Earlier last month we published an article dealing with the findings of a recent Microsoft security report and its implications for XP users, you can catch up with that article here: Microsoft Report Shows Why You Should Abandon XP Now. Somewhat unsurprisingly, that article elicited a lot of comments questioning the report’s findings and generally defending XP. One commenter even went so far as to suggest that a motor vehicle built in 1958 is as safe as those built today. I do believe that particular gentleman (or lady) would benefit greatly from researching advancements in motor vehicle safety technology over the past 25 years or so. Many of those comments also suggested that statistics can be manipulated to suit a specific purpose, and, while I agree entirely with that premise, I feel obliged to point out that it can work both ways.
While I can appreciate the fondness and loyalty displayed toward such a venerable operating system, I must admit I do not fully comprehend it. I still vividly remember those early years with XP and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, XP contributed largely to much of what I understand about computers and operating systems today. I spent so much time on the net researching so many issues, not only for myself but advising across help forums and for my clientele, it was akin to an exercise in self education. Three service packs and 12 years later, and it appears many users have forgotten about those early trials and tribulations. Compare that history to Windows 7 and you have an altogether different story – Windows 7 was extremely reliable and stable from day one.
Progress is an undeniable certainty, and in today’s field of PCs and operating systems that equates to advancements and enhancements in multiple areas, including both technology and security. There are several very good reasons why XP users should seriously consider replacing XP with a newer operating system, not the least of which can be explained by the following simple equation: unsupported XP = zero security patches = still widely utilized operating system + unpatched vulnerabilities = prime target for cyber criminals.
Apart for the obvious security implications, XP users are also likely to experience problems locating suitable drivers/software. In time, more and more manufactures and developers are going to drop support for XP. We’ve witnessed this trend in the past and there is no reason to suggest it will not continue. I am neither anti nor pro XP, I am merely making an honest assessment based on the facts and offering the best possible advice as I see it. Although, having used both XP and Windows 7 extensively over long periods of time, in my opinion the latter is far superior. That is purely subjective though and doesn’t really enter into the equation, the primary consideration here is that both Windows 7 and Windows 8 are progressively more secure than XP, even during the full support period. After end of support finally arrives, that situation can only worsen.
I certainly do not agree with every decision Microsoft makes, or has made. However, I firmly believe Windows 8 is the operating system that had to be, both from a fiscal point of view and in terms of moving forward and keeping in tune with modern trends. Obviously Windows 8 will not be to everyone’s liking, even though there is certainly a lot to like. However, Windows 7 represents an extremely viable alternative, it really is so much better than XP on so many levels. Either way, I firmly believe it would be in XP users best interests to replace their operating system as soon as possible rather than waiting until the end of support date and/or beyond.
By the way: I’m still running XP Pro on an older Pentium 4 machine myself. However, at end of support date I shall be disconnecting that particular machine from the net and leaving it disconnected. I’ll still be connected on my Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines for normal day to day online operations. This is something you might also consider if you simply cannot get by without XP and some of the older programs.