back to article MS sees Windows 7 leap, but XP workhorse refuses to die

Most Windows 7 customers are satisfied with the new operating system, according to tech analyst house Forrester Research, but many stick-in-the-mud types still see no reason to upgrade from the OS that refuses to die - Windows XP. Forrester published the results of its study (subscription required) about take-up of Microsoft’s …


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  1. Steve X

    It ain't broke, don't fix it

    I bought a new home PC around the time Vista was getting slated in the press, so I ordered it with XP. Added Solaris and Linux as multiboot options, but XP still does all the windozy things just fine. I certainly see no need to risk trashing it by upgrading to an OS that doesn''t seem to do anything else that I need.

    When I replace this system, or my XP laptop, I'll probably take W7 on the new one. Until then, it ain't broke so I ain't fixin' it.

    1. Richard 81


      Until I have an entirely new system, and would have to get a new OS license anyway to replace my OEM copy of XP, there's just no point in stretching my machine's limited capabilities further. Having said that though, I will probably be buying at least one upgrade copy of Win7, while I still have student status i.e. before finishing the old PhD, even if I don't actually install it on anything right away.

      1. Paul 129

        Keep goood backups

        Without being able to do a repair install, unless setup is being run from within windows you need to keep better backup and license documentation. Yes, that means you cant do a repair install on a system that wont boot. And just wait till the virus lot start abusing junctions.

        Win7 is simply a polished version of vista. ie a polished turd, treat with caution

  2. Malcolm 1

    I'm a PC

    What was so bad about the "I'm a PC" adverts? - they seemed like a fairly inventive response to the Apple adverts (although as I discovered recently, not many people in the UK were aware of the Apple ads as they didn't really take off here).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "What was so bad about the "I'm a PC" adverts?"

      They make the dubious claim that people who don't smoke crack had a say in how the new Windows Explorer looks.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      They are annoying for one, rubbish for another, blatant lies (PR spin) for a third.

      One tells you that you can home network as if Win7 invented it. One tells you that more than one person can use TV, file sharing and network stuff as if it is a new feature. One tells you that snap is an MS invention and new, despite linux having it for a while. One told you that you can see bigger windows by looking at the tab on the task bar like vista did. One tells you about parental controls which have been around from routers to browsers for yonks. One tells you that you get faster boot up times, faster than what? Vista definitely, but not faster than ubuntu or XP.

      And the peple used are the kind of sad geeky techie morons or competitive dads that you normally wouldn't associate or listen to. They give us sad techie geeks a bad name. If I met a guy in a gym with a laptop, you don't think wow, you think what a sad ****er. And pushy dad who has networked his house, the look on his kids faces says it all.

      1. kissingthecarpet
        Gates Horns

        and don't forget

        the guy who says he's using the private browsing feature to buy his wife a present - yeah,right.

        Although maybe his wife likes the same porn or sex toys as he does - although looking at him, he's probably into something scary.... like something unspeakable involving Steve Ballmer and a chair

    3. Ian Bush

      What's wrong with "I'm a PC"?

      What's wrong?

      It implies that a PC is synonymous with Microsoft Windows

  3. Glyn 2


    If you're happy with what you've got as it works very well, why get something new that may or may not be as good?

    It's like buying a brand new car because your's is 3 years old and you've got-to-have-the-latest-model...oh hang on, people (and I use that in the loosest possible sense) do that already.

    Which also explains why my boss is in his wife's saxo because his brand new bmw broke after a week and went back to the dealer :-)

  4. irish donkey

    Hi I'm WinXP I work just fine

    The only advantage I can see for upgrading from WinXP is that Win 7 will address more RAM.

    So what?

    oh and of course there was the if you don't upgrade all your hard drives will be doomed. Wanna bet watch this I haven't upgraded my hard drive and the old ones works just fine and dandy.

    If you want me to spend a chunck of money upgrading to something new you had better give me more of a reason than flashy graphics.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Erm, actually

      Windows 7 32-bit and Windows XP 32-bit (even 32-bit Linux if you might ask) are limited to something between 3 and 4 GB of RAM (according to the motherboard manufacturer's mood).

      That's why I don't see the point of selling laptops loaded with 64-bit Windows<your version here> and being equipped with 2 to 3 GB of RAM. If you don't have a specific need to use more than 4 GB of RAM (virtualization being one of these) then 32-bit is as good as 64-bit so you'll have to think of more reasons to move to Windows 7. Better DRM and WGA-sorry it is now being called WAT- matbe ?

      1. captain veg

        Not, actually

        I quote the fount of all true knowledge.

        "The Linux kernel includes full PAE mode support starting with version 2.3.23,[3] enabling access of up to 64 GB of memory on 32-bit machines."

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Clueless Users won't upgrade

    I have had users in the past who've brought in PCs, and we've repaired them to find that the only disk that they have is a knock-off. I'm sure that there are many such users out there. The problem is that they won't buy anything, and they won't upgrade their PC, and they don't know or care if their machine is a zombie that churns out spam all day.

    I read about corporate Legacy Apps, but they'll get upgraded long before the cheapskate home user ditches their knock-off Windows XP IMHO.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some will

      Except for the ones now getting nice shiny copies of Win 7.

    2. Graham Wilson

      That's a pathetic way of letting Microsoft off the hook.

      That's a pathetic way of letting Microsoft off the hook.

      You automatically assume that an old Windows product can't be good to begin with and that one has to upgrade to get rid of zombified machines.

      Well why the hell did MS allow a product onto the market that could be zombified in the first place? (Moreover, now that XP is there it should be fixed which negates the need for any upgrade.)

      It never ceases to amaze me why people are continually being apologists for companies that make shoddy products--and with respect to security--Windows is perhaps the shoddiest product (and the most significant) ever made.

      Again, it's proof that Goebbels was right when he pushed the 'Tell a big enough lie and people will believe you' argument. It's excellent proof that propaganda works, whether it comes from Microsoft, The British Government, Washington, Moscow or the Third Reich is immaterial, many people osmotically suck up the crap and turn it into gospel.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    only upgraded because

    i only upgraded to windows 7 to escape the nightmare of vista. id had to buy a machine when vista was the latest thing.

    while windows 7 is a lot better, its still a resource hog. perhaps microsft should focus on reducing its footprint and drain on the system as apple did before worrying about new features, erm bugs :)

    esc? yes.. from vista

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suppose this raises the questions, Is Windows XP to Microsoft as

    Netware 3.12 was to Novell? And who will knock MS off the top podium as a result?

  8. Craig 12

    XP ain't 'broke', but it's lacking features

    Windows 7 has a bunch of features that really do speed up working with stuff, and I'm happy our place is moving on from XP.

    The sad thing is all the good stuff was also present in Vista.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Craig 12

      "Windows 7 has a bunch of features that really do speed up working with stuff"

      Such as?

      No, really. Not being rude, just would like to know how Win7 can increase my productivity.

      1. Dave Murray
        Thumb Up


        You'd be surprised how much jump lists and the search box in the Start Menu make things easier & quicker. A lot of the little features that I orignally thought were just fluff actually are very useful.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Are these two (jump lists and the search box) the MAIN reasons to force whole planet to upgrade?!!!? ROFL

      2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
        Gates Horns

        Windows 7 will increase MY productivity

        "No, really. Not being rude, just would like to know how Win7 can increase my productivity."

        Sure. I'm just too busy right now to upgrade, but I already know how Windows 7 will upgrade my productivity because it has given me the last argument to switch to OSX. No more 10 minute boot times because my anti-virus hasn't had its daily 1GB download of patches, no more day long "reboot?" nagging after I made the mistake of allowing Windows Update to do its thing, no more overnight hanging of a machine because "shut down" doesn't mean shut down unless you confirm that hung app is really hung and you want to power down, no more worry about email attachments that may have something dodgy in (still have to be careful, but you can't argue against 16k malware progs on Linux and OSX combined vs 4 MILLION for Windows).

        Oh, and it's more user friendly as well.

        So how did W7 do this? Simple, by needing anti-virus again. A modern OS that is still incapable of protecting itself against the Internet is like supplying a modern car with brakes as an option. There is simply no way you can justify this.

        So, I agree with the statement that Windows 7 will improve my productivity. Mainly because I will avoid it.

        Note: not a Mac or Jobs fan, but a realist..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Good stuff in Vista?

      "The sad thing is all the good stuff was also present in Vista."

      Maybe - but also along with enough shite to make the average PC feel like it was still using a 486 at it's core.

      My old dog of a laptop (supplied with Vista) now runs a hell of a lot nicer with Win 7.

      It has had zero problems so far, and although not perfect - works a hell of a lot nicer than with the abortion called Vista.

      1. Jess


        I don't remember any 486 I ever used being as slow as a bad vista machine

  9. andy gibson

    XP in the public sector

    To get Windows 7 in my workplace I'd have to replace over 200 machines. I don't want to burden the taxpayer (nor will I get the chance with the slashed budgets) buying new machines when XP runs absolutely fine on our existing systems which are still going strong.

  10. Sureo

    Then there's the price

    Microsoft needs to bring back the pre-release promotional pricing. I would buy the 3-license family pack but it is no longer available. No way I'll replace XP at today's prices for Win7.

  11. jason 7

    XP? No using Win95 now.

    Cripes all these folks clinging to XP saying it does all they need. Then they cant be doing much..or very quickly.

    After using 7 since launch going back to XP (even on decent gear) is awful. So slow and clunky when trying to do more than one thing at a time.

    I sit with customers who proudly demonstrate their "perfectly good old XP computer" and how it performs and I'm just sitting there looking at my watch, tapping my foot saying "err yes thats really nice ahem". It's like watching paint dry.

    I've upgraded many customers (several who did it begrudgingly, see above) to Win7 from XP and now none of them would go back.

    I was a big XP fan but really guys, time to ditch that old crock, you are not helping yourselves.

    1. Paul Shirley
      Thumb Down

      doesn't stay fast though

      Go back in 3 months and see if its still running fast. Every standalone version of Windows I know accumulates cruft at a spectacular rate and slows down. The folk re-installing Windows every few months to maintain speed aren't completely delusional.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      XP? No using Win95 now

      Cripes all these folks clinging to Windows 7 saying it does all they need. Then they cant be doing much..or very quickly.

      After using Linux going back to Windows 7 (even on decent gear) is awful. So slow and clunky when trying to do more than one thing at a time.

      I sit with customers who proudly demonstrate their "perfectly good Windows 7 computer" and how it performs and I'm just sitting there looking at my watch, tapping my foot saying "err yes thats really nice ahem". It's like watching paint dry.

      I've upgraded many customers (several who did it begrudgingly, see above) to Linux from Windows and now none of them would go back.

      I was a big Windows fan but really guys, time to ditch that old crock, you are not helping yourselves.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What do you expect

      from people who would proudly demonstrate their computer? It's the sort of thing you get into Computer Stupidities for. Using them as your example doesn't speak much for that judgement you're passing on many expert users.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Shirley you jest.

      2. StooMonster

        Why does Windows slow

        Paul Shirley, you are so right, been regularly rebuilding Windows since forever; currently my business partner's XP desktop needs a rebuild, as it uses to start to desktop in 30-seconds or so and 12-months later its taking so long that he can go and make a cup of tea and get back to his desk after hitting power on (he never installs anything, never has, and doesn't even update drivers ... only security patches).

        Why does Windows slow down over time, and why is the only solution to reformat the hard-drive and freshly install?

    4. Daniel B.
      Thumb Down

      I'd think about going up to Win7...

      I might think about going all the way up to Win7... but good ole MS seems to ignore the fact that many of us gave a pass on Vista. WinXP *CANNOT* be upgraded to Win7. Too bad for MS, that means that even if I have a valid reason to jump up to Win7 (specifically, I'd like to see the full 4Gb o' RAM in my PC) won't do so.

      MS FAIL.

  12. Martin Owens

    Not Worth It

    I was at a computer shop the other day and read the list of Windows 7 Ultimate features, all supported by Ubuntu out the box. Why bother buying the most expensive version of windows when I can have far more for free?

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      To be fair..

      A linux does not a windoze make. And vice versa.

      Some people will not be able to cope with a linux of any sort.

      (This will usually be the non-techy type person, or certainly someone who will not want to fiddle)

      Others may not be able to cope with a windoze of any sort.

      Personally I think windows is OK provided you're reasonably happy that you're running stuff you really haven't much of a hope in figuring out, whereas a linux system can be as simple or as complex as you so choose, and linux is better documented....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's the configuration

        It's configuring Linux that puts the n00bs off. It can seem insurmountable to people with no desire whatsoever to use config files or the command line. But hand them a fully configured Linux system and they'll find themselves perfectly capable of using it.

        Is Linux really so different to Windows in that respect? Installing an operating system, almost any operating system, isn't inherently difficult - it just takes people out of their comfort zone. They see their PC in the in-between stage of working and broken and they don't like it at all.

        And don't suggest for a second that people don't have to configure Windows, they do, it's just that the simple commands they would have been able to run in Linux have been dressed up as complete software packages with $$$ price tags.

        1. Chemist

          Re : It's the configuration

          For goodness sake - you DON'T need to use the command-line for a normal modern Linux installation. I've not used it for an install for years on OpenSUSEs

        2. Svantevid

          Re: It's the configuration

          "It's configuring Linux that puts the n00bs off. It can seem insurmountable to people with no desire whatsoever to use config files or the command line."

          I've been installing Ubuntu for the last three years. It's the same procedure as installing Windows... click, click, enter time zone, enter date and time, click, click.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @ Svantevid

            My point, which you seem to have missed, is that average end users don't care how easy it is for us guys with a clue, they will find themselves bewildered anyway. In Windows AND Linux installs. It's just that Windows comes set up for them already and Linux does not.

            I think it's because the process of installing an OS challenges their perception of the OS being the actual computer. (I suppose I'm referring mostly to the "AOL subscriber" section of the PC marketplace here)

            @ Chemist

            "For goodness sake - you DON'T need to use the command-line for a normal modern Linux installation"

            You do need to change config files sometimes. That's not a criticism, it is a fact. (Have you never changed a config file in SUSE? Really? Really?) And how best to change config files? The command line. As PC geeks we know that the command line is the best and fastest way to access specific files, so we tell non-geeks to use the command line too. No they don't HAVE to use it, but they will inevitably get told to anyway.

            My point, therefore, is that if you want to get idiots using Linux, you have to set it up for them and not go "wah wah wah its so easy". And THEN when it's setup already, they will find it just as easy to use as Windows.

            1. Chemist

              You missed the point

              I never said anything about editing config. files at some point but I wouldn't use the command line for that anyway. It's easy to start a GUI editor as root to alter a config. file. Many system config files can be altered in the YAST GUI in OpenSUSE for that matter.

              I do use the command line for lots of things but that's personal pref.

              To INSTALL a modern Linux you don't need to compile anything or use the command line.

            2. Svantevid

              Config files

              "average end users don't care how easy it is for us guys with a clue, they will find themselves bewildered anyway"

              Change that to "how easy it is, they will find themselves bewildered anyway", and I'll agree. :-)

              I mean... insert CD, click, click, enter date and time, click... how hard can that be? A trained hamster could do it.

              "You do need to change config files sometimes."

              Yes, and if I count the number of times I had to do it in Ubuntu and in Win7... I think Win7 wins. A lot of annoying Win7 stuff had to be sorted through registry, until I got a satisfying result.

              Now, if someone could point me to the idiot who changed the status bar in Windows Explorer...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nigh on a decade ago

    At home I began weaning myself off of IE. It took a year running IE and FF before I was using the latter more than the former. About the same time I was running Windows 9x and installed XP to multiboot. Again it took about a year before I was using XP more than 9x. I must have been running Vista/Win7 for 3 years now but still overwhelmingly use and prefer XP.

    Incidentally the pathetic bug in XP whereby Common Tasks change depending (in my experience) on the no. of certain types of file, e.g. enough JPEGs in ANY folder, on ANY drive, and you find, say, System32 is now supposedly a folder for photos, with view type set to thumbnails. Or set one folder to a particular view type and you find that My Computer has changed with it; change My Computer back and the other folder changes too. Well, not only have M$ never bothered to fix this in XP, it still happens in Windows7.

    I figure there is a time in every user's life when the feel for computing comes together at last, like they will never be more attuned to this technological interaction than they are at that particular time. And the OS they're using more often than not becomes the one they swear by and thereafter resist moving on from. So maybe that is, for me, XP. But while there are a handful of changes in Windows7 that I quite like, and have been prepared to put in the time and effort to familiarise myself with, much of it seems detrimental, awkward, like change solely for the sake of making a new product to sell 'Windows' all over again.

    I'll be interested to know how new PC users who do their apprenticeship with Windows7 find retrospectively learning XP. Not that many will, of course.

    Witness the evolution of car, aircraft, motorcycle styling over the last 100 years. There have been many turkeys, but plenty of classic designs, plenty you could almost call works of art. But now most of them are so similar they're a boring, spirit sapping waste of resources. Perhaps they are ergonomically better, but I'm as sick of silver cars as Mr Anchovy was of Chartered Accountancy! Just because it is new doesn't mean improved and it seems to me precious few of the Windows7 changes are ergonomic rather than merely cosmetic, and when they're *un*-ergonimic even eye candy is tainted with fail. Time will tell.

  14. Paul 87

    I don't get it..

    ... why are Microsoft surprised by people wanting to stick with XP? The average home user only changes their OS when they get a new computer, and businesses still can't guarentee all their business critical applications will run perfectly in Windows 7 due to the large changes in technology between the two versions.

    Not to mention the price for Windows 7 is still too high for what it delivers that's different.

    1. Maverick
      Thumb Down

      oh very business savy

      > and businesses still can't guarantee all their business critical applications will run perfectly in Windows 7 due to the large changes in technology between the two versions

      that will be a business with out any sort of BC or DR plan then?

      those sort of f**k wit run businesses deserve to fail

      (and that's not just the small / medium sized ones either, just ones without any kind of effective audit oversight board = so most banks then!)

  15. tempemeaty

    To love is to share....right?

    XP doesn't collect and send my data back to MS so they can share it with it's corporate partners so much.

    1. Maverick
      Thumb Down


      your opinion would count if you understood basic English grammar

  16. Lou Gosselin

    Vista and 7 DRM kernel

    My reason for preferring XP is that it's the last windows that does not lock the owner out of the kernel. Vista and 7 kernels are both configured by MS to prevent the legitimate owner from installing custom drivers (self developed or open source).

    I will avoid any OS which gives MS control over the policy of how my computer is used.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Don't think so.

    Why put yourself through the nightmare of upgrading? for what? It's funny, but has anyone ever paid attention to the screens when installing 95, 98, Me, or XP? All quote the same thing, "Now users can do (insert feature here)." and it's all the same! I've been using PCs since the early DOS days, I've been around long enough to know that most of it's all the same, just more bling. I don't plan on upgrading my XP to 7. just a waste of money. I'll continue to use that PC for the next several years (I do know how to take care of it) and I will eventually buy a new PC at some point with whatever version of OS is offered at the time.

    If the upgrade from XP wasn't so expensive and possibly destructive, I may look into it. but I've had enough of spending money and wasting time trying to get the next fad to work when what I've had all along works just fine. To hell with worrying about the latest virus/trojan/exploit. That's scare-tactics. If someone wants in your computer, they will get it. If they want your personal info, they'll get it. A person needs to take other steps than loading down their computers with bloated software in order to protect themselves. It doesn't start or end with a computer.

  18. MJI Silver badge

    full screen command prompt

    Last seen in XP and the last OS which can run VGA graphics dos programs.

    It takes time to rewrite and a working program brings in money. Rewriting can take ages on a huge system.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge


      ...or FreeDOS in a VM should do what you need, shirley?

      1. Rattus Rattus


        Yeah, I've found even XP's implementation of DOS was shit anyway. DOSBox was the only way to get some things working under XP (original Dungeon Keeper, anyone?)

  19. z0mb13e

    "I'm a PC and I can't afford Windows 7"

    Yup, it slows down after a few months. And it slows down if you leave it on for a few days - resorted to a USB key for the 'speedboost' feature to make it a 'bit' quicker.

    And cost is a big factor - it just isn't worth it when you have XP... as mentioned above - bring back the pre-release pricing for good... or make it so cheap that buying it is a no brainer. Oh and bin the stupid versions - one version, one price.

    People recoil in horror when they ask me to fix their computers and I say a reinstall is the quickest option and it turns out they don't have the disks so I tell them it will cost £x to buy a new copy of Windows - they just go out and buy a new PC 90% of the time...

  20. andrew mulcock


    and from a few months will you be able to get sp3 from microsoft

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      XP sp3?

      Has anyone actually installed sp3?

  21. John Ridley 1

    I'm a stick-in-the-mud I guess

    I actually had Windows 7 on my new PC - I used it for over a month like that, but ultimately I wiped it and installed XP. There was nothing about 7 that XP didn't give me (though I'm at the max - 4 cores and 4GB of RAM, that XP will handle (OK, it won't even quite handle the 4GB, but I'm OK with that)).

    The changes to Windows Explorer just drove me nuts, and for my way of working, were simply not as fast.

    In the end, I sat down to list pros and cons, and the only thing Windows 7 had going for it were support for hardware that I didn't actually own, and dancing clowns (cosmetics).

    1. ml100

      XP 64 bit


  22. jim 45

    the price is too high

    The price is too high. WAAAAYY too high.

  23. Maty


    There's nowt wrong with XP. It's a very stable OS (takes about a decade of fiddling with it for MS to achieve that), and it doesn't have to regularly report to its owner (MS) what the person who has installed it is doing.

    It also helps that after a decade or so I too know the OS pretty intimately, and can generally persuade it to do things my way. What bugs me about later windows version is that they are dumbed-down for dummies and nanny users who don't need it.

    If I had to, I'd switch to Ubuntu if my games would still run.

  24. The Unexpected Bill

    Windows 7

    Windows 7 is great just because it's not Vista. The difference between the two in terms of performance is night and day. (And I'd know...I did an installation--primarily for humor value--on a Compaq Deskpro EN PIII 1GHz machine. Surprised the heck out of me at how usable it really was. It would have been perfectly fine for a lot of tasks.) On that basis alone, I can at least put up with Windows 7. And that's the best I can say for it.

    But on the surface, Windows 7's UI is just a mess. I don't like the fixed toolbars with their fixed buttons. The new task bar is supremely annoying for the most part and way too big. Things that used to be quick and easy to do now take a ton of mouse clicks. Menu bars are under toolbars where they DO NOT belong. I don't need all that goofy UI "chrome" that does nothing but waste screen space. Navigating a lot of Windows 7 via the keyboard seems to be difficult, a notable exception from every prior release of Windows.

    I'm still on Windows 2000 Professional SP4 for my primary computer. It leaves me wanting for nothing, it's paid for and I still say it's probably the best release of Windows that Microsoft ever managed. It's quite possible that I will end up finding just how far beyond its support expiration date Win2K will remain a feasible operating system.

    All the while, I'm definitely keeping my ear to the ground on Linux, which I so want to like on the desktop (but it's not there yet), have seriously considered some sort of FreeBSD distribution and some Macintosh stuff has managed to sneak in. I don't know which way I will eventually go...but I am probably heading away from Windows...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Windows 7

      "But on the surface, Windows 7's UI is just a mess..."

      Agree with you 100%

    2. Graham Wilson

      Win 7 is far too little far too late. XP is the end of the road for us.

      @ The Unexpected Bill

      I too agree 100% with your comments re Windows 7's messy UI. The Win-7 UI is so slipshod and illogical that it takes an inordinate amount of messing about to cut to the chase and get something done. This mollycoddling user interface may be OK for those with a room-temperature IQ but it's a pain in the A. for experienced users.

      Why the hell can't it be turned off, or why didn't M$ allow the UI to be switched back to the XP UI? (As it is, I switch my XPs to the Windows 2000 UI as I reckon it's better than XP's default. Thus, as far as I'm concerned, Vista and Win 7 UI usability is somewhere off in cloud-cuckoo land.)

      Frankly, I'm damn tired of these authoritarian 'social engineers' in M$ who keep making we users the centre of UI usability experiments (and pawns of the marketing department). The Common User Access (CUA) standard was worked out as far back as 1987 ( and every time M$ comes out with a new O/S they deviate even further from the standard. Vista and Win 7 are now at a point where the CUA standard is almost unrecognizable.

      (I wish the El Reg editors and others would point out that every time MS makes changes to the UI it costs users, industry--everyone--money for unnecessary retraining. It's expensive junk retraining for something that shouldn't need relearning and it benefits no one except Microsoft. Economically, it does not make sense.)

      Why has MS done this, and to what end or purpose? None as far as I can see--other than marketing, which has obviously failed. (It's turned me and my company off for starters, we won't touch Vista or Win 7 with a bargepole). Moreover, why has M$ forbidden users to switch back to an earlier UI?

      Microsoft has to learn that its obsession with the corporate image of its products--that is Microsoft only allows strictly limited changes of O/S's UI and themes--is turning off customers big-time.

      I see absolutely no reason to upgrade just for fashion's sake (sorry Win-7ers, you should be worrying about your work rather than the addictive M$ eye candy.) Win 7 offers me absolutely nothing new that I can use. Essentially, it's a repackaged XP with limitations, moreover, it dials 'home' and screws with my privacy--not for my benefit but that of Microsoft.

      Finally, Microsoft FAILED TO DELIVER with Win 7:

      - the Win FS filing system (a database-filing system, promised with Vista, which is an absolute necessity with large terabyte drives).

      - Any improvement to the antiquated file structure (files still do not automatically come with encapsulation, authentication and meta-data structures). After all this time why not?

      - A Chinese wall (firewall like) separation between user data, program files, and Windows system files. For instance, anyone can copy anything into the Windows system directory and or alter most of the files therein. It's no wonder MS products are riddled with security holes when such fundamental flaws remain. XP was and is a security problem and Vista and Win 7 are just more of the same, they are all environments that allow viruses and malware roam at will. Now, two versions on from XP, and there's still no fundamental change to the security architecture of Win 7.

      For us, it's seemingly the end of the road as far as MS operating systems goes. We will continue to use XP until 2014 when the support stops. In the meantime, we've four years to switch to Linux. It's a highly annoying decision to have to make but Microsoft has left us no other choice.

      1. Simon Taylor 2
        Gates Horns

        Totally agree!

        I've been wondering whether to make the switch from XP Pro SP3 to Win7.

        I'm sure Win 7 will be able to run fine on my gaming/media computer (AMD Phenom 2 x2 550 BE with hidden cores unlocked on GA-MA770-UD3 m'brd, ATI HD 4850, 2GB RAM, SATA HDDs).

        It may even run better than XP since Win7's CPU scheduler is more efficient (doesn't keep switching between cores all the time) and natively supports AHCI.

        Now that i've read your post about how messy and sloppy Win 7's UI is, I think I will stick with XP.

        XP does everything I need it to do at the moment and I don't want to have to use more clicks to get to the same thing(s).

        Also, when Microsoft ends support for XP in 2014, why should that even matter?

        After nearly 10 years of XP there are plenty of other 3rd party websites (and some are better than MS's own site) out there that have solutions to any potential problems you might have.

  25. Bod

    XP for me

    The only use I have for the OS is to run applications that work on Windows. I don't really care about the frills of the OS. So long as it works reliably, and for me XP does.

    If I get a new PC I'll be fine with Win 7, but I just don't need one. I'm even still running a near 10 year old (overclocked and tricked out with speedy discs) PC with XP that's very speedy in general desktop functions. Faster in fact than other PCs I'm using that have Core 2 Duo and all that! That's the key thing for me. The speed of the desktop experience. I don't care how sexy it looks, so long as it works fast opening apps and the day to day desktop stuff. At work I need processing power for development, but I don't need Win7 for that either. Corporate policy is for XP and they're happy with that.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Windows 7, I'm not even at XP

    I might upgrade from Windows 2000 at home sometime soon (possibly when CCP say Eve Online won't run on 2K) but it'll probably be to XP not to Win7.

    We recently (4 months ago) upgraded from 2K to XP at work, and it's not too bad once you get rid of all the guff and make it look like proper Windows again (blue background, classic start menu, classic folders, classic control panel, etc) and it does actually provide a little bit more memory for our DOS based accounts system than 2K did.

    1. Maverick

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits = nonsense

      > DOS based accounts system than 2K did.

      Jesus mate, sounds like you're letting the bloody bean counters decide IT strategy, get another job quick would be my advice !

      I say this as a qualified accountant (originally)

      PS i think Win7 rocks, just wait until you try XP on new HW where the XP drivers are written by the new PFY - let's check back then as to how you think that is still a good idea ;)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Bean counters

        Actually I have a boss who decides IT policy. The only reason we upgraded to XP was so we could move from DOS Sage to Windows Sage and Sage don't support 2K any more. As it was, despite spending loads of money on bespoking Sage 200, we couldn't get it anywhere near as productive as the heavily bespoked DOS version we already had, so for the moment we have stuck with the DOS version, which we've had since 1995.

        BTW, the XP upgrade included brand new hardware, so we now run DOS Sage, Outlook and Office 2007 on dual core 2.6Ghz E5300 machines with 4Gb RAM and a gigabit network. Sage runs a bit faster than on our old 2.4Ghz Celeron machines with 512Mb and a 100meg network.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      2003 called,

      they want their office back

    3. Graham Wilson
      Thumb Up

      Right. Functionally, Windows 2000 is the best O/S Microsoft ever produced.

      Right. Functionally, Windows 2000 is the best O/S Microsoft ever produced. It was clean, efficient and fast.

      I still use W2K on some machines but I had to go to XP on this one because of driver issues.

      I'm damn pissed off that W2K has been made obsolete because the need to keep Microsoft financial.

      Ultimately, this is the main reason for going to open systems such as Linux. Open systems have considerable problems but at least they don't have the imperative of having to be made obsolete every few years. As such, they have the potential to develop over many years into very mature products and yet still have an excellent functional life ahead of them.

  27. tuna 1
    Black Helicopters

    tempemeaty is the only one?

    I thought more people would note that every task you do(including opening notepad) is beamed back to the mother ship Redmond. The final tally of "phone-home" triggers topped 40, wow! Why does MS need to know if I'm using Notepad or Wordpad???

    Add to the list the lame network/sharing center, the 20 or so folders in My Documents(if not My anymore, who's? MS's?), libraries and indexing/searching confound the simple in the spirit of "easier". To transfer files on my LAN, sneakernet+usb2 flash drive <b>is</b> faster than copy&paste to mapped drive on anything over 10-20MB b/c Se7en takes more time indexing/tabulating than it does transferring.

    Sorry, the few useful features(which are covers of pre-existing apps, which 3rd party vendors do better) are over-shadowed by the un-useful, un-exceptionable, un-deniable hand of MS's over-specialization. Hopefully by Vista SP8 we can have their "security" features as an optional download just like the other useless crap... dead mail, messenger, etc.

  28. Turtle

    The Disaster That is Windows 7 Explorer

    Well I am surprised really that I am not the only one who thinks that file management under Windows 7 is a nightmare. The Folder Tree looks like Dolphin for heavens' sake and is anything but informative. There are symbolic folders all over the place; it is impossible to navigate because the layout makes no sense; the Status Bar continues to atrophy, at this point giving almost no useful information; there are many new point-and-click and drag-n-drop behaviours throughout Win7 and I can not think of a single one that makes my life easier... Their point-n-click interface has turned into a "point-n-wait" interface, which is maddening! In the week I used Win 7, I was too irritated to even begin to understand the changes that they made to mouse clicks on the desktop. The new behaviour of pasting a few files into a folder and having them IMMEDIATELY sorted with the files already there is a terrible nuisance. Search is also pretty bad: it searches for filenames and file contents, instead of letting you choose one of the other, which makes it unusable unless you have time to waste and something to occupy your attention. Nice how they got rid of the classic Start Menu and gave us a new one, that consists of a small window in the corner of the screen, so that you can see a small section of the apps you have installed at any one time, and preventing you from seeing exactly where in the folder hierarchy you are. Do they think that if they are so miserisly in their attempts to conserve screen space, that there will somehow be more screen space available for something else?

    I would have been happier with a slavish clone of XP Windows Explorer, even though it was far from perfect. But as I told all my friends, if you need to do a lot of file management, then Win 7 is NOT the OS for you.

    I began hoping that Windows 8 will be a good release for users like me because Win7 certainly is not.

    1. Rattus Rattus

      Windows 7 explorer

      I'm with you 100% on that. Windows explorer is a pain in the arse compared to XP's and so are the Start menu and the Control Panel. On the other hand I like having DirectX 10 and 11.

      I find I don't have to deal with most of 7's annoying behavior if I just create a desktop folder that has shortcuts to all my games in it so I can get to them easily. That way I hardly ever have to click anywhere else.

      What, you didn't think I was going to put Windows on a machine I used for anything serious, did you? It's on my gaming PC, and that's all. Anything else is done on one of the several Linux boxen on the network.

      At work corporate policy is still to use XP, and that isn't going to be changing for a year or several.

    2. Graham Wilson

      You're absolutely so right about Win 7 Explorer being a sick dog.

      @ Turtle

      You're absolutely so right about Win 7 Explorer being a sick dog.

      Being in IT and having worked with many users who use Win 7, it is obvious to me that those who actually praise Win 7's UI and it's mongrel Explorer are those who you wouldn't call power users.

      Instead, I classify those who praise it as 'procedural' PC users, they primarily come in three species:

      - Neophytes and timid computer users.

      - Those who have very fixed routines (and surprisingly these can be advanced programmers too). They've set themselves up with strict daily work procedures and they've adapted to those routines.

      - Those flighty types who love eye candy over function (you know the types--those who change their fashion jeans every season).

      - There is of course the fourth type--the true Microsoft believers. They love it because doctrine dictates it so. 'Nuff said. (For any objective analysis of the Win 7 usability problem they should be equated out of the equation.)

      The main haters of Win 7 UI/Explorer are power users who use their PCs for a wide range of different functions and whose daily work routine varies greatly. They do not have to be IT types although they often are. These are the people who expect much from their PCs, they're the ones who are hot swapping drives, moving files from one to PC to the next etc.

      Watching these power users work with Win 7 is both painful and instructive. One's repertoire of highly descriptive adjectives is vastly expanded not to mention learning new and imaginative ways of concatenating these words into long strings.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I regularly visit Microsoft's London offices

    and still the vast majority of their PCs are running XP. Time to eat their own dogfood, perhaps?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      but eating their own sh1t might be closer to the truth

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Windows 7 in Microsoft

      re anonymous coward : complete rubbish - everyone in Microsoft that I know in the London office of Microsoft has WIndows 7 running on their system and Windows 7 is mandated on all systems.

      1. Graham Wilson

        Would you have said the same had you not been an Anonymous Coward?I

        Would you have said the same had you not been an Anonymous Coward?

        Probably not, as someone would catch you out for telling porkies.

  30. Jodo Kast

    Win7 and WinXP are great.

    I recommend Win7 when possible and Windows XP when required.

    It's easy to tell if you 'require' Windows XP. Your hardware might not be upgradeable and you want to use the system resources for applications vs. the operating system.

    For home PCs, Windows XP Media Centers are still running fine with hardware replacements. For some people, this is their TIVO, so they really don't want to mess with it when it's working.

    At some point they might want HD, or they get Windows 7 on a notebook and are ready to upgrade to Windows 7 on their home server/TIVO system.

    Anytime Microsoft or other parties (like commenters) start getting pushy, it's because they want to sell more product. Makes sense, but it's a buyer's market right now.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    windows doesn't cut it

    I happily left windows last year in favour of Ubuntu as my main OS. It has all the features win7 likes to crow about except they run in an OS that doesn't cost hundreds of pounds and then treats you like a criminal while you get raped by malware .

    Luckily I don't have to suffer windows in the workplace either (it's Linux too). Makes everything much less of a headache.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    "a business with out any sort of BC or DR plan then"

    " and businesses still can't guarantee all their business critical applications will run perfectly in Windows 7 due to the large changes in technology between the two versions

    that will be a business with out any sort of BC or DR plan then?"

    No, that'll be a customer that does the Return on Investment analysis before spending significant amounts of money, a customer that therefore buys business-class PCs from a vendor like Compaq or Dell or other vendor that understands the business value of having a stable underlying hardware platform that will run the stable OS the customer wants (Windows XP, maybe occasionally even Win2K) rather than whatever hip trendy new OS that MS and its hangers-on would prefer the customer to buy (but MS has forgotten how to motivate business customers to get their wallets out).

  33. Goat Jam

    Computers are no longer revolutionary

    Microsoft need to learn this.

    They simply cannot expect businesses to continue doing forklift upgrades* on their computers just because it suits Microsofts business model. That may have been OK in the past when OS and software tech was a rapidly changing and little understood beast but things have moved beyond that stage.

    What we need now is more modular software that changes incrementally as needed. When new features or updates are needed, IT departments can apply them in a sandboxed environment and then roll out the changes to their production machines.

    At the moment, the Windows guys in my office are all preparing for the Big Change to Windows2K8 and Win7 (as if it were inevitable) and bandying about 6 figure numbers just for the licensing costs alone. On top of that there are the endless meetings about how to do the migration without fucking up the entire goddam network and all the associated costs to do with updating of ancillary services such as anti-virus and the proprietary web and mail filtering crap they use.

    It's absolutely astounding that people are still prepared to manage IT departments in 2010 in this fashion. It's like we are stuck in the 1990's and I see no sign of us ever escaping.

    * A metaphor for "wipe clean and reinstall" but also applies to requiring them to purchase new PC's just so the latest and greatest OS will work.

    1. Steve Roper


      If, when TV was invented, people had to go out and buy a new TV every 3 years because the TV stations kept changing the PAL / NTSC format they were broadcasting in then there wouldn't be a TV in every home today, because people would have just given up on it after a while. Technology becomes established because a particular standard is set, so that once you've learned to use it you don't need to learn all over again. When a technology achieves its optimal form there's no further need to change it. Why else has (for example) the means of controlling a car always been a steering wheel and stop-go pedals? Because that's how everybody learns to drive.

      My Windows XP desktop is set up in Classic configuration with exactly the same layout and colour scheme as I had in Windows 95 12 years ago. In fact it's not substantively different from the layout I was using on my Amiga 20 years ago. It works for me, it's what I'm used to; just a plain, simple, point-and-click GUI. Now by all accounts you don't get this option in Windows 7 - apparently you can't set it to plain classic look and layout. Which for me is reason enough not to upgrade. The desktop is a launch platform for applications - nothing more.

  34. Winkypop Silver badge


    If it were $20 I'd think about it.

    Otherwise, there's zero incentive to upgrade and go thru the pain and agony....

    1. Trygve

      You are so right....

      I got Win7 64 for £30 on the student deal a while ago and put it on my games machine (since XP needed a reinstall anyway. Works very well, is shiny, pretty much as good as my Mac Mini. Adequate for that price.

      A while ago (2 years?) I got Vista Ultimate 64 on the same deal, put it on my 'messing about' PC (retired games machine). Works OK, not quite as shiny, spat it's dummy out regarding graphics cards, some wierd stuttery behaviour now and again, but not too bad. Again, adequate for the price.

      In both cases the experience of actually getting the OS installed and working was on a par with breaking a bone or coming down with a serious (but not life-threatening) gastro-intestinal disease. Maybe I'm just unlucky but given that every single problem I ran into was resolved by googling up other people's fixes for the same problem, I'm certainly not alone. All that rubbish and paying full retail too? I don't think so.

      Fun fun fun: If Win7 repeatedly hangs on 'completing installation' and the problem can't be fixed by feeding it the correct WHQL SATA drivers, you can work round it by installing to an IDE drive, using a LiveCD to clone that working install onto your SATA drive, rebuild the MBR, disk IDs etc. Then you boot up off the SATA drive and everything works flawlessly.

      I'm a PC and I have a high pain threshold.

  35. Paul Wonnacott

    Win XP for me for a while

    Microsoft may be one of the richest software companies on the planet.

    It has done this by throwing out software with many vulnerabilities and faults without sufficient negative testing before release.

    I am an XP user and have spent many hundreds of hours patching and rebooting over the years with all the fixes and updates provided - has any body counted but it must by now be many hundreds or even thousand plus.

    I now find that my PC and Laptop now run with very few incidences of lockups, crashes etc and with a suitable AV find it is well protected from intrusion attempts.

    The essence of all this work is to be satisfied that my equipment runs as reliable as is practical to expect.

    When I looked at Vista it was fraught with issues and driver non availability and that some software suites did not work without upgrading them as well. Besides that my laptop would require both a memory and disc upgrade to cope with the bloated installation. The cost on was uneconomical so did not install. Now Windows 7 is around.

    I am not about to throw all that effort away and start on the roundabout of Win 7 patching and updating for the next few years just to join Microsoft business model,let alone potentially go out and buy new equipment whilst my present kit is fully functional.

    Quite frankly I do not trust Microsoft to get it substantially right first time where installation into a current system provides error free and operation and is free from major vulnerabilities.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    XP is for Luddites

    I ditched XP in early 2007 and haven't looked back since. XP was fugly, insecure and unusable. On the other hand, Windows 7 is beautiful, secure and productive. I love the Windows 7 UI and search features especially. XP UI and Search suck balls. In fact, almost everything about XP sucks big time. Only Luddites who are stuck in the past are still on XP. Within the next couple of years XP will be dead as a dodo, as both home and business users move on to Windows 7.

    1. Magnus_Pym


      Text analysis of you shill shows that the the main thing you like about 7 is it's 'Beauty'. Followed by security and search.

      If you are willing to spend real money just for the look of the thing fine, but remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally I think 7 looks like shit. As for security, you still need third party security software and you still have to be careful what you click on so what's the difference in the real world? Searches? Maybe, still a lot of money through.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      I would mock...

      but after that post the challenge is gone

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " XP is for Luddites" lol

      Those arguments sound just as stupid here as they do in the Windows 7 brochure.

      "XP was fugly"

      The Windows classic theme is functional, familiar and it gets the job done with a minimum of fuss and no flashy bullshit. It might not look nice in the conventional sense but if that's how you judge your software you need to either buy a Mac or get over yourself.


      I'll grant you that, but the experienced user need spend no more time keeping XP secure than they spend on Vista or 7.


      It needs a healthy sprinkling of third part apps before it becomes truly productive, but you can't exactly call it unusable.

      "XP UI and Search suck balls."

      You do know that the latest version of Window's Search can be installed on XP retrospectively right? (And for free... lmao @ the thought of you paying £££ for a fucking search feature)

      "both home and business users move on to Windows 7."

      In your imagination.

    4. NogginTheNog
      Thumb Down

      Win7: some way to go yet

      I've been running 7 on my two main systems since last August. Whilst there a fair bit I like about the OS, and find XP to feel 'old' when I go back to it (kept the dual boot just in case ;-), Windows 7 *is* flaky - I've had to rebuild the laptop once, and intend to do the same with the desktop soon, for shutdown hangs and/or bluescreens.

      Of course XP has had years of service packs and patches to get to it's level of stability, but until Win7 is similar I can see a lot of businesses giving it a wide berth.

    5. elderlybloke

      XP is for Luddites → #

      Greetings Anon.Co,

      I must be a Luddite .

      My car is 19 years young, and goes well, paint is still very good,is reliable and economic to use,so I don't see any reason to change.

      I do have XP on a drive in my computer, but only there for use if my big drive with Ubuntu on it can.t do what I require.

      That is not very often, as for the past 3 years I have been a Linux fan.

      The probability of me buying another MSOS is hovering on zero

      However I can get an Upgraded OS in a couple of weeks that will be free, free and not subject to Root bots and all those other things that come to visit when you are on MS..

  37. Michael 36

    Windows 7

    W7's main claim to fame seems to be that it isn't as bad a Vista, but there is no consensus whether it is better than XP. I'm sure the development team were hoping for a more encouraging response.

    However the UI is a total mess.

    Next time guys copy Apple more closely.

  38. Paul Banacks

    Your computer belongeth to us

    Mandatory driver signing (costing $100's per driver) means I will not use or recommend Windows 7 to anybody. I should be able to decide what goes on my computer and I shouldn't need Microsoft's blessing to install anything. Heck, if I wanted that big-brother nanny-state hand-holding I'd buy Apple products.

    My computer now runs Linux. Development is done with Python, wxWidgets and C/C++ and I'm just as productive - if not more so - than I used to be with Microsoft only tools.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    xp or 7 - better the devil you know?

    Xp - stable but old, 7 - love the way it works the speed although i do question most of the "selling points". However anyone picked up on kb 971033 discription for windows 7. see for a little more info i've purchased a copy of windows 7 and for now thankfully it's an optional update. whilst i understand the desire to check the validity of the software i think it may be overstepping the mark a little.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardware support is great, software, not so...

    I have an odd collection of hardware here, serial adapters, one for my telescope, one for my RF scanner, both serial adapters, usb and express card, u usb microscope, chip programmers etc etc, so far ALL of em work. Had to do a bit of digging for drivers but im well happy with win7.

    Vista on the other hand is shite!

    Had a few issues with software and the new start menu is bollocks and what the fuck are MS doing moving the show desktop button and then making it nigh on impossible to change back to a classic start menu.

    So, 8/10 for win 7, 5/10 for the new UI.

    Shamne you dont have a ambivalence icon...

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Windows XP will be my last

    I haven't tried Windows 7... I hear good things about it... but I use Windows so rarely, I see no viable reason to update. (Note I say up*date*... updates are not necessary upgrades... e.g. XP->Vista.)

    My main workhorse is a Lemote Yeeloong netbook computer -- sporting a 64-bit RISC CPU (ST Micro Loongson 2F to be exact) -- and is designed to run Linux. The machine I use at work is a P4-class laptop running Windows XP ... with all the visual effects turned off and the classic UI enabled.

    My work involves embedded software development, these days on ARM (Luminary Micro Stellaris), but also MCS51, MSP430 and TMS320C2000. The latter two require software that only runs on Windows (to my knowledge). The former two are easily programmed using free software. (I have hand-compiled a version of CodeSourcery ARM-EABI for Stellaris, for MCS51 I use SDCC.)

    I find KDE's desktop allows me to get a lot more done than anything Microsoft has offered. It's got a little bit of eye-candy... if you want it, you can enable it, but it's optional. The big feature for me is the ability to customise the keystrokes. I can for instance, move windows around, switch desktops, move windows between desktops, close, maximise and minimise windows ... etc... all without touching the mouse. FVWM is also good for this. I'm sorry, I don't go for this "standardisation" thing necessarily... it's *my* computer, I'll have it work the way I want, the way that suits *me*.

    Microsoft didn't offer this in Windows 3.1, and still doesn't offer it in Vista... don't know if Windows 7 offers it, but it's too late for them to start now.

    Windows 2000 & Windows ME both changed the way networking operated with the shift from the classical "Network Neighbourhood" system in Windows 95/98 (which was a big improvement from the mess of Windows 3.1), to the "My Network Places" mess in later releases.

    The former was good because you could go to one place, and see all your local systems... if you knew where to find something, you could get there quickly. Now, one must go "My Network Places" -> "Entire Network" -> "Microsoft Windows Network" -> "Workgroup"... to bring up the same list (meaning you must know the name of your workgroup). If you didn't know where something was kept, neither interface is particularly useful IMO.

    An operating system should sit in the background and keep out of the user's way. Microsoft and Apple both insist that their OSes are the centrepiece of computing -- it's not... they're really just a collection of hardware access libraries that allow an application to get about its business.

    Linux does this nicely... This is by no means the only option, just the one I've chosen for my needs. At the end of the day, once the operating system is configured for the hardware in use, the OS fades into the background and the user focusses on the work at hand.

    It should not matter what the underlying software and hardware is; so long as the work needed can be achieved with a minimum of fuss. This is going to mandate a different hardware/software stack for different people -- that's a fact of life. I can (and do) get to and from work (about a 160km round trip) purely by public transport -- but this is not an option for someone who may need to take a large amount of items with them, or need to travel at odd hours. Just as much as we use different modes of transport to suit our needs, we will also use different computing solutions to suit our needs.

    This will ultimately require a move to open and royalty-free standards ... we've seen the benefits of this with the Internet and TCP/IP... now we need to move higher up the stack and target our file formats. The sooner we move to truly open standards, the sooner the OS debate will fade into the background, and the sooner we can get on with what we want to do, rather than battle a system that really doesn't suit us.

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