back to article Windows XP's market share grows AGAIN!

It's the first Monday of the month, so time for us to have a look at desktop operating system market share again! Keen Reg readers may recall that last month it looked like peak Windows 7 was behind us. This month's data supports that hypothesis: Statcounter has Windows 7 dipping a little to 54.13 per cent and Netmarketshare …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    All this shows me....

    ...is you can't rely on these stats.

    1. Uffish

      Re: All this shows me....

      "can't rely on these stats" ; Care to explain why?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All this shows me....

        For starters they only measure systems that visit websites. So any pc not connected to the web is not counted.

        But his is pretty good at summing it up:

        http://www.zdnet.com/article/net-market-share-vs-statcounter-whose-online-measurements-can-you-trust/

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: All this shows me....

        "Care to explain why?"

        I can't speak for the OP, but from the article: "Windows 8.1 is up from 10.04 per cent in January to 10.49 per cent in February on Netmarketshare's numbers, and from 14.27 per cent to 14.78 per cent according to Statcounter."

        So two groups try to measure the same thing and they come up with figures that differ by about a third. Back when I was in science classes, if I had two measurements that differed by that much then I'd expect to have my knuckles rapped if I quoted either to 2 decimal places. The correct way to interpret these figure is to call them "experimental proof that at least one of them hasn't got the precision they are quoting".

        1. Uffish

          Re: All this shows me....

          I do trust these stats to be accurate records of two different outfits' atempts to measure OS use and have no difficulty with the number of decimal places quoted.

          Think about the problem, they cannot take a sort of photo-finish snapshot of the whole internet at 10:00 hours GMT; I imagine it's not technically possible and in any case it would skew the results towardsr European users. So they have some measuring procedures that don't overly favour certain times and places and basically add up very large numbers of detected OSs.

          Nothing wrong with that and the results are intriguing.

          1. thames

            Re: All this shows me....

            @Uffish - The issue isn't whether they can accurately count the number of hits their servers get. It's whether that count is an accurate representation of the entire population of the Internet. They're extrapolating their own limited sample sets of data to the Internet at large. The fact that the numbers from these two companies differ so much from each other shows at least one, and probably both, sets of samples are in fact not representative.

            One major problem will be internationalization. How many Chinese, Russian, Indian, Indonesian, etc., web sites versus American and UK web sites are sampled by either of these companies? The proportion of Windows XP in use is believed to be much higher in the first set of countries than in the latter ones. How many users on business PCs using Windows XP are visiting shopping sites versus the proportion of Windows 8 users on home PCs? That will skew the numbers as well.

            At best these numbers will show general trends. Reading meaning into hundreths of a percent though is both wrong and pointless. All we should be looking at is the general trend line.

            1. Uffish

              Re: All this shows me....

              ok, once more. Try to get your head round the idea of "an accurate representation of the entire population of the Internet". Suppose it were possible to get an accurate snapshot, or 3D animated GIF, of such a thing - what use would it be?

              The answer - no use at all. No-one has a use for such a global figure. It is simply an amusing concept for a coffee break.

              Hence my untroubled acceptance of the results kindly reported in el Reg.

              1. thames

                Re: All this shows me....

                @Uffish - "Suppose it were possible to get an accurate snapshot, or 3D animated GIF, of such a thing - what use would it be?"

                Well, companies who are in the business of selling hardware, software, and services associated with Windows would like to have accurate market share numbers so that they can compare those with their own sales figures to see how they are doing.

                Is XP use declining while Windows 8 increasing? If so, then if the sales figures for the Windows 8 version of your product are flat, then your own market share figures have a problem. If sales are going the other way, then you can tell if your sales force are doing a good job, or if they're simply benefiting from increased sales of Windows 8.

                For people working in the technology business in general, they like to have a good idea where the market in general is going, so they can focus their personal energies on things that have a future.

                For web browser usage figures (another thing people look at), it tells you if you should be taking a closer look at how well your web site works with particular browsers. You don't want to use just your server stats, since you can't tell if certain browsers aren't showing up as much because people are no longer using them, or if it's because visitors got fed up with bugs in your web site that your Mac using iPhone toting web design consultants are oblivious to.

                On the other hand, extending the decimal places too far to the right in the numbers will make you see trends that aren't there. Was a bump in Windows XP in the December figures due to people using old PCs at home over the Christmas holidays, or was it just random noise? Look at all the news stories which try to "explain" each twitch of the figures based on speculation that these numbers are accurate. These are the data points upon which a lot of speculative extrapolation is based, and we need to be skeptical about them because the data to support it just isn't there.

                1. Uffish

                  Re: All this shows me....

                  @ thames

                  I don't think you understand just how big (and complex) the world is.

      3. HipposRule

        Re: All this shows me....

        Re: All this shows me....

        "can't rely on these stats" ; Care to explain why?

        Because it doesn't take into account non Internet connected devices - we've at least 7000.

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: All this shows me....

      Changes of "0.07 per cent" as noteworthy?

      I suspect the (estimated) margin of error in measurement would be much larger than such a change.

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: All this shows me....

        If thats good enough to prove "Climate Change"......NOT.

      2. Shannon Jacobs
        Holmes

        Suspicions are cheap and worth less

        Whether or not 0.07% or 7% is significant is a difficult question that depends on the amount of data and how accurately it is measured. Your suspicions about the "margin of error" are therefore baseless. They might be reporting on samples in the millions where tiny fluctuations can be measured.

        Having said that, it is the Register, and I'm certainly not going to invest or gamble any money based on their reporting. To me, the real focus of the Windows XP topic should be that Microsoft's threats and blackmail aren't working perfectly, and as too often happens, the Register is off chasing some codswallop.

  2. yellowlawn

    A local council my wife works for uses Windows XP and IE6

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's needed for some legacy applications.

      Same for NHS systems as they were written using IE and active X.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        FAIL

        And they can't stick it in some kind of VM while they work out what to do with it?

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Meh

          And they can't stick it in some kind of VM while they work out what to do with it?

          These stats are measuring where XP is running. It's not going to make any difference whether it's on physical or virtual hardware. Of course if you have to run XP then running inside a VM is probably a good idea but still not a panacea. You might not be able to isolate the applications from the outside world and even if you can it's still possible to suffer a breach if the damage occurs within the VM itself.

    2. Syntax Error

      Many parts of the third world use Windows XP. Microsoft should stop being obstinate and continue to provide security updates for free to their operating system especially if they are concerned for a safer internet. LOL

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Walk through most airports en-route from check-in to the plane and see how many PCs you pass which are running XP - I did it yesterday and my count was 4 (at least 2 of which were sat beside dot-matrix printers, which probably also says something about "if it ain't broke don't fix it").

        I travel most weeks, and the count at most airports is usually about the same, which when you consider how many gates most airports have these days quickly tots up to a lot of XP installs...

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Walking through airports

          It is to be hoped that airport IT systems have the USB sockets physically secured and that they are not connected to the internet.

          Fingers crossed...

        2. Stuart 22

          Well my GP surgery is on XP and can access my medical records. Presumably this implies there is a route to (or worse still from) the universe.

          I was having an anti-virus jab. I suggested she shoved it up the USB slot as it might do a better job.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it just me, or is the bump upwards in the stats for Windows XP somewhat symmetric to the dip for Windows 8/8.1?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Not just you. I'm wondering how far people are rolling back Windows to get away from 8. Past Vista apparently.

      On a serious note, I know of 3 people (home users not business) who have killed Win 8 and installed Win XP for compatibility issues and/or comfort zone issues. So it does make me wonder.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        could also be people who have moved from XP to a new Windows, and have now moved off Windows entirely to another OS

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          could also be people who have moved from XP to a new Windows, and have now moved off Windows entirely to another OS

          Not quite, certainly some have gone that way, but it's curious that the upward trend in Windows XP is almost matched by the downward trend in the others.

          If it were users going from Windows 8.x to non-Windows, I'd expect the Windows XP trend to remain flat and the bump to show up in either the MacOS X or Linux trend lines. (Of course, there's *BSD too, but they don't show a trend line for that family.)

      2. Grikath

        Not too difficult:

        Replace old (XP) PC because it's really not getting the job done anymore.

        New PC/Laptop comes with Win8 flavour.

        Cursing and frustration ensues.

        Look into the comments about Win8, and the Promised Land of Win10 around the corner.

        Get Handy Cousin to install XP until Win10 arrives **

        You'd expect Win7, but XP simply has more "This one will work" codes in the wild.

        (** or swap in old harddisk, or any variety)

        1. Paul Shirley

          Until Microsoft loosened it's grip on win7 install media last week it was probably easier to find an xp install disk lying around, probably also easier to find one online without hitting pirate sites.

          1. chivo243 Silver badge
            Windows

            Still in the shrink wrap

            @Paul Shirley

            I've been cleaning out the office, and came across two XP (no SP) install disks still in the shrink wrap.

            I didn't think to look if they are oem?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Still in the shrink wrap

              Still in the shrink wrap - I have a whole spreadsheet with 200+ never used OEM HP and Lenovo codes for XP from machines which were never booted into Windows (or had an enterprise license with a different key installed at first boot). So I can always install one if I ever need a windows system (least likely as with the exemption of an occasional work laptop my house has been Microsoft OS free since 1997)

          2. Stoneshop Silver badge
            FAIL

            Until Microsoft loosened its grip on win7 install media last week

            For values of 'last week' that equate to 'several years ago'. No problem downloading them from Digital River, who are an authorised MS reseller.

          3. David Pollard
            Unhappy

            Microsoft loosened it's grip on win7 install media?

            Until last week it had been possible simply to download Win 7 ISOs from Digital River. These would install and authenticate normally using an OEM key; well, certainly this worked with HP machines and licences. Now the Digital River downloads have been stopped and only those who have a key from a full retail copy are able download the ISO, after first registering their key with Microsoft. Those who bought a machine with Windows 7 already installed are instructed to contact the manufacturer if they wish to obtain an ISO, even though their key is valid.

            Far from loosening its grip, Microsoft has made it impossible for the majority of users to download a Windows 7 ISO.

        2. ContentsMayVary

          Shame the handy cousin didn't just install Classic Start Menu...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Shame the handy cousin didn't just install Classic Start Menu...

            Last I checked, Classic Start Menu was merely cosmetic, it didn't magically make your Windows 8 installation magically sprout drivers or run older software.

            We have to use Windows XP at work for some things: namely I have to because of some Windows CE 5 devices we support that require ActiveSync 4.5, and some of my colleagues do because the Rockwell Automation software requires it for running PLC simulators.

            Everywhere else it's either Linux, Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008r2, the former two being the majority.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I know of 3 people...

        A large enough sample to validate any conclusion

    2. sltech

      I think it's mostly people going back to WinXP out of frustration with Win8.

  4. Chris Hawkins

    Windows XP - The Living Dead

    Title for Redmond's entry into the movie market with its 2015 Blockbuster Zombie film!!1

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    FAIL

    As usual

    we ask for corroboration based on El Reg's own stats. As usual silence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As usual

      Thing is, El Reg is a tech site so any stats are going to be skewed to the readership base so you wont corroborate with general stats.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As usual

        That doesn't stop them "publishing" Netmarketshare's skewed stats.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As usual

          Oh dear. So a company publish results that are to do with the IT world in general. El Reg publishes what the company said, and also states quite clearly:

          "even when one takes into account the less-than-stunningly-accurate method both market watchers use of observing traffic as it hits web servers."

          Plus, no spelling errors that I noticed, so a solid win I thought.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: As usual

        Thing is, El Reg is a tech site so any stats are going to be skewed to the readership base so you wont corroborate with general stats.

        That's a remarkable conclusion to draw in the absence of the evidence. What is the readership for the statcounter / netmarketshare?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: As usual

          That is a good point. What we can postulate is that the readership of El Reg is more technically orientated unless there are more masochists or lost carrion bird fanciers than we could assume would visit. This means that we expect a skew compared to the internet as a whole.

          This means we have a smaller pool which targets specialists. So a reasonable assumption is that a smaller pool for one website will not be reflective of the netmarketshare pool, unless they are only operable on The Register.

          Now, it would be possible to check the benchline of OS breakdown for the Reg and it normally wouldn't be unusual to see if there is a corrosponding drop in stats for 8.1 and rise for XP, but at the same time, XP is more likely *not* to be used amongst IT professionals apart from those locations where they are forced to in an enterprise situation and theregister isn't blocked.

          So we have three assumptions here:

          1. Netmarketshare is more generalised than The Register visitors.

          2. The Register visitors are more likely to be in IT service businesses/departments

          3. Netmarketshare doesn't just show results from the The Register.

          Reasonable taken separately, but combined that then starts to increase liklihood of error.

          Not remarkable a conclusion, maybe, though I thank you for making such a claim on my behalf - I don't often get such praise. But it certainly is a reasonable set of assumptions to make that any corroboration The Register visitors make is only ever going to be meaningless considering the size of the dip/rise in question, it would just be too small a comparison even if there were a similar spike/dip.

          Then there is the possibility of a DOS attack from a botnet of compromised XP pcs on one particular site - that could produce an alteration in stats of that magnitude, theoretically.

          Welcome to statistics.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: As usual

            Collect another badge of fail. Your assumptions 1 and 3 are the same and number 2 is very similar to them both (if A is more generalised than B then B must be more specialised than A. You only qualify this by indicating where the specialisation may be). It doesn't really matter because the assumptions are only relevant in a hypothesis that you are going to test empirically. Which you can't because El Reg doesn't provide the numbers. This is logic, we haven't even got to the statistics.

            Furthermore, you might want to get out your dictionary and look up corroboration. El Reg's numbers don't have to be the same as either of these two services to provide corroboration. However, in the past the numbers have *not* been corroborated by data collected by Akamai to which I have repeatedly referred.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: As usual

              "Collect another badge of fail. Your assumptions 1 and 3 are the same and number 2 is very similar to them both (if A is more generalised than B then B must be more specialised than A. You only qualify this by indicating where the specialisation may be). "

              Assumptions used in a conjecture do not necessarily have to be a reasonings without overlap - one and three are restating the same thing but the language used shows the approach to each one. It may be said that by stating the assumption from two viewpoints clarifys what is being said.

              But it *was* sloppily stated. Can't downvote myself but I will upvote you on that.

              "t doesn't really matter because the assumptions are only relevant in a hypothesis that you are going to test empirically. Which you can't because El Reg doesn't provide the numbers. This is logic, we haven't even got to the statistics."

              Very true. The fail badge is worn for this alone.

              "Furthermore, you might want to get out your dictionary and look up corroboration. El Reg's numbers don't have to be the same as either of these two services to provide corroboration."

              I know they don't have to be the same and that wasn't what I wanted to convey. What I should have said is the numbers will be considerably smaller overall so any corroboration indicated could be considered an anomaly - you would really need another data collecion over a larger pool of websites - like you say, Akamai's own findings.

              I am not defending the result of netmarketshare, I just don't think that El Reg's stats would be meaningful in determining whether or not XP increased market share. But, as you say, without evidence of the figures then this conversation is arguably pointless, although I welcome your well reasoned arguments. It could be that El Reg's figures show an *large* upsurge in XP takeup which would certainly shoot my expectations down.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: As usual

                I am not defending the result of netmarketshare, I just don't think that El Reg's stats would be meaningful in determining whether or not XP increased market share. But, as you say, without evidence of the figures then this conversation is arguably pointless, although I welcome your well reasoned arguments. It could be that El Reg's figures show an *large* upsurge in XP takeup which would certainly shoot my expectations down.

                You might be surprised at what the numbers reveal if only we could see them. Unfortunately, we'd then have to do some real statistics to point out another glaring problem with the numbers that El Reg reports: desktop is steadily losing marketshare to mobile devices. This skews desktop stats to older machines and also makes them more volatile as the sample size decreases.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suppose this means, almost one year on from the XPopaclypse, that the sky didn't fall on those who still use XP and therefore there is even less motivation to move on.

    Not to mention that it would be a lot less painful to jump to W10 when that comes out, than to go via W8...

    1. Rob Gr

      The sky may not have fallen in, but I'm not sure I'd be happy using XP to access something like online banking at this point.

    2. frank ly

      I've had a look at Windows 10 using the Technical Preview release ISO which is free if you 'sign up' with an email address. It looks like a magazine for teenagers and has some aspects that are confusing for me regarding how you arrange the desktop and get shortcuts to work. I'll admit that I tried to make it look like XP so I'm sure I'll be happy to continue using Linux MINT (Mate) which is very easy to make look like XP at the desktop GUI level.

    3. Paul Shirley

      "lot less painful to jump to W10 " until they remember there's no free win10 upgrade from xp!

      Though it remains possible that will change if xp numbers continue to hold up :;

  7. saif

    Virtual Machines? Pirates?

    XP is lighter and more easily virtualised. Best use for all those OEM disks lying around, particularly when only a half of the cores on your CPU is being used anyway. Pirated or old software are probably more often fine running on XP machines

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Virtual Machines? Pirates?

      People need to pirate XP?

      I reckon anyone in the IT industry the past decade have lost more XP licences than they have purposely bought.

  8. Tomislav

    Microsoft should learn from Samsung and Apple and just rename W10 to Windows XP 2 plus.:)

  9. Steve 114

    Of the 12 working, fast, computers in my house, two run 8.1 and one 7. The rest are XP, are not ideal for upgrade and won't be scrapped. For doing content creation, XP is actually preferred because the (many) bugs are well understood, it's fastest, and it doesn't tend to lock you out of your own stuff. All of them dual-boot Linux 'just in case' but that's a bridge too far if you want to do something quick and familiar. 10 looks good (if they can stop 'Bing' auto-searches) but evidently only three of ours will get it. So those will be the 3:9 proportions we contribute.

    1. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

      @Steve 114

      Just to add to your stats.

      I have a mere five computers: 3 on XP, 2 on Win7.

      Apart from my 'main' Win7 machine, the others sometimes run Linux or more exotic systems.

  10. Anonymous IV

    > Microsoft should learn from Samsung and Apple and just rename W10 to Windows XP 2 plus.:)

    Or name Windows 10 as "Funky Gibbon" (Ubuntu-type animal alliteration and curved corners avoided to bypass litigation).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft bribery scandal in Romania -> no Microsoft licenses anymore in the public sector

    Prosecutors have currently documented and indicted some very high-placed officials for bribery in connection to the Government Microsoft licensing contracts from 2009 for Windows XP and Office.

    The bribe totals alone reach more than 50 million euros according to some and damages caused look to be more than 500 million euros. (yes.. "500 million" is not a typo).

    Since the corruption scandal is rampaging, nobody is willing to risk a new licensing contract to replace the Windows XP licenses... as i see it the Government will move to Linux instead of the new windows versions. All the needed functionality is there, it's much cheaper, and the CYA (Cover Your Ass) factor is a major factor in the decision making these days.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cover_your_ass

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Linux

      Re: Microsoft bribery scandal in Romania -> no Microsoft licenses anymore in the public sector

      Tut tut tutitty tut.

  12. Saint Gerbil
    FAIL

    Cant Trust em

    Any copy of XP out there still using the internet has not been patched for a while now.

    IE6 is dead dead dead thanks to Poodle.

    I would question any business which relys on getting business from XP users as you cant trust, its more likely Malware browsing your site than the user.

    1. wobbly1

      Re: Cant Trust em

      the EPOS variant of XP is still being patched . There is a registry hack (allegedly) that allows your version of XP to identify as the EPOS variant. It would seem likely that its only patching libriares strictly needed for EPOS

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Cant Trust em

      IE6 and Poodle aren't really a problem.

      Lock down IE6 to access via your internal proxy.

      Add FF/Chrome to the desktop and kill access by IE6 at your external proxy which also does malware scanning.

      Carry on using your cheap OS on a zillion government desktops.

  13. MJI Silver badge

    XP is fine and still supported

    Well I BOUGHT my copy of XP Pro so I will use it, PC is the proverbial Triggger broom.

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\WPA\PosReady]

    "Installed"=dword:00000001

    So I still have support.

    That said someone said I was stealing by doing this, and they use a hooky copy of Win 7!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: XP is fine and still supported

      False sense of security. It's a reduced version of XP for POS, there's plenty in XP Pro that won't be patched.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: XP is fine and still supported

        But I think it is good enough.

        I have firewalls, a hub which blocks stuff, I use HOSTS to keep out most stuff and all important data is backed up elsewhere. We are sensible where we surf.

        Until I can get everything else running under Mint I am stuck with XP, I was offered a pirate version of 7, but that doesn't run everything XP does

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: XP is fine and still supported

          Stick it in a VM and isolate it from the Internet then.

          If a VM doesn't work then it's probably ancient SCADA software that was last updated towards the end of the 18th Century. It always is.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Re: XP is fine and still supported

        XP is a POS by default - you can't turn it off.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: XP is fine and still supported

      I bought mine too, but I don't consider that investment cost from 13 years ago to be worth continuing to try to get value from VS the risk of what I may or may not be exposed to by continuing to run XP Pro. For me, it seems a daft gamble to take and I'd sooner take the supported path that (at least in principle) steers me away from as much of the nasty stuff as possible.

      Guess it depends on your perception of value, doesn't it? Is that buy-in cost from so long ago worth the myriad hassles from the box getting owned? You might think so and that's fine, but it wouldn't be my choice. Consequences mean different things to different people, I suppose. I've a friend who continues to use it and accepts the risks purely because she 'doesn't like change'. And that's OK - she's made a risk assessment that works for her and the idea of learning some slightly new stuff is so abhorrent to her that she'd rather suck up the insecurity and not think about it. Not good, but it's fundamentally her decision.

      For home use, it comes down to how much of a risk you are willing to take. I'm not the type of person that likes to take risks and so I saw moving on as a mitigation thing. For me, the work involved now in patching XP (to a limited extent I must add) using the EPOS fiddle, drivers for new hardware, finding apps that still work and will *continue* to be supported (vital continuity for me)...nah.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: XP is fine and still supported

        So I change OS

        OK Win 7, I have to buy it and not run some stuff I currently can (why remove features?)

        Mint. I can't run some stuff and have to replace some expensive software with shareware which may not be as easy to use (Video Editing in HD and BluRay burning)

        XP does what I require, I do not run an OS for the OS sake but for the programmes.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: XP is fine and still supported

          Try this...

          http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/install-and-use-windows-xp-mode-in-windows-7

  14. MisterHappy
    Go

    XP not quite out of support... Yet

    UK Gov negotiated an additional year of support for NHS & UK Gov offices that still had a need for XP so 'Super Extended Extra Support' doesn't finish completely until the end of this month. A whole 29 days left to finish all of those upgrades to Win 7!

  15. zaax

    Is this because of POS and ATMS using XP?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I submitted a remote code exec vuln based on the network stack to MS. They responded that they won't fix it as XP is EOL.

    I'm afraid to do a full public disclosure, as I don't want to be the one responsible for the damage skiddies will do with it.

    1. x 7

      "I submitted a remote code exec vuln based on the network stack to MS. They responded that they won't fix it as XP is EOL."

      tell Google, they'll take care of it....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wonder what would happen if you took your case to the government on the grounds that XP is not "fit for purpose" because of the flaw and that a company cannot "end of life" a product still in significant circulation (it should be up to the customers to determine if a thing is useless, not the seller).

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        @AC: I think "the government" would tell you that MS most certainly can "end of life" a product. In the UK, at least, certain parts of the government were amongst the big losers from that decision and there was nothing they could do about it. (Well, unless you count pulling their fingers out and implementing sane IT policies, but that's obviously ridiculous.)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re:remote code exec in network stack

      Please DO publish it, especially if it affects the WinXP bits not patched by the POSReady hack edition fixes... As i see it, it's better for WinXP to suffer a swift short death than a prolonged slow death, plagued by stealth infections.

      Most admins that i know are prepared to migrate WinXP company computers to either Win7 or Linux, but are stopped by crazy fiscal policies and crap management decisions involving risk-vs-cost analysis.

      Any increase of the risk in using WinXP is useful in helping to trash it out together with some of the ANCIENT computers it's running on. We still have some systems over here that have 256 or 384 MB of RAM memory (SDRAM PC100) that run WinXP. I would looove to be able to get rid of these slow-as-molasses tin cans but management won't let me trash them, and i have to maintain them because they still technically work even if they are more than 10 years old.

    4. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Its a tricky one.

      While you might feel guilty about revealing it, there is a good chance that someone else will (or has) found it and will exploit it. Until it is understood by AV companies (as we can assume MS knows now) there is nothing to protect those using XP from it.

      Now MS told you its not going to be fixed as XP is EOL, but what of the embedded version that various systems use? Publishing might be the only way to force MS to fix that for those still expecting support until that version is finally EOL'd.

      Finally, you might want to consider if the same underlying bug also impact on Win7/8.x as well. Disclosure would allow that to be investigated.

      So really, it will come out one way or another, and probably best if done via an open forum than black-hat sales channels. MS know, so its their call about patching.

  17. x 7

    I'll think you find part of the discrepancy is due to people moving to tablets, giving up on them and reverting to something familiar

  18. Mage Silver badge
    Boffin

    Settings

    With Noscript, external firewall, Firefox, no non- web except up to date Flash in Browser (no PDF, Media player, VLC, no added toolbars, no Java) all non-essential services off (upnp, telnet, server, no sharing, remote desktop, remote registry, HTTPS & HTTP server, FTP, SSDP etc, no autorun on any media inc net drives) etc XP used by a knowledgeable user is safer than Win 7, Win 8.x or Win 10 used by average user with a false sense of security in AV products and the default configuration.

    Thunderbird or other client with no remote content enabled for email.

    Using Libre office (or Office 2003 with no macros or activeX).

    The default Windows settings for services are madness and always have been.

    An alternate view

    http://www.wattystuff.net/2014/03/dont-panic/

    I use silentrunners,org and gmer, often booting in safe mode to check out people's PCs / laptops

    1. sltech

      Re: Settings

      Also, if you run it on a Limited account or even Guest account, you're even safer. Really, security is just using the basic precautions that we all know. That being said, I've migrated to Win 8.1 and I'm beta testing Win 10.

  19. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    Also

    MS should bring out a Windows Classic Edition.

    Basically an XP SP4 with bugs that are STILL in Win7 and Win 8, (or stupidity) fixed. File copy in Explorer is crazy limited compared with xcopy and ordinary users don't realise that it copies or moves depending on if explorer thinks directories are on same drive letter. They don't know about holding cntrl or shift.

    Also the explorer views are buggy.

    The Classic Edition should have only safe network clients on by default. It should have 32 bit (faster for some things and needed for old cpus) with NT4 Enterprise PAE on as well as 64 bit. No need to resurrect the long dead XP 64 for Itanium.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sadly I still use XP in a VM to remote connect into the company servers. The remote connection software we have to use will not work properly on Win7 without a heck of a lot of frigging around. Plus keeping an XP VirtualBox VM tucked away is tiny and I can take it and run it from any host system that can run VirtualBox which is Win,Linux and even OSX on my wife's Macbook when I'm away from home. Sorry MS XP is still very much a usable O/S!

  21. heyrick Silver badge
    Coat

    Uhhh, since when was "embiggen" a word?

    (subject says it all)

    1. unitron
      Headmaster

      Re: Uhhh, since when was "embiggen" a word?

      Since the 16th episode of the seventh season of The Simpsons, entitled "Lisa the Iconoclast".

      It's the same episode that gives us "cromulent".

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_the_Iconoclast

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Uhhh, since when was "embiggen" a word?

      It was used in the Simpson's something, something embiggens the smallest man?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_the_Iconoclast

      There are 15 references to the word on the wiki site one dating back to 1884?

    3. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Uhhh, since when was "embiggen" a word?

      Blackadder?

  22. Zot

    Why doesn't MS make 10 look just like XP?

    It doesn't look like XP because these supposed 'designers' can't bring themselves to understand that people actually liked the friendly look XP had. Oh no, it's got to be all modern and swishy - and completely unfamiliar. Fecking eedjuts.

    1. unitron

      Re: Why doesn't MS make 10 look just like XP?

      Everything has to look like smartphones and tablets now.

      Because reasons, I guess.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Why doesn't MS make 10 look just like XP?

      Nope, I'm pretty sure they liked XP because they could run it with the Win 2000 theme. MS never managed to improve on that, although Windows 7 with Flip 3D that I came to find useful came a close second.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why doesn't MS make 10 look just like XP?

      What I want to know is why Microsoft don't make Win 10 operate just like Sinclair BASIC. Forget using the mouse. I want to go back to cursor keys. I certainly don't want preemptive multitasking, I just need preemptive Keywords. No more modern and swishy and certainly familiar.

      Sod Progress.

      1. Jess

        Re: why Microsoft don't make Win 10 operate just like Sinclair BASIC

        Isn't that what they pretty much did with windows 8?

        All the apps jumping full screen, so almost single tasking. And typing commands is the only reasonable way to do things on a desktop or laptop.

        (OK realistically it has the feel of Windows 3.0, so only 2/3 as old, really)

  23. jrd

    Two home PCs running XP and one Win 7. I only went to 7 because I bought a PC with more RAM than XP to handle.

    Of the two versions, I prefer XP.

  24. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Flame

    We just

    got a windows 8.1 laptop to replace the ancient and nearly dead laptop we use around the factory

    I've had to use it for 30 mins (in 2 shorter stints) trying to configure it to run the DNC comms package we use to talk to the machines

    And after the 2nd stint I dearly wanted to rip out its hard drive and nuke it in the microwave to hopefully get rid of the abomination that is windows 8.

    Even the jumps from XP to vista to win7 are'nt as bad, and to be perfectly honest, I'm experimenting with CentOS 6 on a laptop running Xp in a VM with access to the USB ports for the USB to serial converter we use as a better solution.

    Plus the CAD/CAM package we use wont run on windows 8 and I cant face the propect of trying to find setting buried deeply in the OS that may or may not allow the programs to run.

    Oh and if win10 is anything like win 8, we're going Linux throughout.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: We just

      "Oh and if win10 is anything like win 8, we're going Linux throughout."

      Win8.1 is a free upgrade from Win8.0 and well worth trying if the 8.0 interface drives you nuts. (It isn't massively better, but at least you get a sort-of Start menu (perversely via right-click) and you can stay on the desktop and pretend that Metro never happened.)

      Win10 Tech Preview is *a lot* like Win8.1. The Start menu (left-click this time) is quite astonishingly ugly and uses a scrolling alphabetical list rather than a cascading menu, but is just about functional. My impression so far is that the free upgrade is a no-brainer for anyone on 8.x.

      I installed a clean Win7 the other day. There were over two hundred patches (over and above the "latest" service pack). It's now out of mainstream support and vanishingly unlikely that MS will ever issue a service pack to roll-up that lot. Increasingly you will find that hardware vendors won't have a Win7 driver. MS aren't going to retro-fit SHA-256 support for kernel-mode drivers and so after 2016 it will actually get quite hard to properly sign a Win7 driver.

      Win7 users ought to be considering their options at this stage and Win10 is a free upgrade that will probably run all their existing code.

      1. Paul Shirley

        Re: We just

        The 'new' Start menu isn't so much fugly as crippled by design.

        Without hierarchical menus it's reliant on search on well populated systems and the users perfect memory of app names.

        It wastes a large chunk of space on the tile interface - even if you remove ALL the tiles.

        The actual menu part seems to totally lack any configurability - haven't found a way to add shortcuts to it yet and that's part of what I want a start menu for because many of my tools don't show up without it. Sure, you can do some rearranging of the tiled area but we said no to the start screen, sneaking it back in as the only working bit is not acceptable.

        Microsoft need to give up playing bait&switch with this, just promise never to disable Classic Start Menu and stop wasting time on anti features.

        As an upgrade, I doubt there'll be any advantage sticking with 8.1, if there is expect MS to update 8.1 till its removed! Win10 isn't very different to 8.1, a better backend with a different fugly, impoverished UI pasted on. Equally as in need of 3rd party UI fixes. 8.0 is already abandoned.

  25. Hi Wreck
    Devil

    Windows XP

    The cockroach of operating systems.

  26. The Empress

    Which is more a statement that computers don't do anything materially better or different than 10 or 12 years ago. The rest of cosmetics.

  27. Al Black

    Win XP

    For real trends, you need to add Win 8 and 8.1 together. They are essentially the same OS.

  28. JustWondering
    Happy

    Not my fault

    I've been running XP the whole time.

  29. ben_myers

    In lieu of better stats

    In lieu of better stats, two bean counters both see a small uptick in the use of XP on the internet. Well, never mind the statistical significance of the uptick. The real story here is that Windows XP is not going away, despite every attempt by Microsoft to kill it dead. I had a couple of people ask to buy XP systems last month, so I sold them. Why not? It remains wildly popular.

    1. x 7

      Re: In lieu of better stats

      where did you get the licence keys Ben? Or were they second hand machines.......??

  30. cmaurand

    still have one running xp

    It's my media machine and until i finish getting th ladt little bit off of quickbooks it's going to stay xp. Eventually Linux will go on there.

  31. RAMChYLD

    Keep calm

    It's just folks installing XP in a VM so they can run some apps that refuses to work under 7 and beyond, as well as some retrocomputing enthusiasts having some fun trolling webservers.

  32. David Pollard

    Is there a fashion for user agent strings?

    How widespread is the practice of changing user agent details? Or might one or other of Battalion 77's adversaries have spawned a few hundred thousand browsers which are busily chuntering round the internet? Might it even be Battalion 77 themselves who have created a massive honeypot disguised as a crowd of XP users?

    1. ckm5

      Re: Is there a fashion for user agent strings?

      This. I changed the user agent string on my browser because Google offers a much faster cut down version of search if you have an old browser....

  33. Gis Bun

    Now you know these site's methodology is full of doggy doo-doo.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Statistics!

    As the old saying goes, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. The provenance of these numbers attests to their veracity.

    Posted from 1 of my 3 "cash registers".

  35. kevinskumputers

    I am still in love with Windows XP and the reason is simple:

    Windows XP was a solid operating system with a very user friendly interface.

    Intuitive to learn, easy to navigate, and effortless to troubleshoot,

    mostly bug free and might I add fun to use.

    XP was the mold and everything since has been glitzy crap.

    XP was the best microsoft ever produced.

  36. Nocroman

    XP was and still is the best 32 bit O/S that windows created. and if for not having to get 64 bit tech for gaming, I too would have stayed with XP instead of jumping to Windows 7.

  37. saywut

    But what are the raw numbers?

    Without the raw numbers, percentages don't tell us what the article claims to. If the hits associated with one version of the OS suddenly disappeared entirely, then the other remaining versions would magially have a higher percentage of the total. There's no true increase for any of them unless one or more of the remaining ones also gets an actual increase in the number of installed systems

    Without knowing the raw numbers, this article is not merely a waste of reading time, it may also be completely misleading.

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