Saying goodbye to Windows XP
It's been a long run, but Windows XP has finally reached its end of life. As of April 8th Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft, meaning no more security updates and support. XP was, and still is, one of Microsoft's most successful operating systems with many fans holding out on upgrading. Looking through our user reviews you can see how much some of our users loved the OS.
Trewyy: "Windows XP is still the best OS to date."
ParasValecha: "A beast of an OS back in the day. Never had any problems with it."
However, we also have some users who agreed the OS was nearing its end of life and need to go.
When Microsoft released Vista, it was easy to not want to upgrade. It was a complete mess thought not in the way ME was a mess. Windows 7 made it easier to give up XP, but as evident by the graphic below it still had a huge hold on market share.
As the OS goes into the past, how are you planning to cope? Are you going to go for the moon and upgrade to Windows 8, or has Windows 7 shown itself as a suitable alternative to the once great XP?
ps - IE 6 can finally go away too!
Here's Engadget's current page in IE 6.
I don't think I'll miss it too much.
You'd be surprised. Windows 7 has become the new standard in most of those areas. My wife works for the federal government and they've been on 7 for a few years now. Businesses also switched to 7 while they could still easily get new computers that came with it installed, fearing 8.
XP was great in its day, but I firmly believe 7 is the best version of Windows ever made (and I liked 2000 a lot too it its time). I've been using 7 since the beta releases and have never gone back.
The funniest thing about that chart is how poorly Vista has done. I agree that XP has held its share because people didn't want to give it up, but I do wonder how this chart would have looked when Vista was released. In that chart, I suspect you could swap out 7 for XP and XP for 98/98SE and the numbers would be about the same. It really lends credence to the theory that every other version is terrible.
As a computer support tech, I talk to a lot of clients about what they think of Windows 8. I have never had a single client who likes using it. It's a mess, a disaster, and a complete and utter failure for Microsoft. It's an awful operating system that can't be replaced fast enough.
I've been helping a ton of people upgrade or replace their XP systems, and in every single case, without my prompting, they've wanted to move to Windows 7. These days, a refurbished Optiplex with an SSD and at least 4GB of RAM running Windows 7 is a great computer for people who don't need much from their systems.
I also agree that Windows 7 is far superior to Windows XP. I think when 7 first came out there was still a lot of resentment over the aesthetics and Windows because of the Vista situation -- I still believe this is not entirely Microsoft's fault and still not as bad as ME.
While I haven't used Windows 8 a lot beyond a Parallels VM (which is infuriating), the whole experience is pretty frustrating. I wish they treated 8 as three versions: Touch (metro only), Professional (desktop only) and Metro (what 8 currently is with the hybrid mode). This could have allowed them to get the newer interface to people while still giving corporate environments the ability to keep a traditional experience. I mean it's just silly that there are TWO different IE experiences in 8.
That pretty much sums it up. It baffles me that nobody stopped and thought that at the very least, perhaps they should do the bare minimum and combine the favorites of the two IE instances? They never thought that maybe it's a stupid idea to confuse users about where their settings are stored for their internet browser? I can only conclude that they assumed users would all switch over to using the tile interface full time. It's just dumb all around.
One of the big problems they had with 8 is that you never know which experience you're going to be thrown into. When you open an application in the tile interface, sometimes you're taken to the desktop mode and vice versa. It's a jarring experience for me, let alone one of my clients. I also can't stand how things are buried and difficult to find. Or how you HAVE to have an account with Microsoft in order to use the operating system and receive updates now.
Microsoft failed here. It's even worse than Vista. Vista was somewhat usable by this point, it just got a bad rep from it's first year on the market and the bad driver support it first experienced. It didn't try to so drastically shift how users interacted with their computers, and do it in such a dumb way.
I have to admit that I'm interested in seeing what Windows 9 (or whatever it's called) will look like. I'm hoping that it'll be the kind of improvement that Windows 7 was. But I'm not holding my breath as long as Sinofsky is still around...
Also, you don't need a Microsoft account to use the OS, but they don't make that very clear. When creating that first account, click the "don't have a Microsoft account" link, which takes you to a register page. On that register page, there's a link at the bottom that says "Just use a local account". I rewrote both quotes because I don't remember exactly what they said, but they should have roughly the same meaning.
Also, I could be wrong and you can correct me about this, but don't you have to have a Microsoft account in order to download 8.1? And isn't 8.1 now necessary in order to receive future updates?
So yes, I was aware that you could use the operating system as a local user, but if the above is correct, it's not advisable.
Also, each new update from Microsoft brings user experience improvements to 8.1. The latest update makes dealing with Metro apps a more familiar experience for those used to desktop mode by adding minimize and close buttons on the top right corners and having these apps appear in the taskbar. They also announced a Start Menu will be coming soon as an option to use instead of the Start Screen.
Microsoft is under a new rule under Satya Nadella and they are clearly trying to tell their users they are listening to them.
Also, if it's possible to get 8.1 another way, what is that way? And why would/should the Windows Store be the "recommended way" to get a massive update to the operating system? What's wrong with Windows Update, which has been the way users get their updates for almost two decades? I'm sorry, but it should be as easy as possible for a user to receive updates that improve and strengthen their computer. It's inexcusable to make that process more convoluted, and the only possible reason to do it is clear: Microsoft wants you to use the Windows Store. I'm sorry, but that's not putting the user first.
Look, I'm not a Microsoft hater (I'm not that type that spells it with a $). I use Windows on almost all my computers, and I work with their products every day. The reason I'm so angry with them about Windows 8 is that I work with the consumers who are affected by their changes. I assist the 70 year old retirees* who are already intimidated by computers and just picked the nice-looking, low-cost computer they saw at Costco. Those people despise Windows 8, and feel completely lost. So yes, bravo to Microsoft for improving the UI, but these people still hate it, and it's only going to push them towards their competitors.
* Naturally, I'm not saying that all 70 year olds and/or retirees are intimidated by computers. Just the ones that call me for help!
I love the PS part , lol :)