Today is the day Windows XP dies.
As I begin typing this article, it is Midnight, the morning of April 8th, 2014. Microsoft official support of any kind for Windows XP, its nearly 13 year old indescribably successful computer operating system, has ended.
I, for one, am glad to see this day finally come. While I have fond memories of using the most successful computer operating system in history, I feel its time was extended far too long. Ironically, the very factors that make me dislike it are why it has stayed in the market for so very long.
Windows XP was to be superseded in 2004 by Longhorn, the codename for an operating system that later became the much-hated Windows Vista. However, the many well reported malware attacks of 2003 caused Microsoft to change the basic core of their operating systems. The result was the much hated Vista we got in 2006, which evolved into Windows 7 and Windows 8 over the next 6 years.
XP, however, has stayed around, even while being replaced with the superior but hated Vista, the “fixed” Vista that was marketed as Windows 7, and now, the, in my opinon, misunderstood Windows 8. 3 major revisions later, the operating system from 2001 is still chugging away on a reported 400 Million computers worldwide.
I’m not going to talk about all the details of this, or what the lack of support means. You can find that kind of information anywhere. I am only going to talk about this from my point of view, as I do every article I write on this site.
I personally have not used Windows XP on an actual machine I own since about 2010. From then, onward, my last XP machine, my 2008 Asus Netbook, has been running some version of Linux. Indeed, any XP era computer I own uses Linux, instead of any Windows version. It’s simply a matter of convenience. Getting XP working on machines is a chore. Always having to download drivers for decade old hardware isn’t fun. Trying to keep such a vulnerable operating system safe is incredibly annoying to me.
The only time I use Windows XP anymore is in a virtual machine, for the sake of convenience. Having access to an older 32 bit OS on my modern 64 bit hardware at least lets me use the occasional program that doesn’t work on my physical machines. This is a rare situation, however, and I have only ever really needed to use this method to play some older games.
XP does nothing, on a whole, that any other modern OS can do. I have never had real difficulty using modern Windows versions, or Linux on my older machines, so I have never had a reason to go back to, or stay “stuck on” XP, as so many others have.
Ever since I got my primary machine in 2010, to replace my old desktop from 2004, I have been incredibly impressed with what Windows 7, and now Windows 8, on a whole, and I have never looked back to XP as anything more than an archaic annoyance. Granted, in an ironic twist, on extremely old hardware, I will run Windows 2000, but there are nostalgic, and preferential reasons for that choice. Those machines don’t go online, and are used specifically for gaming. Nothing else.
I am glad to see support for it finally end, but I don’t hate Windows XP. I do think it was an amazing testament to how to take something everyone hated (yes, most people hated XP when it was first released, for the same reasons they didn’t like Vista 5 years later) and turn it into something too big and too loved for its own good.
Goodbye Windows XP. Thank you for being an example of being too successful for your own good.
Now if only people would give Windows 8 the chance it rightfully deserves.