Hell no, we won't go: 10 reasons some XP users refuse to upgrade

Summary:Windows XP support may be ending soon, but there are a whole lot of folks who refuse to abandon the soon-to-be sunk ship. These are their stories.

XP support may be ending soon, but there are a whole lot of folks who refuse to abandon the soon-to-be sunk ship. These are some of their stories and their reasons for not upgrading.

Last month, I wrote an article entitled The land of forgotten XP installs: Have you looked everywhere? The article talked about all the Windows XP installs still living on embedded systems and virtual machines, and the need to dig them out and upgrade them before the April XP support cut-off date. It was a short article, but it inspired a lot of comments from ZDNet readers out there. Much to my surprise, many of you have no intention of leaving XP.

For example, @JERRY KOLLINS tells us he has four XP Pro machines and one Windows 7. "All are working fine as intended. All are on MY network. All have dedicated uses...the programs are old but do the job perfectly, except WIN-7 (which is a disaster). All go to internet occasionally for a search. Browsers work fine (all three)...IF IT AIN'T BROKE....DON'T FIX IT."

@Mac_PC_FenceSitter says "I will not be doing this." He continues, "I have two XP machines that I plan to keep in service. However, I am taking them off the network." As long has he never, ever plugs in a USB drive or drops in a disk, he's probably reasonably safe, but there's always that one second and … oops.

Virtual machines will keep you safe

For some, though, it's the cost that's keeping them from upgrading. @global-george posts, "Since my office has 26 Windows XP machines I cannot afford to upgrade all of them to Windows 7 and no one here can tolerate using Windows 8, so I hired an IT Consultant who recommended a very polished Linux operating system called Robolinux which runs XP or 7, inside it, making our XP machines completely immune to all viruses and malware, requiring absolutely no updates or anti virus or anti malware software purchases. The Robolinux OS was a 7 minute install per PC. Also extremely easy for our users to operate it. It saved our company thousands of dollars. At first I was skeptical but my local IT Guru explained to me how the advanced Robolinux VM technology operates and it made perfect sense to me. So far after 6 months not one of our 26 Windows XP boxes have been infected by any viruses or malware. I hope this helps others who just can't afford to upgrade."

Another fan of the VM solution is @pianoman1962, who sings out, "What's all the fuss about? I run xp on my MBP through VMWare Fusion, so it's not my main OS but still, I've not installed any updates except SP3 and it still works fine. And I'm sure it will continue to do so after April 8th - just cuz MS no longer support it (as far as I'm concerned they haven't 'supported' my installation for as long as I can remember). It will just be more important to keep the AV up to date."

Sadly, I have to disagree with @george and the Piano Man. Robolinux runs VirtualBox, and its "protected form of XP" is just an XP install running in a VM. That's what I was talking about in my original article. The same is true of XP running in VMware. While the surrounding OS may be safe, if a virus (say one of the viruses that travel over SMB networks ) gets onto the machine, VirtualBox, VMware, or any other VM or not, the practice of continuing to run XP is likely to result in some very bad days.

Comparing XP to Y2K

Another ZDNet reader who thinks XP will be fine on XP workhorse machines once it is no longer connected to the network is @mpaint, who writes, "With the demise of MS support, to me, that only means that machines that are internet facing, are used as workstations by humans etc. are at risk. I have several clients that use proprietary systems to run measuring and CNC machines that are NOT internet facing, and in fact have no gateway to the internet. I don't see these machines as being at risk, and the clients will likely continue to use these at least for a while, until their proprietary software is rewritten to be compatible with later OS."

@mpaint wants to know if I'm a Microsoft fan. He clearly hasn't read a whole bunch of my articles . He goes on to say that the XP fuss could be a lot like Y2K: "Mr. David Gewirtz, are you a MS fanboy? Do you believe everything that you read? The sky is NOT falling, but XP is an aging OS, and unlike used cars, that can be used forever, with proper maintenance and repair, I DO believe that XP machines should be phased out or upgraded, IF they are used to connect to the Internet, I mean, the underlying unspoken threat is that a previously unfound flaw in Windows XP code will be found and exploited, thus making that OS unsecure to be on the Internet. But this is much like Y2k, a lot of todo about not much. Companies spent megabucks in some cases to remediate flaws that didn't matter. I am realistic, but I don't think the sky is falling."

Next up: more doom and gloom tactics...

By the way, I'm doing more updates on Twitter and Facebook than ever before. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz and on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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