Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Windows XP death watch: 365 357 days remaining"

A reminder from Naked Security of a looming major headache:

On April 8th, 2014 - exactly one year from today - Microsoft will terminate Extended Support for Windows XP.

That means no more security updates.

And that could mean very big problems for a significant percentage of PC users.

According to data from Net Applications, Windows XP still maintains a nearly 39% hold on the desktop operating system market, second only to Windows 7 which has just under 45%.

Every other individual desktop operating system (including Windows Vista, Windows 8, and Mac OS X v10.8 Mountain Lion) has 5% or less of the desktop operating system market.

You are now free to ridicule all those obstinate cheapskates me for continuing to stick with XP thus far, and likely for at least the next 356 days. But consider the real security implications, because there are going to be boatloads of business and government computers that definitely won't be upgraded or unplugged.


Rick said...

I've got a work laptop that runs Win 7. It really is quite good and is better than XP. But only if you're buying a new machine...

bjkeefe said...

Yes. My laptop is a Win 7 machine, and I'm mostly happy with it. I miss a few XP aspects -- slight differences in Start menu behavior that my muscle memory prefers, more straightforward searching for files, to name two -- but the real problem is that I have a perfectly good piece of hardware for running XP, which simply cannot run 7, even if I were willing (had been willing) to pay for the upgrade to 7.

That, itself, is not such a big deal, either, I guess, because it's long past time that I had a Linux machine at hand, and I suppose that's what I will convert this machine to, next year. It's just annoying to be forced to change when things are working well enough that I don't have to think about how to do the things that I usually do.

The real problem, at least on the intellectual level, though, is the thought of an Internet riddled with machines that are no longer being supplied with patches. I expect a big jump in botnets and spam, and worry about even more serious security breaches, as a consequence. It would seem to me, if I were Microsoft, that I had a social responsibility to extend support life for another couple of years, given the OS usage statistics.

I grant that MS also has a Responsibility To Shareholders, and so it's a little unfair to expect a profit-driven company to continue footing the entire maintenance bill. I wonder what it actually costs to maintain support for XP at the level they are now, though, and if there could be some way to spread those costs around, if they aren't trivial.

bjkeefe said...

Also (via Jack), this just in: COINCIDENCE?

So maybe it'll be a good thing in the long run if we all migrate to Ubuntu.

Jack said...

I started out loving Windows 7 when I installed it on a new computer I built. I went in with a positive outlook which allowed me to suppress my irritation with a few "features."

Then I got it on my work machine, and it performs much more poorly.

Now, after a couple years, I've learned to hate it. I would give anything to do back to Windows XP.

And from what I hear, Windows 8 is an absolute disaster. I think Microsoft is in the process of committing suicide, or something.

7 ways to bring back the PC

Microsoft tries a new Windows 8 damage control message

Substance McGravitas said...

Windows 7 has better pinning-to-the-start-menu routines. I really want to disable "Windows is checking for a solution to the problem" though.

bjkeefe said...

@Jack: Specific gripes?

@Subs: I don't know about the pinning. Maybe so. My biggest gripe is that, starting in Vista, hitting the Windows key to raise the Start menu and then typing a character no longer moves the focus to the first item on the Start menu beginning with that letter. It's just so much more familiar to do, say, WindowsKey,E (for Emacs), WK,P (for Paint.Net), WK,F (for Firefox), WK,M (for Msys), and so on.

Granted, it's not THAT big a deal, since I can type a few characters instead of one, which will eventually let me launch what I want. And I grant that the completion-suggestions approach is a win for more efficient launching of less frequently used programs. And there's probably some way to tab the focus away from its default starting position in the search box or whatever it's called.

I really miss Windows 2000 (he said, after shooing the children from his lawn), which allowed you to create, in effect, your own submenus off the Start Menu.

Yes, I should probably give Launchy a try and stop all this complaining. Keep meaning to do that.