back to article Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan? Neither does anyone else

Applications are the glue that connects people with IT, that much is obvious, and in turn software has a powerful influence on business performance. Yet, to our surprise, a survey of UK enterprises revealed blind spots in the deployment of applications. We talked to 200 UK CIOs and IT leaders, and discovered that these blind …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Company Plan

    1. Stick the 50% of the Company's computer users who weren't doing anything but checking their stocks and buying personal stuff from Amazon and Ebay onto Linux Mint. They won't even notice the difference (except their machines will run a helluva lot faster and be a helluva lot more secure).

    2. The other 50% get Win8 with Classic Shell. Make it log directly in to the desktop, and hide all the full-screen apps from them. They'll hardly notice the difference, except all the rounded corners are now squared off, and they get prettier wallpaper choices. And their machines will run a helluva lot faster and be a helluva lot more secure.

    3. Problem solved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Company Plan

      Like the great crash of 1929 there will one day be a great explosion/implosion in IT. From the ashes there will emerge a new and more streamlined IT entity.

      At the moment they keep piling bricks on what is becoming a very insecure foundation, this will become too heavy and topple into an abyss. Remove the rubble and start again.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'helluva' lotta rubbish!

      Assumption is the mother of all f*uck-ups @Andy Prough...

      How much do you know about OS software under the hood? There are legacy apps tied to legacy hardware such as medical devices at hospitals and engineering equipment at engineering firms, that simply will not work in Win7 or 8 without modification. Your 3 point plan is like government sponsored oversimplification!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

        "medical devices at hospitals and engineering equipment at engineering firms, "

        Special purpose devices (rather than generic desktop PCs) such as these, and others, might be prime candidates for running Windows XP Embedded, which doesn't go EOL until 2016 [1].

        Meanwhile, the device supplier can be (should have been?) working on becoming Windows-independent by replacing the software in existing devices where there is sufficient value in doing that, or replacing the device if a software update is a problem technically or commercially. After all, if it already runs Windows, how difficult can it be to run some other OS instead?

        Personally I haven't seen electronics test equipment such as a logic analyser or similar mid/high-end equipment running Windows for a very veryy long time. Maybe I'm not looking properly? There was a period when they were around, and obviously I still see software-controlled kit, but now there is no visible OS, certainly no visible Windows.

        [1] http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/?alpha=Windows+XP

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

          "Meanwhile, the device supplier can be (should have been?) working on becoming Windows-independent "

          While I agree with the 'Should', the real world can be quite messy. I was taking two examples from the past 3 years. First, two intertwined Vehicle parts companies that have 5-20 staff each. Second, three Irish regional hospitals that are using legacy medical diagnostic equipment. In both cases the original developer / installer had long gone out of business. XP is so dated now, other similar cases are likely.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

        Your examples of legacy apps apply to perhaps 2% tops of business use, true there are these awkward cases but no need to let the tail wag the dog.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

          "Your examples of legacy apps apply to perhaps 2% tops of business use, true there are these awkward cases but no need to let the tail wag the dog."...

          About 10% of family and friends I know have a legacy scanner that won't work on Win 7. Around another 10% have a legacy camera or webcam that also won't work. No earth shattering issue for sure, but these users are blissfully unaware of any problems, and it will be a pain for them because they are entrenched in their locked-to-the-device editing suites... Not to mention money is tight...

          1. mmeier

            Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

            How old are those units? And does the driver say "I will not work" or "I am not supported"? IIRC some HP Scanners said "not supported" but after clicking "do it anyway" worked nicely under Win7.

            Sure, money is tight and dropping "still working" hardware is something many (me included) do not like. But after 5-10 years a new device might be ok.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

              "Does the driver say 'I will not work' or 'I am not supported"

              ......I was referring to legacy Genius colorpage scanners. Several were bought at the same time by my wife's family looking for cheap scanners etc. It just wasn't possible to revive them under Win7.

              "But after 5-10 years a new device might be ok."

              ......For tech folk, no prob, its our life, always changing. But for others, relearning is a largely unaccounted for PITA! For my circle, its the busy mums and busy dads without tech day jobs. They loath starting over, entrenched in what they've always been used to... Put it this way, taking up dieting would be easier!

              1. Cpt Blue Bear
                Facepalm

                Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

                Genius colorpage!? In normal operation, they were lucky to make it out of warranty before failing. If any of those are still working then they aren't being used so the owner won't notice that it isn't plugged in.

            2. h3

              Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

              Depends what the device is

              My grandfather a Nikon SCSI film scanner (Really good with Vuescan really expensive originally not getting replaced) that to work with a 64 bit modern Windows would need a new card. Half reasonable ones exist but there is a lot of annoyances. (The only cheap suitable Adaptec one is a PCI-X card (That works in just PCI but it is obviously the PCI-X size).

              For what he needs an AMD APU and a decent amount of RAM and a 256GB SSD would be fine.

              Making the case big enough to take the Adaptec card (And hoping it works on the boards).

              I dunno about USB->SCSI or Firewire->SCSI

              It will be sorted out before the XP EOL (Probably by me). But I can see why people wouldn't bother.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

            >"About 10% of family and friends I know have a legacy scanner that won't work on Win 7. Around another 10% have a legacy camera or webcam that also won't work."

            WTF does that have to do with all the "advanced engineering and medical device" hardware/software incompatibility problems you laid out earlier?

            Idiot. And more than half of that shit works on Linux by now anyway.

            Complete Fail.

      3. h3

        Re: 'helluva' lotta rubbish!

        The stuff you need (As in try all other reasonable options first) to then you move to either XP Embedded / XP x64 (Or Server 2003 if you have licenses lying around).

        All those are still supported for the foreseeable future.

        That sort of hardware (Medical / Engineering) should have been running embedded versions from the start anyway.

        https://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedded/en-us/evaluate/windows-embedded-roadmap.aspx

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    My plan?

    To shout - excellent, I have a proven OS that my users are very familiar with, that runs great on that 5year old HW and which MSFT is going to stop trying to break with updates every week.

    So I don't get security updates - most of which fix the security flaws that were introduced by last week's update. Or that new IE feature to allow my phone to share cat photos with my car through facebook (or my cat share car photos - I'm never sure)

    So I firewall my XP machines (and funnily enough my vista/7/8 machines)

    I have rules to stop people opening attachments (in fact since most of my XP machines are doing real work - they don't even have outlook installed)

    And basically breath a big sigh of relief and wonder how long I can put off the Windows9 upgrade

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My plan?

      My main workstation at home is about five years old and as it was upgraded to 4GB not too long after it was purchased, has run Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 just fine.

      A firewall will not help you protect against a vulnerability in a core component which is exposed via internet connecting software to the outside world. Flash, I'm looking at you...

      1. robynsveil
        WTF?

        Re: My plan?

        But that's *it*, isn't it? Aren't we *assuming* that all legacy machines running XP-specific hardware absolutely HAVE to get online??? Why do we assume that? And why can't a layered solution be applied here? I really think people aren't creative enough.

        For example: me. I develop software for Excel 2003 (VBA) which I need to tweak and debug at home. (I know, don't take your work home with you. Whatever.) And at home, I run Linux Mint nadia. Simple solution: VirtualBox. Run Office 2000 in XPPro in VirtualBox... done and dusted. There's a lot more options available today than when these businesses first invested in their OS and hardware.

        The big thing lacking isn't options: it's creativity.

        1. mmeier

          Re: My plan?

          Works for that case. Will not work for other situations i.e where special hardware is used that does not have a Linux driver. I wrote quite a bit of stuff for Interfacing (isolated) PC networks with S5 based networks. The cards would not run under Linux. And when the OS upgrades came, the boxes got upgraded as well since the small IT stuff was not willing nor had the manpower to support more than three OS (SCO Unix, Org/M and a current Windows)

    2. BillG
      Thumb Up

      Re: My plan?

      The lack of a business case was cited as the key barrier to Windows XP application migration in 79 per cent of these organisations.

      Translation: Why should we change if what we are doing works fine?

      "lack of a business case" = "No reason to spend a truckload of cash to buy Win7".

      I've said it before and I'll say it again: My brother's laptop runs Windows XP SP3. He hasn't used Windows Update in five years. He uses Outpost Firewall and a good antivirus and has never had a problem.

    3. El Andy

      Re: My plan?

      @Yet Another Anonymous Coward: I assume you aren't old enough to have been around when NT4 went EOL. Many companies tried precisely that strategy, because heck it probably won't matter. And pretty much every one of them ended up spending a lot more trying to bail themselves out of the hole they dug themselves into when things started to go wrong than they ever would had they taken a considered and planned approach.

  3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Turtle

      Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

      Eadon, I know that you won't believe this, but for some people, one of the biggest factors against using Linux is you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

        "Eadon, I know that you won't believe this, but for some people, one of the biggest factors against using Linux is you".

        I don't have any trouble believing it, but... why?

        You would seriously deprive yourself of what may well be the best computing solution for your needs, because someone you don't like (but presumably have never met) recommends it?

        Sounds like a Darwin Award candidate to me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

          >I don't have any trouble believing it, but... why?

          >You would seriously deprive yourself of what may well be the best computing solution for your needs, because someone you don't like (but presumably have never met) recommends it?

          @T Welsh

          I don't think Turtle was referring to people who know what they are doing (since they can weigh up for themselves whether Linux would suit their purposes - in which case Eadon's evangelism is redundant), but rather people who might require some hand-holding. Eadon does put out the conflicting messages of "Everyone should use Linux, its really easy!" and "I can use Linux because I'm really smart!".

          It probably doesn't encourage the casually-curious user that whenever a new version of a popular Linux distro is featured in the Reg, the comments section is filled with stuff that reads like "It's rubbish, Pistachio Choc-Chip is much better" or "I use the Exploding Bovine fork" or whatever.

          There is no need to take any notice of Eadon- as the vast majority of Reg readers know, it is dead easy to try out a Linux distro for themselves. And the vast majority of Reg readers have a better idea than Eadon does of whether Linux suits their own needs.

        2. Getriebe
          Angel

          Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

          @Tom Welsh

          I'll answer that!

          I am new around here so I have no idea if the gold vulture next to your name affords you special deus ex-machina status, but plough on I will

          As a manager, one of those that turns left when I get on the 'plane, people like Eadon are a big reason for drooping on LINUX.

          Now back in the day AIX and HP-UX had great support and dev people who understood business plans and the need to keep the money making machine whirring.

          But a lot of the LINUX people my junior managers want to hire (in extremis I must say) seem to have no attachment to reality and are just a fucking pain in the neck most time. Visiting HR to adjust their behavior.

          I came on here as I was recommended for light relief - and thank heavens Eadon is here to reinforce my prejudices, I thought I might be losing my touch.

          I’ll be off now must go an randomly abuse a junior manger

        3. Bill the Sys Admin

          Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

          Machines running XP wont be running any form of hardware capable of supporting VM's. The CPU's might not even even support it properly!

          1. spegru
            Go

            Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

            You are thinking of crufty old XP machines with nasty antivirus.

            You might be surprised to see how well they run Linux, even with a minimalist XP VM for those legacy apps (that for many people will be only occasional anyway)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

            "Machines running XP wont be running any form of hardware capable of supporting VM's. The CPU's might not even even support it properly!"

            So? Virtualisation existed before the x86 vendors added hardware support, didn't it? For occasional non-critical use, it'll work well enough, won't it? It does where I work, where VMware on XP on ancient Dells is a relatively common relatively satisfactory workaround for the IT department's inability to understand why anyone would ever need anything other than XP.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

          @Tom Welsh - I'd say the reasoning goes along the lines of:

          Rabid shoutey Linux fan goes around making obviously factually inaccurate comments about even the most simple elements in Windows, so one is encouraged to think that if he can't get basic things right about what he's criticising, why would he be any more reliable when talking about what he claims to love. Also, he never comments positively about Linux, only negatively about Windows, suggesting that he doesn't really like Linux, but _really_ hates MS, why would one take advice from someone like that?

      2. BillG
        Coat

        Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

        Amen, Turtle.

        It's gotten to the point that each time I hear some fanboi shrieking "Ditch Windows and go to Linux!!!", it's like nails on a chalkboard.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

      Sounds reasonable. Just a few points to iron out :

      1. Would old hardware efficiently support a VM for XP?

      2. If Yes, and it is an OEM XP license, does the XP EULA allow installation in a VM?

      3. If new hardware, would a new XP license (OEM or otherwise) be available?

      4. If Yes, is it possible to avoid paying for a Win7/8 license to get the hardware?

      Answer me those and I'll consider your proposal..

    3. Matthew 25
      Facepalm

      Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

      How does running XP In a VM avoid the problem of XP EOL? If it is unsupported on physical hardware it will be just as unsupported in a VM.

      1. spegru
        Go

        Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

        An XP VM doesn't avoid the problem altogether of course but since you wouldn't be using for your main apps it's a much lesser problem. For many, those legacy apps would be for occasional use only anyway. For you main email, browsing, office, media, skype, security apps etc you wouldn't need the VM at all

        1. Tom 13

          Re: for occasional use only anyway

          If it's an app that's too expensive to migrate, that usually means its a hideously old IE6/ActiveX internally developed app that at least one-third of the company live in.

          Otherwise you're spot on.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

        > How does running XP In a VM avoid the problem of XP EOL? If it is unsupported on physical hardware it will be just as unsupported in a VM.

        Yes, it'll be unsupported, with no patches, and probably will get hosed with malware on a periodic basis, but VMs have one big edge over a physical machine running the same OS: copy-on-write block devices.

        You can set up your virtual machine, install the applications you need, then, set up a new virtual disk, which references the pristine set-up. Changes are written to the "overlay" disk image, leaving your original alone. Any documents and files are accessed via a network drive or persistent disk image which can be frequently and easily backed up.

        Ideally, when you shut down the VM, the overlay image is chucked out. So if malware infects, simply shut down the VM, toss out the infected overlay disk, create a new one (which will take mere seconds) and voilà, you're back up again.

        This solution does not require Linux of course, you can do it in Windows or MacOS X too. Easily. However, if your problem is a lack of a viable OS for the host, then Linux is a reasonable choice.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          it's 2013. Where's my copy-on-write disk storage?

          "VMs have one big edge over a physical machine running the same OS: copy-on-write block devices."

          Genuine, naive, questiion: Is this really still the case?

          It's 2013, isn't it? Is there really no simpler (better?) way of getting copy-on-write storage than putting the whole thing in a VM?

          Back around 2000 or so, DEC had the StorageWorks Virtual Replicator for Windows NT, which did copy-on-write storage as a layered driver, no VMs needed. And surely there must be (must have been?) storage controllers that did something similar? (Again, I think DEC's StorageWorks hardware stuff did it...).

          Almost a decade and a half later, and the PC world's answer to copy on write disk storage is running the whole thing in a complete virtual machine? I mean, I entirely approve of the concept, but the implementation seems a bit OTT (though running in a VM may bring other advantages).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: it's 2013. Where's my copy-on-write disk storage?

            > It's 2013, isn't it? Is there really no simpler (better?) way of getting copy-on-write storage than putting the whole thing in a VM?

            Well, some OSes do support COW filesystems. BtrFS in Linux is one such file system, but it's still in development.

            The other problem with running Windows XP on modern hardware is tracking down drivers. Hardware makers aren't producing Windows XP drivers these days, and so making your new piece of kit work with the older OS is going to become an uphill battle, especially for things like motherboards and video cards. The VM, although it'll have some overhead, will insulate you from a lot of this change since the VM's hardware is emulated to mimic some older hardware, and will probably work better with Windows XP.

            QEMU can emulate ISA hardware if needed for example. Good luck finding a new motherboard with an ISA slot today.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @Stuart Longland (ISA motherboard)

              If you need an ISA bus motherboard:

              http://www.bressner.co.uk/productdisplay/mb-el620-c

              Supported to 2015 and takes up to quad core CPU. Works fine for Linux as well, and technical support even provided the info needed for the lm-sensors package.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

      Are you really, actually seriously telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux is easier than moving between Windows XP and Windows 8?

      Really?

      1. Jess

        telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux

        Linux mint is more like XP from the user POV than Vista is.

        Windows 8 is nothing like XP.

        So of course it is.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux

          You do realise that there is rather a lot more to a migration than how the users like the new UI?

          1. Tim Bates

            Re: telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux

            "You do realise that there is rather a lot more to a migration than how the users like the new UI?"

            Well duh - but how the users react to the new UI should be a pretty high priority. They tend not to be MS fanbois, so they won't just drink the UI Previously Known As Metro koolaide.

            Ignoring the opinion of the users regarding the UI could cost millions in a large business. Lost productivity due to employees simply getting, well, lost. Extra helpdesk staff and phone infrastructure to cope with the increased calls. IT is meant to support the users, not enslave them.

            If Linux with an XP theme does what they need, they'll be far happier and get on with their jobs, leaving the IT people to consider other behind-the-scenes work.

        2. mmeier

          Re: telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux

          For most users XP->8 is an easy transfer. Those users do not use "Windows" they use "shiny green/blue/black/red icon" starting Word, SAP-Client, Datev-client and a special in-house software. Many big companies have long since written launchers or portals that abstract away the OS. As long as there is a Windows-API the actual version is of little importance. User in small companies typically pin the 4-10 applications they use to the desktop (or if advanced the task bar).

          So all you need to do is configure Modern either on a "each client" (small companies) or "centrally" (larger companies using Windows servers) base and it is done.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

        > Are you really, actually seriously telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux is easier than moving between Windows XP and Windows 8?

        Erm, well yes actually.

        My Linux Mint machine running MATE looks and behaves a lot more like XP that the shite interface of Windows 8.

      3. Kiwi Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

        Are you really, actually seriously telling people on an IT web site that moving between Windows XP and Linux is easier than moving between Windows XP and Windows 8?

        Really?

        Really.

        It's a piece of piss.

        I'm slowly but surely migrating elderly customers to it, so they can continue to do the things they like (ie use their computer for things other than watching TIFKAM's pretty colours).

        In most cases the only question is "Why didn't someone tell me about this earlier?". A few have trouble grasping that they no longer are expected to waste a ton of money on "AV", and some take a day or few to understand that their machine really didn't have to be so hard to use.

        8 is much harder to learn than Linux. At least for those who've been using computers for the last few years. Maybe someone who is new to computing might find it easier - but then 2yos find big bright buttons easier to handle anyway I guess.

    5. El Andy

      Re: Plan 9 from Planet Obvious: XP -> Linux Mint + sandboxed XP VM

      @Eadon: How exactly does XP in a VM remove any of the problems associated with continuing to run XP? And why would anyone introduce voluntarily introduce new problems from running/managing a Linux network when every user still has to run XP as well?

      As usual, you're living in some deluded dream world where you imagine every problem just goes away because you'd like it too.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Installation easier with Linux

      It's now quicker and easier to install Linux even on modern computers than it is to install Windows.

      Apart from the "a gnat has farted near your computer - reboot" messages

      I don't miss trawling dozens of manufacturer's sites trying to find drivers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Installation easier with Linux

        What about the seemingly endless

        Patch/reboot

        Cycle you have to follow in order to get your windows system 'uptodate' usually just in time to download another raft of patches?

        Server 2008 R2 + .Net runtime V4 = 10 patch/reboot cycles. I did this only yesterday.

        Linux is most certainly easier to install than Windows these days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Installation easier with Linux

          While I'd agree that Linux does have a pretty fast install these days and it's far more stable than it used to be (anaconda used to be pretty flakey) You assertion that Win2008 R2+.Net v4 takes ten reboots is just plain wrong. I installed it the other day and I think I had three reboots, it's possible that I had an install with service pack slipstreamed, but nontheless it certainly wasn't 10 reboots.

          1. mmeier

            Re: Installation easier with Linux

            So about the same amount it takes to install Suse 12.x when you need some stuff from external/commecial repositories.

            1. P. Lee Silver badge

              Re: Installation easier with Linux

              > So about the same amount it takes to install Suse 12.x when you need some stuff from external/commecial repositories.

              External repos like packman update the kernel far more often than the main distro. Kernel updates will always need a reboot.

              What I don't understand is why W7 needs to reboot when apps like lync or IE are updated.

              1. mmeier

                Re: Installation easier with Linux

                Actually Win technically does not require a reboot either most of the time. IE was (and might still be) a bit more deeply wired into the kernel so it was/is a "kernel update". MS simply "plays it safe". Since they offer service packages and those are a good deal the fewer calls come in they reduce problems whereever they can. And a reboot after patch is a good way. It makes sure the changes of the patch/update are in AND it makes sure any problems are depending on THIS patch/update

                Since no IT department that knows it's stuff will apply patches directly from MS timing is not as critical either. Patches go through testing and then out through WSUS / ZenWorks etc. centrally. That also bundles the updates from various sources in a "company repository"

        2. El Andy

          Re: Installation easier with Linux

          If you can't roll out a Windows box, install all the required corporate applications, reconfigure any custom settings and install every required patch without manual intervention, you're doing it wrong.

      2. spegru
        Linux

        Re: Installation easier with Linux

        with many many installs Linux Mint I've not had to search for drivers for years. I'm not saying that no-one would - but you'd be a fool to not try it

        Blank PC to fully working in 15 mins is typical and all your apps are there too!

        1. mmeier

          Re: Installation easier with Linux

          About the same it takes for an IT department to clone a standard Windows install to a standard Office PC.

      3. hplasm
        Meh

        Re: I don't miss trawling dozens of manufacturer's sites trying to find drivers.

        Nor do I since giving up XP.

    2. Jess

      Linux, .... having superior kernel and memory management

      I had assumed that windows must have a pretty good kernel, given the fact that it runs at all with all the crap that sit above it.

    3. RussellMcIver

      Re: Installation easier with Linux

      The "Linux breathes life into old hardware" line isn't as clear cut as it used to be, it seems there is a lot more bloat surround most distros these days.

      For example I used to use Ubuntu on an old (circa 2005) laptop as it was far quicker than the running XP, but have since switched back to XP as later versions of Ubuntu have been very slow indeed.

    4. Kiwi Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Installation easier with Linux

      Easier installation - How times change :)

      Hell, I'm still waiting for windows to give you a useable machine while you're installing it. You know, browse/edit documents/email etc while you're doing the install on the same machine - like Linux has been doing for what, 10 years now?.

      Last windows install I did (yesterday), had fun just getting the drivers in. Can't browse even after the install because it can't handle the network. Can't put the drivers in on USB because win7 couldn't handle USB out of the box - had to wait for chipset drivers. Same for CD. Fix? Boot from a Linux USB (it can handle all the hardware out of the box, although the graphics requires "activation" for full function - sometimes same for wlan) and copy the drivers to the disk.

      (Course, where I can I boot from the same USB and then click the "Install Linux" button :) )

  5. Turtle

    "Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan?"

    "Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan?"

    I don't need one.

    I am going to stay with XP until such time as Microsoft puts out a compelling replacement. By "compelling" I mean one that *I* find useful, and ergonomically sensible. And I know that there's a very good chance that that might not happen in my lifetime. But I don't really care: I am intimately familiar with XP, know how to troubleshoot and repair it, have all the tools I need for it, know how to configure it, and, best of all, as the rest of the world moves to Win 8, 11, 19, 47, etc, XP becomes a less and less profitable target for cyber criminals i.e. security increases as market share goes down.

    And by the way, because Microsoft is going to stop supporting XP, does that mean that anti-virus companies are going to stop supporting it? Most of the support that I need for XP - and I don't need much - is supplies by vendors other than Microsoft.

    And there will always be enough of a user-base that I will be able to find a way to install it on whatever hardware is on the market. So I am not worried about that, either.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: "Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan?"

      If you're talking about a home PC, that sounds fine (my Win2k box recently quit after >10 years faithful service). But as a corporate strategy, it won't survive any risk assessment.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: "I will be able to find a way to install it on whatever hardware is on the market"

      I sincerely hope you do, but I don't think you will.

      My original, holographed XP Windows cannot install on today's hardware, it refuses to complete the install process and blue screens every time I try.

      If I do want to install on modern hardware, I need an XP SP2 image. That will probably last a few more years, at which point only an XP SP3 image will be able to install on hardware after, say, 2020, for a few more years.

      So I'm guessing that, after 2025, you will be forced to install something else whether you like it or not.

      Of course, you should probably be able to get XP running in a VM far longer than that - but users don't have to stay in a VM, now do they ?

    3. El Andy

      Re: "Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan?"

      @Turtle: "And by the way, because Microsoft is going to stop supporting XP, does that mean that anti-virus companies are going to stop supporting it? Most of the support that I need for XP - and I don't need much - is supplies by vendors other than Microsoft."

      Probably. Once a version of Windows goes EOL it's not long before application and tool vendors start to drop support to. Given the size of the XP user base, I'd imagine many (though probably not all) AV vendors will probably keep support around for maybe a year or so past XP EOL, but it certainly won't be forever.

      1. mmeier

        Re: "Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan?"

        Depends on where the customer base sits and how much money the AV companies expect to make of it. Same for other software vendors. If most XP systems are "pirat copies" than most software companies will have a "let them rot" strategy

  6. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Bring your own app

    Managers bypassing the IT department in favour of cheaper (having ignored all externalities) solutions that are directly under their own control? Whatever next? You'll be telling me next that Duran Duran are top of the charts.

    1. Mark Honman

      Exactly!

      in due course there will be frustration at the reliability (or not) of those solutions and training gaps and the fact that different and incompatible solutions are used in various departments. Some bright spark will say "why don't we hire someone to take charge of this chaos". A couple of hiring cycles and a smidgen of empire building later later and the result will be indistinguishable from the much reviled It dept of old.

      And some groaning user will exclaim "there must be a way that involves less red tape"...

    2. buyone

      Re: Bring your own app

      BYOA and it is back to 1980, a Visicalc & mainframes re-run.

  7. jake Silver badge

    I EOLed Redmond with the Y2K-thingie.

    As a consultant, I told all of my clients that I was out of the bullshit marketard-driven consumer rat-race after our current contract expired, or 2010 at the latest (if they were willing to pay big bucks per job, sans ongoing contract ... many were willing).

    True to my word, I dropped Redmond on the floor, January 1 2010.

    Today, over three years on, I do less work, get paid more, and am a lot happier when working.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I EOLed Redmond with the Y2K-thingie.

      It sounds like you're saying "my clients now have to pay me more since I forced them off MS OSs." I'm sure that's good for you, but not for your clients.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC12:06 (was: Re: I EOLed Redmond with the Y2K-thingie.)

        "It sounds like you're saying "my clients now have to pay me more since I forced them off MS OSs.""

        Nope. I never forced anyone to do anything. I told folks (ten years in advance!) that I was not going to support MS products anymore. Current contracts were honored, and I accepted a few one-offs with no long term support contracts , in the interim.

        Today, I work on stuff for corporations that run MS stuff, but I don't work on MS products, nor on interfaces/hardware that exist primarily to support MS products. Life's too short. There are plenty of kiddies out there willing to make a little over minimum wage supporting MS products and the headaches that come with that. I'm not one of 'em. Instead, I make my money dealing with situational problems involving mostly sanely developed systems.

        " I'm sure that's good for you, but not for your clients."

        Quite the opposite, from all accounts. I'm sick of the computer/networking business (only five more years!), and I turn away far more work than I accept ... none of which I actively solicit in the first place :-)

  8. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    Business Critical apps

    Ah - so that would be cardfile.exe then?

    I'd expect that the end-of-life for XP will simply mean that folks will start upgrading to Win7 faster. Win8 would be an option if they can fix it for the business (non-touch) environment.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Business Critical apps

      There is no "fixing" required, all Win7 software runs fine and Olaf Officedrohne can effectively use Win8 after 30min of "electrical enhanced" or 8h of normal training. Same amount of time he needs for a new software of any kind.

      "Klick on the shiny green icon Olaf" <Bzzt> "The Green one, Olaf"...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Business Critical apps

        "Olaf Officedrohne can effectively use Win8 after 30min of "electrical enhanced" or 8h of normal training. Same amount of time he needs for a new software of any kind."

        Careful. The very same logic also applies to effectively using non-MS software after a little bit of training. And that's not what the certified MS dependent ecosystem wants to hear.

        1. mmeier

          Re: Business Critical apps

          IF the software runs under a proper Unix - why not? Personally I do not care, most of the stuff I have written in the last 15+ years runs fine under Solaris, Windows, MacOS since it it Java based. Some interacts more closely with MS-Products using their file formats but even that might work

          OS are a platform, what counts is the software and in a corporate environment the integration and support like SingleSignOn, Printing, Mobile devices etc. I prefer "one OS/UI for all systems" and "supported for the next 10 years" so I typically end up with Windows on client and server but if a customer wants Solairs/HPUX/AIX/OS400 - sure, why not, those work just fine.

      2. Kiwi Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Business Critical apps

        There is no "fixing" required, all Win7 software runs fine and Olaf Officedrohne can effectively use Win8 after 30min of "electrical enhanced" or 8h of normal training. Same amount of time he needs for a new software of any kind.

        Switch them to Mint. Required retraining time for 1/4 of your workforce will will be 1-2 minutes tops. The other 3/4 of your workforce? Well, since you're no longer running any of the MS garbage, you'll only need 1/4 of the staff to do 10x time amount of work.

        [And let the downvoting begin ! :) ]

        But seriously. You think that 8 hours of retraining for a OS "update" is a good thing? That this will somehow sell people on this garbage? What the hell do MS put in their koolaid? I certainly wouldn't drink it. Clearly messes with your head.

        1. mmeier

          Re: Business Critical apps

          With the type of user we are talking about EVERY change takes 8h of training. Those are not IT persons, those are office drohnes. They do their work by memorizing click pathes not by understanding the way it works. So if one switches OS and takes away Word - 8h for the new OS and 8h for OO.

          Those users do not use the OS (nor do they understand the concept) they use programs. As long as those remain the same training is easy. The 8h come because training always takes a day since essentially it is

          Assemble the 5-8 person training group (Anything larger does not work)

          30min show and tell (At this point IT personal is done and can use the software)

          Let them try, hand-coach each one (15-30min/person)

          Lunch

          Repeat show and tell

          Repeat try

          The would need that even for a device with a single icon labeled "WORK"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Business Critical apps

            "EVERY change takes 8h of training."

            OK, let's accept that in principle.

            So, based on that, what should a sensible organisation do, when their legacy vendor(s) of choice have historically insisted on an upgrade of OS and apps every two or three years (the long lifetime of XP seems to have been an exception to the norm here), regardless of whether the organisation has a commercial justification (ie one that makes sense outside the IT department) for such an upgrade?

            It's going to take just as much (or as little) training to make big changes (change vendor) as it does to 'just' update to the newer OS and newer apps from the legacy vendor.

            Where does that lead the organisation (and its IT people)?

            I think we all know. Some of us are more willing than others to actually admit it.

            1. mmeier

              Re: Business Critical apps

              A) You can easily skip a version of Windows so the upgrade cycle typically is 6 years. ALL NT-family Windows version have a long support of 8-10 years (see 2000, XP, Vista, 7). Many companies did and will do. Linux LTS is a joke at 5 years and the non-LTS versions are even worse

              B) Since the Windows API is rather static and it is the software that requires the training - stick with Windows and keep the training costs low by only re-traing "where to start" and not the rest. The users know where to click in Word - retraining for OO is an extra 8h.

              C) IT is more than clients. And even there Windows in an IT environment has benefits (Repositories do not work with company owned software in Linux) and IT has likely the personal

              D) Support costs for commercial distributions like RedHat is at least equal to Windows. And no sane IT runs important servers on instable stuff like Debian

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XP?

    Only just finishing the migration away from Win2k where I work. Obviously the lack of Microsoft's *wonderful* support has been a major handicap to the business.

    We skipped XP completely, I wonder just how much money that saved the organisation?

  10. g e
    Holmes

    If they're holding off upgrading from XP

    Then it's because they didn't/don't want Vista, 7 or 8 either because of the pain of upgrade or because some of their shit would stop working. Which presumably hasn't changed with time.

    What's the betting that, faced with a stout upgrade license cost and the fact that the apps will have to be re-written regardless, they look at a Linux distro as their XP upgrade path.

  11. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Advice on software from a banker?

    'Nuff said really.

    Is it just me or does very little of this article make sense? And how much of it is relevant to XP installations?

    What are the use cases? ie. a doctor's practice with 4 machines, proprietary software and printers currently running machines bought in 2009. Should migration from XP only be considered necessary for machines with internet access. Will Win 7 or Win 8 run on the hardware? If not, what will new hardware cost? Will the proprietary software run (in an XP VM if necessary)? Are there drivers for the printers and other devices?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Advice on software from a banker?

      If the proprietary software doesn't work with 7/8 its been time to review IT in the practice since before 2009. All sensible printers should be fine. New hardware costs less than a days pay for a GP - the main cost is the several days work for migration and training if staff are used to well out of date systems.

      1. mmeier

        Re: Advice on software from a banker?

        Normally I would agree. But XP used some older drivers that do not migrate to Win7. They where an "backup, replace with XP drivers" system but quite a few manufacturers never did. Same for some software that does not work properly with UAC.

        The software and printers may have been bought in 2009 but they may well have been written in the days of NT4SP7 (aka Win2000)

    2. El Andy

      Re: Advice on software from a banker?

      @Charlie Clark: The questions you raise are the important ones, yet the ones that most people here seem to have completely missed. It's not about "Oh I won't get malware because of X, Y and Z", that's only a minor side-effect of XP's EOL. Continuity of business means you need a plan of how things are going to work if, for example, you end up having to buy new PCs, which you won't be able to get XP on and may never get drivers for either. Likewise if some new piece of software you need comes out that also drops support for XP and suddenly you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place.

      Failing to have a proper strategy in place to migrate away from XP in business (whether to another version of Windows or something else entirely) is incredibly foolish. Burying your head in the sand and pretending it's all fine usually is.

  12. Richard Wharram

    Get real commentards

    Running on unsupported XP may be a risk an SME can take but not a large corporate.

    Running apps in a virtual environment either in Win7/8 or Linux desktops still does not get rid of XP so does not solve the issue.

    Those organisations that are still lumbered with IE6-only 'thin-cliient' apps as well as user-generated apps based on Office 2003 and earlier and Access 95 are in for a world of pain either trying to upgrade all of those at once or having to explain why a long-drawn-out, multi-stage programme is required to a very fucked-off business.

    (Hi Nic by the way)

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    "business critical applications at risk today, from those that have operated under the radar of IT"

    That sounds like a recipe for disaster to me, whatever OS is used.

    Running a business-critical app without proper backups and support . . . no, I can't believe it can be done by any sane organization.

    Sorry, does not compute here.

    1. El Andy

      Re: "those that have operated under the radar of IT"

      @Pascal Monett: It's incredibly stupid. Yet the number of businesses out there that function because "Bob in accounting made a really useful spreadsheet" is higher than most IT pros would care to admit. It's frightening how quickly and deeply business processes can become dependent upon such "user created applications." If IT folk aren't even aware of their existence, and often they aren't because users don't want IT "interfering", then these can become a potentially massive liability.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    another Y2K scare or scam

    GOOD ON YOU ! !

    - I am still waiting for Jesus to knock on the door ..... Jesus Christ

    I am so ready for HELL

  15. Tim 11
    Thumb Down

    Missed the boat

    If you're already on Windows 7 you're sitting pretty (relatively speaking) because you've got a nice stable platform with XP mode for some legacy apps, and you can safely ignore the abortion that is Windows 8. If you're planning a migration from XP now, you've got to decide whether to go with the already-superseded 7, the unusable 8, or hold on till the last minute and bank everything on the fact that 9 will be another good'un

  16. Miek
    Linux

    Got a Windows XP end-of-life plan? Yes, Windows 7 for secretaries and linux mint for my workstation.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My XP EOL plan

    Take the remaining two XP systems to the tip. Two years of keeping them 'just in case' is enough.

  18. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Away from XP, and on the BYOA front

    If I own the device and the app, do I not own the data - e.g. the client list I develop while working for you? I think not, but most people will assume they do and the legal costs of sorting that out could be pricey.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Away from XP, and on the BYOA front

      You'd no more own the product you created with your own tools than a photographer or cabinetmaker owns their output when working for someone. Those problems have been sorted for a while.

  19. Tezfair
    Facepalm

    Marketing scare mongery

    XP is old and W7 could be seen as an improvement however there will be some applications that can't or will never be able to run under x64.

    I look after lots of XP desktops running against SBS 2003 box. Am I going to upgrade? no. Why? businesses can't afford to ditch a working machine for a new one

    I will accept there is a security risk, but on the basis that all my client use non IE browsers and have industrial strength AV and AS on the servers and on the desktops, their systems will not suddenly all stop working on 2nd April 2014

    I have one customer that still uses Server 2000. It amazes me that its not died, but it still works, its not exposed to the internet, so where's the problem?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Marketing scare mongery

      Tezfair said: "I have one customer that still uses Server 2000. It amazes me that its not died, but it still works, its not exposed to the internet, so where's the problem?"

      Does any of these boxes permit access to removable storage (CD, USB, whatever)?

      They do? There's one problem right away then.

      But don't let it bother your cozy little non-Inernet-facing world.

    2. El Andy

      Re: Marketing scare mongery

      @Tezfair: "I have one customer that still uses Server 2000. It amazes me that its not died, but it still works, its not exposed to the internet, so where's the problem?"

      If you know that it can easily be replaced by a currently supported OS, probably not much. If you have no plan whatsoever, and no real idea of what work will be involved if you had to replace it with something new tomorrow due to a catastrophic failure, then the problem ought to be blindingly obvious.

  20. Magnus_Pym

    I'm wondering ...

    .. if the age of dedicated hardware is going to come back. Either your business application is standards based, browser based and device agnostic or you sell a turn-key device optimized for the application. e.g. a CAD/CAM workstation or photo editing suite or music editing desk with appropriate keyboard, pen, mixers built in.

  21. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Facepalm

    XP Embedded

    I always hate conversations of everyone on Windows 7, yes except for our XP embedded machines.

    Opens a can of worms.

  22. Roland6 Silver badge

    Lots of opportunities for Enterprise IT Architects then!

    "poorly designed and integrated applications", "address key pain-points around new and legacy applications", "formal plans for how to address what will quickly become a legacy problem", "lack of business case", "multi-device application environments", "a more holistic approach for application development and maintenance", "adapt business processes to embrace these new mobile and consumer technologies"

    All of these and more are things Enterprise IT Architects can address!

    So the looming end-of-support for XP may be providing an opportunity to sell enterprise IT architecture in a way that people understand.

  23. ecofeco Silver badge
    Meh

    I deal with this every day

    And it ain't pretty.

    The solution? Bite the bullet and pay to have the custom apps updated. Often a business finds some are no longer all that critical. Which makes support's life a lot easier.

  24. quarky
    Go

    Windows 8

    Our users love it, including the new start menu. I guess not being technical, they are were not so easily swayed by bitter techies. Who'd have thought that IT staff would be more resistant to change than the business?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Windows 8

      Hmmm, that's interesting to know.

  25. stephajn
    FAIL

    "With only 14 months to go"

    Did I miss something or is the reporter's math just a little off? Considering that I am posting this on April 25, 2013 and the end of support is April 7, 2014....how exactly is that 14 months? Is 2013 supposed to have an extra two months in it that I don't know about???

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring your own app (software as service)?

    Seriously? There are companies out there who allow intellectual capital to be stored on assets that don't belong to them? I guess my employer is more grown up than I thought.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Bring your own app (software as service)?

      Yes and quite a few. I.e DATEV for online bookkeeping/taxes gets all the bills of most small/medium companies in germany. Since the 1980s. It is considered trustworthy (doing nothing else). And why not? Most smaller companies do not have data important enough that a "cloud provider" would gain enough from selling it to compensate the risks. Example:

      A carpenter "around the corner" here is big enough to have two secretaries and a few extra computers as well as a few notebooks for the "Bauleiter" (Master craftsman) on-site. The use Datev for tax and salary like many others and they could easily replace their server with a cloud solution. Actually that might well be faster/more reliable (and no more costly) than the 2Mbit leased line they use now.

  27. kb
    Windows

    I had all my main customers switched years ago.

    After using Win 7 through the beta i told them that unlike Vista it was worth the switch and within 6 months of RTM I had them all switched. A few hiccups with really old software and one scanner that needed replacing but other than that it really wasn't that hard.

    Ironically the only one that hasn't completely switched...is me. I've had an old Sempron that I've used as a netbox in the shop for years but because its so old there is no way I'd be able to find drivers for Win 7, so next week I'll have an ULV Athlon X2 for a spare AMD board I've had sitting in the back slapped into a case and Win 7 installed.

    Its understandable why XP lasted so long, its low resource, stable, easy to configure, I'd put it on the short list with XP X64 and Win 7 on any "best of" list but lets face it guys...its 13 years old. When XP came out the average PC was a 400-733MHz single core with MAYBE 256Mb of RAM so the fact that it was able to scale up as far as it did is frankly amazing but now you can buy 6 core CPUs for less than $100 and 16Gb of RAM around the same, its time to say goodbye like we did with Win2K and let her go into that good night.

  28. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tuesday May 7, Redmond: MS admit they need a Plan B for Windows 8

    It's all over the business press already (following an FT interview with MS' Tami Reller) but not yet covered on The Hand that Bites IT.

    Of course, she could have "mis-spoken" like that MS bloke who departed recently.

    We'll see.

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