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The end of an era…Good Bye Windows XP

Looking back, Microsoft has made some really bad decisions with it’s Windows product.

Windows XP has been a staple of life for over 12 years.  It was first released on August 24, 2001 and has been a work horse for many companies and homes.  People have passed up several new versions of Windows to stay with the tried and true fried.  Looking back, Microsoft has made some really bad decisions with it’s Windows product.  Personally, my biggest quandary has been the need to change things that are not broken, but I will leave that for another article.  Windows Vista was the first successor that met with a very cold reception and was not well implemented at all.  Microsoft decided to correct some of the issues and came out with Windows 7.  Although Windows 7 was a vast improvement to Vista, and is pretty nice all things considered, it still did not have a great uptake in the market and many people stayed on XP.  With the release of Windows 7 it seemed as though Microsoft learned a little something from Vista and was on the right track.  Windows 8 was a clear sign that my thoughts were wrong and someone who is really self-assured is running the show at Microsoft.  What a total letdown.   I am not the only person to think so and that is why there are still 35% of Windows users still on XP.  Windows 8 has had the slowest install reception of any version of Windows in history, and is barely squeaking out an 8% share of the market.  

So what are people to do on April 8th of this year when your Windows XP computers starts nagging you that it is not supported any longer and you are not going to get security updates?  If you are a corporate customer you can pay $200 a computer for premier support, not may companies or people can afford that.  I have a few suggestions for you to get your through this tough time:

  1. Evaluate your software first.  Windows XP is 12 years old and some software might not run on Windows 8.  If not, the choice is made for you and you should install Windows 7.  Windows 7 does have a compatability mode that can help with the old applications. 

  2. Evaluate your hardware and see if you can run Windows 7.  That is the closest thing to Windows XP that you can get.  Well, that is if you can get it.  Recently the market for Windows 7 upgrades has gone through the roof.  I have been forced to upgrade some clients to Windows 8 just because of the cost and lack of availability.  

  3. If your hardware is old and will not support an upgrade, you can order a new computer with Windows 7.  Vendors such as Dell can still preload computers with Windows 7 on them instead of Windows 8.  You can’t easily find computers in the box stores with Windows 7 on them but can still find some on Amazon.   People have been snatching them up in the last few months because of this scenario.

  4. If you really don’t need to be on Windows, I would suggest switching to a Apple Mac system.  I know this seems drastic but actually it is a better system and will be easier to learn that Windows 8(really I am not kidding).  If you do not rely on any Windows specific software then you are good to go and make the switch. If you do rely on Windows softeare you can also run a Windows Emulator on the Mac.  Running a Windows Emulator is not that hard, and actually runs Windows better than it runs natively on hardware, as ironic as it seems.

  5. The last resort is to get a Windows 8 computer.  Good luck with this choice.  I have used Windows 8 off and on since it has been introduced.  I am not a fan at all, and it is solely due to the fact that they have changed almost everything about how it works.  It is hard to describe, but this is why an Apple Mac looks more like Windows XP than Windows 8 does.

So there you have your options.  I hope you can go with Windows 7, as it will save you a lot of headaches in the short run.  Microsoft is poised to release a new update to Windows 8 to bring back some features that might help with a transition from XP.  I am not holding my breath at the moment that it will make a big difference in the usability of the user interface.  Microsoft has proven to not really care what YOU want in the user interface, but what they what you to want.  Unfortunately for all of us there is so much software that runs only on Windows that it is keeping the capitalist market from correcting things.  Microsoft can do what they want, what are we going to do, force vendors to rewrite software? The only hope we have is that Satya Nadella (The New CEO) will start to see and care about what the users want.  I miss the old Microsoft days when I was like a little boy on Christmas morning waiting to get the next great version of Windows.

by Robert Fulcher March 13, 2014 - 11:47am