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Despite their stuffy corporate veneer, Microsoft certainly knows how to throw a party.

It was the evening of October 25, 2001. Microsoft was launching Windows XP, its then latest operating system. Earlier that day, they had thrown a free concert, which Sting headlined, Bill Gates emceed, and thousands attended.

A few hours later, Times Square — the beating neon heart of New York — had been taken over. A ring of photographers, journalists, and Microsoft super-fans had surrounded the opulent Marriot Maquis theater, where Microsoft was running its launch event.

To get inside, attendees had to pass through multiple security checkpoints. Bags were thoroughly searched, and laptops and phones were forbidden. This was hardly surprising. It was just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, which killed almost 3,000, and had devastated the city.

Inside, titans of business and media rubbed shoulders, while a gospel choir entertained the audience. The first song they sang was “America The Beautiful”. Poignant, given the events that had taken place in the previous month.

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Eventually, Bill Gates and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani took to the stage. Together, they demonstrated the novel features of the new operating system. Giuliani thanked Microsoft for launching Windows XP in his city, while Gates loudly promised that it would be the “Best Windows Ever”.

It seems their customers agreed with them, because fifteen years later, millions still use it.

The Operating System that Wouldn’t Die

It’s estimated that around 400 million copies of Windows XP were sold over its 12+ years lifetime 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 . Seventeen million of those were were sold in the first two months. This was a feat that wouldn’t be topped for another six years, when twenty million copies of Windows Vista were sold in the first month.

Although four different versions of Windows have been released in the years since (Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10), Windows XP continues to command an impressive share of the market. According to Net Applications, around 12% of all computers worldwide still ran the antiquated operating system in September 2015, representing around 180 million users. Windows XP remains second only to Windows 7.

Operating System Usage September 2015

Microsoft is desperate for these users to upgrade. Windows XP systems have not received security patches for many months, which makes them susceptible for malware infections. When connected to the Internet, those machines pose a threat to their users and the rest of the Web, by potentially spreading malicious software and wasting resources.

It’s also safe to assume that there’s an element in Microsoft that desperately wants Windows XP users to upgrade to a newer version of Windows, which works with their online properties, like Bing or the Windows Store. For Microsoft, their future lies in services, not products.

As a result, it was no surprise when Microsoft finally discontinued support for Windows XP What The Windows XPocalypse Means For You What The Windows XPocalypse Means For You Microsoft is going to kill support for Windows XP in April 2014. This has serious consequences for both businesses and consumers. Here is what you should know if you are still running Windows XP. Read More in 2014. There would be no more service packs or updates. Microsoft would stop issuing security patches Windows XP Update: More Tools To Keep You Safe Windows XP Update: More Tools To Keep You Safe Windows XP Unofficial Service Pack 4 provides a quick way to apply updates released since SP1. RollBack XP offers an easy system restore feature and you can even deep freeze your installation via scheduled tasks. Read More . Users were very much on their own.

windowsxp-chkdsk

Many businesses took this as their opportunity to upgrade. But others didn’t. They either had too many workstations to upgrade in an expedient and non-disruptive manner, or they depended on business critical applications that would only work on Windows XP.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for example, still has thousands of workstations running Windows XP. In order to keep these systems secure, they pay large annual dues to Microsoft, who in return provides the IRS with vital security updates.

But beyond that, there are millions more who either can’t, or don’t want to upgrade from Windows XP. They’re either steadfastly loyal to the operating system, or simply cannot move away. I wanted to meet some of them to find out why.

The Market Vendor

Few cities are like Lagos. Despite not being the capital, it’s the largest city in Nigeria, and the sixth biggest in the world. Its 15 million residents live huddled in just under 738 square kilometers, making it the most densely populated city in all of Africa.

It’s also a city that’s working hard to rebut some of the lazy stereotypes that people hold about African cities. Although some districts of the city are lawless and desperately poor, others wouldn’t feel out of place in New York or London, with their opulent fashion boutiques and expensive five-star hotels.

windowsxp-lagos-glass

Lagos is also home to a burgeoning middle class, thanks to massive amounts of (predominantly Chinese) investment, its vast natural resources (Nigeria has more oil reserves than the US and Qatar), and improved governance.

This middle class is the fastest growing in the world, and is enjoying a new-found purchasing power. For the first time, these households are able to send their children to private school and university. They can afford better cars and housing. Many, for the first time, can afford to buy computers.

And when they do, they often go to small shops run by people like my friend’s uncle, Samuel.

The Marketplace

Lagos has no shortage of large, upscale shopping malls, where you can buy anything from the latest Macbook Pro, to your weekly groceries. But the malls are mostly for a privileged elite. Ordinary working and middle class Lagosians tend to shop in independently-run stores, and in the city’s many marketplaces.

Uncle Samuel runs a small kiosk in the sprawling Alaba International Market – the largest electronics market in the whole of Africa.

windowsxp-nigeria-market

Here, you can buy anything. Some stores sell children’s toys imported from China. Others sell brand-new flat screen televisions. Others, second hand stereo equipment and counterfeit copies of low-budget Nollywood films. Samuel has chosen to specialize in computer equipment.

His shelves creak under the weight of dozens of laptop computers. The majority of them are pre-owned Dell, Toshiba, and HP machines of an indeterminate age.

Behind his desk, desktop towers lie stacked on top of each other. Some of these, like the laptops he sells, are second-hand. Others, Samuel has built himself with components that he salvaged from discarded machines. Samuel also does a brisk trade in computer software.

Pirated software, to be precise. Over a flaky phone connection, he listed off his wares: “Photoshop. Dreamweaver. Office. Windows.”

I asked him if he had Windows XP for sale.

“Of course. Two hundred Naira.”

That’s about a dollar at the current exchange rate. It was, he told me, one of his best selling products. The profit margins are low, certainly. But the volume of disks he sells is relatively high.

One of the driving reasons behind that is the woefully undeveloped Internet infrastructure in Nigeria. Even if you belong to the middle class, you’ve got to contend with high connection prices, excruciatingly slow speeds, and frequent outages. It’s just too inconvenient for the majority of people to download their own software.

Samuel bypasses that, by downloading the software once, and then burning them onto thousands of CDs and DVDs which he sells. Larger pieces of software, he explained, he gets mailed to him from abroad on USB sticks and Micro SD cards. Even with the postage costs, he still makes a tidy profit.

The Continuing Allure of Windows XP

Windows XP was the first operating system released by Microsoft to feature copy protection, which checked whether an install was legitimate or not.

Windows XP would periodically phone home to Microsoft, and see if the license provided was either duplicated, or created from a keygen. These are pieces of software that create working license keys, using the exact same algorithm used to create legitimate license keys.

Samuel has been able to get around this by using a leaked Volume License Key (VLK). These are license keys that Microsoft sells to OEMs and PC builders, and can be used on as many PCs as the manufacturer wants. This saves a lot of time for the manufacturer, as they don’t have to manually install Windows on each computer. They can just clone an image onto each hard drive, and then ship them out.

windowsxp-pirated

A number of VLKs are floating around online, and Microsoft in the past has tried to clamp down on them, with varying levels of success.

Most of the towers and laptops Samuel sells have Windows XP installed using the same license key. Those tend to be the cheaper computers. Windows 7 commands a premium, so he saves it for the more powerful and expensive machines.

I wanted to know what the enduring appeal of Windows XP is, over fourteen years after it was first released.

Part of it, Samuel explained, was that people who are familiar with computers are invariably familiar with Windows XP. If your school is fortunate enough to own a computer, it probably runs Windows XP. If you have to use a computer with your job, it will invariably run Windows XP.

But there’s also the fact that Windows XP can quite happily run on lower-end hardware.

According to Microsoft, Windows XP only needs a 233 MHz Pentium processor and 64 MB of RAM to run. Pretty much any computer made after 1997 can run it.

Whereas Windows 10 is much more resource-hungry. As a bare minimum, you need 1GB of RAM, a 1GHZ processor, and a graphics card capable of supporting DirectX 9. But realistically, if you want it to run smoothly, you will need a much more powerful machine.

Licensing and the Law

Although Nigeria has a reputation for being a digital Wild West, it does have laws that forbid copyright infringement and software piracy. I asked Samuel if he was worried about getting in trouble with the police. He just laughed.

“No. Of course not.”

The local police, Samuel explained, were overstretched and under-resourced. They have neither the time, nor the impetus to go after small-time pirates like himself. Until that changes, he and many other small businessmen like him will continue to flout the law.

But there’s much more to it than that.

In 2010, almost 83% of all software installed on personal computers in Nigeria was, in some way, pirated. It’s socially acceptable in a way that it simply isn’t in the West.

Part of that has to do with the pricing. Legitimate software is just too expensive for the everyday Nigerian.

A properly licensed copy of Windows 10 from the Nigerian retailer Jumia, for example, costs just short of seventeen-thousand Naira. That’s about $85 USD. I found other online retailers where it costs much, much more.

windowsxp-naira

For middle class Nigerians, that’s an incredible amount of money to spend. And realistically, why would you spend $85 on a copy of Windows when a pirated copy can be openly purchased in your local market for a fraction of the cost?

The SCADA Administrator

Sarah (by her request, we’ve changed her name) works for a small, privately-owned manufacturer of agricultural equipment, based in the American Midwest.

As head of IT, she holds an important role in her company. Sarah has to manage a diverse team of workers, who have to support a similarly diverse array of computer systems, from standard desktops, to Active Directory and DNS servers, to even SCADA systems.

windowsxp-servers

But in reality, in any given day she can find herself writing code, attending purchasing meetings, manning the help desk, or teaching the CEO how to work his BlackBerry for the fiftieth time.

She loves her job and the people she works with, but she tells me she’s overworked and grossly underpaid, and her department is underfunded.

Once her staff are budgeted for, there’s not a lot of money left over for upgrades and new licenses. As a result, the users she supports are often left to make do with antiquated hardware, and deprecated software.

“The way things are going, I expect the majority of our workstations will still be on Windows XP for a couple of years.”

As a result, Sarah has had to take some precautionary security measures 4 Ways To Bulletproof Windows XP Forever 4 Ways To Bulletproof Windows XP Forever Windows XP is slated to be exterminated for good by Microsoft in April of 2014. It is the last stage of a multi-year effort to kill off the operating system. Windows XP is one of... Read More .

She managed to convince her boss to give her the budget to buy Faronix Deep Freeze. This piece of software takes a snapshot of a system which is reverted to whenever a computer reboots. This means that if a user accidentally installs a virus, they only need to restart the computer to remove it.

Free alternatives to do a system restore on reboot System Restore On Reboot - Deep Freeze Your Windows Installation With Free Tools System Restore On Reboot - Deep Freeze Your Windows Installation With Free Tools If you've ever wanted to maintain a system state to keep it secure and not allow any changes, then you might want to try deep freezing your Windows computer. Read More  are available, she tells me, but she knows and trusts Deep Freeze.

To the chagrin of some of her staff, one of her increased security measures have included disconnecting some computers from the Internet altogether, and instituting a more zealous filtering policy.

“I thought there’d be mutiny”, she laughed.

Sarah tells me she expects her users to eventually be upgraded to a more contemporary version of Windows.

The same cannot be said for her SCADA systems.

Securing SCADA

The acronym SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. These are specialized computers systems responsible for the controlling and monitoring of sophisticated pieces of heavy machinery. These can be found anywhere from factories, to power plants, and even industrial air conditioning units.

Sarah’s workplace has a few of these. They were bought about ten years ago from a specialist manufacturer, and were promptly installed on the heavy fabrication equipment in their factory. Since then, they’ve been quietly running, responsible for the continued operation of the factory.

SCADA systems consist of multiple components. One of which is called a Human-Machine Interface (HMI), which is the computer used for controlling and monitoring the machinery. The HMI Sarah’s workplace bought runs Windows XP, on some unimpressively specced hardware. Sarah stresses that Windows is merely a platform for them to run some custom-built code. It could just as easily have run Linux or FreeBSD.

windowsxp-scada

The persistence of Windows XP in this niche field isn’t an anomaly. Sarah tells me about people she knows who administer SCADA systems with HMI machines that still run on Windows 3.1, OS/2 Warp, and Microsoft NT. Upgrading to a newer system often isn’t possible due to compatibility reasons.

Because of the important role they play, it’s vital these systems are kept secure. Sarah’s workplace adheres to a set of extremely strict security protocols. The SCADA machines are not allowed to connect to the Internet. In fact, they’re kept isolated from the company network, with only a handful of trusted users allowed to use them. Updates are handled through a third-party application, and are installed through a USB stick.

Ever Increasing Threats

Until recently, SCADA systems were secure partly as a result of their obscurity. Nobody knew what they were. They occupied a small, and tedious corner of the technology landscape. But Stuxnet changed all that.

Stuxnet was a virus that was built with the sole purpose of crippling Iran’s controversial nuclear program. It’s been alleged that it was built by the American and Israeli intelligence agencies, although nobody knows for definite, and neither party has admitted being behind it.

But to do that, it exploited a stolen security clearance certificate from Verisign, and multiple zero-day vulnerabilities What Is a Zero Day Vulnerability? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is a Zero Day Vulnerability? [MakeUseOf Explains] Read More . Some of these were in Siemens’ Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), which are one of the many components in a SCADA system, and are responsible for directly controlling the industrial equipment. PLCs don’t run Windows or Linux, but rather a proprietary operating system built with industrial automation in mind.

This was packaged onto USB drives, which were then dropped in locations near Iran’s nuclear facilities. Curious employees picked them up, and inserted them into the first computers they saw. In many cases, it was HMI components of their SCADA machines. Stuxnet would the silently infect the system, and reprogram any connected PLCs with its own malicious code.

This caused thousands of nuclear centrifuges to spin out of control, and ultimately self-destruct. Reportedly, one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges were either destroyed or severely damaged.

Since the Stuxnet virus, there’s an increasing awareness of SCADA systems, and the important role they play in industrial applications. The whole affair has shone a bright light at the state of SCADA security, which Sarah admits, often isn’t great. It made it an appealing target for black hat hackers. More worryingly, the code for Stuxnet has been released online, and is available for anyone to download and modify.

This worries Sarah. For her, it’s not a matter of if, but when attacks on SCADA systems become a routine. Microsoft’s decision to discontinue support for Windows XP also frustrates her.

“It’s incredibly irresponsible of them. It’s just a recipe for disaster. Don’t they know Windows XP machines are used in oil and gas? In factories and power plants?”

But she can’t see herself moving.

“We’d have to rewrite the software from scratch to get it to work on Linux. Even if we ported it to Windows 7, we’d have to make some pretty big modifications. We just can’t afford to do that. … Anyway, if it isn’t broke, why fix it?”

The Home User

Mary Tomaszewski is retired, and in her late 60s. She lives on a small, single-floor house in a small town in Northern Illinois that sits on the frost-bitten periphery of Chicago.

windowsxp-couple

She and her husband have two older daughters. The youngest moved out a couple of years ago to study veterinary medicine, and their eldest just moved in with her partner, to start her own a family. For Mary and her husband, this means they’ve got more time than they really know what to do with.

“We’ve been taking some classes at the local library and community college. Ryan [her husband] is learning auto repair. I’ve been doing arts and crafts.”

Ryan’s an avowed technophobe, but Mary isn’t, and she’s found that in her retirement, she’s come to depend on her computer more to occupy her time.

The Front Room Computer

Sitting in Mary’s front room is an ancient, Compaq Presario desktop computer. On the tower is a sticker that advertise the long-obsoleted technologies that cram its dusty interior. It’s got an AMD Athlon CPU, a Nvidia GeForce 4 MX graphics card, and about a gigabyte of DDR RAM. Running on it is, of course, Windows XP.

windowsxp-compaq

She didn’t buy it, though. The computer itself is was a hand-me-down from her nephew, who upgraded to a more capable machine a few years ago. “He’s really into video games”, she tells me.

But despite its age, it’s still more than adequate for Mary’s needs. She spends a lot of time on online forums, and on food blogs. When she finds a recipe she likes, she prints it off and stores it in a big ring binder, which she flicks through from time to time. Mary’s not much of a gamer, but she admits she’s fond of online Sudoku and crosswords.

To browse the Internet, she uses Opera 12. This is the last version of Opera that came with the Presto engine, before they switched to WebKit Opera 15 Is A Faster, Simpler Chrome, And Here Are 3 Great Reasons To Try It Opera 15 Is A Faster, Simpler Chrome, And Here Are 3 Great Reasons To Try It It may seem ridiculous now, but when I was younger, I forked over a great wad of cash for Opera, a revolutionary web browser from Norway. I took it home, excited at finally being able... Read More .

“My nephew installed it for me. He said it can’t get viruses. It works fine for me.”

Mary heard on the news that Microsoft had discontinued Windows XP. But she’s not really sure what that means. She’s still able to use her computer as normal. Nothing’s really changed for her. It’s had little to no impact.

Over the phone (we tried using Appear.in Move Over Google Plus Hangouts. Appear.in Is Here & It's Really Good Move Over Google Plus Hangouts. Appear.in Is Here & It's Really Good People have been crying out for a decent video conferencing app for ages. We thought that was Google Plus. We were wrong. Meet Appear.in. Read More , but it refused to work on such an old browser), I explained that Microsoft would no longer issue security and performance updates to Windows XP. This didn’t bother her in the slightest.

At best, Mary views them as an inconvenience. At worst, she suspects they’re responsible for slowing down her computer. She has an Android phone (a late-model Samsung Galaxy that was a hand-me-down from her youngest daughter), and she finds it frustrating when she has to install a system update, or when her phone automatically installs app updates.

I asked Mary if she has any plans to upgrade her machine.

“None.”

I asked if she is tempted by Windows 10. At first, she didn’t know what made it different. So, I explained that it had a built-in personal assistant Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Cortana Arrives on the Desktop & Here's What She Can Do for You Is Microsoft's intelligent digital assistant as competent on the Windows 10 desktop as she is on Windows Phone? Cortana has a lot of expectation on her shoulders. Let's see how she holds up. Read More (Cortana), an app store, and it looks much nicer than Windows XP. She wasn’t convinced.

“This does everything I need. I know this Windows. I don’t want to buy a new computer, and I don’t want to have to learn a new system from scratch.”

Windows XP Isn’t Going Away

Each of the three people I spoke to, reinforced one thing. Despite the best efforts of Microsoft, Windows XP shows no sign of disappearing from people’s computers.

The reason for that depends on who you speak to. If you’d ask Sarah, it’d be because Windows XP is tightly (some might say inexorably) integrated into the world of industrial information technology.

Some factories, power plants, and oil refineries have based their IT infrastructure on Windows XP. Entire industrial processes hinge on this 14 year old operating system. Upgrading these systems is vastly more complicated than installing Windows 10 from a USB stick.

It requires a significant amount of testing, with a meticulous amount of attention to detail. There has to be assurances that the upgrade wouldn’t have any unintended consequences. This could potentially result in entire software systems having to be rebuilt or modified to work with the latest Windows.

windowsxp-factory

The cost of this in pure dollar terms would be astronomical, Sarah told me.

But as she pointed out in the interview, there’s no impetus for businesses to upgrade. The majority of SCADA systems are set up, isolated from the Internet, and then left alone. While that’s still the case, businesses have no reason nor desire to meddle with them.

But what about consumers? It’s almost certain that the majority of the remaining 250 million Windows XP installs are on personal, home computers. Computers like those owned by Mary.

For her, and many people like her, the case that she needs to upgrade to a newer Windows hasn’t been made. Her computer works fine just the way it is. She’s familiar with Windows XP, having used it for such a long time. She doesn’t need anything else.

In many ways, it could be argued that forcing Mary to upgrade to Windows 10 would have a detrimental effect on her. Experience has made her confident with Windows XP, but she tells me she’d feel much more apprehensive on a new system.

Finally, there’s Samuel. For him, Windows XP is an accessible, almost egalitarian operating system. It can run on every computer he sells, and its easily bypassed copy protection systems means that there’s virtually no negative consequences to running a pirated copy.

Until more powerful computers reach the price point his customers can afford, and until Microsoft embraces a reasonable pricing model for African consumers, he expects he’ll continue to do a brisk trade in Windows XP.

Are You Using Windows XP?

Are you one of the remaining Windows XP holdouts? Do you have any desire, or intent to upgrade? Or will you stick with XP until the very bitter end? I want to hear about it. Leave me a comment below, and we’ll chat.

Photo Credits: Compaq SR1130NX Desktop PC (Kevin Jarett), Scada B (Green Mamba), A Few Taxi Rides (quiquemendizabal), CHKDSK (Daniel Oines), Guilty (Lauri Rantala), Wax Market (Zouzou Wizman), Lagos Parking Lot (crashburnd)Girl standing in front of rack mounted servers in data storage facility (WaveBreakMedia via Shutterstock)industrial programmer checking control box status with laptop computer (Michael Jung via Shutterstock)Mature woman embracing husband sitting on the couch (WaveBreakMedia via Shutterstock)

  1. Jeffrey acal
    October 10, 2016 at 4:24 am

    My shop floor runs on XP. My office machines run on linux and so does my server. Our CAD computers currently run windows 7 so I have a mix of everything. Personally I would love everything to be on linux. However we have some limitations. First. Each CNC machine is equipped with a CF-29 Panasonic laptop They run specialized software that only works on windows, & windows 7 and up is to slow on these old machines. now I could upgrade them to CF-31's at a cost of about 100 000$ and we would be good. Or we could write our own software for them and walk away from windows. The cad computers run 7 because that is what is certified from the CAD/CAM company we buy our licenses from.

  2. Excalibur
    October 9, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    I still use Windows XP Pro in our business. Both of our computers run on it, and we are comfortable with that system. I have Windows 8 on my laptop at home, since it was a gift from my husband, but I "tweaked" it, to look like Windows XP.

    I was appalled when I first booted it, as nothing was familiar to me. All of the apps showing were a distraction, and totally unnecessary.

    Windows 10 is not even an option for us, as Windows XP is easy to use, easy to configure, and we find it very easy to find things on it.

    Wish Microsoft would listen, and give us a new operating system that is as functional as Windows XP. We love it!

  3. JC
    August 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    I too still use my XP to write my weekly sermons and do light web research and shopping.
    I've got two computers with Windows 7 that have gotten buggy and I did 3 Windows 10 supposedly easy upgrades (from W7-one for a parent), none of which installed a useable OS system. One maxed out at 99% for 24 hours, another has slowed down a bare bones computer to useless and the third looked great until you tried to log/power off.

    I'm not an IT person and I'm not a gamer. What I'd love is for Windows to develop a small footprint OS that is fast and simple with good security and let the consumer decide what other toys he or she needs with it.

    Is that asking too much?

  4. Kitsune
    August 26, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    I'm using a late-2007 MacBook Pro, and I recently installed Windows XP on it using Boot Camp. The selection of XP over other Windows operating systems was a very deliberate one for me. One, my computer's hardware is fairly old and can't support any version of Windows above Vista. Two, I had a long list of games and applications (mostly classic ones) that I wanted to run on Windows, and after doing a lot of research I came to the conclusion that Windows XP was the ONLY version that could run them all.

    I've always liked Windows XP anyway. I love the slightly retro look and bright colors, and using it gives me kind of a warm, nostalgic feeling. When I get my new Mac, I may install Windows 10 on it, but only if I see a really good reason to.

  5. Margaret
    August 15, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    I'm a computer systems professional (engineer, systems architect), and go back with Windows all the way to its beginning -- v0.98, iirc (I still have a copy of the source code for v1.0.3).

    All my 32-bit work, including this post, is done on my intentionally-low-powered XP machine, one of 3 computers running XP, the other two being my laptop and a backup system.

    I finally broke down and bought a copy of W7sp1 Pro x64 some months ago, but was appalled by how thrown-together and buggy it was. Even after painfully installing every fix Microsoft offers, including the de-facto-sp2 "rollup", it still doesn't run anywhere near as reliably or well as XP.

    It's unlikely that hardware will make XP obsolete in what remains of my lifetime, but if that should happen, I won't be forced into buying Microsoft's latest boondoggle. I'll simply move everything to FreeBSD, the operating system that already runs my firewall, my server-of-all-work, and my 2 "muscle" machines.

  6. Kenneth R
    July 31, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    In Sarah's defense, and to educate some of the commenters here, it is not always possible to get the original software company to update for a newer OS. Besides being an IT/Field Svc Tech for 35 years, I was also a telecom/SCADA tech during that same time frame.

    Many times the original company is no longer in existence, or is not updating the software any more. SCADA is a special case. It's mostly dealing with protocols that the equipment communicates with, like DNP3, MODBUS, etc.

    The SCADA equipment is the expensive part. To have to replace it just because the equipment doesn't support a newer OS's is not possible.

    I suspect that if MS came out with an OS that looked and felt like XP, it would sell like hotcakes.

    • Matthew Hughes
      July 31, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      That's really interesting. Thanks Kenneth!

    • Eric
      October 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      You hit the nail on the head! Why did MS have to change the look and feel? I know the goal is to have all your work and files "in the cloud" for a monthly fee. No Thank You!
      I am a retired home user of xp but worked for a large company with 14,000 computer users. The co. spent a year plus "upgrading" to W8 and ended up bringing productivity to a halt. I imagine they learned their lesson and won't switch to W10.

  7. Kenneth R
    July 31, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I'm still using XP Pro because it works just fine. I don't do porn, warez, or dark web stuff, and I NEVER open email attachments unless I contact the sender and make sure it's legit, so the chances of me getting any trojans or malware are pretty slim. I have McAfee installed and keep it updated. When they quit supporting XP I'll have to make a decision.

    I spent 35 years as an IT tech/field svc engineer for a large utility co. and designed my first computer from chips in 1978, using a Z80, it's support chips and some glue. I wrote my own bios, and os.

    So to suggest that I'm still using XP because I'm stupid or incompetent doesn't fly, in my case at least. When the apps I use won't run on XP I'll have to make a change.I've never approached going to the next OS casually. I always go kicking and screaming.

    I have my current PC (an I7 w/4gb of ram) running 24/7 and have a cold backup in case something bad happens (which it never has). I also have a sine wave UPS powering it, just in case I have a power glitch. I also have a brand new MB still in the box in case the current one dies. I have 2 SATA3 SSD's in the machine and it boots to the desktop in 10 seconds or less.

    I have a DSL Router with it's own firewall, and have windows firewall turned on also.

    My main reason I stay with XP is the man-machine interface ... in short, the Start Menu. I like it and don't want to change. Why does MS have to change the interface with every new iteration of OS's?

    So why should I change when it's working so well as it is?

    • Matthew Hughes
      July 31, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      I don't think *anyone* suggested you're incompetent for using XP!

      • Kenneth R
        July 31, 2016 at 10:38 pm

        Sorry ... I've been to a lot of sites today that do suggest that if you're still using XP you're either lazy, stupid, or whiny about having to invest in newer hardware and software. Didn't mean to start anything here :)

  8. old toothless byter
    July 20, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Repeating here what's been said elsewhere - the biggest mistake for all OS sellers, from Apple to MSoft, even many Linux versions, is confusing essential OS upgrades, with fru fru changes to the GUI/access screens, ie cosmetics, and rechoreographing timeworn ways to manipulate thru layers and activating buttons etc. No one, repeat, NO ONE outside the engineering room knows or cares what's chugging behind the curtains. What ticks them all off is being forced to learn entirely new structure and logical work patterns that have nothing to do with the OS. Period. Example on my win7 I can press and the control panel is open in less than two seconds. Not too different from XP, but why keep making such quick, consistent, memorable, and logical shortcuts less and less apparent, feasible, utilitarian, in favor of a klugy, clumsy, fat finger wander around a screen for a while, repeatedly opening undesired windows? At the very least offer a menu option to revert to an older protocol the way you used to select older GUI.
    A truism for years is the fastest computer is the newest hardware, running the oldest OS and programs it supports; DOS programs if you can run them are all pretty instantaneous on today's machines, while new software is about as slow as it always was. Why do we need high speed graphics accelerators now to run business programs?

  9. Shorty Selby
    July 17, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    they shud allow us to use it aslong as it'll run on modern day hardware & gates/MS shud be thrilled that its still going ! MS killed-off NT & MSNTV & " CE too ! & proclaimed WINCE BEING DEAD replacing it with POCKET PC trash etc. & the next thing u kno: " THE RETURN of WINCE " in todays netbooks & stuff.., MS cudve made a 4th sp for xp & a 3rd sp for vista to ez'lly extend their' life-cycles BUT REFUSED TO ! & when MS crated vista 7 & 8 - 8.1 THEY LEFT HYPERTERMINAL OUT ! - meaning ppl who are sight.., deaf.., & speech impaired cud no-longer use vista.., 7.., 8.., 8.1 & up to place a phone call to 911 or pay their bills online.., do their business online via deaf relay & even call 911 incase of an emergency SO in my opinon MS pretty-much not only screwed their' customers - they screwed the pooch aswell as themselves too & thats noones' fault but MS ..

  10. Tom
    July 13, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    "Beat That"

    Author George Martin uses an MS-DOS machine with WordStar to do his writing.

    The machine is not connected to the Internet, and so he can't be hacked and his manuscripts leaked online.

  11. Elizebeth
    July 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

    My dentist uses Windows 3.11 for workgroups because of old patient database software.

    Beat that

  12. Nominal
    July 4, 2016 at 12:38 am

    We use XP in our business and will likely never upgrade. We even have new computers with Windows 10 on them and no employee will use them. They are slow compared to the XP machines (2006 vintage, but upgraded with SSD, RAM, Ramdrives, etc) and they are totally different. You can't find what you need now. Employees have a job to do and little time to do it. So learning a new system (even if you use it at home) on the job is just not practical. The other reason is me. I am the "IT department" and I too have no time to learn a new system. I spent hours and hours on the phone with MS and other vendors support lines trying to get everything working correctly on the new Windows 10 machines and even after that, they still don't work as well or as fast as on the old XP machines. If you figure 8 machines times the cost and time to upgrade and learn the new system, you are talking thousands of dollars and for us that's a lot of money. I'd rather buy another drill press for that money.

    Lastly I think the security issue is a red herring. XP is the most vetted OS out there. It's been beaten on and exploited for more years than any other OS. If they have not found a flaw by now, it's not there. And we run good end point AV and a hardware firewall. I feel safer with a established OS like XP compared to a brand new Os that MS pushes on everyone and has not stood the test of time. Also look from the hackers perspective: Would you rather hack in a small well guarded pool or a big nice new pool with lots of undiscovered weaknesses? Why try to exploit a system with only 15% of the market when you can put your efforts into a new one that is 4x as large?

    Windows got it right when they did XP and I'm very proud to be still using it.

  13. Bob Patterson
    June 1, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I have two semi-retired Dell desktop PCs that were acquired from a workplace upgrade. They were initially selected for their robust hardware. Today, they act as file servers on my home network, retrieving podcasts and scheduled downloads and scheduled backups supporting the network. All the functions they perform can be replicated on Linux, and some programs were selected for their Linux compatibility.
    If WinXP becomes incapable of operating those PCs, they would be transitioned to Linux until their hardware components fail.

  14. Tee Gardoen
    April 27, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Hi Matthew,
    Thanks for an interesting article. Yes, even though I have Windows 10, and 7 on
    my other pc's at home - I STILL revert to WinXP as the favourite Os and use it about 60% of the time with the remaining 40% divided roughly between 10 and 7, using these latter for more "modern" (read incompatible) software and apps.

    Amongst other reasons - its because Xp runs many of my critically important older software and I even use Xp's NetBeui networking feature to communicate with my older pc's running Win 95, 98, WinNT and even
    eComStation Os - all very neat, very acceptable and allows me to span a distance in time
    using software from the 90's to the present.

    WinXp, for me is a Godsend and I have no intention to scrap it anytime soon.
    Long LIve XP :)

  15. Charlie
    April 4, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I work in IT, telephony. My work laptop came with Windows 10, its now been downgraded to Windows 7 by me....If the peripherals were supported by XP, it would be running it.
    My home PC, my workhorse has a dual boot, Linux and XP. I don't like over packaging, I like to be able to find the nuts and bolts of an operating system....I recently tried to repair a W10 PC that had been hacked and malicious software installed, even with a boot disc it wasn't salvageable. Only solution was a formate and new install. Unlike XP.

    As for XP, browser FireFox with Adblocker...much better than Explorer. Decent anti virus and you're still good to go.You can download the final SP3 iso including all the updates to when MS shut down its support.

  16. RobinP
    April 3, 2016 at 8:08 am

    I will continue using xp until such time as:
    -some trick is used to prevent it being usable. For instance some "upgrade" of websites such that they will only work with later systems.

    or
    MS or someone produces a decently usable and elegant newer system such as the later windows versions have NOT been.

  17. Low Profile
    February 26, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I have a couple of Macbook Pros, A couple of Windows 7 PC's, Chromebook, and Linux Mint PC....Guess what? I have a Windows XP desktop and right now as i'm typing i'm using an old HP laptop with WIndows XP on it that I just purchased off of Ebay and i'm loving it...It's working like a true workhorse without a hitch. XP is a lean Operating System and it has been the best since it came out in 2001 and i've been loving it every since then. All you have to do is put Avast/Malwarebytes on it and you will be good to go. Chrome is soon going to discontinue support for XP. All you have to do is use the Firefox or Opera browsers. I don't care what Microsoft or their shills say!...Windows XP is not going anywhere! Plenty of people still use XP and everybody doesn't have the money to keep pouring into Microsoft. XP works just fine and it is all that some people will need to do computing and going online.

  18. ZekTech
    February 8, 2016 at 3:23 am

    This was an excellent read. I am actually currently posting this comment on a laptop that's running XP. I honestly don't see Windows XP going away anytime soon. Many of the businesses I go to like my dental and school both have a handful of computers still running Windows XP. I currently have 6 PC's/laptops running XP and running them fine. Some of my friends have come to me with their computers saying they run slow. Most of the times they're running Vista or 7 on unacceptable hardware. One was running 7 with a Celeron M 1.3GHz with 768MB of RAM and some crappy Intel Graphics. Threw XP on there and it ran like a champ. I wish that Microsoft would turn around and start supporting XP again because a lt of machines rely on it to run because it's not compatible with the newer OS's.

    Dell Latitude D510
    Pentium M 2 GHz, 2GB RAM, Intel 915GM 8MB graphics, Windows XP

    Dell Latitude D610
    Pentium M 1.73GHz, 2GB RAM, ATI Mobility Radeon X300 64MB Graphics, Windows XP

    Compaq Presario 6000
    AMD Athlon XP 2600+ 2.13GHz, 768MB RAM, VIA S3 32MB graphics, Windows XP

    Compaq Presario S5140WM
    AMD Athlon 3200+ 2.2 GHz, 1GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce FX 5500 256MB, Windows XP

    Dell Optiplex GX280
    Pentium 4 HT 3GHz, 4GB RAM, ATI Radeon X300 SE 64MB, Windows XP

    Sony Vaio VGN-NS325J
    Pentium Dual-Core 2GHz, 4GB RAM, Intel Mobile Express 4 Chipset Family 1.5GB graphics, Windows XP/7

  19. Jeff
    January 30, 2016 at 1:16 am

    I have a 13 year old Dell Latitude. I run Word 2002 and PowerPoint 2002 which I use for my adult SS class. I use the machine for 4 - 5 hours everyday and it works perfectly. When I go online I use Chrome with Sandboxie. I use Avira, Malwarebytes, and CCleaner on a regular basis. What good would a new machine with a new OS and new programs do? I hate the ribbon format of the more modern forms of PPT and Word (I am familiar with and comfortable with the drop down menus.) My brain is slower than my machine! I have used and owned PCs since my first Apple II in the late 70's (1977?)

    I have a newer machine with Win 7 - which won't run my Word or PPt programs (nor my Fireworks 8 which I frequently use for charts, etc.) I prefer the older machine with XP. I intend on using it until it is impossible to do so.

  20. Richard
    January 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I run a virtual machine with XP to be able to use all features of my HP3390 all-in-one printer/scanner/fax.
    This printer works perfectly fine, is in good condition and has all features I need, but HP doesn't bother to release Windows 7 drivers for it.
    This might be another reason for many.

    • Low Profile
      February 26, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Amen! I plan on running XP as well until it can't run anymore.

  21. Jason Policy
    December 21, 2015 at 7:42 am

    An excellent article. XP can and should be used on compatible hardware because it is more efficient. It consumes less memory and has less graphical effects and abstraction layers (.net, Metro) running on top of it. Microsoft and early adopters have managed to twist words to an incredible degree, and even convince people to that later versions are faster. If current software gets the job done, there is no need to spend time learning and configuring a new platform. The ammount of effort required to "tame" modern Windows is also increasing.

    I am a user of Windows XP and Opera 12. I switched to it from MSIE 5 to improve my security (through obscurity, and by isolating from IE's active scripting) and to take advantage of content filtering capability built into Opera. It can filter pictures or scripts that are too slow or intrusive, not limited to advertisements. I still rely on urlfilter to this day.

    The web is getting increasingly bloated. I often see broken layouts in Opera. Pages that still render, take a long time to do so. This is especially true on blogs made in modern CMS engines. Various companies, not just Microsoft, are pushing sluggish "cloud apps" for doing common tasks like checking e-mail or editing spreadsheets. The average user appears to be easily swayed in favor of these bait and switch offerings. Eventually, they will require a faster computer (which may no longer have drivers for XP, due to the still existing Wintel parnership), and a modern browser (which might no longer work under XP).

    Firefox can slightly extend the life of XP. Its rendering and javascript speed is on-par with modern standards, and, unlike Opera/Chromium, it implements SSL-related functions internally. I use Firefox 27 without Australis in parallel with Opera 12.

    If you have an application for your computer that doesn't involve the WEB, then an XP-based computer can last for another decade. At this stage there is no point in drawing a distinction between Web and the Internet. E-mail clients are being campaigned against and receding into obscurity, FTP is deemed insecure and also frowned upon. The bloated web and cloud is where it's at.

    Having USB drives or even CD/DVD with autorun is bad practice. I have only had one innocent virus from a USB stick, because I always eradicate autoplay to stop unwelcome software launching itself and occasionally installing its components. Also recall the incident where Opera's update system was compromised, and they got a code signing certificate leaked. A stable system that is configured not to receive any updates couldn't be affected. The more decisions an OS makes for the user, the more possibilities there are for it to do it wrong. And Windows 10 is made smarter than ever.

    Windows 7 is also easy to activate with d_az loader or v_lmcsd, but those took time to develop.

  22. LSW
    November 27, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I'm using Windows XP on my music PC that plays music (P2 by the way).

    My Guest PC is running windows 2000 on a P4, my bedroom pc is Win 2000 also on a P3.

    But my main 'rig' is a AMD FX4300 running Win7/Ubuntu

    And at work all the Pc's run Windows XP

  23. Luis Olarte
    November 4, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Ho by the way if you would like to see what any distribution of Linux looks like.
    You have several places, for reviews and info you can go to http://distrowatch.com
    And if you like to see Screen-casts and Screen-shots http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-screencasts-and-screenshots-114/
    Plus if you have any questions for anything to do with Linux this is the place.
    Just do your self a favor before you ask a question look at the forum most of questions have been answered there.
    Other then that have fun.
    There is one more thing if you still would like to run windows in a secured way you do have options.
    You can import your windows section to Linux inside a VR like Virtual Box.
    The other is a fresh install to a VR like Virtual Box or Qemu, then just run your applications and have no worries running them.
    Now this VR options to have one other need a more power full PC.
    At least Dual core 2.3 GHz and at least 2 GB of ram and more powerful PC will make a better solution.
    Well that is it hope this helps and have fun.

  24. Luis Olarte
    November 4, 2015 at 7:19 am

    What most of you are forgetting is the reason for all of this.
    First let start with the piracy.
    In most cases the piracy is being done do to economics.
    The second is in there work place they are using MS only software do to politics.
    Most governments required certain application and certain formats, for documents and on and on.
    And third is do to probability of product application, making piracy a necessity for applications.
    And last but not least cost most people in other countries do not have the means to purchase a license. If they purchase a license they would not be able to eat, to send there kids to school or even have a roof over there heads.
    Now to those of you that think that is is just moving on to a new OS is just that simple, forgetting the replacement of hardware and software for that new OS.
    When your on a fixed income like a set of retired people well in most cases, it is the same not enough income to do so.
    Now lets talk a bought I T in most of the cases yes it is a nightmare making everything work.
    Just all hardware and software to complement each other is a real pain.
    ad to this the fact it has to be a secured system, that makes it a wurst case scenario.
    Windows was never a secured OS much less play nice with hardware not even with software.
    Being that MS wants $$ from every end of development.
    As a developer you have to pay for access to the software before it comes out, that dose not guaranty that your software will sale or comply to the end product.
    Then when the software is out the update to the Swiss cheese making the developer do his work again to correct for new holes.
    On the other end you have a company with a budget that is limited and you have a cluster f***.
    so now IT has to limit those PC's in access to keep some since of security.
    Now lets go to BSD or Linux or so called, open-source witch the terminology is all wrong.
    Open code means every one can see and modify the code, open-source means code is open to see only.
    It is a great difference, it is all do to its licensing.
    Most people think that just because it's free, all the work by the developers is free also.
    So next time that you use a peace of free software donate something, if you like the project what ever it is.
    People think that just because it looks simple and it is ease to use, that it's a breeze to develop.
    That's not the case for most of the applications, it simple to use do to a developer taking time to make it right and practical.
    Now for those of you who think that Linux is not for you, there are some Linux distributions that make it simple.
    Not only in its looks but in its use, Zorin OS or Mepis OS, even some lite OS based on mate can use XP Skins for ease of use.
    Just make sure that you get a 32 bit OS for those old PC's, and as to the use of must have windows applications use wine.
    Most XP application are covered in wine installations, you should not have any problems using them in wine.
    And more to point security you will no longer have to deal with Viruses, and do to the use of the same software you will not loose any productivity.

    • fcd76218
      November 5, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      Woody Woodward, the developer of MEPIS has announced that he is suspending its development indefinitely. If you like MEPIS, check into antiX or MX which are MEPIS forks.

      • Luis Olarte
        November 5, 2015 at 8:37 pm

        Thank you for the info, but I do not use Mepis.
        I am currently and UE user for the past 6 years along with Arch, SUSE & Debian.
        I am not new to Linux, I am a long time user since 1985.
        What I was showing was that to start of they could use something that look like windows.
        That way it would be a much easier transition to Linux, those OS still have the look of windows.
        I also state the they could use a lite OS and install a windows theme or skin, wild they get use to Linux.
        But thanks anyway.

  25. Pramod Srivastav
    November 3, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I am still using windows XP.I do not like replace it.

  26. Manuel Longo
    November 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I still use XPon one of my computers, and the reason is quite strange. I am completely paralyzed and on my wheelchair I have mounted a tablet - an RM RTAB912. It is a rather old machine and runs XP. Because of my condition, I need it as a TV remote,SMS client, email, media center client (the actual media s/ware runs on a Raspberry Pi 2 but is controlled by the tablet) and browsing. I could get a Surface Pro 3 but I don't need the power and (more importantly) modern tablets are built to be as thin as possible which is exactly what I DON'T want.

    The old tablet I have has Smartnav (http://www.naturalpoint.com/smartnav/) and USB-UIRT (http://www.usbuirt.com/overview.htm) and the thickness of the tablet makes mounting them much simpler. A more detailed explenation is here : http://mlongo.net/

  27. Elinor Semira
    November 3, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    still using xp in our small office.

  28. Chris Ragan
    November 3, 2015 at 11:13 am

    All three of these people need to check themselves. Mr. Africa is a straight up criminal and his disks are probably distributing the viruses that will attack Ms. Oil Industry and Mrs. Retired crashing their systems, stealing identities and basically giving all these people what they deserve.

    If it ain't broke don't fix it does NOT apply here. It IS broken and it HAS been fixed. There is no excuse.

    Ms Oil Industry's company makes billions in profits and modernization of equipment should be a built in cost. Otherwise we end up with things like the Gulf of Mexico...

    As for Mrs. Retired your nephew is not always going to be there and that PC will likely die taking with it all your precious files. In fact it is a race against time which will happen first, the hardware failing or your system being compromised and your identity stolen. "I didn't want to learn" will sound like a pretty stupid excuse when you are explaining to your financial institutions why you were using a known vulnerable OS. You have NOTHING but time!!! People act like it is learning another language. It is literally the same thing with some extra stuff.

    As for others who will argue "my software" that software sucks you just don't know it. There is a reason it didn't get upgraded to work with modern machines. Doing a single Google search will likely produce a viable replacement that put performs whatever Quickbooks / Peachtree antiquated thing you are using.

    "I can't afford a new computer" doesn't fly here either. Last I checked a new computer is less than 500. You can get it on credit or save 50 a month and buy it. Your security and the safety of your files aren't worth 50 bucks!?! Ok

    All of these people are entitled, entitled to steal, entitled to go with the flow, entitled to not have to change. All of them will suffer eventually for it. Everyone else will be affected as well to some degree.

    • James Van Damme
      November 3, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      You don't need a new computer, and you don't have to continue running a virus-sucking antique operating system. Get your nephew to install a newbie version of Linux like Mint Cinnamon, Ubuntu MATE, Elementary, Lite, Zorin or Lubuntu (for those 12 year old machines). I taught my granddaughter how to run it in ten minutes; maybe it will take you fifteen, because you have a lot of XP foolishness to unlearn.

      • Chris Ragan
        November 3, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        Exactly! Linux is free and easy to use. Even after Mrs. Retired has a catastrophic hard drive failure, she can run Linux from a USB stick and probably be fine. Mr. Africa should be distributing Linux as well.

        • James Van Damme
          November 3, 2015 at 2:04 pm

          Puppy is made to run from a CD or flash drive. It loads into memory and is faster than XP. And cuter.

  29. dinikasaxenas
    November 3, 2015 at 9:18 am

    About 30 computers in my college are still running on Windows XP. We only use it for running MATLAB and sometimes to program in turbo C++. Both these programs run just fine on XP. Also, these 30 systems are so old (atleast, a 15 years or so) that I honestly don't think that the latest Windows 10 would run on it.

    • James Van Damme
      November 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      Go to http://www.osalt.com/search?q=matlab and you'll fnd 3 programs that work like Matlab and run Matlab code.

      Go to distrowatch.com/search.php and search for "old computers" and you'll find a dozen good candidate operating systems.

  30. Bob Klahn
    November 3, 2015 at 4:12 am

    I have half a dozen old computers that run XP. Most are laptops. I can't afford to replace them all with newer laptops, not on my pension. That plus the cost of new software, as some of my programs won't work on later OSs.

    There is no good reason we should not be able to use XP until such time as the website servers have achieved some real improvement worth the cost of upgrading. There is damn little on the web that good if anything.

    For business the cost of teaching the staff to use new software can be tremendous. For home users, it's just time consuming and frustrating. Until MS learns not to change that which doesn't need to be changed, they are going to have resistance to change. If they want to push us to update, make it worth our while. I would be interested in Win 7, because that's the last setp up from XP I have seen get good reviews. There is a reason it's the only system more used than XP.

    Microsoft came out with Win 95, had to commit perjury in court to get away with that, went to Win 98 which was much better, went to Millennium edition, which I bought an ran for a month before I took it off, went to Win 2000 which I used on a relative's computer and decided it was not worth looking at. Then came XP that I did adopt and found satisfactory. Since then we have seen Vista, 7, 8, and now 10.

    Note the short life cycle of everything but 7. Well, even 7 was short in MS standards, but customers are using it. Now 10 is reported to be spying on me for MS. If so they should be arrested and prosecuted. Maybe if they had a real policy of concerning themselves with value to the customer they might actually do something right.

  31. Mike Godfrey
    November 3, 2015 at 4:05 am

    The whole point here for many people is "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" and if all you're doing is emails, surfing the internet and printing off a recipe, Win XP is fine. Even high power users who do video rendering, photo editing and the like don't need Win 8 or 10 and in fact its a dangerous route to go down with inadequate testing of legacy PC's by Microsoft for updates to Win 10.

    Its very obvious Microsoft are very worried where they'll get revenue streams in the future now both hardware and OS's are very mature and the market has moved to portable gadgets although even that is pretty mature now. Its hard to predict where computing technology can go next now we all have PC's, notebooks, tablets and smart phones as whats left to have. The surface is a premium over priced tablet for people with more money than sense when a notebook is more powerful with more storage.

    IBM contracted after the PC came out and I predict that Microsoft will do likewise with only a shrinking replacement market to keep it going.

  32. Jeff Fuller
    November 3, 2015 at 3:48 am

    What I liked most about XP was that you could customize it out of the box the way you like. XP STILL has the best version of Windows Explorer and why they dropped the Quick Launch bar, I will never know. People wonder why programs like Classic Shell get millions of downloads. it's because of all of the features they stripped and continue to strip out of the latest versions.

  33. James Van Damme
    November 3, 2015 at 1:48 am

    If you actually like XP, there are several Linux distros that will make you feel right at home; yet you can have a brand new OS that's much safer. Linux runs your old peripherals like printers and scanners, unlike Windows 7 and newer. And most old XP apps will run in Linux using the Wine program.

    Our small engineering consulting company has some PCs that run XP. They run specialized digital acquisition cards. And we have some servers that aren't on the external internet. I can remote to all of them with my Linux boxes. Some I've put dual boot on (XP or Win7, and Linux). I usually put 32 bit Lubuntu on 5-12 year old PCs, or maybe Puppy or Bodhi. The newer ones get Mint, Ubuntu, Manjaro, Zorin.

    • Bob Klahn
      November 3, 2015 at 4:14 am

      When I can plug one in, and install the necessary software for my purposes, with little effort and not know I'm not running Windows, I'll look into it. I really don't want to know what Grep or Bash or sda1 sdb1 are.

      And I want my old software to work.

      • James Van Damme
        November 3, 2015 at 12:32 pm

        I'm a crotchety old grouch of 68, and I figured out Linux. Well, I still know what a Grep is, but I don't need to. I've seen customizations that look exactly like XP, right down to the Start button and background. Cute, but I've moved on.

        People are resistant to change. I drive a ten year old car because I don't need any new gadgets to break... but I also don't have antilock brakes and a backup monitor. Time marches on.

        App installation is safer and easier in Linux. Most distros have "app stores" where you just browse around for something that interests you, read the reviews, and click to install wihout fear of included viruses. You also get updates for all your apps, when you want them.

  34. l_mckeon
    November 3, 2015 at 12:55 am

    I use XP because I have an ancient computer and no money to replace it with anything decent, and Windows 10's nasty spying habits are an additional disincentive to upgrade.

    However I also use Kaspersky, Firefox and NoScript and I browse in Sandboxie for which I have a lifetime license. When combined with a few other things and keeping away from known nasty sites I don't think I'm in TOO much danger.

  35. Patrick Piklapp
    November 3, 2015 at 12:31 am

    Anybody who has done some work on the hardware of their computer knows, you don't just plug something in and hope it works. You often have to go through hours or days of experimentation to get everything to work together. IT personnel don't have the option to just grab something and hope it works, they have to get the item and work with it at a small level and hope to get it to work there. From there it is a struggle to get the new tech, hardware or software, to sync up with the rest of systems. That alone could take anywhere from hours to days. I remember reading about a tech who volunteered to help a school switch operating systems, and he was still working on the switch over two months later. He devoted evenings and weekends to get everything to come together and was encountering new problems every hour. No multiple input system ever gets 100% bug-free as the human factor always adds spice to the system.

  36. wenkeadam
    November 2, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    I loved DOS, hated win3.1, loved win95, stayed with it until XP came, still love XP and keep my XP netbook working, have some important work related software that doesn't run on win8 so I have to run it in a virtual machine on my new laptop, that's ok. I still hate the win8 that came with my new laptop, and dread the day I will be forced to upgrade to win10 or 12 or whatever they will come up with next.
    Of course I understand that the most recent software can't run on XP because it needs 64 bits and soon will need 128, but I'm bitter because Microsoft abandoned XP like they did.

    • Bob Klahn
      November 3, 2015 at 4:15 am

      Exactly right. There is no reason for the great changes you see in the operation of the newer systems.

  37. Adalia Kroblen
    November 2, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    I'm still using Windows XP, haha. I use Chrome as my broswer, but it can get slow at times. I read that Chrome will continue to get security updates/patches for Windows XP until the end of 2015. I plan on upgrading the memory and putting Linux Ubuntu on it before January 2016.

    • Low Profile
      February 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      If you choose to you can switch over to the Firefox or Opera Browsers for XP.

  38. X64.bits
    November 2, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I have a few computers in a corner laying around gathering dust with windows xp, For the most part i have ditched Windows and Linux has now become my primary Operating System.

  39. Keith Jones
    November 2, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    We can not afford the newer operating systems so we will keep
    Xp .
    I would be interested in trying a newer OS.
    We have a Toshiba Laptop That
    Eas given to us it may not have
    What is needed for Windows 7

  40. Abraham Chen
    November 2, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    What is the definition of an OS versus application S/W? It seems that in the old days, an OS was unresponsive to anything out of the ordinary. Has anyone questioned about why today's OS needs be continuously updated to deal with the cyber attacks?

  41. Wilson Reginald Roial
    November 2, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    I am planning to switch to Mac OS using an Apple hardware soon. I am done with Windows.

  42. Wilson Reginald Roial
    November 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    It's SIMPLE. Microsoft wants everyone to upgrade because they want profit and they do not care about the users affected.

    • Piotr Kowalski
      November 2, 2015 at 10:56 pm

      And that's why they offer an free upgrade to win 10 for Win 7 and Win 8.1 users. And stop implying that upgrade from XP to at least Win 7 will leave you stripped down to your socks. It's price dropped tremendously science its release. Adobe asks more for an yearly subscription to Photoshop CC only than Microsoft for its Windows 7 OS.

      • fcd76218
        November 3, 2015 at 12:19 am

        "And stop implying that upgrade from XP to at least Win 7 will leave you stripped down to your socks."
        It is not an implication, it is fact. What you are conveniently forgetting is that each new version of Windows requires new hardware to run on because it is more resource-hungry than any previous version. Also M$ has it rigged so that a new O/S version almost always requires all new application software versions.

        That is what will leave you stripped down to your socks!

      • Bob Klahn
        November 3, 2015 at 4:18 am

        Where can I buy Win 7?

        And what makes you think those of us still using XP are using Photoshop anything? I don't subscribe to software. I buy it and expect it to run for a very long time.

  43. Jason Cardiff
    November 2, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    This is silly. Anyone using XP at this stage is doing so at their own peril.

    I love how it's somehow Microsoft's problem that industrial apps were built for XP. That's a cost of business, Sarah. Whoever designed this software has to be called upon now if there are issues, no? They need to update their code, period.

    Where else in the world is a company expected to - without charge- keep supporting antiquated products where no one's life is at risk? Throw a Linux distribution on this older hardware if you as a consumer want to extend its life.

    But stop all this entitlement whining. It's so pathetic.

    • fcd76218
      November 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      Have you ever worked in IT, Jason?

      • Wilson Reginald Roial
        November 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        Seems like he does not that is why he does not understand. He thought everything is possible to just upgrade everything in the way like just reformatting your PC and reinstalling a new version of an OS. He is pathetically uninformed blabbering without sufficient understanding.

        • Piotr Kowalski
          November 2, 2015 at 11:01 pm

          And what can't you back up all you'r data? Sooner or later upgrading your IT structure will be a must even government agencies are aware of this fact. And when the time comes they will do so. You cannot stop the flow of time yes you can slow it down or postpone it for a while but it will always find a way to keep up going.

        • Jason Cardiff
          November 5, 2015 at 12:14 pm

          Really, Wilson? Oh please, wise one, tell me where I'm so uninformed.

          I never said anything about reformatting/installing new OS. I said ...wait for it... that the individuals or company that designed the original software, and presumably the ones that actually maintain it when there are software issues (what a concept!) are the ones to re-write the code. How hard is that to comprehend?

          Instead, you want the OS manufacturer to pay people to keep supporting (for free to end users, apparently) an operating system that wasn't designed to deal with today's threats. It's inherently incapable, in other words. And, of course, if something happens to said OS in the future where malware/viruses/root kits are concerned, it would be Microsoft's fault, right?

      • Jason Cardiff
        November 5, 2015 at 12:07 pm

        I DO work in IT, and I know full well that there is a life cycle for everything, both in hardware and software.

        • Bob Klahn
          November 5, 2015 at 3:05 pm

          Fine, state the life cycle at time of sale.

    • Bob Klahn
      November 3, 2015 at 4:27 am

      There should not be any peril in running any OS. A properly designed OS will not allow a virus in, and good anti-virus software should handle any loose ends.

      Why should MS change a system so much that industrial software won't run on it? I programmed those machines, like she described. For years after we went to XP the best computer for programming them was an old Dos based 486. It still worked.

      If Microsoft want's to abandon a system that is used in business and industry, then open it up and let third party vendors have all the info to support it.

      Years ago, back when typewriters were still in use, I worked for a short time for Royal Typewriter company in service. There was a sign over the entrance to the shop, "We are not obligated to sell one more typewriter, but we are morally obligated to service every single typewriter we ever sold."

      I worked on 50 year old typewriters, and it cost the same as yesterdays. It's a matter of integrity, of loyalty being a two way street. That's something that is in short supply these days.

      Like I said, if they don't want to support it, open it up and let those who do want to do the job.

      The whining is from those who think a corporation has no responsibilities to it's customers.

      • Jason Cardiff
        November 5, 2015 at 12:25 pm

        Bob - why aren't you complaining about the company that actually wrote the industrial code to begin with? THAT'S what needs to run, right? It's just more of this entitlement mentality that someone would expect a now decade-plus-old operating system has to keep being maintained (at no charge) so that a particular piece of software can run? It's so absurd.

        A couple of things: Do you know what "Compatibility Mode" is? You can run software in various compatibility modes so that the operating system does its best to emulate an older version, whether it's Windows 8, Windows 7, XP, etc. Has Sarah even tried this?

        Secondly, Microsoft WILL provide the updates necessary to keep XP alive. But it will cost you as an end user for that support. What's wrong with that?

        Third, what happens when - which inevitably will happen - the actual hardware (PC) this old software and XP is running on breaks down? There may very well be no "Drivers" for Windows XP for newer hardware that will be needed. Are people like you going to then complain to Dell/Lenovo/AMD/Nvidia, et al., that they need to provide drivers for XP for their newer systems? Really?

        Again, this is silly. Sarah and her company need to bite the bullet and either pay Microsoft for the ongoing XP security support or pay the firm that wrote the code for the industrial app to update it (of course, since you think MS should keep supporting XP for free, the company that wrote the original industrial code should update it free too, right?).

        • Bob Klahn
          November 5, 2015 at 3:11 pm

          If compatibility mode works for Win 7 or 8 or 10 that would be nice, but it's not guaranteed.

          How often am I supposed to upgrade. Since in bought my XP computer we have had vista 7 8 8.1 10.

          Win 8 was a cheap upgrade, but if you have even 3 or 4 in the home it adds up.

          What part of open it up and let third parties maintain it didn't you get?

          If I buy a new computer I expect it will have a newer OS on it. Since I don't run a factory that's not the problem.

          The entitlement mentality is in the minds of the MS execs, who believe they are entitled to make billions off people they already sold their product to.

      • fcd76218
        November 5, 2015 at 2:04 pm

        @Bob Klahn:
        “We are not obligated to sell one more typewriter, but we are morally obligated to service every single typewriter we ever sold.”
        I hate to point out the obvious but in spite of their user-oriented philosophy, where is Royal Typewriter today? I am not being snarky. Just saying that today Royal Typewriter's attitude is gone along with the typewriters it produced. Today everything must be a disposable commodity. Software is not replaced because it no longer works, it is replaced because it has reached an arbitrary expiration date. The way things are going, I wonder how long before they start replacing humans because they reached a certain arbitrary age.

        • Bob Klahn
          November 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm

          There is no reason for customer service being abandoned just because one product went out of production.

          Everything has an end, but right now there are millions who say XP hasn't ended. The fact that MS says it has is not meaningful, unless they set a life limit on it when sold.

          Too many software companies think they have a right to a profit, instead of profit being the reward for service or products.

          Since no virus can force it's way onto a computer, then the responsibility lies with the software, in this case OS, that lets it in. That responsibility never ends, the problem should never have been there.

          Again, if they aren't going to support it open it up and let third parties support it.

  44. A41202813GMAIL ..
    November 2, 2015 at 9:50 am

    I Am Trying My Best To Keep It Alive - No Regrets, So Far.

    Lots Of Browsers Still Support It.

    Lots Of The Most Recent And Customized Fast Hardware Can Keep It Going For A Long Long Long Time.

    Use Your AV To Warn And Block Any Programs From Running From The Download Or Temp Folders - Unblock Them When You Can Not Install Software, And Afterwards Block Them Again.

    And, Yes, I Stopped Using Newer Updates Since M$ Started To Screw XP Users In The SUMMER Of 2009 - I UnInstalled Almost All Updates I Was Using - I Am Just Using Less Than The Half A Dozen Necessary To Keep The Machine Going.

    And, Yes, I Always Use An Administrator Account.

    And, Yes, I Visit Shady Streaming Sites With IE8 Every Single Freaking Day.

    XPOCALYPSE FOREVER !

  45. Wam Wam
    November 1, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    BTW - there's a patent I have on my web site that was for wireless SCADA ... we designed that back in 1994 using the internet

    Now the call it the IOT.... silly humans.

  46. Wam Wam
    November 1, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Yep - still use XP. Funny 'cause I use it to design stuff that runs 10. Ha Ha..

    Seriously, do two things and any flavor of Winblows will be secure:

    Run Noscript.

    Use a text only email client. If I want to see pretty pics/media (usually a lot of flesh tones) I have things I go to for that. 'Just the text ma'am"

    It's simple - practice safe hex - a syaing we had back in 1982 when I was designing some of the first adapters for CGA cards on the first XT color PC's

    http://www.ajawamnet.com/

  47. ray geyer
    November 1, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Two machines here. One with Win7 & the other runs XP. The reason we have not upgraded the XP box is primarily due to the fact that MS made the transition too much of a hassle. First there is no clear upgrade path. Basically you're wiping the drive and starting over or having to re-install all your software (yes there are work arounds but again a MAJOR hassle). The XP system is highly customized (partitioned drive with key folders like 'My Documents' on seperate external drives) and standard MS upgrade scenarios really really aren't compatible with these types of configurations.

    Win7 came with a new box several years ago, when it failed got newer box with Win8. HATED that so much reverted box back to Win7 and plan to stay there. Unless someone comes up with a valid, no-nonsense reason(s) to change, I see no reason why I should upgrade & start from scratch.

  48. sanjsrik
    November 1, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    You forgot one of the biggest users of XP to date. ATM machines. Almost all ATM machines are still running on Windows XP. The banks pushed back hard when Microsoft said they'd stop supporting it. XP isn't going away any time soon if the banks won't upgrade.

    • Piotr Kowalski
      November 2, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      There will come a time when they will have to... Who's stupid enough to pay shitload of cash for upgrades for an ancient OS. No bank, oh no they ain't. They love their and our money to much.

  49. Simon Wajcer
    November 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Compatability. I run XP on a older laptop just because the photo editing program I find easy and versatile enough for my needs is incompatible with newer Windows systems. Even all my Word docs from the XP era and before run on a compatability notification. Most annoying.

  50. Michael Ossing
    November 1, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Up until June, I was running XP in a VM on my openSuSE laptop, just to keep it around "in case". I flattened the laptop and upgraded with a fresh copy of openSuSE, but didn’t reinstall XP, as I acquired a Win7 laptop, which does what I need when a Windows program is required.

    My current employer has all Win7 boxes and we have no plans to upgrade.

    We modelled a Win10 box, just for grins, to see if it worked in our environment. The results of that test are, we're staying with Win7 as long as possible.

    In the past, I worked for a large retail grocer and their self checkout systems were running XP, as were the handheld RF devices (XP mobile, or whatever it was called). One of their tech support guys told me they had no plans to change, because, as "Sarah" noted, "If it isn't broke...".

  51. Danny
    November 1, 2015 at 1:52 am

    I have not used XP when I adopted Win7. It is the XP killer IMO. But like the article says, XP works because it still runs on ancient hardware. Too bad XP is a security nightmare on the modern internet. I would use XP if I had to, but I would not consciously install it myself on any platform that can run a newer Windows version. And if I can install the latest Ubuntu LTS on it, I'd install that over XP too.

    I loved XP, I had used it since I abandoned Win2000 around 2002, but it was created a long time ago, with bad security features. I remember the time when a newly formatted and installed XP would get infected by worms for connecting to the web in just 30 seconds. It took MS long enough to enable the firewall by default. And up 'til the end, the default user runs as root and with almost no privilege escalation mitigation.

    • fcd76218
      November 2, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      "Too bad XP is a security nightmare on the modern internet."
      The problem is not localized to XP. Windows has been a security nightmare since Day1. Security has never been the #1 priority at Microsoft, glitz and glitter, and adding "features" was/is. The goal of Bill Gates and senior Microsoft management has always been the domination and control of the entire PC market. They almost achieved their goal during the Win 95 and Win NT days.

      The only reason MS developed and released the successive versions of Windows (3.x, 9.x, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8.x, 10) was to guarantee itself a steady income stream. If MS used the $billions they spent on developing all the "new and improved" versions on improving any one of them, by now they would have the most secure, best designed, best running O/S bar none. Every few years all the Windows users have to not only get a new O/S but all new application software also.

      XP was damned good O/S. There was no reason for Vista, 7, 8.x and 10. All the changes and innovations made in the latter four O/Ss could have been made to XP through software updates. But that would have meant that users would not need to go out and buy all new software from M$.

      • Jason Cardiff
        November 5, 2015 at 12:31 pm

        Imagine that...a company creates a new product with advanced features to get a revenue stream. Wow! And here I thought all the car companies, all the electronics companies, etc., released new models because there were actually features that were compelling in them. Now I know they could have just kept adding stuff to the old ones! Thanks for that.

        So silly...

        • fcd76218
          November 5, 2015 at 1:49 pm

          Ah, the old, hackneyed O/S as a car metaphor! If Detroit built cars the way Microsoft builds O/Ss, cars would still have cranks, running boards and wooden wheels along with air conditioning, GPS and Internet connectivity.

          Other than going from 32 bit to 64 bit, what are the compelling new features that absolutely required the development and release of 4 new operating systems (Vista, 7, 8.x, 10)? It's not as if Microsoft wrote each of the O/Ss from scratch. If they had done that maybe some, or many, of the security problems that have plagued Windows for many years, would have been eliminated. Instead Microsoft keeps glomming new code on top of the old and the O/S keep s growing like Topsy.

        • Bob Klahn
          November 6, 2015 at 4:13 am

          As the editor for one of the computer mags said, a couple years ago, the latest version of Windows does exactly the same thing the first version did, starts other programs.

          That is what an OS does.

          And no, they seldom have compelling new features. Mostly they have tweaks and marketing changes. Oh, and changes to make them incompatible. What wonderful changes do any of the versions form XP on that make the change worthwhile? Go back to Win 98 for that matter.

          A new product solely for more money from previous customers, and that won't be compatible with previous versions, with no major improvements, are fraud.

  52. D New
    November 1, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Blaming the IRS for using XP? The author says XP wont go away because people in the Third World are pirating the software, someone uses a 10 year old machine to do email and surfing, and some highly technical organizations have built a complicated system over the last 10 years.

    I have 3 towers in my basement gathering dust. I have even more motherboards. All Microsoft wants to do is encourage people to upgrade to Windows 10. in the next few months, Microsoft will continue upgrading Windows 10. Over time, Windows 10 will become the dominant OS and then the ecosystem will begin to expanding quickly. This is the nature of an ecosystem, the more people who join provide more reasons to expand its capabilities.

    The article shows just how resilient ecosystem become. XP will never die. XP found its way into many different corners of our global socio-economic system. Here is the question, has Microsoft already have plans to issue an XP maintenance program for XP users once Windows 10 becomes the dominant OS? As you say, if there are 10 million of these mission critical machines in the market, and you are going to charge $50 a year, that's $500 million to manage 10 or so software engineers.

  53. John Schroeder
    October 31, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    The Head of IT had an interesting quote. "“We’d have to rewrite the software from scratch to get it to work on Linux. Even if we ported it to Windows 7, we’d have to make some pretty big modifications. We just can’t afford to do that. … Anyway, if it isn’t broke, why fix it?”

    The problem is XP is broke. Microsoft has patched it for 10 year trying to fix it. At some point "fixing" XP means starting over with a newer OS whether it be Windows 10, Linux or some other system.

    Industry tries to treat IT like other equipment they purchase which may have 20+ year life spans. Unfortunately IT security is a cost benefit analysis by many companies conducted in the past tense. Upgrades often occur after the breach so companies end up paying for security twice.

    • hildyblog
      October 31, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      Most IT operations don't have truly mission critical software. When things can explode if the software gets one number wrong, and you have software that works, you don't want to rewrite it. If the price of keeping the software running is using an old OS, you accept that.

      The one thing in the article I'd disagree with is the IRS comment. The IRS doesn't have mission critical software on their XP machines, what they have is machines that aren't capable of being upgraded and a hardware budget that won't allow them to buy new ones as fast as they should due to Republican limits on their hardware budget (the budget they do get goes to keeping their mainframes, data centers, and networks running). They can, however, buy security updates from MS because software services are in a separate budget line item. If that doesn't make sense to you, write your Congressman.

      • Bob Klahn
        November 3, 2015 at 4:42 am

        Thank you for sensible commenting and valuable information.

    • Bob Klahn
      November 3, 2015 at 4:40 am

      Strip out the vulnerabilities completely.

      No software beyond the OS should run without being called by the operator. There should be no way for a virus to install just because you click a link. Not ever.

      Eliminate autorun of software from CDs and flash drives. Remember, Stuxnet auto-installed from flash drives.

      Industrial computing is not IT as it is typically seen. The IT department seldom has any idea how to do Industrial. I used to repair and replace all our laptops used for interface to the machines simply because main office IT took too long and had no idea what we really needed.

      Management told me not to do it, send it all to IT, until the realized they needed some floor desktops fixed at which time I was told to do whatever I had to.

      It ain't the same. The computer on the desk is talking to the computer that actually does the work. Changing doesn't just cost the money for the new system, but the money for lost production when something doesn't work. And that adds up horrendously.

    • Felix Luk
      September 10, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Windows 10 is not less broke than Windows XP. Windows had been broke since Day 1 due to poor design considerations. Windows 10 may look prettier (or at least different), but much of the underlying code and the design remains the same. If Windows 10 let you create an account with administrator rights without a password, how could it be safe?

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