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

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, Windows 8


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • Whatever floats their boat.

    I'm just happy I won't have to support this train wreck of an OS any longer. It takes twice - sometimes even thrice - as long to troubleshoot issues than it would on Windows 7 or Windows 8.

    Good riddance.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion

      It's funny how XP is often hailed as the best MS operating system, when in reality, pertaining to malware, it's like walking through hell wearing gasoline underwear!

      MS is just a legacy company with antiquated, outdated, and outright bizarre software.
      • legacy

        Most of the world wants legacy, to go with their other old outdated and outright bizarre software. It is what they have and they don't want to bother to change, give it up trying to make them.
        • No, we won't give up

          Because this legacy software is one of the biggest, if NOT the biggest, reason why computers are so hard to troubleshoot today.

          It's not cases of malware and viruses that are really the issue today, it's old crappy software that runs poorly and has so many 'gotchas' that you cannot install the software on a more up-to-date system (that would use less power and run smoother) that is the reason why so many techies are needed today.
          • As a Techie

            I say, thank you.
      • If Windows is a virus...

        ... then Unix is an STD, and Linux is the underwear holding them both together.
        • You, sir or madam,

          made my day. Probably one of the best responses I've seen so far.
      • You go on and keep fooling yourself, orandy.

        as you ain't fooling anyone here.

        The only people hailing XP as the best operating system have likely neither tried Windows 7, or are trolls like you.

        Me, I just run Windows 7 in XP mode for the odd old software Works great.
        • I agree with you

          I have used and maintained every version of windows from 2 on, and found things I liked and disliked about all of them. XP was better than 98, But not as good as 7. I had no problems with Vista except you needed a new machine with hardware that had drivers for Vista, hardware manufactures were not to interested in writing drivers for older hardware to run on Vista. (The same was true for NT when it came out). The only software that I still use that will not run on Windows 8 is VB6. The programs I wrote using VB6 run great, but if I need to make a update I have to use VB6 to do it. It runs fine in virtual machine in side Windows 8.
          earl harbeson
        • Windows 7 is OK

          But, as we have seen in the office, not all XP software runs on Windows 7 in any mode. They have managed to do workarounds for most stuff except for some ancient developement platform that is going to take time and a lot of money to replace.
        • Reply to William.Farrel

          I've tried Windows 7. It takes more clicks than XP to set it up for my disability, and the settings don't persist.
      • WOW...

        @orandy, this is the most unprofessional, totally untrue commentary to ever survive on a blog.
        • Mostly True, @RayInLV

          I actually think that the comments by the evil one (stopevilempire) are the most unprofessional, untrue & childish comments to survive...he/she/it obviously has hate in its cold, black heart. Methinks that MS once killed its family or something like that. Oh, & it can't compose anything interesting or correctly either...
      • Windows eXPerience

        May be you are right orandy. But you have to admit Windows XP was ahead of its time. That's why people hailed it. I use Fedora 20 and Windows 8 but still I accept the fact that Windows XP was a good OS.

        And on the talk about malware and viruses, just run a malicious shell script and your Linux and Mac gone completely.
        • 10 years ago, Windows XP was a good OS

          Today? Not so much. Windows 7 and Windows 8 pants it on nearly everything under the sun.

          Better speed, less crashes/blue screens, etc.
          • Reply to Lerianisto

            I've been using XP since 2004, and I'm still using it (on a newer machine). The speed is fine. I haven't seen a blue screen since Win95. I've had maybe 2 or 3 Browser crashes, (Firefox) but the the OS itself? Never. By the way, Firefox comes right back up where I left off after a crash.
      • Uninformed

        All OSs are legacy OSs built from previous OSs. Nothing is new.

        Windows Vista moved the client to the Windows Server kernel and, regardless of your MS hate, the latest versions of Windows Server is very stable, secure, and feature rich.

        Run a Windows 8.1 machine, fully patched, with a good AV suite, running as User and there is a good chance you might never see a virus. The only ones we have seen with our thousands of W7 PCs in this configuration are ones that infect the user space but we have just high a percent with our Macs for the same reason. And these Win machines can just be restored to a previous restore point regardless of what's wrong with the OS or even corrupted software.

        There is nothing magical about Linux or OSX, if they had a greater market share and users ran them as SU or root, they would be just as vulnerable to infection.
        Rann Xeroxx
        • You don't even need a good AV suite

          What you need is javascript controls in whatever browser you use, which hopefully for most things is NOT IE since IE is so ingrained into the system that a virus can do some real nasty stuff if it compromises IE.

          Switch to Firefox or Chrome, even Opera, install some sort of 'whitelisting' Noscript-like or actual Noscript software, and you are golden. You will never see a virus unless you are downloading stuff of TPB or another warez website and even then, if you stick to 'trusted uploaders'... you won't see any viruses even then.
    • this train wreck of an OS

      Wonder if you are able to define what term "OS" means, other than in buzzword terms
      tought to you via means of media remote controlled/induced domestication.
      • OS

        Usually OS is Operating System.

        As for the topic of this discussion, I would have kept it going for a while on my old desktop, however the PS died, I have my Mother's limited Compaq and probably will replace the XPMC with it (running W7), the Media Center program hasn't worked for over a year now, I blamed it on a Java update as it was working before the update and not afterwards. We have a laptop running XP that probably won't be upgraded to anything, just as a media reader for wood project files or Quilt project files already downloaded. I did upgrade the RAM to 1 G in it and it runs a lot better, couldn't get the machine to recognize 2G, even though it is supposed to be capable of running 2G.