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Windows XP served Microsoft well for over 7 years. Now the first phase of its retirement is being set into action, with the end of mainstream support. Security fixes for the OS will continue until 2014.  (Source: Microsoft)
A venerable OS is laid to rest -- sorta

Windows XP in its early years started off ambitious and enterprising.  However, in those early years (2001 and 2002), it also gave many a headache and received ample criticism.  With time (and Service Packs) it matured into what is today regarded as one of Microsoft's best operating system efforts of all time.

Now the time has come at last to take the first steps towards laying the OS to rest.  While sales of XP-downgraded computers will continue after July in the case of HP, and XP will still be installed on some netbooks until 2010, Microsoft is ending mainstream support for the OS on April 14, 2009.  The first phase of the retirement comes over seven years after the first Windows XP shipped.

The fact that it will still be selling XP machines after this discontinuation is a testament to the OS's strong public image, but it also puts Microsoft in a strange position.  Aside from new sales, an estimated 63 percent of internet-connect computers have Windows XP installed (as of March 2009), versus a mere 24 percent with Windows Vista.  In short, Microsoft is in the curious position of ending support for its most widely used product.

Laurence Painell, Windows marketing manager at Microsoft UK reassures customers that while the majority of product-related (i.e. mainstream) support will be ended, key security updates will not.  He states, "We will provide critical security fixes via Windows Update for all editions of XP until 2014."

However, Microsoft will no longer have the burden of answering any non-security issues, except for those users with an
extended support contract with Microsoft or one of its channel partners.  Microsoft says that the familiarity in the tech community with XP, should limit this becoming a problem.  It argues that customers have plenty of support resources to turn to online.

Gartner analyst
Michael Silver praises the move.  He states, "The only thing extended support buys you is creation of new non-security fixes, at a hefty fee for each one. After all these years, most people figure that most of the functional bugs [in XP] are already worked out."

Microsoft is encouraging XP customers to switch to its upcoming OS, Windows 7, particularly those who skipped Vista.  One curious aspect of Windows 7 is that it comes with an offer for an XP downgrade, again throwing a bit of a wrench in Microsoft's retirement plans.  The downgrade is a quick process, but ironically an upgrade from XP to Windows 7 requires a full install. 

Describes a Windows Team blog post, "There are simply too many changes in how PCs have been configured (applets, hardware support, driver model etc) that having all of that support carry forth to Windows 7 would not be nearly as high quality as a clean install." 

Microsoft encourages XP customers to download the Windows 7 beta to ease the transition.

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RE: They do not want to admit
By JediJeb on 4/8/2009 12:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
So lets take another example, Office v14 (whatever they call the next one after 2007). Mrom Microsoft's past they don't normally have too many versions of their Office product work with the same OS. Like Office 2007 won't install on Windows 2000 (for obvious reasons) so wouldn't it be funny if Office 14 didn't support XP?

Here at work we have just the opposite problem. We have equipment right now with software that will only work with XP SP2 or below, if we try to install it on a computer with XP SP3 or Vista the install won't even run. The equipment is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars so we can't just replace it because a $500 computer decides to die, but it is also next to impossible to find a new machine with a copy of XP SP2(we finally found that HP will sell us one). There are many many manufacturing facilities and Laboratories out there in this type of situation. For us Legacy items are those over 15 years old not 3 or 4 years old like in the computer industry. Our IT department wants to upgrade everytime MS offers it, but when they do they leave more and more of the Laboratory behind, and then get upset when Management tells them that they have to make the new stuff in the server room talk to the old stuff in the lab. But if they don't then we are back to entering all our data by hand and our efficiency would be worse that it was 20 years ago.

They want to upgrade to the new Office, but our workstations are running W2K so in the Lab we can't upgrade. Then they send us documents in the .docx and get mad because we can't open them. I have had classes on the new Office and really it doesn't offer me anything over what Office 97 did. Just has all the menus rearranged and is incompatable with my equipment.

Keeping up with technology is ok, and the OS upgrades are good for that. But in situations like where I am, OS and hardware advances only mean larger expenses, far beyond the cost of a new computer or OS or Office suite. It would come to millions of dollars to make the Lab totally compatable with the replacement of about 30 computers.

By SavagePotato on 4/8/2009 12:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
Having read this my question to you would be, how is it Microsoft's responsibility to pick up the slack because your software vendor is so ridiculous that their product will not work on anything but sp2 XP?

Get after your software provider to get off their ass and update their product. If this equipment is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, they damn well should be able to manage having a competent software team.

RE: They do not want to admit
By Penti on 4/8/2009 12:24:35 PM , Rating: 2
I feel for your situation but wouldn't volume license agreement with Software Assurance take care of it? It allows you to run older versions of Windows on a licensed computer. MS must have SP2 isos to download? I guess a lot of medical equipment will hit the same problems, though XP-e is still supported so embedded devices should do fine for some more years.

You can install the compatibility pack for Office 2003/XP/2000 btw, and you can also try to run those apps on a application server and RDP into it. If your really need Office 2007. Should work for 2000 SP4 -

RE: They do not want to admit
By omnicronx on 4/8/2009 12:35:44 PM , Rating: 2
No offense but if your company made software without upgrade potential, the fault is on them. There is no reason any software should be so integrated with the OS that a service pack will make it unusable. By that I mean, you have programmed yourself into a hole that you cannot get out of. Don't get me wrong service packs have wreaked havoc on my company's in house software before, but it was nothing we could not fix overtime. Usually we start testing from the first beta release of the next service pack, and we usually deploy within 6 months after the release, which gives us up to a year of breathing room.

RE: They do not want to admit
By fatedtodie on 4/8/2009 1:45:59 PM , Rating: 2
There is a microsoft office 2007 compatibility pack that allows ALL microsoft office 2007 files and extensions to be viewed (though I don't think you can edit them you can at least view them) so that is just a failure on your IT department to educate its users.

I do feel for your situation but, look at my car example that was rated down then apply it to your situation. Or look at it without analogies from a business perspective. Vista (and Windows 7) is BETTER. Yes it had initial problems due to having a different look and feel, and manufacturers screwing up, that is not Microsoft's fault or really their problem.

If you bought a lexmark 20 dollar laser printer that doesnt work? who cares. Go sell something on Ebay and then user the money to buy that new printer for 20 bucks that WORKS. If that "lexmark printer" is a $300,000 dollar molecular scanner/brain surgery laser, either don't update and don't whine or... upgrade and handle it. The world moves forward. It is technological evolution, the newer varient of the animal called windows left behind the older not willing to adapt version (Yeah I used another analogy so apperently this will get marked down by more whiners). Sometimes life continues on without giving a crap about the old stuff.

While it may take millions of dollars to update your system, what about looking at it from a smart IT standpoint? If you got a 400-500 dollar 3ghz core 2 duo, with 500 GB sata 2 hard drive, you could put a Virtual PC setup that can run that XP SP2 while not leaving your company or your department vulnerable and you can gain the advantages of SP3, AND office 2007.

RE: They do not want to admit
By Belard on 4/9/2009 2:17:35 PM , Rating: 2
he equipment is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars so we can't just replace it because a $500 computer decides to die, but it is also next to impossible to find a new machine with a copy of XP SP2

Does your company have what is called an "IT Department"? While I do feel for you, there are some solutions that anyone who knows about computers should be able to fix.

Your IT is crap... As long as your hardware works with XP, it'll be good to use to at least 2014 - but XP shouldn't stop functioning just because its EOL.

Here is what you do, your company buys up about 5~10 or so copies of XP-PRO SP2 retail for $250 each:
(OEM version is cheaper at $110 - but its Media Center, which only lacks VPN)

Then when you need to replace a computer, you can BUILD it yourself and install the OS.

Whoever developed your hardware that hasn't/can't make it work in XP - are they still in business? Seriously, hardware companies update their drives for $30~3000 printers. For SUPPORT, that builder needs to make it work with XP/Win7... especially for XP. And besides, that software that is running on Win2000 should work on XP.

While some have commented on security issues, I am assuming that your lab computers are in a closed system.

Seriously, your IT (which doesn't sound that good), your lab techs and other employees need to get together. And then go to management and discuss modernization. Money speaks... and if you explain to them "It takes us X amount of time because this crap is old and incompatible vs. spending $$ to resolve the problem and speed up lab work" will be more understandable than your idiotic IT that is justing crying about it being a pain in the ass.

Your IT needs to develop plans. One of my clients has 20 PC systems, all on XP with Office 2002~2003. Vista isn't going to be installed on any computer. Every once in a while, someone will say "Lets put on vista or Office2007 - we need to be updated"... and I explain for compatiblity with everyone on the network and their files - it'll mean having to upgrade everyone. (Thats how MS works) One worker doing work in Office2007 becomes incompatible with others... So we skip this version of OS/Office - save $$$, buy hardware for Win7. We'll buy new hardware that isn't going to handle Win7/office2010 in 2010.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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