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Why You Should Consider Replacing XP Now

microsoft-windows-xp-logoEarlier last month we published an article dealing with the findings of a recent Microsoft security report and its implications for XP users, you can catch up with that article here: Microsoft Report Shows Why You Should Abandon XP Now. Somewhat unsurprisingly, that article elicited a lot of comments questioning the report’s findings and generally defending XP. One commenter even went so far as to  suggest that a motor vehicle built in 1958 is as safe as those built today. I do believe that particular gentleman (or lady) would benefit greatly from researching advancements in motor vehicle safety technology over the past 25 years or so. Many of those comments also suggested that statistics can be manipulated to suit a specific purpose, and, while I agree entirely with that premise, I feel obliged to point out that it can work both ways.

While I can appreciate the fondness and loyalty displayed toward such a venerable operating system, I must admit I do not fully comprehend it. I still vividly remember those early years with XP and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, XP contributed largely to much of what I understand about computers and operating systems today. I spent so much time on the net researching so many issues, not only for myself but advising across help forums and for my clientele, it was akin to an exercise in self education. Three service packs and 12 years later, and it appears many users have forgotten about those early trials and tribulations. Compare that history to Windows 7 and you have an altogether different story – Windows 7 was extremely reliable and stable from day one.

Progress is an undeniable certainty, and in today’s field of PCs and operating systems that equates to advancements and enhancements in multiple areas, including both technology and security. There are several very good reasons why XP users should seriously consider replacing XP with a newer operating system, not the least of which can be explained by the following simple equation: unsupported XP = zero security patches = still widely utilized operating system + unpatched vulnerabilities = prime target for cyber criminals.

windows 7 -windows 8 logoApart for the obvious security implications, XP users are also likely to experience problems locating suitable drivers/software. In time, more and more manufactures and developers are going to drop support for XP. We’ve witnessed this trend in the past and there is no reason to suggest it will not continue. I am neither anti nor pro XP, I am merely making an honest assessment based on the facts and offering the best possible advice as I see it. Although, having used both XP and Windows 7 extensively over long periods of time, in my opinion the latter is far superior. That is purely subjective though and doesn’t really enter into the equation, the primary consideration here is that both Windows 7 and Windows 8 are progressively more secure than XP, even during the full support period. After end of support finally arrives, that situation can only worsen.

I certainly do not agree with every decision Microsoft makes, or has made. However, I firmly believe Windows 8 is the operating system that had to be, both from a fiscal point of view and in terms of moving forward and keeping in tune with modern trends. Obviously Windows 8 will not be to everyone’s liking, even though there is certainly a lot to like. However, Windows 7 represents an extremely viable alternative, it really is so much better than XP on so many levels. Either way, I firmly believe it would be in XP users best interests to replace their operating system as soon as possible rather than waiting until the end of support date and/or beyond.

By the way: I’m still running XP Pro on an older Pentium 4 machine myself. However, at end of support date I shall be disconnecting that particular machine from the net and leaving it disconnected. I’ll still be connected on my Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines for normal day to day online operations. This is something you might also consider if you simply cannot get by without XP and some of the older programs.

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About the author - Jim Hillier
Managing Editor/Contest Coordinator of Daves Computer Tips - Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30 years of experience. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s. He progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PC's in the 1990s. Jim currently uses both XP and Win7. Jim has a passion for free software and hopes to share that passion with others during his tenure here!
 
Comments

Jim, I agree with most of the article. But, most XP based machines I have come across (and own) do not have the power to step up to the task of running WIN 8 (or WIN 7). My machine is mostly offline and runs its current load of software quite well. When it is no longer useful, I will let it go gracefully or use it to play with a version of Unix.
In the mean time I do not run email and rarely surf (and only to known safe sites). It runs some imaging and AV creation software (not the latest versions) quit well and is still useful.

Hi Tom – It’s been my experience (first hand) that Windows 8 runs fine on an older Pentium 4 machine with 1GB RAM. If anyone is still running a pre-Pentium 4 machine then they’ve had a particularly good run. :)

I agree entirely that there is no reason an older XP machine cannot still be useful for offline activities.

Thanks for your input here, appreciated,
Cheers… Jim

Tom. When XP arrived on the scene, it forced many users to upgrade their hardware. In fact, XP was called the o/s which made people get newer, faster, more everything, just to keep the o/s happy. I was one of those, so, having to replace or upgrade older (slower) computers is nothing new. And as mentioned, you can still use them offline to prefer other tasks (as I also do), Mindblower!

Jim, I migrated from Windows 95 (if I’m not mistaken) and jumped to XP. It was a shock, but it and I grew together. Received the SP2 disc from Microsoft, and back then, it only allowed users to partition 32 Gig. (or multiples of 32 Gig.) but when you’ve got a 500 Gig or bigger drive, it’s a nightmare. Believe much of not wanting to leave XP is because of the way we get used to working with our computer. Keep harping, that if one still wants the feel of an XP, there are third party utilities that work just fine, allowing the illusion to become reality (so to speak). :)

And if we learn anything, is that we must adapt if we want to connect (use the WWW). An unconnected computer is fine for many purposes, and we also neglect them, since we prefer to have everything in just one. Glad I’m different. Still work with DOS, and programs like dBase and Lotus. All the training will not go down in vain, nor will my 486s, Mindblower!

Great comments MB, appreciate your input.

Cheers… Jim

I have a video editing program that I’ve used for 10+ years that has a 16 bit installer (won’t install on a 64 system). I’ve even got a modern upgrade to the program, but it doesn’t have the workflow or option to edit like I do. It also lags to much to use XP mode or a different virtual machine.

I don’t have java installed on either boot and have Firefox locked down hard core…no script, ad block, ect. ect.in fact I basically don’t even go on the web while on XP. Since its just a different boot option on my main 64-bit win 7I can’t easily undo the Ethernet cord each time I boot into XP for the hour or two I need it.

What can I do to ensure my relative safety after the cutoff? Is there an easy software “button” to disable the internet in XP and not effect the 7 boot? Other things I can do?

Is there an easy software “button” to disable the internet in XP and not effect the 7 boot?

Sure. In XP go to Start>Control Panel>Network Connections. Right click on the Local Area Connection entry and select “Disable”.

That will switch the connection off in XP and remain persistent throughout subsequent boots. You can switch it back on again at any time by going through the same procedure and selecting ‘Enable’.

Cheers… Jim

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