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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP 641

Posted by timothy
from the come-the-revolution dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Nearly every longtime Windows user looks back on Windows XP with a certain fondness, but the party's over according to Microsoft. 'It's time to move on,' says Tom Murphy, Microsoft's director of communications for Windows. 'XP was designed for a different era.' But Ian Paul writes in PC World that many people around the world refuse to give up on XP. But why? What's so great about an operating system that was invented before the age of Dropbox and Facebook, an OS that's almost as old as the original Google search engine? Bob Appel, a retiree based in Toronto, says he uses 12 PCs in a personal Dropbox-like network—10 of which are running XP. 'I use a third-party firewall, a free virus checker, and run Housecall periodically,' says Appel. 'My Firefox browser uses Keyscrambler, HTTPS Anywhere, Ghostery, and Disconnect. I also have a VPN account (PIA) when traveling. For suspicious email attachments, I deploy private proprietary bioware (me!) to analyze before opening. All the "experts" say I am crazy. Thing is, I stopped the security updates in XP years ago after a bad update trashed my system, and yet I have never been infected, although online for hours each day. So, crazy though I be, I am sticking with XP.'" (Read more, below.)
More from Pickens: "Mike Merritt uses an XP PC to run his online business in rural Ontario and cites Outlook Express as one of his major reasons for sticking with XP. The once-popular email client isn't available with Windows 7 or 8.1, and for Merritt, alternatives such as Thunderbird or webmail clients like Outlook.com are a non-starter. 'Webmails have a slower load time than a desktop app like Outlook Express and they would have their own learning curve and modification to my current workflow,' says Merritt. 'The upgrade path for me would require replacing a bunch of things that work just fine as far as I'm concerned.'

The same day that Windows XP reaches its end of support on April 8, Microsoft will roll out a major update to Windows 8.1 that will make it easier for traditional desktop users and the company recently announced that the Start menu will return to Windows sometime in the coming months. Mike Eldridge says that since his computer is currently on its last legs, he's going to cross his fingers and hope for the best until it finally dies. 'I am worried about security threats, but I'd rather have my identity stolen than put up with Windows 8.'"
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Meet the Diehards Who Refuse To Move On From Windows XP

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  • Good for you. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by richy freeway (623503) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @07:49AM (#46692799)
    But 99% of Windows users can't/won't go to those lengths to stay secure. But congratulations on making life hard for yourself.
  • by glennrrr (592457) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @07:50AM (#46692807)
    That's just wasteful. At least while doing things in the Cloud, there are efficiencies of shared resources.
  • Re:Good for you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @07:52AM (#46692825) Homepage

    ... and yet his efforts will probably stop 99.9% of the crap that affects "modern" Windows versions with their clueless users.

    Installing Windows 7 or 8 wouldn't make his job much easier or make his computer much more secure.

  • Outlook Express? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @07:57AM (#46692875)
    If you are so in love with Outlook Express and your "workflow" that you cannot upgrade your operating system to something from this century then you have bigger problems then having XP on your desktop. If that kind of minor change is too upsetting for you then you will probably have difficulty if your toaster gives out, and you have to get a new one with a different dial for setting how done your bagel is. Breakfast is a bitch, baby.
  • Difference (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @07:57AM (#46692879)

    "and yet I have never been infected, although online for hours each day."

    There is a great, big difference between "have never been infected" and "have never been infected that I know of"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @07:58AM (#46692887)

    This topic has been beaten to death but if Hugh Pickens wants us to talk about it, I guess we have to.

    The XP machines that are still around aren't here because they are great. They are still used because their life cycle has not expired. We tend to keep computers for about five years. So when we were buying computers 4.5 years ago, our choice was XP or Vista. Obviously, we weren't going with Vista.

    So now Microsoft is punishing us for their fuck-up. They are trying to force us to buy a new version of Windows before the current equipment is due for replacement.

    I expect to have the same issue in a few years because I'm still buying Windows 7 and they think I should be buying 8.

  • by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @07:59AM (#46692891)

    This isn't a new problem. We still have Windows 95 and OS/2 boxes that can't be upgraded. The only difference with the XP end of life is that XP is easier to continue to support yourself.

  • "Normal" People (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VorpalRodent (964940) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:02AM (#46692911)

    The person quoted in the summary appears to have a relatively solid grasp on how to go about being safe on the internet. By that same metric, a large percentage of Slashdot could also be just fine using XP. The problem is that everyone _else_ keeps using XP, and they _don't_ have that same skillset.

    I'm happy that Microsoft finally pulled the plug. My goal is that things get bad enough for the small office that I provide support to on a volunteer basis requires them to upgrade. I've had to re-image a bunch of computers already this year because people click things, and companies are taking XP drivers away. Soon enough, I'll be able to say "Too bad, you have to upgrade this time".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:05AM (#46692937)

    I am the IT guy in our family, and currently have 8 family members on a waiting list, who wants to upgrade to windows 7 or 8, but since there is no upgrade tool, I have to make full reinstalls and find all the software that was installed over the years etc.. which means that each machine takes days to upgrade..

    If MS truly want us to move to a new OS, they should have made it easy, it it was just an hour or twos work, there would be 8 xp boxes less in the world already ;-)

  • by HnT (306652) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:07AM (#46692949)

    I prefer to use my computer for actually DOING something else than spending all that effort on just keeping it running.

  • Re:Good for you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:18AM (#46693047) Homepage

    Agreed.

    'I use a third-party firewall, a free virus checker, and run Housecall periodically,' says Appel. 'My Firefox browser uses Keyscrambler, HTTPS Anywhere, Ghostery, and Disconnect. I also have a VPN account (PIA) when traveling. For suspicious email attachments, I deploy private proprietary bioware (me!) to analyze before opening. All the "experts" say I am crazy. Thing is, I stopped the security updates in XP years ago after a bad update trashed my system, and yet I have never been infected, although online for hours each day...

    Thing is, that does sound crazy to me. It sounds compulsive and anal retentive. I wouldn't be surprised if he also only operates his computers while wearing a tinfoil hat inside a Faraday cage that he built in his basement.

    You know what I do? I install a modern operating system and pretty much leave it alone. I have never been infected, simply by keeping up to date and not engaging in high-risk behavior. I'd rather spend a few dollars now and then than sit around re-running security checks, but I guess I'm not retired and I don't have the time to be a kooky security nut. I know, someone is going to bash this post because Slashdot has a lot of kooky security nuts, as well as a strong contingent of people who like to hack together weird solutions for what may be non-existent problems. And that's fine as long as you're doing that because you like doing it. Just don't go pushing it as a good idea. You're making everything more difficult for those of us who have to support these things for a living.

    The best strategy for most people, especially in terms of doing work for your business, is to stay relatively up-to-date with supported hardware and software.

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:19AM (#46693057) Homepage
    But that's true regardless of the operating system being run. I could be running the newest version of Windows, and still be, even on a relatively new computer, and a hard drive dying still isn't that unlikely. You can get a 1 TB drive for $60. I don't know why you don't see more machines coming with 2 drives in RAID 1 for reliability reasons. At least a somewhat common hardware failure won't cause grandma to lose all here photos.
  • Re:Good for you. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:27AM (#46693133) Homepage

    Not turning the box on would protect 100% of users but that doesn't make it a viable solution

    So what?

    That may not be a viable solution, but what he's doing is. He has a usable computer, more secure than most, that does what he needs it to do.

    You aren't trying to claim that what he's doing isn't a "viable solution", are you?

    And even if he did upgrade ... he'd probably still want to do all that stuff.

  • by geogob (569250) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:31AM (#46693173)

    Yes! I'll make sure to pass on the message to that company that closed down 3 years ago and to the guy who retired 8 years ago.
    Its a shame indeed, all the self inflicted toture they are causing me.

    But I'll bet they answer that themselves find it a shame that non of the companies producing the hardware respecting the requirements for the sub-components themselves only supported windows. In that sence, I guess on could say it's a second level indirectly self inflicted toture.

    Or they will remind me how there is a real world, with real problems, real limations and where you do not have the control on everything.

  • Re:Difference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jones_supa (887896) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:38AM (#46693261)
    But that's all you can know.
  • Re:Viva La XP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:40AM (#46693287) Homepage

    Do people really not get it?

    Short version: They have a perfectly working computer with all their stuff on it. Why should they have to throw it in the trash and go through all the pain/expense of an "upgrade"?

    (Not to mention all the printers/scanners/etc. that will stop working if they do...)

    What about all the essential software that won't work except on XP because it's attached to some hardware? (eg. at my local car repair shop)

    You'd have to be stupid to think all these people are just "whiners who need to get with the program".

  • by Whammy666 (589169) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:41AM (#46693307) Homepage
    I'm still on XP and probably will be for some time. The fact is there is no reason to change. It works and it's stable. Plus, all my software works with it, not to mention that replacing the OS is a major pain in the ass. And finally, here's a clue for Micro$oft: ** A DESKTOP WORKSTATION IS NOT A GODDAMN SMARTPHONE! QUIT TRYING TO TURN IT INTO ONE! **"
  • Re:Viva La XP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Raumkraut (518382) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @08:53AM (#46693433)

    Short version: They have a perfectly working computer with all their stuff on it. Why should they have to throw it in the trash and go through all the pain/expense of an "upgrade"?

    Not to mention that, for many people, Windows XP is the only desktop operating system they've ever known.
    XP has been around for 13 years. In consumer technology, that's an incredible length of time. After so many years of consistency, of course there are going to be people - millions of them - who don't want to face change.

  • Re:Viva La XP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @09:04AM (#46693565)
    And such people can legitimately ask 'why should I change?'. When something works, the burden should be on the people saying users should change, not on the users to justify not changing. Sometimes it feels like the UI changes we see every year are just different for the sake of being different with few actual changes in functionality.
  • Re:Viva La XP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @09:05AM (#46693573) Homepage

    Not to mention that, for many people, Windows XP is the only desktop operating system they've ever known.

    Yep.

    The night watchman downstairs asked me yesterday what this message was that appeared on his computer (he'd copied Microsofts "XP is over" popup message onto a piece of paper to show me).

    He's an old guy, probably about to retire, hasn't got any money for a new computer. What exactly is it that makes him an "XP diehard"? Maybe he's just an "ordinary person".

  • by ComputerGeek01 (1182793) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @09:09AM (#46693613)

    That is not the pain of XP EoL, it is the self inflicted torture by those who refuse to use free and open source software.

    It is a shame, but I have no sympathy for those who embrace planned obsolescence. [archive.org]

    Alright wiseguy, then tell me what the "open source" solution is to my companies key fob system that periodically runs a hash against itself to protect against code injections, checks against VM's by dialing out of the system to an external client and only runs on XP? Is someone handing these systems out? Are we going to organize a flash-mob to come in and rip apart our walls and rerun the cabling to and from the locks on all of the doors on two separate floors and through concrete flooring while replacing the proprietary locking mechanisms? Who is it that is going to be so generous with their time and reprogram this thing for our 200+ employees? There are in fact some things that your precious open source community does not provide and that are necessary for businesses to meet certain industry standards

  • Re:Good for you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jythie (914043) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @09:09AM (#46693623)
    I think part of this cuts to the heart of why many people do not upgrade. For fetishists, an OS is an OS and has value unto itself. For many users, an OS is a file manager and application launcher, and thus fancy new features do not actually add any new functionality for them. Many users do not care what services and protocols are now 'built in' or how seamless the 'media experience' is, they just want their web browser, a working media player, or whatever other major application they tend to use the machine for. And for that use pattern, as long as the app runs and the hardware drivers are supported, XP is functionally equivalent to Win7 or Win8, with the major advantage of them already having it and already knowing where all the settings are that they do not want to fiddle with unless they need to.
  • Re:Viva La XP! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @09:36AM (#46693923) Journal
    Not a bad comparison.... if your car was one that was originally built, oh... say almost a hundred years ago or so.
  • by unimacs (597299) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @09:38AM (#46693953)
    Lots of companies aren't going to put off buying new computers just because a new OS is going to be released in 6 months. Many are going to hold off on the new OS anyway to make sure they aren't bitten by any incompatibilities. That's not a a fuck up. That's smart.

    We have a custom app that won't work right under 7 or 8 and we're kind of stuck with it. It's been a thorn in my side for years. We had an opportunity to migrate it to a more modern technology years ago but the guy in charge wasn't comfortable with the idea and I didn't have the clout to push it. Now it's not worth the expense.

    Anyway, after much trial and error we've decided the best thing to do is just run it under a virtual machine. It's a pain but it's workable.
  • Re:Good for you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by King_TJ (85913) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @10:40AM (#46694695) Journal

    That's one theory -- but I'd say previous experience shows it wasn't the case.

    For example, there were quite a few people who hung onto Windows '98SE *long* after it was discontinued, yet they never really ran into any new security threats of significance. (The biggest problem for some of them was finding anti-virus software that would still install and run on the platform, after a while. But a few packages still supported it, and downloaded AV signature updates just as well as they did on other OS's.)

    In that situation, the hackers quit focusing on anything Win '98 and concerned themselves only with exploiting the more recent code out there, which had an ever increasing market-share, not a decreasing one.

    We saw this again with Windows 2000 Server, where security updates stopped -- yet many businesses kept on using it in production, in situations where older and complex applications were already running well on it, and redoing the whole thing on a newer server version was a big and costly undertaking. (I know my previous employer still uses Win2K server for a custom written app developed in the PROGRESS language. It's a virtual machine now, instead of a physical server -- but there's simply no need to go through the hassle that would be involved to move it to Windows Server 2008 or 2012.)

    I'm not sure where your 98% statistic comes from, but I suspect you pulled it out of thin air. Many of the old exploits and bugs affecting XP systems had to do with aspects of its design which were changed considerably in Vista and later. (We're talking everything from restricted areas of the system registry that random apps aren't allowed to change anymore, to issues related to Active-X and the older versions of IE which XP users are forced to use since the new ones won't install on it.) I doubt hackers, moving forward, will put a huge effort into finding new exploits for IE version 6,7, and 8 that weren't already patched, or trying to write malware that wouldn't be effective in the first place on any Windows version with UAC?

  • Re:Viva La XP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joe_frisch (1366229) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @10:45AM (#46694747)

    I have a XP based oscilloscope - 20Gs/s, 3.5GHz, deep memory. The vendor won't upgrade it. A replacement is probably >$20K. One of its features is that it can run on the network, but that requires security. Our lab has other expensive XP based hardware as well.

    I don't think Microsoft should be *required* to keep supporting XP, but there are a lot of people who are using it because it is the most practical choice for their application.

    For normal desktop computing I upgrade hardware and software on a reasonable schedule. Laboratory equipment tends to have a much longer useful life than desktops and is much more expensive. Most of the computers I use are modern, but most of the $$ value of computers are expensive specialized lab equipment.

  • by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @11:06AM (#46694959)
    Hey dumbass, welcome to corporate America. Where corporation buy software from venders. They don't always have a choice.
  • by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @11:14AM (#46695015)
    I keep hearing about how people need ISA slots to run these irreplaceable industrial control ISA cards. Have they considered what they are going to do when the ISA card decides to die?
  • by justthinkit (954982) <floyd@just-think-it.com> on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @11:37AM (#46695253) Homepage Journal
    Couldn't agree more, with your comment, and with the submitter's point.

    Interesting that my non-patched XP system is and always has been clean, whereas the Win 7 systems I support...that receive all patches and have current & working A/V...get infected regularly.

    PIBKAC.
  • Re:Good for you. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Tuesday April 08, 2014 @02:24PM (#46697337) Homepage Journal

    I see dozens of computers a year running modern operating systems with up-to-date anti-virus software and firewalls installed that are full of viruses and other malware. User behaviour is the major problem here and his paranoia and your wisdom are probably what protect you the most, not the version of Windows you do or do not run.

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