Who cares if XP support is ending?

Who cares if XP support is ending?

Summary: I wish I could agree with fellow ZDNet blogger, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, that the April 14th demise of free XP support from Microsoft would help bring people into the open source fold and encourage them to look at Linux when 7 still isn't widely available and Vista is still a sad little OS. Unfortunately, I just don't think it matters at all.


I wish I could agree with fellow ZDNet blogger, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, that the April 14th demise of free XP support from Microsoft would help bring people into the open source fold and encourage them to look at Linux when 7 still isn't widely available and Vista is still a sad little OS. Unfortunately, I just don't think it matters at all.

XP still dominates here in Ed Tech. Sure, we have lots of Macs and Linux has made some inroads in our market, but we all know where the lion's share of the market sits. And in some ways, why not? XP is easy, there is a huge install base, it keeps most of our users happy with no training (assuming we can keep the malware at bay), all of our software runs on it, and it's been around long enough that most of our students can support it, let alone IT staff.

How many people actually use free XP support from Microsoft? Maybe for Windows Server or SQL Server, but plain, vanilla XP? Whether Home or Professional, we all know how to support Windows on the desktop. Even the least competent techs can find their way around all of the basics that we'd need in most educational settings? Can you get it online? Can it print? Can you install software?

Even updates aren't stopping anytime soon. With 2014 date for ending patches and updates from Redmond, one has to ask, is there any incentive for the slow-to-change world of Ed Tech to leave XP behind?

From the standpoint of our average staff or faculty user, there probably isn't. No muss, no fuss, no training and they just get to keep on doing their jobs. However, for many staff and certainly many students, using a modern operating system (whether Windows 7, OS X, or some flavor of graphical desktop Linux) is a must. Even for a *nix-lover like me, Windows 7 is starting to look pretty attractive (it works, it's familiar, and it's relatively stable and secure; sounds like a winner).

What will drive people to dump XP? Not the end of support, but rather the availability of really viable alternatives. There is no need to get rid of XP on April 14th and rush out and install Ubuntu. However, Vista has certainly taught us that such a viable alternative is worth waiting for. For many people, it will be Windows 7. For others, it will be a *nix-based system. Others of us will use a mixed system, meeting our users' needs with whatever OS is appropriate to the task. Regardless, April 14th will not even register on most Ed Tech radars. I can't remember ever calling Microsoft for XP support anyway.

Topics: Linux, Microsoft, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • Support? What support?

    Why should you pay someone to tell you to reinstall it?
    InAction Man
    • RE: Support? What support -- WGA?

      <font color=#808080><em>"Why should you pay someone to tell you to <s>reinstall</a> re-activate it?"</em></font>

      Just use your cracked copy.


  • RE: Who cares if XP support is ending?

    Chris you are drinking the Vista Kool aid with all the FUD. There is nothing wrong with Vista, it's resistance to change. While UAC wasn't done properly and as with XP when it first came out, there were major driver problems, Vista is just fine. 7 is better, but please stop spreading FUD about Vista.
    • Who invented FUD?

      UAC WAS done properly - that was the "problem". UAC acted like a sysadmin - and NOBODY wants to:

      1) Think about system administration
      2) Do things "properly" especially when they were used to doing things expediently.
      3) Slow down WindozZZZZZZZe .....

      Windoze Riska was released too soon, with too many bugs. While you may say Riska is fine, the truth is you don't get a second chance at a first impression - which is Riska's biggest problem. Heck, Windoze wouldn't even exist if UNIX hadn't forked and done this exact same thing . . .
      Roger Ramjet
      • What is Riska?

        Never heard of it... Is that a code name or something? No wonder its buggy...

        You should use something more stable... Such as Vista or 7 ;)
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Do you have some sort of vested interest in

      Vista? You sound like the Britney Boy...

      "Don't say any thing bad about Vista!! (*Whaaa.. *Snff.. *Tear..)"

      Point is not everyone has had a wonderful experience with Vista. I beta'd Vista. I liked it. It was buggy, but it was a beta. I just didn't realize that they were going to release a build into market that was so badly buggy.

      I am on my 5th reinstallation of Vista onto my laptop, and for the first time in two years I have gotten it to stablelize, after much fustration. Although IE7 wasn't stable on this installation either. So far IE8 is holding. I mean it is bad when even Microsoft's products cannot stablize on its own OS. And to be honest as an Desktop Support Tech, sorry I do not want to have to support 1,000 machines with an OS that is not entirely stable. And we can argue all day long about its stability. I am sorry but in my professional opinion it is still not stable enough for an enterprise to impliment.

      At one of my previous jobs we did not even migrate to XP till sometime after SP2 came out. And in the institution I am with now we are in the process of deciding do we look at Vista at SP2 or wait for Windows 7. And in my job prior to this one, we were even considering dropping M$ and going to open source.

      The point is M$ needs to get it S**t together if it hopes to maintain its market share. Even a couple of percent to Linux is a huge number of users. And often it just needs to be the right push to make the next product viable.
    • My Vista machine works fine.

      Millions of Vista machines work fine. It doesn't matter.

      Tell a lie often enough and it can be accepted as the truth.

      Millions of people "know" that Vista can't run and no amount of evidence that it does is going to change their minds thus Vista SE is Windows 7.

      It is a little leaner and a few things have been changed but the same drivers work work with 7 that work with Vista. That means you ought not hear so many people crying because their old hardware doesn't work because the vendor won't provide drivers.

      Of course if you have antiques that won't work with Vista they won't work with Windows & either.

      • But many millions don't! It <b>does</b> matter.

        Now matter how hard you try to hide it, that still is the harsh truth.
        InAction Man
        • This just isn't true ...

          Vista works just fine...

          ... on current hardware (manufactured since JAN 2007) and on most hardware manufactured since 2005.

          ... when using up-to-date OEM drivers and,

          ... on software manufacturered or patched since JAN 2007.

          To expect Vista to run five-year-old software or peripherals is naive beyond measure.
          M Wagner
        • I disagree

          Vista works just fine... I agree with what MWagner said above.

          The thing that is effecting most machines today, is OEM's filling their machines with so much crap, that it gives the misconception of being buggy, of being slow, of being prone to crashes.

          There is no reason Vista should be slow and buggy anymore. Any dual/quad core 2 GB (Hell, my Asus EEE PC can run it... AND faster than XP ever ran on it.) system can run it fairly well.
          The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • Only need Windows Updates for XP... isn't that all the 'Support' we need???

    Don't need any so-called 'free' support. Only need Windows Updates for XP and we still have that till 2014. And the Microsoft Knowledgebase is still there for free access. And there's the discussion forums out there for asking for any help. What else is there to want? That idiot Adrian Kingsley-Hughes is just another headline-grabbing foolish idiot who should just shut his mouth. Oh yeah, his unsmiling ZDNet picture has his mouth shut already.
    • Wow !!

      Jeeez!! Did someone get out of the wrong side of the bed this morning or what ?
    • Agreed

      There are so many things that are available and require less need for a support line, but no need to take it out on Adrian.
  • XP support isnt ending

    as noted in the replies to Adrian's post xp support isnt ending if you have sp2 or sp3, only original xp.

    who at this point isnt on sp3 and wouldn't upgrade to it if they had a problem?

    such a non issue
    Johnny Vegas
    • XP support isnt ending

      I'm not on SP3 yet. Wont go on it any time soon either. I tried a couple of months ago after I figured that they had all of the bugs worked out of it but it kept crashing my system. My computer came with Vista on it and I downgraded it to XP so don't say that the computer is to old. (Sorry that is what I hear every time I try and discuss this on a forum)

      I do agree that free support of XP wont make people switch to Linux. As soon as Linux makes a effort to make everything WORK out of the box it will start to pick up. Yes there are little distros that "Just Work" and no Ubuntu is not one of them. I am a big Ubuntu supporter. My main Linux choice to be honest. But it still can't play MP3's straight out the box. Java is a bitch to install and get working properly and Flash is even worse.

      Yes they are in the repo's. Anyone reading this knows that. The problem is my parents, brother and sister, grandma, and friends don't. They wouldn't figure it out. Especially with the wonderful names that they give software in the Linux community.
      • Your problem is that you DOWNGRADED ...

        ... a Vista-Ready system. Unless your OEM produced XP-compatible drivers for your new hardware (and you downloaded them), you WILL have problems with XP on your new hardware.
        M Wagner
  • I think the most viable upgrade path would be to Windows 7 (or Ubuntu)...

    ...from a hardware point of view. If they want to upgrade from XP to a new OS then money could be saved by using either Win 7 or Ubuntu as there would be no need (in the majority of cases) to upgrade hardware as both OSs run great on low end specs inc Netbooks!

    I'm running Win 7 Beta, Ubutnu 8.10 (looking forwards to 9.04) and XP. I have to say XP is just so dated and clunky compared to 7, and Ubuntu rocks its socks off on the same hardware (I have to identical IBM X40s, 1 w/ XP, 1 w/ Ubuntu)...

    So nope, really don't care about support ending. As Chris said most support can be done by the user (or for the rest of my family, me!)...
  • RE: Who cares if XP support is ending?

    >it keeps most of our users happy with no training

    It keeps repair shops even happier.
    Just go ask them what part of their business is because of virus laden Windows machines.

    Heck, go to a retail store and you will notice that they sell with 299$ netbooks ,protection plans from 100 to 150% to install limited anti-virus software and some other program to make 'it run smoother'.

    Viruses are good business and everyone benefits... except the user.

    Viruses are also the main reason I've heard from people who have switched to Gnu-Linux and Mac.

    I just love how you 'assume' something even though everything points to the opposite.
  • What will drive people to dump XP?...

    ...you ask. Most people will dump XP when their computer
    dies and they buy a new one - which will have Vista, or 7 or
    OS X or whatever. They won't dump XP just to replace it with
    a newer OS, they will keep what they have until it dies. So, by
    the time support for SP3 goes, most of the old machines with
    XP will have gone, too.