back to article Windows XP point-of-sale machine gets nasty sniffle. Luckily there's a pharmacy nearby

Fancy sticking a toe into the warm bath of nostalgia? UK retailer Boots is showing the old Windows XP login screen on a self-service terminal in its Islington store. Spotted by Reg reader Reuben Heller, the point-of-sale (POS) terminal cheerfully displays the old XP login page, although staff have placed an upended basket in …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yawn?

    TL;DR> Business uses supported version of software, plans to move to new version as support ends.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yawn?

      Reader snaps pic of WinXP assuming it's end-of-life, not realizing that there are still supported versions available.

      The commenting on something while lacking the awareness of the situation quickly marks out the readers management potential...

      1. Simon B-52
        Pint

        Re: Yawn?

        Yes!

      2. reubs007

        Re: Yawn?

        I sent in the pic because I thought it was mildly interesting to see an XP logo in the wild in 2019. I didn’t make any assumptions about anything. Why have a dig at me?

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Re: Yawn?

          Ignore the anonymous haters - everyone else does, here and in real life.

          C.

        2. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: Yawn?

          And it is interesting. Not being sarcastic. I find it oddly fascinating seeing these machines in the while crashing or at the login :)

          Being an IT Engineer might have something to do with it. I have a pic somewhere of the local cash machine that had crashed :) some years ago.

          1. steviebuk Silver badge

            Re: Yawn?

            WILD! WILD!. Dawn keyboard!!!!

            I also have one of the M&S self service machine being out of action. And one of a display board at Eurostar being logged in as a user. I assume the digital marque program had crashed.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Yawn?

      TL:DR> Don't use a MS OS for anything that won't be replaced within 3~5 years.

      1. Simon B-52
        Pint

        MS Half Life

        Damn right, and of course you've got the fanbois out for your blood . . . .

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Yawn?

        I'd like to see a version of Linux with Wine that can be swapped in for XP on these older machines [which would be a MAJOR cost savings, not having to buy a whole new machine because of XP's end of life]

        1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

          Re: Yawn?

          So would I, but you'll be lucky. WINE is unfortunately rather game focused, so if you want a business app to work your best bet is to pay someone to support the APIs.

          I tried using it to support a (quite old) remote control app a while ago, and the authentication APIs it required were stubs, so no go.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

    Just sayin'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

      Technically? Yes

      In all likelihood the POS software is Windows-only due to relying on hardware drivers for scanners, cash registers, EFTPOS-type devices where said vendors haven't considered non-Windows variants yet.

      In all likelihood, said hardware vendors have yet to consider post-embedded WinXP releases yet so anything is possible.

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

        A lot POS machines these days are Android or iOS.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

          A 'droid version for a POS machine sounds like a good idea. I wouldn't rely on Win-10-nic for anything like a POS since it's likely to update itself at an inconvenient time and then go titsup...

          1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

            Not really. They'll be using a POS version of Windows 10 which works in a slightly different way to the consumer releases.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

          There are Android distributions for the Pi, Emteria is one of them, others also work but e.g. have trouble playing video.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

      Probably. They would likely have to upgrade the peripheral hardware, rewrite the software, ensure it can run with just 1GB of RAM, check that it's performing as expected, that it's as reliable as what is currently being used, and is fast enough to do everything it has to, but, other than that, I can't see any reason why not.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

        And don't forget to ensure there is an SLA in place to keep the current version of the OS fed with security updates for at least 10 years.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

          >And don't forget to ensure there is an SLA in place to keep the current version of the OS fed with security updates for at least 1020 years.

          It's not difficult, it was normal operating practice in one tech company I worked in during the early 80's - It meant you soon learnt good practise software engineering principles. When I later joined the mainstream computer industry people thought I was a little daft working in the way I did...

      2. MJB7 Bronze badge

        Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

        "ensure it can run with just 1GB of RAM"

        That is unlikely to be a challenge. The minimums system requirements for XP was 1.5GB *of hard disk*. RAM was 64MB with 128MB recommended. Now obviously, that was only enough if you didn't want to do anything challenging - like moving a mouse cursor - but even so, I would be rather surprised if an XP-based POS system was using more than 1GB RAM.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ?

      The issues isn't the hardware, it is the OS: Is your Pi still running Rasbian 2013-09-25?

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ? @Roland5

        But if you are a POS sales kit provider, you fork the kernel and necessary parts of the tool chain software away from the main line distro, and then employ an in-house support team to do it yourself. Hey, you can even strip it down to it's bare minimum so it runs on lower spec. hardware and to have a reduced attack surface.

        Provided you resource it well enough, you can keep it running and in *your* support for as long as you want, regardless of what the main-line distro does.

        In case you haven't twigged, this is the primary difference between using Open and Closed source software. And if you are not re-distributing the software, merely putting it on your own hardware that you support, you don't even have to make the source of your changes available (although there would probably be no real point in not making it available).

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ? @Roland5

          "Provided you resource it well enough"

          You forgot the 'joke alert' icon. They're not interested in supporting old stuff if they can sell new stuff instead.

        2. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Couldn't a Pi do the job these days ? @Roland5

          So long as everything was made to be PCI compliant and the hardware requirements were doable then fine.

          A few years ago the NCR tills at Tesco used to have a fault in the software. If you were in the middle of your scanning and pressed "Request Subtotal" the machine would crash and restart itself. I worked out what was causing it and told the friendly staff at my local store. The duty manager asked me to prove this to her satisfaction which I did to her amazement. She then tried it herself and the same thing happened causing much writing of notes. She then scanned all my shopping and overrode the price down for everything to a penny. She paid that herself and thanked me for my bringing it to their attention. I joked that I should have put some bottles of booze in the trolley before alerting her.

  3. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    We have a system running Win 2000 here...

    ... still works perfectly. Not connected to anything other than a DVD[1] duplicator.

    [1] Instruction videos, not data.

  4. 0laf Silver badge
    Megaphone

    PCIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

    Unsupported software next to a card reader. PCI issues?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: PCIIIIIIIIIIIIIII

      "extended support for the Embedded POSReady 2009 incarnation will end on 9 April"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best OS Ever

    Windows XP was the best version of windows ever, even though it was a little ugly.

    1. the spectacularly refined chap

      Re: Best OS Ever

      In other words, Windows 2000 was the best version of Windows ever. I would certainly agree it was one of the better ones, essentially XP but with an interface not designed by a five year old.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Best OS Ever

        I used to turn on the Win2k[0] on XP and got the best of both worlds :)

        [0] I can't recall the proper name for this...

      2. N2 Silver badge

        Re: Best OS Ever

        Yes, the XP interface was dreadful, I recall 'classic mode' got rid of some of the dross

        W2000 much cleaner and none of that activation shyte when you add a bit more ram.

        1. comet52

          Re: Best OS Ever

          The best is Win10 Enterprise LTSB (now LTSC). I support thousands of POS terminals running this o/s and they never have a problem, unlike the thousands of posready2009 aka XP and posready 7 ones that often do.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Best OS Ever

      A lot of people say that about 2k, but I think 2k didn't have a 64-bit version, whereas XP did.

      XP with Win-10-nic's kernel, minus device driver signing, would be *PERFECT*

      1. cmrayer

        Re: Best OS Ever

        There was an ia64 version, though not sure anyone used it!

  6. WonkoTheSane
    Trollface

    Perfect timing

    A mouthpiece said: "The Boots UK self-checkout services do currently run on POSReady 2009. However, we are upgrading our software to a newer version this year."

    Windows 7, just intime for that to EOL?

    1. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Perfect timing

      They're probably having trouble adapting the PoS interface to come with "Win-10-nic's UGLY FLATSO" UX style...

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Perfect timing

        good one

  7. TheGreatCabbage

    POS?

    "A POS at a Tesco store within kitten-flinging distance of Vulture Central was spotted giving itself a vigourous rubdown with CHKDSK last year."

    I read POS as "piece of s***" and it made enough sense that I barely remembered the correct acronym from higher up the page :P

    1. Luiz Abdala
      Joke

      Re: POS?

      "You still run that POS as your POS?" came to mind.

    2. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: POS?

      I always read it as 'piece of shit'

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: POS?

      POS can mean:

      Point of Sale

      Police Officer Special (type of car made for cops)

      Part of Speech

      Probability of Success

      Post Office Square

      etc.

      But of course, I read 'Piece of Shit' every time, too...

  8. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    WinXP machines are still for sale...

    I was browsing NewEgg.com to drool over hardware I can't afford & one of the filters available was for Windows XP. I thought "WTF? That can't be right!" & applied the filter.

    I couldn't believe my ears when my screen reader confirmed that they were indeed selling machines with Windows XP on them.

    *Head explodes in disbelief*

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: WinXP machines are still for sale...

      Sometimes you HAVE to

      Or do you want to have to rewrite that old rarely used but essential software?

      XP ran virtually everything.

      No "Unsupported 16-Bit Application"

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: WinXP machines are still for sale... @MJI

        No "Unsupported 16-Bit Application"

        32-bit Windows 10 runs 16-bit Windows software probably as well as WinXP.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: WinXP machines are still for sale... @MJI

          "32-bit Windows 10 runs 16-bit Windows software probably as well as WinXP."

          I doubt anyone wants to hear that, nor use it (for that matter)

          1. RyokuMas Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: WinXP machines are still for sale... @MJI

            "I doubt anyone wants to hear that, nor use it (for that matter)"

            Not since Microsoft's last "froggy in hot water" maneuver, anyway...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: WinXP machines are still for sale...

      Why not? If it works for a given purpose there's no need for "new and shiny". As far as POS machines, given what's happening with Win10 updates, no business will want their equipment going down for updates (during business hours) and possibly not coming back up.

      1. tcmonkey

        Re: WinXP machines are still for sale...

        If you're using the UWF on Win 10 (and if it's an embedded device you bloody well ought to be!) then this has actually gotten substantially easier than it was in the XPe days.

        https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/customize/enterprise/service-uwf-protected-devices

        tl;dr automatic updates don't happen on UWF enabled Win 10 devices, and must be specifically requested at a time of the administrator's choosing.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kinda lingers

    I think the basket in front is to stop us licking it.

  10. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Updating embedded XP

    updating a fleet of POS terminals presents its own particular set of challenges

    Why? The hardware base is going to be very limited in variability and the system is pretty much locked down. So building an image for the device shouldn't be too hard.

    1. The Mole

      Re: Updating embedded XP

      Machine image may or may not be hard (depends if the drivers for your old hardware are actually available).

      Next step is of course deploying that image. Depending on age, security and networking policies I wouldn't be surprised if (for at least some places) that involves taking a usb stick and plugging it into each individual device one by one in every single store all over the country. Logistically challenging at the very least.

      1. grumpymike80

        Re: Updating embedded XP

        Also, quite often has to be done out of normal business hours. Good for overtime though :) Usually has to be done on site, not remotely, as internet connections in shops are quite often really, really bad!

  11. -tim

    Out of support? Or Mostly out of support

    I know there are still companies selling WinXP based products that have current licenses and current support from Microsoft. At the end of 2018, there are still large organizations that keep paying for XP support. The only thing that is clearly out of support is the home and small company issues.

  12. Ommerson

    POSReady?

    PoSALeady surely?

  13. Sc0tsman

    Not just in Boots

    Saw an error popping up on a Tram here in Edinburgh

    Looking for the Serial Mouse Driver from the Windows XP installation CD

    Not the best way to inspire confidence

    started to imagine a crap scottish version of Speed

  14. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Boots

    It Boots and Boots aren't fussed.

    (Shouldn't this be in Bootnotes?)

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Jacob's Elevator

    XP still flying here ... and I'm building a Vista system.

    I have, let's see: 8 functional PC's. This one we're on now is XP SP3. I have a BSOD about three-times a year. No more and that's when I overload it, in 32-bit with only 3Gb mem allowance, of course. My 'event viewer' has only 2 error msgs from a printer server & a non-connected ODN (StarTrek for) Fibre-Channel. Never been hacked by SpeCtre or etc. And I have this PC on 364 days, upto 12hrs/day -¹

    You get to this point, by making all possible mistakes and never repeating them, and a fact that at age 47 I studied for a Bsc in Software-Development lends nothing to me other than a keen instinct.

    I have 64-bit SuSe Linux too of course to run on the 8Gb of memory but that's a horse of a different colour.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: XP still flying here ... and I'm building a Vista system.

      I have an old Lenovo 'book size' computer with an Atom that came with XP on it, from around 2006. I hooked it up to a 3D printer (dedicated to it now), though it took some coaxing to get all of the drivers installed and working.

    2. ICPurvis47
      Angel

      Re: XP still flying here ... and I'm building a Vista system.

      I'm still running XP64, I bought a second hand Dell Optiplex last week and transferred the HDD out of my previous Dell machine when the sound card packed up. My mate "upgraded" to Win10 last year and thoroughly regrets it. He can't get drivers for some of his old hardware, such as scanner, printer, etc., so he has to keep his old XP32 laptop running on his network as an interface/print server until he can afford to dispose of the legacy equipment and replace it with new shiny shiny.

      1. whitepines Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: XP still flying here ... and I'm building a Vista system.

        He should try Linux Mint or similar. It's not like the learning curve is less steep from XP to W10, and the Linux distro might actually support his old hardware out of the box.

  17. Conundrum1885

    RE. XP still flying here... and I am building an inference node.

    Hey 3D printer guy:

    Do you also happen to have an AOA110, or EEE 701? I have some netbooks here if you can make use of the parts incl displays (3)

    Original idea was to mod them for AI inference but they are woefully underpowered. The only machine I own that is remotely powerful enough

    is a full sized laptop which can be fitted with a 2.6 GHz Phenom 2 for about £33, it has had an earlier S1G4 chip.

    Alas limited to 8GB RAM which may barely be enough.

    A Core 2 Duo just won't cut it.

  18. Luiz Abdala

    Can you run a POS with XP from inside a virtualized XP?

    Just asking out of morbid curiosity.

    Fire up a machine with a virtual XP, run the stuff, if it crashes, just reboot the virtual machine. Would it work?

    It's not like XP makes a whole world of difference between running on bare metal and in virtual form, but... shenanigans being shenanigans...

  19. herman Silver badge
    Devil

    Piece Of Sh@t

    In this case it is a particularly appropriate acronym.

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