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Microsoft wants nothing more to do with Windows XP, unless you’re willing to pay for the privilege of Custom Support. XP is still an option, but with Microsoft abandoning the past-its-sell-by-date operating system Windows XP Lasted Longer Than World Wars I & II Combined Windows XP Lasted Longer Than World Wars I & II Combined Think Microsoft is letting Windows XP die too soon? You're not alone. Many think this is a cash grab. What if I told you Windows XP is the longest supported version of Windows ever? Read More , most sensible people are looking for alternatives. Most have just one option in mind.

Linux Breaks Microsoft’s Windows

We asked you, Microsoft Has Killed Windows XP… Now What? This question was, rather self-explanatorily, asked as a result of Microsoft ending official support for Windows XP Microsoft Kills Windows XP, Hollywood Sues Megaupload, Virus Shield Scam [Tech News Digest] Microsoft Kills Windows XP, Hollywood Sues Megaupload, Virus Shield Scam [Tech News Digest] RIP Windows XP, Hollywood sues Megaupload, Virus Shield scam, Xbox 360 emulation, multiplayer Goat Simulator, and Mario escapes into the real world. Read More for the vast majority of users. Some bigger organizations, such as the IRS, have paid out for Custom Support, gifting them critical updates for an extra year.

Of course, even without official support from Microsoft, Windows XP is still an option Long Live Windows XP! [We Ask You Results] Long Live Windows XP! [We Ask You Results] We asked: Do You Agree That Windows XP Needs To Die? Turns out you don't. Read More and will likely continue running millions of computers for many years to come. A fair portion of the people who responded suggested that’s exactly what they’re going to do. But like it or not, these people are gambling they’ll be safe despite using an unsupported OS to venture online.


The majority of people who commented are switching from Windows XP to Linux, with old hardware being given a new lease of life thanks to a fresh install of one of the best Linux distros mentioned. Those who are buying new hardware rather than trying to continue on with old hardware are upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8 Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps It's time to say goodbye! Microsoft is ending official support for Windows XP on April 8 2014. Are you at risk? If you are still running this ancient operating system, it's time to upgrade. Read More . Though this is often done begrudgingly.

Interestingly, only one person mentioned Apple or Mac OS X throughout this whole discussion. Which means that anger at Microsoft over its decision to kill XP hasn’t boiled over to the point that people have declared it’s time to turn away from Windows and join the other, somewhat darker, side. A small, but significant, victory for Microsoft, perhaps.


Comment Of The Week

We received a lot of great comments, including those from Dmitriy T, Bill Fleet, and Archit S. Comment Of The Week goes to Ed, who won with this comment Microsoft Has Killed Windows XP... Now What? [We Ask You] Microsoft Has Killed Windows XP... Now What? [We Ask You] Microsoft ended support for the aged operating system; it's time we all moved on. But move on to what? Read More :

Every OS sees an end-of-life sooner or later.
It’s time to let XP go. Some companies or individuals will take longer than others due to finances or software requirements, but eventually most will switch in the next couple of years. I’m sure you’ll still find the occasional XP machine sitting in some back room, running some piece of software that refuses to work on more current OS’s. These machines will probably have long since been disconnected from the internet and will continue to function, malware free, for many more years.
In time, we’ll have distant memories of XP and Windows 12 will be the norm. Someone will walk past that ancient XP machine still chugging along in some dimly lit room and ask if it’s locked up because touching the screen yields no response. No matter how hard they press on the screen, or swipe in any direction, there is no response. No matter how loud they speak to it, no matter how often they say “OK, Google”, still no response. They’ll shrug their shoulders, walk away, and close the door behind them as they wonder why that monitor is so thick and heavy.

We chose this comment because it paints a vivid picture of a distant future when Windows 12 is in the ascendancy. It also contains a truthful opening sentence, and the subtle suggestion that while we’re all so focused on Windows XP the world keeps on turning, and technology keeps on improving.

We Ask You is a weekly column in which you have your say about a particular subject. We ask you a question each week, with the results compiled and compressed into a follow-up article the following week. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.

Image Credit: Rore via Flickr

  1. redhat
    May 19, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I've read dozens of these XP is dead articles, and every single one has at least 2 comments where people say "XP is insecure! Switch to Linux now or die!", and at first it was amusing but after a while it's really begun to really grind my gears. As someone who uses both Linux, and Windows operating systems let me clear a few things up with a comparison of XP, and Ubuntu 14.04. Keep in mind that Ubuntu 14.04 just came out, and XP has been around since 2001.

    - Firewall:
    Comes with Windows Firewall which is a minimal firewall that by default blocks all incoming connections that weren't added to the exceptions list, supports per application blocking, and supports logging. There are plenty of 3rd party firewall tools available ranging from minimal to highly secure. Try Symantec Endpoint Protection's unmanaged client firewall and you'll never want anything else!

    - Viruses:
    There are loads of them out there, XP is one of the most targetted operating systems in the world which isn't likely to change anytime soon, and XP doesn't come with antivirus protection. It relies on file permissions to protect itself, but most users don't realize this and unwittingly use an Administrative account 24/7 instead of a User account. Microsoft also released security updates that would patch security holes found in the OS which they will no longer be doing (hence the article). It also has a restore point feature for rolling back the system in the event of a virus or unwanted change. XP doesn't allow the restore points to be accessed by any program or user except it so that restore points can't be infected externally. There is an abundance of 3rd party antivirus tools, and tools that offer other forms of security like disk protection, and backup/restore. Some great 3rd party tools include ShadowDefender, SteadyState, Symantec Endpoint Protection, Norton 360, older versions Comodo Internet Security [which even included execution blocking!!!!], WinPe with Imagex, Easeus Todo Backup, and Norton Ghost. The list goes on.

    Ubuntu 14.04:
    - Firewall:
    Comes with a minimal firewall that by default is set to allow all so you aren't protected, but this isn't mentioned up front you have to find this out for yourself. Does not support per application blocking, and there very few alternatives. You are stuck choosing between user friendly programs that can't do anyting except allow all/block all, or non user friendly programs orientated at blocking a specific hacking attempt which is very useful to server admins, but not so much to end users. There are few dead projects that allow per application blocking, but their manuals are lacking and leave one wondering if only outgoing connections will be blocked?

    - Viruses:
    You can count the number of KNOWN viruses on your hands & toes, and security updates help protect you from these. Ubuntu file permissions, and therefore assigns important files to root. The use of sudo prevents people from running things as root all the time. There are very few antiviral tools available, and almost all of them only scan for Windows viruses. Backup and restore is more comlicated on Ubuntu than XP because of the use of UUIDs.

    There are plenty of wonderful operating sytems out there, and with XP support ending perhaps switching to a Linux system is the right option for you, but don't ever let anyone confuse you about safety. Look into it first hand, and decide for yourself what you feel are adequate measures. In my eyes even without security updates XP is still one of the safest operating systems to use simply because of the abundance of 3rd party tools available to it.

    PS: I'm not some biased XP die-hard either, I'm using Lubuntu 13.10.

    If you are looking for a linux distro checkout DistroWatch. It's super helpful site for seeing what's available, and discovering hidden gems. Many distros also support trying before you install so you can check them out without loosing XP while you decide, but keep in mind the try mode will likely feel slow because it's reading data from the dvd/cd/usb.

  2. A41202813GMAIL
    April 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Until My Employer Decides To Leave XP For A Different OS With Comparable Productivity, And Gives Me The Opportunity To Successfully Climb A New Steep Learning Curve, I Will Gladly Be The Last Dinosaur On EARTH.


    • Dave P
      April 20, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Until the meteorite hits and blocks out the sun, right?

    • A41202813GMAIL
      April 20, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Whatever Comes First, Yes.

      XP, FOREVER !

  3. Howard B
    April 16, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Where I work, we used to have a 386 machine running MS-DOS (with Windows-compatible SMB networking on an ISA 10/100 card!) just to run a reel-to-reel magnetic tape drive. We couldn't use a 486 or a Pentium because the ISA SCSI card wouldn't work at more than 8MHz.

    Over a number of years, the customer who required magnetic tapes started asking for their mailing lists via email, and the tape drive was suddenly useless. No more tapes, no more MS-DOS, no more 386.

  4. Burt P
    April 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I have 2 users who bought new machines mainly because their old machine was very old, so they upgraded to Windows 8. I customized Windows 8 with Classic Shell to make the change more comfortable. I also applied the Windows 8.1 Update which makes the Modern Interface apps more usable to these users, e.g. if they want to close one of these apps, the X is now at the top right as it normally is in Windows XP.
    I also switched one user over to Linux Mint 16. Based on their finances and what they use the machine for (web surfing and email - no Skype, no iTunes), this looks like a smart choice.

    • Dave P
      April 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      I think you made sensible choices. There are certainly enough alternatives out there across Windows and Linux that there really is no justification in sticking with XP for much longer.

  5. bben
    April 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I actually have one computer still running Win98. It is never connected to the internet. I would gladly update if I could - but the piece of equipment and software it works with is obsolete and will never be upgraded to work with a newer OS. The program it uses to communicate with a machine not only will not respond to a newer OS ( such as XP) it requires RS232 hardware handshaking that newer computers just don't support in their hardware. So, I keep this one ancient Toshiba Satellite 4010CDS laptop carefully packed away in a padded case just for this one purpose.

    • Howard B
      April 16, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      Good luck with that laptop...there's no more antivirus for Windows 98, and sooner or later it'll get infected through a thumbdrive autorun virus, or an infected installer, or some such. It'd be a lot easier to find an RS232-to-USB adapter than keep that laptop running...

    • bben
      April 16, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      @Howard. Tried that years ago, no luck. A rs232 to USB adapter cannot handle the hardware handshaking required. As long as no one else touches that computer there is not much probability that an infected anything will get near it. It is only used for that one purpose now. It is used for programming an obsolete motor control. So it is very unlikely that a virus would infect a stand alone motor control program that is also not tied to the internet or any other network

  6. dragonmouth
    April 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    XP refugees should consider RoboLinux. It was specifically designed to allow the running of Windows in a virtual machine. The best of both worlds(?), the safety of Linux and the comfortable familiarity of XP. Who needs Microsoft's (in)security updates.

    Disclaimer: I have no connection to RoboLinux, but I am a Linux user.

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