbly windows which look cool. Installation is generally easier than Windows and doesn't require a bloody great key.

    Go on - download a Linux LiveCD and have a play. You might like it.

    Cheers

    Jon

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Win 2000 is still out there

      " ...Oh and you get wobbly windows which look cool. ..."

      In case any Windows waifs are worried by that, it should be pointed out that 'wobbly windows' arrive via a third party eye candy application. They are not part of any usual Linux distro.

      I have MINT set up to look like XP, with pop-out toolbars at the top and sides of the screen, and they're better than the XP toolbars were. It's great. (I don't have any eye candy though. I despise eye candy.)

    2. Pookietoo
      Linux

      Re: some form of addict

      Plenty of IT pros have a lot invested in MSFT sales/support. But even governments are supposedly waking up to the poor value offered by the usual solutions providers, and the problems of proprietary data lock-in, so some of them are understandably anxious about their gravy train.

    3. Drakkenson

      Re: Win 2000 is still out there

      Does it support old Canon scanners too? If not, then there is no use to bother...

  10. PunkTiger

    Obscured upgrade path

    Personally, I think one facet of the slow take-up of Win7 is that there's no clean/clear upgrade path from XP to 7 (aside from ponying up the dosh to get Win7 Professional Ultimate; even then, it's not very intuitive).

    Create a utility/tool/program to help Joe Punter upgrade his perfectly capable XP machine to Win 7, or at least make it a more simple procedure to upgrade, and more people might be enticed to do it.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Not That Andrew

      Re: Obscured upgrade path

      Yes, I'm really surprised at how hard MS make the upgrade to 7 or 8 from XP for the average joe. You would think they would want it to be as smooth as possible.

      And Windows Easy Transfer doesn't count, assuming it works with Windows 8 (although it should). You have to know it exists first and then locate it on Microsoft's website. Maybe MS should put it on Windows Update.

      1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

        Re: Obscured upgrade path

        "And Windows Easy Transfer doesn't count, assuming it works with Windows 8 (although it should). You have to know it exists first and then locate it on Microsoft's website."

        And you know, at the end of the day, that's a big deal.

        Girlfriend is still running XP, and only last year was upgraded from Outlook Express (with which she actually was very happy) to Windows Live Mail (or whatever the version is called that actually downloads the e-mail to your hard drive).

        I'm sure that a new system and new OS* are coming, and I automatically assume that somehow moving all of her stuff from XP to Win 7 or 8 will become a nightmare. Maybe it isn't these days, but I have long ago learned to not assume anything with MS.

        * Yes it'll be Windows. She specifically uses MS Word a lot, and it makes no sense to try and move her existing docs into LibreOffice.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised Vista usage not increasing

    as many Vista Pro boxes came downgraded to XP.

    Some of my customers have them, so that's one possible option.

    Windows Easy Transfer the XP profile(s) off first if required, clean Vista install, restore profile (& apps...).

    Vista with all the Service Packs and patches runs OK (Not as quick as 7 or 8 though).

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: Surprised Vista usage not increasing

      Many machines sold as "Vista ready" (or whatever it was called) weren't really up to running it well - I doubt they're better now.

  12. ecofeco Silver badge
    Meh

    Upgrade, don't upgrade, meh

    ...but don't say you weren't warned.

    XP is obsolete. Period. Get used to it. Or don't. I get paid plenty because the previous person was frighteningly adverse to change, so it makes no difference to me.

    1. Wintermute

      Code does not rot

      Code does not rot. The only reason Microsoft XP is "obsolete" is that Microsoft is declaring it so.

      Instead of killing it off, Microsoft could be selling maintenance service for the OS from here until the end of time. End users at home might not pony up the cash, but a lot of tired, overworked Sys Admins would gladly pay protection money so that they get all the latest patches.

      It's a pity really. Without adding features, every code patch makes XP a little bit more stable. I would be interested to see where XP would be with another decade or two of patches.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Code does not rot

        Sure, old PCs will continue working as before. But have you noticed that Haswell motherboards no longer support XP? How long do you think there will be XP printer drivers, USB drivers, display drivers, and so on for new kit? And then there are the applications... no more new versions after some point since they no longer support XP.

        The driver problem with new hardware will gradually get more and more problematic and replacing old broken hardware with something that supports XP will get more and more expensive. Of course you can look for replacements on ebay and accept that Moore's Law no longer applies to you, but at some point before 2020 even most of the grognards will accept that yes, it actually will be easier to move to another OS than support the old environment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Code does not rot

          > How long do you think there will be XP printer drivers, USB drivers, display drivers, and so on for new kit?

          For as long as the manufacturers of the above can sell their wares to owners of machines running XP.

          Considering that the XP installed based is bigger than the total of Win8, Vista, Linux, and MacOS, that could be a long time and a lot of money to be made.

        2. Pookietoo

          Re: Haswell motherboards no longer support XP

          But Linux runs fine, and VirtualBox ...

          (or Windows 7 with its XP mode)

      2. Lusty Silver badge

        Re: Code does not rot

        "Code does not rot. The only reason Microsoft XP is "obsolete" is that Microsoft is declaring it so."

        Really?

        Have you tried using one of the new generation ultra high def screens with XP? The start button on XP is essentially fixed size, so with sufficiently high DPI you won't be able to find it or read the start menu if you do.

        Have you tried doing IPv6 networking with XP? Have you tried using direct access with Windows XP to remotely manage a logged off machine?

        You're right, code doesn't rot, but it also doesn't get support for new features and technologies either.

        1. Ross K

          Re: Code does not rot

          Have you tried using one of the new generation ultra high def screens with XP? The start button on XP is essentially fixed size, so with sufficiently high DPI you won't be able to find it or read the start menu if you do.

          I think you're creating a problem that doesn't really exist.

          In an enterprise environment, worker bees won't be using ultra high-def monitors with XP boxes. Creative types and the suits on the top floor will have their up-to-date Macs and ultrabooks. Your average Joe doing a bit of Excel and Word wouldn't have a business case for an expensive monitor.

          Ditto for the home environment - anybody splashing the cash on a monitor with a crazy resolution is going to have an up-to-date PC.

          1. Lusty Silver badge

            Re: Code does not rot

            That was one example of something XP doesn't support. I notice you ignored Direct Access, one of the few ways to achieve full remote manageability of a laptop including removing the cached credentials to allow for revocation of access (AKA true security of company data). There are many, many things that Windows 8 supports (and will support) that Windows XP doesn't and never will support. Maybe not all your users will need them, but if some of them do, there's a business case for standardising to reduce cost and that will be on Windows 8.

            1. Lusty Silver badge

              Re: Code does not rot

              Also the fact that Windows 8 boots in 10 seconds compared to the 30-40 seconds for Windows XP (even ignoring the SSD boost). Multiply half a minute by number of staff by working days per year. divide by 60 then multiply by average hourly rate...

              oh look, cheaper already :)

              1. ITS Retired
                Boffin

                Re: Code does not rot

                Booting to a log-in screen does not mean the operating system has loaded. On Win8, that happens for several minutes AFTER you log in. And there is not a whole lot you can do till it is loaded. More MS fakery.

                1. Lusty Silver badge

                  Re: Code does not rot

                  "Booting to a log-in screen does not mean the operating system has loaded. On Win8, that happens for several minutes AFTER you log in. And there is not a whole lot you can do till it is loaded. More MS fakery."

                  Actually that's not what happens on Win8 at all. Try it some time and you might like it.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Code does not rot

                Also the fact that Windows 8 boots in 10 seconds... "

                This spiel is a fallacy. It assumes that boot time is lost time that would have otherwise been spent productively.

                Now, I don't know about you, but my PC is NEVER turned off except when patching the OS demands it. And while the machine is doing one of its rare boots, I invariably stroll the 7 yards to the coffee machine and fix myself a latte macchiato, grab a Tim Tam (tm) and enjoy a few moments respite from my otherwise high stress job.

                Boot time is irrelevant in a business environment, just like walk time for trips to the coffee machine is irrelevant.

                Sheesh, this place is full of children :(

                1. johnaaronrose

                  Re: Code does not rot

                  I remember when I contracted to a very large bank (name starting with a B), it took approx 20 minutes to bootup & login on each morning: everybody switched off overnight. IMO that was wasted time.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Code does not rot

                    " it took approx 20 minutes to bootup & login on each morning"

                    Probably because the alternative was crashing during the day. Taking the downtime hit between arrival and the trip to the coffee machine was probably more effective than crashing half way through a word document only to discover that Word can't recover, and if it does it will in all likelihood irreparably corrupt the document.

      3. ecofeco Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Code does not rot

        Well no shit Sherlock, but as many posters have just pointed out, the hardware does. Oh, and new programs won't run on it either. And websites evolve and now you can't use a feature you need on that website you use, and they were the ONLY ones who had it.

        Do you even understand what "obsolete" means? You should talk to some FORTRAN/COBOL/Pascal/CPM programmers sometime. For that matter, Win 2.5/ 3 /NT 4/ OS2 / 95 / 98 / 2000 programmers.

        Oh wait.... we don't use those in the mass market anymore either. Why is that, do think?

      4. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Code does not rot

        Don't you tell the PC what your monitor's dpi is? Then everything gets scaled properly...

    2. BongoJoe

      Re: Upgrade, don't upgrade, meh

      Obsolete? No it's not; that is the whole point of this discussion - it works and it works well so it isn't obsolete.

      It's like saying that my ten year old £15 stovetop espresso pot is obselete because there's newer and flashier machines available for which I have to buy pods for and cost hundreds of pounds for. At the emd of the day it makes good coffee, if not better, than the new hip and funkier version which don't work as well and yet the maintainance is minimal (a new £1 gasket every six months).

      What's more I can make coffee faster on the stovetop coffee pot than with the new machine.

      When the overpriced upstart breaks down and my 'obsolete' coffee machine is still running I can stand in the kitchen, pour myself a fine cup of espresso and muse once more over the inadequate arguments as to why I should change to a newer version.

      My XP works well. The only reason why I moved my main machine to Windows 7 is that Adobe's Lightroom had features that I needed and wouldn't work on XP. Other than that everything else worked better and faster on XP. Just because something is old, even in IT terms, it doesn't mean that it's worse than the newer versions.

      Here's a real IT example from my home office. In the corner is my monochrome laser printer; it's a HP 4000 LaserJet and it's a real workhorse of a machine. And it works exceedingly well but because it's getting on to being about fifteen years old should I replace it because it's obsolete?

      Not so IT related, by connected via DAC, is my music amplifier through which I play my music. It's an old British amplifier, Cyrus Mission-II, that I bought in the 80s. It's one of the great little amplifiers; should I change this for something more modern instead?

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: Upgrade, don't upgrade, meh

        Well actually it's more like saying that 15 year old water filter is obsolete because the manufacturer changed the filter design long ago and no-one is making 3rd party filters for it anymore. IIRRC WinXP doesn't directly support EFI or UEFI motherboards and sooner or later they are going to stop making them with BIOS's or BIOS compatibility layers.

        1. Mike Timbers

          Re: Upgrade, don't upgrade, meh

          I have a fully functional XP build running on a motherboard with a UEFI layer. Not aware of there being any problem with compatibility.

          (Oh and Trevor Potts, your rants have been wonderful. Great stuff!)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Upgrade, don't upgrade, meh

        While this link claims to represent something quite old, http://www.etsy.com/listing/154166645/vintage-italian-expresso-coffee-maker , the fact of the matter is that these are still made, and I have several sizes.

        Damned fine espresso, and all one ever needs. Visit any Italian home, and you will find one of these (or perhaps a slightly funkier, newer design version).

  13. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Paid support still available

    The ISS runs a special version of Windows XP (Service Pack 6) which Microsoft will continue to support. Same is true for any company prepared to pay the associated costs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Paid support still available

      And a lucrative racket it will be for those providing the support, I'm sure. Just look at the mainframe world for an example of software vendors milking a captive audience...

      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: Paid support still available

        Wouldn't surprise me If those patches trickle through to the general public. It also wouldn't surprise me if an open source project reverse engineeering patches for XP sprung up. I imagine ReactOS is also going to gain more interest and maybe support.

        1. Pookietoo

          Re: ReactOS

          That's been in Alpha forever (OK maybe not as long as Hurd).

    2. xehpuk

      Re: Paid support still available

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/05/10/iss_linux_debian_deployment/

  14. bigfoot780

    cut off

    XP needs to go. Its 12 years old. UAC does actually make the os more secure. The biggest problem is a) cost, win 7 licencing etc. B) support for older equipment / software. For most orgs linux is not a viable option as they need to run autocad, photoshop etc. There has to be cut off at some point.

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: cut off

      UAC isn't in XP and the point of UAC was not security, it was to annoy users so they would nag vendors to get off their arses and rewrite their shitty software to properly support a multi user environment.

      1. Ross K
        Windows

        Re: cut off

        UAC isn't in XP...

        I think that's the point the guy before you was making...

        ...it was to annoy users

        Hardly. You can spend five seconds in the Control Panel turning it off and it won't "annoy" you again.

      2. dajames Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: cut off

        ... the point of UAC was not security ...

        The point of UAC most certainly was security. UAC was introduced at the same time as user account creation was changed so that new users would, by default, not have Administrator privileges.

        Can you imagine what would have happened had UAC not been introduced at that time? Millions of home users working for the first time without Administrator privileges would have discovered that they couldn't install software (because they'd never heard of "Run as ...") and the support lines would have been buzzing. Microsoft introduced UAC to make the switch to limited user accounts manageable for those without an in-house IT department.

        UAC is very definitely a security mechanism, even though what it actually does is not to increase security, but to reduce it in a controlled way. Using a non-admin account doesincrease security -- and UAC makes that a viable proposition for home users.

        1. Not That Andrew

          Re: cut off

          You make a good point, I had forgotten that aspect.

  15. Trollslayer Silver badge

    A major flaw

    in the whole idea of OS marketing.

    You want to pay a modest price for the OS but you want free protection from bad guys forever.

    How long can the supplier afford to do this when there is no income?

    How about a lower up front cost and a low annual cost (£2?) so they can afford to continue to protect the product? This isn't about their failures but you pay for anti virus and anti malware software so why should OS security be different?

    We are killing the golden goose here.

    Now add to the mix that, for example, Excel is an extremely important business tool What are you going to run it on? I find it remarkably versatile and wish there was a Linux compatible equivalent but give the 18 month support cycle for Ubuntu it's not worth someone's bother putting that much effort into a product.

    Open source has it's place but I can't find really good desktop applications for business that compare with commercial ones.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: A major flaw

      Nobody in this thread has said "we won't pay Microsoft to support Windows XP." We have said "fuck Windows 8" and "fuck the Windows 7-era VDI licensing" and even "there's lots of XP out there that can't be updated."

      Ding me $100/installation/year and I'll gladly pay for the support costs. Just give me the fucking choice. Don't try forcing me onto the "new" version with the lie that "newer is better." If you want to sell me on "better' then prove it with facts and figures applicable to my situation. And that of my clients.

      Otherwise, I'll spend the money I would have spent paying Microsoft support buying third party applications and hardware to defend my now out-of-support Windows XP installations.

      Paying a reasonable amount simply isn't the issue. Paying an unreasonable amount it. Being forced to upgrade is. Are you capable of understanding the difference?

    2. Chemist

      Re: A major flaw

      "but give the 18 month support cycle for Ubuntu "

      Ubuntu != Linux

  16. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I drive a 16-year-old car. It just ***ing works. There is no reason to spend money replacing something that still just ***ing works. Yes, it's dropped from 35mpg to 32mpg in that time, and at some point I need to replace the fuse on the central locking, but there is absolutely no need for me to spend a magnitude more than my annual costs - money I don't have - replacing something that still just ***ing works.

    s/car/XP/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      your car just ***ing works?

      Then why the acute frustration leading you to need expletives to express yourself? Or is your command of English not up to it?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @AC

        Why are you a douche canoe? Is it a disease? Some terrible genetic disorder beyond your control?

        Enquiring minds want to know...

  17. MalPearce

    Corporate desktop reimaging...

    Nice to hear how easy it is for all those one man band shops where people use their fondleslabs for email, web and a bit of occasional word processing. Everywhere I've seen XP corporate in a rollout, the PC is a workhorse with industry-specific apps. Any of the following can apply-

    1. a highly restricted locked down environment on prescribed hardware, IE6, "internal systems", bespoke apps

    2. a smorgasbord of builds for different makes and models of PC, perhaps with some app management on top

    3. preinstalled OEM Windows desktops that users have filled with crap over the last ten years

    I've seen XP in critical business areas running on PCs that have never been rebooted - because people are so scared that if they did reboot the PC and the last 7 years' worth of Windows Updates got applied, it'd never come back up again!

    Compared to all of that, Windows 7 has definite advantages particularly in scenarios 2 and 3, and in scenario 1 where there'll be more need to interact with other organisations that are using Office 2013 and have IE10 compliant websites than enforced compliance for the puposes of running a mission-critical app on Deck 9 of the Engineering department.

    I personally find Win8 really easy to use, very manageable, faster than Win7 and a piece of piss to deploy... but then, I'm using it as a Thin Client operating system for remoting onto a VDI setup.

  18. xehpuk

    When you switch a company to next OS a lot of applications needs to be updated also. Make sure to favour applications that are multi platform! That way they will last you much longer and you avoid the lock in in case Win9 gets even worse than Win8.

  19. Unicornpiss Silver badge

    The phenomenon of the beater laptop

    I'm sure that Facebook like most organizations still has a few PCs on XP. But the laptop shown in the photo is what.. a Dell D600 or D610 maybe by the looks of it? A 7-9 year old laptop with a single-core processor? I suspect that it's one of the many throwaway beater laptops that pretty much every IT department keeps around for compatibility with some favorite utility or to pull out of a drawer when some logging or other task that doesn't need to tie up a more powerful machine comes up. A machine that beat the odds by not being recycled some years ago because it was still in great shape and someone rescued it.

    You can't surmise that Facebook has very many machines at all still on XP from the photo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The phenomenon of the beater laptop

      Has farcebook even existed 7-9 years?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: The phenomenon of the beater laptop

        "Has farcebook even existed 7-9 years?"

        February 2004 in its first incarnation.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: The phenomenon of the beater laptop

          A thumb down for stating a fact?

          Still peeved about my cloud comments, are you? Tut, tut.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: The phenomenon of the beater laptop

      OMG, you're right. It IS an old 600 series Dell.

      How funny. Good catch!

      And your surmise would be correct. That's exactly what we used them for as well. Low priority beaters or "We're all out of the good loaners, here's all we have left", loaner.

  20. Martin Maloney
    Boffin

    Stop bashing Vista

    MS marketing insisted on Vista's being released before it was ready. That's ancient history.

    With two Service Packs under its belt, plus the monthly updates, Vista no longer deserves to be viewed with contempt. The operational differences between Vista and Win7 are insignificant.

    I have two circa-2007 laptops -- a Compaq and a Gateway, each of which came with Vista. HP released Win7 drivers, so I upgraded to Win7. Gateway didn't, so I stayed with Vista.

    What Vista has going for it over Win7 is that its desktop layout -- Start button, Launch bar, Taskbar and Tray -- is identical to that of XP. Its familiarity is comfortable. The only real learning curve is the menu system, which takes all of two seconds, before the user enthuses, "Wow! Neat!" Vista will continue to be supported until April, 2017.

    Next spring, when it is time for clients to upgrade from XP, I will show them my two laptops and let them decide on which Windows version that they prefer.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Stop bashing Vista

      As someone who uses both Windows XP and Windows 7 heavily, going back to Vista (or in my case Server 2008) is still a fucking nightmare. While the OS may be "usable" now (for "fuck Windows Serach" values of "usable") the UI is pants. It's all the worst parts of Windows 7 and all the worst parts of Windows XP mashed together into a clusterfuck of horror.

      Windows 7's UI is superior in (most) ways to Windows XP. You need Classic Shell to get a good menu (and to get back your up arrow) as well as networktray to get a per-NIC indicator and quick link to network adapters. Beyond that, you're good...and those two changes are free (beer and speech) and can be scripted into your installs.

      Vista just has so many little niggly things that even two patches in the UI feels unfinished. Using it for any legnth of time makes me wonder how people dogfooded this thing without going stark raving mad.

      A lot like my feelings about Windows 8, funnily enough...

    2. phil8192
      Thumb Down

      Re: Stop bashing Vista

      I had Vista on a Compaq Presario laptop, a warranty replacement for its immediate predecessor that came with Windows XP. I was forced to take it, although I asked HP to ship it with XP. It was absolutely horrible: It ran slow and HOT; the CPU fan ran at top speed almost constantly, so I "downgraded" the machine to XP and it's been fine. There are good reasons to bash Vista.

  21. regadpellagru

    Microsoft has just stopped improving products

    I think the real problem is MS has stopped to improve their products to the point where it has any value to upgrade at all, except the fear, and fear is subjective.

    I've been with XP+Office 2003 in 2010, then XP+Office 2007, then Win7+Office 2010 now, and I really hope to the gods this didn't cost to my employer.

    Office: from 2003 to 2010, let's see:

    Powerpoint:

    plus: animations panels has been enhanced, indeed.

    minus: meaningless changes of GUI, loosing productivity

    overall: this is a draw to me.

    Excel:

    plus: hmmm, let me see. No, I can't think of anything.

    minus: why the <bip> does "format cells" take 10 s or more to come up ???? Why ?

    overall: Excel 2010 is worse than 2003 or 2007

    Word:

    plus: well, possibly a better TOC management system if I recall.

    minus: meaningless changes of GUI, loosing productivity

    overall: this is a draw to me.

    Now, Windows, lets see between XP (SP2 patched) vs. 7:

    plus: sorry, can't name anything. There is something better ????

    minus: is different, for the apparent sole purpose of being different from a GUI point of view. Same shit behind of course. BTW, fuck you MS, for replacing the "run command" menu by "shutdown". No fun here. Also, same apparent "boot slower" syndrom each time of boot.

    overall: Win 7 is worse than XP

    Overall, as many have commented, there is no value to upgrade to 7, and probably to 8 either. It's only a matter of how people are scared not to ... And if what I read of licensing is true (this is not really my thing, my employer pays for it), there HAS to be some value to be put against the cost incurred.

    Also, for those claiming Office is necessary vs. OpenOffice or LibreOffice, I really don't agree. The LibreOffice Word and Excel are better than Office now and can even do things MS Office can't do ...

  22. Black Rat

    Embrace the inner Trekkie

    Let's face it, few people are going to be happy with a touch screen interface until it looks (& works) like LCARS.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Embrace the inner Trekkie

      LCARS doesn't use space efficiently and - frankly - seems to have a lot of buttons that do fuck all. Why would I want that?

  23. The Grump
    Pint

    My 2 cents

    First, I'm not a IT guy - I'm just a Windows user since the days of DOS. I couldn't program a VCR - so I needed an OS that just WORKED for my home PC. Been through the wringer with MS: 95 - good, 98 - meh, 2000 - balls, XP - liked it as much as 95, vista - balls for different reason. XP remembered where the window was placed for every program, and reopened them in the same place. Vista, W7 - windows forgets window placement - EVERY - SINGLE - TIME. I have to rearrange my windows every time. Spent many hours trying to get Vista to remember window placement - before I found out that MS sees it as a feature instead of a bug. I'd still be using XP if I didn't need the extra memory and CPU cycles to play the latest and greatest games.

    After an MS update, I discovered that my Search functionality in the folder view had stopped working. The Search function off the Start menu worked, but not in folder view. It took me two weeks of trial, error, giving up, coming back, more trial and error before I chanced on the problem, and managed to correct it (something had cleared some of the file types in MS's deservedly maligned "search indexing"). I don't have the luxury of an IT department - just me, and my mini-frig full of beer.

    So I figure, what's to stop MS from a final MS "Update" for Win XP, containing instructions to disable key functionalities of XP (and if they're smart, disable them after a set time period, so the malfunction will not be easily linked with the MS update). This would force XP users to update, whether they wanted to or not. And no, when you deal with MS, this is not paranoia - it's a very real possibility. I would turn off MS updates NOW, just to be on the safe side.

    As for WIN 8 - eh - let's just say that touch screen OS's and fried chicken don't go together well. MS should man up, grow a pair, and admit that Win 8 isn't the greatest idea they ever had. Now, licensing Win XP support for a fee - that is a good idea. Requiring users change to incompatible OS's every few years - bad idea. That's my 2 cents. And beer because, well, because I'm a Windows user. Gotta have something to dull the pain.

  24. Number6

    Nuclear Power

    How many people have seen the level of technology in the computers controlling the old Magnox (I think there's still one running) and AGR nuclear power stations in the UK? They never upgraded, they stuck with what had been tried and tested.

  25. JohnMcL

    Why go to Windows 8 ...

    ... when it's pretty obviously aimed at the "social media" morons who think everyone hangs on their Facebook and Twitter utterances. Windows 8.1 seems to be an attempt to put lipstick on a pig.

    Windows 7 allowed people to get actual work done, and earlier than that Windows XP offered even more freedom from the Borg's diktats about how work was to be accomplished.

  26. Magnus_Pym

    So in conclusion

    Significant numbers of XP machines are tied to devices or process that are incapable of change. These will continue to be XP whatever Microsoft do until the device of process becomes obsolete.

    Significant numbers of XP machines are tied to organisational units that require a lot of planning and effort to change. These will continue to use XP until the cost/gain balance swings massively to the other side.

    Significant numbers of XP machines are tied to devices or process that are difficult to change. These will continue to use XP until the cost/gain balance swings a little further to the other side.

    Some XP machines could easily be changed but the administrator has yet to be convinced of the gain vs cost equation.

    Give the type and size of the first two sets of users and the kind of commercial credibility required for their working practices it's only a matter of time until some major user group or industry sector forces Microsoft to offer XP some kind of XP lifeline.

  27. Tank boy

    Two cents from a home user

    I liked XP, it was a truck. Granted it needed maintenance from time to time, but what OS doesn't? When I heard that MS was going to basically send XP to the bone yard, I started flirting with Linux for my old desktop, and it's been hit or miss, but mostly positive. Our laptops run Win7, and they work great, no complaints, but I do miss XP. Not quite sure why MS decided to fix what wasn't broken (although I suspect it was about $), they really did a disservice to folks that rely on it for actual real work, not just fucking around on the internet.

  28. phil8192
    Big Brother

    Why is Microsoft so determined to get people to stop using Windows XP? As Microsoft operating systems go, it's not all that bad. Heck, I'm still using Windows 98SE on a couple of machines, as well as MS-DOS 6, and I still frequently run DOS programs in the DOSBox emulator on Linux!!

  29. ecofeco Silver badge
    Windows

    Shocked

    I am shocked at the number of reactionaries posting here.

    No, no, go ahead and keep XP. Go right ahead. The rope is plenty long. So is the pier.

  30. mgouker

    One thing to remember about the machine in the facebook testing section

    It is absolutely necessary for QA in Facebook to test every platform until it is no longer maintained. If a user has an issue that can only be reproduced on XP, the only alternative would be to scrub the machine and install it. That actually happens a lot too (especially for unsupported OS versions), but it can be a waste of time.

    I'm a happy Mac user and I use Windows 7 and Windows 8 for software development. Both Windows work as well as Windows ever has.

    Good luck!

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