Don't kill my Windows XP!

Don't kill my Windows XP!

Summary: As Windows 8's official arrival date nears, it may be time to remember that many of us are still happily using Windows XP and we aren't going anywhere anytime soon.


Are you ready to throw Windows XP into the trash? I'm not.

October 25th is the official release date for Windows 8, but I, for one, have no intention of "upgrading" to Windows 8 from Windows 7 or XP. Indeed, I still think XP SP3 is one of the best versions of Windows ever, so why exactly should I switch?

Yeah, so XP SP3 is five years old. So what? Does it still work? Yes. Does it still run all my Windows applications? Yes. So, tell me again, exactly why I should upgrade?

Oh sure, Windows 7 SP1 has some good points. It's a bit faster, it's a bit more secure, it has some nice network features such as Libraries and DirectAccess,  and it has Internet Explorer (IE) 9, which is better than IE 8. Of course, Chrome 21 is better than any version of IE and it runs just fine on Windows 7 and XP.

The bottom line is that while I prefer desktop Linux, especially Mint, on my Windows PCs I'm still using XP on many of them. Why? Because it just works.

I've always been a big believer in using what works. One of my pet phrases is "If it's not broke, then why fix it?" When it comes to Windows, it seems I'm not the only one who sees it that way. Windows 7, after three years, has only in the last month passed Windows XP in popularity.

One of the reasons why I'm so hostile to Windows 8 is that it breaks all the old ways of doing things in Windows and offers no real improvements over Windows 7 or XP. True, Windows 8 will have antivirus Defender/Security Essentials built-in, but any business IT person worth his or her salt already has those running. The simple truth is there's no reason what-so-ever to "upgrade" an older computer to Windows 8.

Be that as it may, XP has recently been getting a bad rap for security. Contrary to some reports, properly maintained and updated XP is as secure as any version of Windows. Besides, if safety is your number one concern for your desktop operating system, you should be running Linux, not Windows.

Eventually -- April 8, 2014, to be exact -- Microsoft says it will no longer support XP. But, Microsoft has extended XP's lifespan several times before. XP was supposed to have been taken off life-support years ago. Then, because Vista was such a flop, XP Home was brought back from the dead.

Oddly enough, it seems Microsoft will still let you "downgrade" and buy Windows XP after April 8, 2014. That's another reason I expect XP's support to be extended still further into the future. I can't see Microsoft's business customers putting up with paying cash money for a system that Microsoft then won't support.

Heck, if the Windows 8 launch turns out to be as big a disaster as I think it will be, who knows? Maybe XP will yet see its end of support life extended for a few more years. I, for one, would be happy to keep running XP for another few years. In short, don't kill my Windows XP!

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Topics: Windows, IT Priorities, Laptops, Linux, Microsoft, Operating Systems, PCs, Tech Industry

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  • XP

    Windows XP just works!!! Windows 8 on the other hand is good and bad. I want to stay on the desktop at all times. It is absurd, if you want to open the calculator, you leave the desktop to open it from metro. Windows 7 works fantastically also, in some ways better than XP. I just dont like metro altogether. If I got Windows 8, my desktop would be filled with shortcuts to all the programs!!
    Pollo Pazzo
    • I find these comments absurd

      "I want to stay on the desktop at all times. It is absurd, if you want to open the calculator, you leave the desktop to open it from metro."

      In XP, if you are using the start button to get to the calculator (which would be rediculous), then you ARE leaving the desktop, for all effective purposes. You can't interact with the desktop while the start menu is open. If you do, you lose the start menu. In Windows 8, it's basically the same deal.

      Now, if you want to use win+r and type "calc", then that works in both XP and 8.
      • Add a shortcut

        For a long time, each time I install a new computer with Windows, whatever the version, I right-click on the calc shortcut in the Start Menu and add a shortcut to it, for me it CTRL-ALT-C to open calculator without going to the menu or run box.

        I'll have to try on Windows 8 how you can add shortcuts for this, and is the calculator still a desktop app? This is a kind of app which needs to have another window opened beside it so I can see the numbers I want to do arithmetic on.
        • Snapped View

          Not sure on shortcut but yes calc is still a desktop app but even if it wasn't that would not stop you from having it displayed at the same time as another app. On most portrait screens you can snap any app to the side of the screen, while having another app fill the rest of the screen. (This includes the desktop)
        • calc is still a desktop app on win 8 and RT

          if you right-click it from the start screen (all apps section), you get the following options:

          - Pin to Start
          - Pin to Taskbar
          - Open new window
          - Run as administrator
          - Open file location
          • a five year old os

            XP SP3 a five year old OS ?... C'mon it's a patched, repatched and then patched again almost 12 year old OS. In computer years, it is centuries. XP was a good system for its time but it is done, over kaput! It’s time to move ahead. And by to way… I’m truly tired of reading Linux freak say how Windows is flawed in terms of viruses. I’m using Windows everyday 6-10 hour day programming .net web pages and SQL Server Database on many different windows computers, on windows servers, on laptops… and sorry to tell you guys, we are simply using Security Essentials… and I haven’t seen a virus on any of our computers for the last ten years. Any jerk willing to click on an unknown attachment on any unsecured computer deserves to get viruses on his computer. For the rest of us… Windows is a truly safe and reliable OS.

            Vista was a flop. Win 7 is a gem. Not sure on win 8… but XP is dead.
          • It's dead in two years, deal with it.

            Many will do just that, deal with it for two more years.
          • re: a five year old os

            In case you have never actually looked at what service packs do, I have. After SP3, there are only about 200 files original to XP's first release. Essentially, a service pack is an OS in-place upgrade. So, saying it is a five year old OS is not that far wrong.

            For many consumers who use their computers for email , web surfing, and social networking, their old 500MHz-2GHz single-core with XP is all they really need.

            And I agree, Windows is not necessarily insecure, provided the user is knowledgeable enough to a) have basic security software installed, updated, and running; and b) not surf to "those" sites, download warez, or click on odd email attachments/install toolbars . However...those criteria probably describe the top 5-10% of computer users. The vast majority see a computer as just another appliance--and why educate yourself to use it? After all, you never read the instructions for your TV or toaster, right?

            I have, in the extreme, cleaned personal computers with upwards of 1200 pieces of assorted malware and dozens of toolbars--on systems with anti-malware software installed! Why wasn't it working? Because that stupid AV or ASW software kept popping up in the middle of their game so they disabled it. Too annoying. So, you can fix Windows, but you can't fix stupid.

            Oh, and Windows is potential prey for nearly 18 million unique viruses (Symantec, May 2012), while Linux viruses number in the--dozens? Hundreds? Linux is safer because it is built that way. Why bother picking the deadbolt when the window is open :D
            Iman Oldgeek
          • Really??

            "we are simply using Security Essentials… and I haven’t seen a virus on any of our computers for the last ten years."

            First off I am glad to hear you love Windows. And second off IMO Avast is free and better than Microsoft Security Essentials.

            But my beef is with your statement. When did Microsoft Security Essentials come out again?? ten years ago in 2002?? No no it came out on September 29 2009.

            Glad you use windows, I also agree XP had its day and it is time to move on but at least get your facts straight. (Also my company still uses XP and will for some time. Its hard rewriting code for all the apps we have custom code for. But I will not rely on MS for support, never had and never will);-)
          • RE: Really??

            AVG is better than both Avast and MS Essentials combined. And it's free with no strings attached. Just don't download the most recent version on an XP, Vista or 7 PC. It is specifically made for Win 8. Just look at the interface of it.
            Richard Estes
          • AVG Not a Patch on AVAST

            AVG free Sucks compared to AVAST. AVG had it's day, it used to be the best, but sorry no more. Every client pc that has a virus has had AVG or something other than AVAST (Including MSE). In the real world AVG doesn't hack it anymore.
            Desperate Dan
          • For thos with reading comprehensions difficulties

            He said SP3 was five years old.
          • "Those", darnit!

            Not "Thos" Stupid spellcheck doesn't work in title fields.
          • Think about what you just said...

            "C'mon it's a patched, repatched and then patched again almost 12 year old OS."

            You don't realize it, but you just said that XP is mature, complete, and finished. It is the only M$ OS that can say that. Each OS brings its own new features and advantages to the table, but also its own bugs and quirks. All that patching and repatching got XP more finished and correctly working than any other version of Windows before or after.

            M$ pushes each product out the door full of bugs, fixes some a year later with SP1, then that product becomes an afterthought while they work on its successor. Because Longhorn got delayed to death, (and the world got stuck with Vista,) M$ was forced to continue fixing and patching XP. (XP sucked until SP2, IMHO! I had to use it at work that whole time, and had some constant problems that annoyed me terribly until SP2.)

            XP has matured into a fine, reliable, and stable OS. More so than any version of Windows before, and probably any version to come. XP works so well because the 3 year "push out the door and abandon it for the next version" upgrade cycle was messed up, to the dismay of the M$ bean counters.

            I would also like to point out that my workplace currently is about 1/3 Win7 and 2/3 Win'XP. The last dozen infections I have had to deal with were almost all on the 7 systems, not the XP Systems. (Not all user error, either. So much for being so secure.) And the XP systems were easier to repair if the virus damaged files or settings, also IMHO.

            You say that XP is dead. Maybe, but only because M$ and people like you are trying to kill it. If you had a 11 year old car that worked well, Was in good condition, got decent gas mileage, was paid for, and did everything you needed a car to do, would you get rid of it just because the manufacturer and some neighbors wanted you to? I wouldn't. I would run that baby for as long as I could. (My car is an 11 year old Saturn and I am very happy with it. I am going to run it as long as I can, along with my XP computer that does everything I need my home computer to do.

            Long live XP and old Saturns!
          • XP is dead

            XP is dead. Adapt
            Role Guy
          • I hope there is some hope for Windows XP

            I am not a computer 'geek' but someone who would not like to just pitch out my working Dell Inspiron 530 Windows XP computer as long as it is working. I have a lot of Word and Excel programs on it I fear may not work so well on Windows 8. Can you get Windows 7 at all any longer? Thank you for your posting about keeping that old car you love. I have a 1994 Plymouth Acclaim that has 91,000 miles but she runs well and I'm keeping her until it's time for the tow.
            Linda Ellis
          • XP is over and out...too old

            XP is out. Needs retirement. Not as secure at Win 7 and Win 8 is even more secure. Browsers will not be compatible with XP. XP is 12 + years old at retirement. Deal with it. Use Win 7 or 8. Quit whining and crying about XP going away.
            Role Guy
          • Role Guy sounds like your refering to Loverock Davidson when

            you say "OVER AND OUT.......TOO OLD"
            Over and Out
          • Re: XP is over and out...too old

            I've used XP and all the service packs since it came out. I have yet to get a virus. I have seen a handful of javascript exploits which AVG caught

            Security is not in the OS, it's in the interface between the keyboard and the chair. Ignorant users can break almost ANY OS. Including Windows 8.
            Iman Oldgeek
          • It's..

            It's dead, Jim.
            Han CNX