back to article Win XP alive and kicking despite 2014 kill switch (Don't ask about Win 8)

Uptake of Windows 8 for desktop computers – which was never particularly fast – has slowed, according to stats for July from web traffic pollsters Net Applications. Microsoft's latest operating system held a 5.4 per cent of the global desktop OS market last month, up 0.3 points on June which was up 0.83 points on May. A glance …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

    Techies hitting the beach perhaps. With their netbooks, all of which are perfectly equipped to run XP.

    Win7 starter on a netbook was like Win95 on a 486. Doable but too slow and bloated to get anything useful done. Has anyone dared put Win8 on a netbook?....

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

      W8's supposed to be leaner than W7 so probably would be OK if you can get driver support.

      1. Tom 35

        Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

        I think the normal 1024x600 netbook screen is less then the 1024x768 that windows 8 wants (1366 x 768 with snap). So not much chance it would install (not that I've tried).

        1. h3

          Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

          Not a problem if you just want to use desktop apps.

        2. ahayes

          Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

          Windows 8 runs fine with the low resolution, Metro apps won't run though. It's also pretty responsive. Incidentally you can hack the intel drivers to scale the screen to the minimum resolution and run metro apps but it isn't worth it because A: it looks terrible and B: metro is slow as molasses on Atom.

        3. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

          The hard part of installing Windows 98 (preferably 98 SE) is that it can't cope with more than 512 MB memory. For those machines with more that, I either had to somehow get the memory physically to 512 MB or less, or somehow run it as a virtual machine. Once it was completely installed, there was an unofficial roll-up of all the official Windows 98 patches as well as an unofficial patch that would allow you to run Windows with more than 512 MB. I still have it in my archives here given how much legacy I have to deal with (back all the way to WfW).

          1. david 12 Silver badge

            Windows 98 ... can't cope with more than 512 MB

            >The hard part of installing Windows 98 (preferably 98 SE) is that it can't cope with more than 512 MB memory

            Strange. I've never had a problem installing Win98 with 1GB memory.

            Office 97 Pro can't run MS Access with 1 GB memory until the Office service pack is applied, but even so I've never had to reduce the memory to get it to install.

    2. Kay Burley ate my hamster
      Thumb Up

      Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

      Almost exactly what I was thinking. It could just be that XP is still big on home PC's, July is summer, people on staycations and wfh will be on these dust buckets more often.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

        " It could just be that XP is still big on home PC's"

        Nope, its also HUGE on kiosk machines. I've seen the telltale signs of WinXP (eg BSOD, legacy screensavers) on machines everywhere from airport display boards to train station ticket machines. Even a cash machine I saw being remotely managed (via CMD window) in Victoria train station the other week looked suspiciously like a WinXP desktop - although to be fair that would well be Win7 running with the desktop in 'classic' mode.

        1. RAMChYLD

          Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

          Well, I saw a POS terminal that was still running the first version of Windows 98 the other day. It took me by surprise as well. On the other hand, it was a somewhat backwater town, so I guess that was expected somewhat.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

            RBS cash machines run on XP.

            1. tmoore

              Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

              But RBS cashmachines will not be included in these statistics, unless someone is browsing the web from them?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

              Cash machines don't browse the web though!

        2. returnmyjedi

          The cash point at my local Sainsbury's had a BSOD just before it deep throated my debit card.

          Personally I would have preferred a Guru Meditation, but so few machines run on Amiga Workbench.

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

      Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7 on the same hardware. It is the UI that is the problem, not the underlying operating system.

      1. PeterM42

        Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

        As "Windows 7" is NT 6.1 and "Windows 8" is NT 6.2, it is not surprising that there are no problems with the underlying OS. It is that appalling UI that is killing Windows and therefore PC sales. What IT Director wants to try and justify the Win8 user training costs? - say 3 to 4 hours per user x 10,000 employees - I DON'T THINK SO!!!!!!

    4. Philippe

      Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

      Yes, I've installed Windows8 entreprise on a Sony Vaio Netbook.

      it runs OK with 2GB of memory but you need to do some registry Hack because of the 1024x600 pixels resolution.

      I have removed all the Microsoft Apps (bing, Internet Explorer, travel, etc etc) and to be honest never used the TIFKAM part.

      It's used only to watch some movies in bed and do a bit of skyping.

      it came with Windows 7 Starter but it was unusable.

      1. majorursa

        Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

        Why use a bloated hulk like W8 with a colossal footprint just to watch the webs? Just install Ubuntu already, will take you 20 min and is much easier to use.

        1. asdf

          Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

          >Just install Ubuntu already

          Or if you want a UI that is usable and makes sense then install Linux Mint instead.

          1. Random K

            Re: Mint for Windows Users

            I suppose Mint might be more useful to a Windows XP (or Gnome 2) refugee, but I've not had good luck getting people exposed to Windows 7 or OSX onto Mint. Since most people with these old machines will have used at least one of those at work/school I'd lean more toward Unity as the more user friendly interface. That's probably hard to fathom if you were used to Gnome 2 and experienced the abomination that was early Unity. As of 13.4 though its really becoming quite mature and is is a joy to use once you get over the learning curve. I, like you, initially resented being forced through that learning curve and went over to Mint, but Canonical had some tough decisions to make with Gnome 3 looming ahead and in the end I came back and now believe they made the right call. (I also missed getting security advisories, come on Mint...)

            With normal people (non-technical) Mint has been a non-starter every time I've tried to get anyone to use it. For example, I set up a small company with System 76 desktops (which replaced XP Dells) a few months ago and didn't have to do any training whatsoever. Everyone from the baby-boomer management to the high school student warehouse folks just took right to it. Several of them have even contacted me to find out how to install Ubuntu at home. Mint is a very nice desktop OS, don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't recommend it to Windows users. The 3 times I tried to get that done they were over to Windows 7 in a week, but 12.10 onward no one has yet rejected Ubuntu. Seeing this happen is what convinced me to give it a try myself.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

      Really, we're supposed to believe their information is accurate to hundredths of a percent? Please...

      I highly doubt there are any new Windows XP installs happening to increase its penetration by 0.02% in a month. At the rate old XP machines are likely dying off, and new Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines entering service, there would have to be a pretty significant number of new XP installs for this to be true. Given how simple it is to run a pirated copy of Windows 7, and the rather moderate hardware requirements by today's standards, there is no reason for even the lowest end PC maker in the third world to be stamping out new Windows XP machines. There are likely a few embedded users still stuck on it, but they aren't going to deploy hundreds of thousands of these things in a month.

      Their sampling just isn't quite as random and/or their sample size as large as necessary for the amount of accuracy they are providing in their numbers.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

        I still sometimes deploy virtual machines with XP, because it works fine for what I want it to do, and the hardware requirements are lower than for Windows 7.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

          In order to move the XP share up, there would have to be more than one person deploying an XP VM for every two who deploy a Windows 7 or 8 VM. I don't think you are going to argue that's the case.

          I recognize there are a few niche uses for XP (kiosks and other embedded uses probably being another) but there would need to be flood of new deployments happening to maintain let alone increase a 37% market share when you think about how many PCs are sold every single day.

          1. P. Lee

            Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

            How about... students leaving their "go to college" PCs at home hitting the beaches and businesses carry on running XP?

      2. Nosher

        Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

        "I highly doubt there are any new Windows XP installs happening"

        You say that, but only a few days ago I installed a new Windows XP instance (activated and everything, the licence for which I've had kicking around for ages) on VirtualBox so I could run some Windows-only camera raw-converting software to process some photos I'd taken on a brand-new Pentax MX-1 the format of which AfterShot Pro (running on Linux) doesn't know about yet. OK, so large businesses are hardly rolling XP on thousands of desktops, but enough people like me doing the odd install to get something working /could/ bump up the figures a bit now and again...

        1. P Taylor

          Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

          Actually almost all Cash Machines are XP. Since they just use PPP over ISDN2e. They do not connect to the internet in any way.

          Ive also deployed hundreds of Outdoor kiosks recently, again all XP. Security updates do not really matter, since its just a simply app that runs full screen, on a closed network with no web access or gateway.

          I also know of a certain MoD site with over 3000 XP desktops. Again, internal security is not an issue since there is no gateway to the outside world.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

            > They do not connect to the internet in any way.

            In an ideal world, but then managers started asking why they were paying so much more for ISDN than they were for internet when the branch already had fibre.

            So a few gateways and they were able to save a lot of money and the gateways are secure because the maker said so

      3. Inflex

        Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

        Still deploying virtualised XP machines here because some businesses depend on internal websites that can only run on IE+XP (yes, you better believe we tried every combination of IE on W7, and W8 to no avail, even the developers confirm it).

        There's also all those ex-gov Core2Duo machines constantly available on eBay that keep the XP [re]installs going.

      4. Robert Baker

        Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

        Whoever posted those percentages has clearly never read (nor, in all likelihood, even heard of) the TV Tropes <a href="">Ludicrous Precision</a> page.

        1. Steve Knox

          Re: More likely its the survey is trying to provide too many decimal places

          Actually, their level of precision is consistent with their sample size.

          With 160 million unique samples, 0.01% = (160,000,000 * 0.0001 =) 16 machines. They could actually measure a difference as precise as (0.01%/16 =) 0.000 625%.

          In this case, they saw ~32 more XP machines than last time, and ~1,328 more Win8 machines.

          The real questions are:

          1) How representative is this sample of the entire population? (i.e, is there a sample bias based on a factor such as the websites used to track?)


          2) How big is the entire population? (from which we could calculate the relative sample size and thence the confidence intervals)

          Precision is not a legitimate beef with this study. Accuracy and confidence may be.

    6. td97402

      Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

      Windows 8 Home runs nice on my Lenovo Lynx K3 tablet which is basically a netbook all crammed in to a 11.6 inch screen.

      1. P. Lee

        Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

        But why pay for a new OS on a low-power machine?

        SuSE 12.3 on my 1.5G RAM centrino which runs as video/web client is plenty. I think it has XP on it too (I found a COA sticker underneath and thought I'd see if it works.) KDE is fine with all the bells and whistles though LXDE is my default for low-glitz.

        Mmmm, old laptop.... 1200x900 screen, DVD, stereo sound: $100 and MS wants how much for an OS?

    7. RobHib

      Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

      "With their netbooks, all of which are perfectly equipped to run XP."

      Perhaps, but the problem is for XP to run on the latest machines. The percentage of XP machines would even be higher now if it were not for the fact that both Intel and Microsoft have conspired to engineer XP out of existence by not updating XP drivers for the latest hardware.

      Despite that, XP lives on. We have NO intension of replacing XP on our many machines after 2014. Anyway, the fact that Microsoft is not providing patches past 2014 is irrelevant, as most of our machines are not patched past service pack 3 (it's irrelevant as many are never online).

      Using replacement industrial control boards mostly solves the XP driver problem as this hardware usually works with existing XP drivers.

      Why bother upgrading to Windows 7 when it offers no significant advantage over XP? We're long past having to keep up appearances—and being hip by using the latest Microsoft 'fashionware' is the least of our concerns.

      In fact, Windows 7 is a bloody pain to use. For starters, Win 7 is full of dross that we do not want and never will use—and even Explorer.exe has been buggered beyond recognition. And having to use chown.exe or run icacls * /T /Q /C /RESET etc. etc. to change/reset permissions to just access files and directories is totally unacceptable. And that's just the beginning of our complaints.

      Unless Microsoft brings out a version of Windows for industry, engineers and scientists etc. which gives the user 'superuser' status and full control over the O/S then I expect XP to still be around in substantial quantities for well over a decade past 2014. In fact, this problem is so significant that I know of some cases where existing *Windows 2000* installations are NOT expected to be replaced until the industrial plant it is installed on is replaced in about 2025.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

        I assume the figures are based on activations or kms reports so they are accurate as far as activations are concerned.

        W7 has replaced xp for us for a number of reasons, first we found w7 actually supported some hardware that was flaky on xp (a room of casio keyboards in sibelius) that surprisd me. Second, lack of drivers for new notebooks replacing our old ones. Third, office 2013. After the jump from office 2003 ive put 2013 due to pdf edit capabilities (possibly my number one asked for feature from staff)

        It has been a natural progression for us. W8 can burn in hell though (purely due to the UI)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

        "... not patched .... it's irrelevant as many are never online"

        How irrelevant? These boxes are not online to the Internet, presumably? Are they also not online to the corporate/shopfloor LAN? No USB ports? No removable media at all? (No application updates or data transfers?)

        You're aware of Stuxnet, right? And the many other varieties of malware that spread using sneakernet?

        "Using replacement industrial control boards"

        Industrial automation? You, and the people you work for and with, need to be fully aware of Stuxnet and friends.

        "Unless Microsoft brings out a version of Windows for industry, engineers and scientists etc. which gives the user 'superuser' status and full control over the O/S"

        Just wondering if you are aware of Windows XP Embedded and its (almost certainly irrelevant) successors, and whether you've rejected it, and if so, why?

        Apart from anything else, Windows XP Embedded (which is Windows XP renamed and with a different licence) continues to get security patches (at no extra cost) till 2016. Look it up. It allegedly has a configuration tool which allows you to configure bits of the OS in and out. But the licence is a bit more restrictive than a generic XP licence.

        If I was in your apparent position, I'd be wanting to skip MS's embedded offerings and look at one of the embedded-market Linuxes. Readers mostly won't have heard of them, but will likely have used several of them recently without even realising.

        Yes there'll be pain initially, maybe substantial quantities of pain. But you're heading for pain anyway if you stay with MS. Move off MS to (embedded) Linux in this market and, just as per your wish, you control your own destiny.

        "I know of some cases where existing *Windows 2000* installations are NOT expected to be replaced until the industrial plant it is installed on is replaced in about 2025."

        That's going to get expensive as the years go by. I guess you knew that.

        Best of luck. If you need any help...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. normcf

            Re: @AC - Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

            What's interesting about all these XP installations for stand alone industrial/kiosk machines is that they are not even counted in most of the statistics gatherers because those gather stats from web usage. These machines never see the web, certainly not through a browser, so they aren't counted at all. I suspect windows XP (and 2k et al) have far more usage than the stats show. I believe, the end of XP support will drive some businesses to change, for legal reasons, but the vast majority will just continue to hum along. Also, when businesses buy new machines with a Win8 license, they can downgrade to 7, vista or XP and plenty will.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Palebushman

        "We have NO intension of replacing XP"

        Well said RobHib.

        Despite all the humbug being put out by MS and it's band of forced fed marketeers, XP operators will be around for along time after 2014. Unless of course Ballmer realises how popular XP is, and then give it a new lease of life with a SP4 release!

        Not too sure how many versions there are of the 'Leo' species, but how clever Apple have been to retain the 'OSX' OS, just by giving the old cat different names to it's service packs.

        BRILLIANT!! Now that's what I call good marketing AND looking after your customers.

      4. RobHib

        @Anon Coward - Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

        Oh here we go again. Precis a comment and it becomes all too simple and misinterpreted.

        1. Stuxnet - who cares? The machines I'm talking about are not connected to the NET and most aren't connected to a LAN either. They're used on simple general purpose apps. If a virus hits--which has never happened then it's just a matter of ghosting the O/S back on--there are no data loss issues (the real problem is hard drives carking it--not viruses).

        2. Industrial mother boards that'll run XP I'm taking about--not industrial controllers.

        3. On industrial controllers we use real software like QNX O/S--not toys like Windows.

        4. Windows XP Embedded--do people really use that stuff? If QNX and dedicated apps aren't suitable then here it's usually Assembler (we like to control the environment, not have it control us).

        5. Linux is also commonplace--it's the networked software.

        THE FACTS:

        6. The ubiquity of Windows means that's it's almost impossible to eradicate completely in industrial environments (but in a mixed environment it can often be isolated to non-critical tasks).

        7. You need to get out more! You would be very surprised by the amount of Windows XP and older (Win 2K and NT4) that is still hanging around in industrial and work environments (by work I don't mean offices or work places where you can play solitaire--that's the upgrade market). If Windows is installed in an industrial environment it's usually employed doing some prosaic/utilitarian task and it sits there doing it until it rots. That's a fact.

        8. I know of a large multinational German company that's just opened a huge brand new manufacturing factory--most of the general purpose machines run Win XP (they were moved there from another factory and as they worked AOK previously--and as they don't want teething problems at the new establishment--they used what they knew would work first time--XP!

        9. Whilst it's not my idea of the best way of doing things, I know of NC (numerical control/CNC) machines whose controllers use Windows (instead of the recognized brands such as the well known FANUC). Moreover, the multi-axis machines I'm referring to cost $600k to 1M or more each and were installed around 2000. The service life of these machines is upwards of 25 years and they came with Windows 2000--the W2K is still running AOK and there's no plans to upgrade it (there is no need as the O/S is a self-contained system--it's just the operator window which links to the machines' industrial controllers).

        10. There's many other similar examples of Windows XP in set-and-forget applications. Such applications include displays and even university lecture theatre monitor systems etc. Ask those who run and maintain them and they'll almost universally say "it's working so leave well enough alone--and besides why would I be silly enough to pay Microsoft unnecessarily monies for troublesome upgrades".

        Like it or not, it'll be many years before XP is fully eradicated from all these 'industrial' applications.

        Remember, not all copies of Windows are installed in corporate offices or on fashion-conscious gamers' machines.

    8. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

      No, but Xubuntu works like a charm.

    9. Disco2000

      Re: Techies hitting the beach perhaps...

      I bought a netbook to use while I looked for anew laptop. It had W8 installed, so I thought I'd at least give it a try. Nothing wrong with the performance (my Acer has 4GB of RAM), but the interface sucks. Even after installing Classic Shell, or whatever it's called, I just couldn't live with the fact that the OS contains so much crap that has no place on a PC. So I installed W7.

  2. JimmyPage Silver badge

    How many of those XP machines

    are - like mine - virtual machines on a Linux box ? Totally bulletproof (as long as you run from the Day0 install image).

    1. Jim Willsher

      Re: How many of those XP machines

      Not just on Linux.

      I have to connect to 15+ customers for my work, and invariably they all use some flavour of VPN that doesn't play nicely with any other VPN (different versions of Cisco, or Juniper, or Fortinet, or Shrew, or...). So I have one VM for each customer, each loaded with all the appropriate connection software for that customer. And whilst my main OS is Windows 7, every one of the VMs is XP Pro. Easily cloneable, light enough to run several at a time (although I do have 32GB RAM on the Win7 lappy) and perfect for the job.


    Why are we throwing this away?

    So we should take a mature operating system and heave it into the trash bin? XP has been poked, prodded, and patched. It is as secure as anything can be despite M$ backdoor for the federal government. So why are we throwing all this effort away?

    1. nematoad

      Re: Why are we throwing this away?

      "So why are we throwing all this effort away?"

      You are not, MS is; past sales mean nothing to MS, it's churn, churn, churn to get the cash registers ringing.

      So whatever you have invested in XP is just road kill as far as MicroSoft's sales is concerned.

    2. stuff and nonesense

      Re: Why are we throwing this away?

      Microsoft is trying to get you to throw XP away so that they can screw more pennies out of your wallets.

      Take Win2K, throw in better gaming compatibility... find out that it was not secure... fix it in SP2 and the world is a better place.

      XP should never had been given as many updates 2002 to 2006 but because it was XP remained relevant. Vista was poor in comparison, partly because of the extra time spent on XP.

      Because of its market presence hardware manufacturers produce(d) drivers. These drivers have been on the whole stable because of the maturity of XP. Its a known quantity.

      XP is the success story Microsoft must hate. People won't give it up!

      I prefer Win 7 though I dislike the culling of utility applications e.g. Hyperterm. (PuTTy is my friend though not as friendly as Hyperterm)

      1. Mephistro

        Re: Why are we throwing this away? (@ stuff and nonesense)

        " (PuTTy is my friend though not as friendly as Hyperterm)"

        You can install the Hyperterm program by just copying two files from an XP install -or decompressing them from an installation disk. The process is explained here.

        1. RobHib

          @Mephistro - Yeah, but why should he have to?

          Yeah, but why should he have to? (See my comments above.)

          Facts are that much of the Microsoft Windows upgrading process can be considered as 'fashionware' designed just to sell product.

          The issue is that no one from M$ bothered to consult whether Hyperterm was still needed or not. Such unilateral decisions are the problem, they're of the same magnitude as M$'s decision NOT to fix issues in XP or provide it with updated drivers but rather to bring out a new version so M$ can increase its revenues.

          The continued popularity of XP shows that many users have finally woken up to the con-job.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: @Mephistro - Yeah, but why should he have to?

            Hyperterm was bought in from an outside company.

            MSFT didn't want to pay for an app that was a decider for 1 in a million customers.

            Although they could have had an intern knock up a good-enough replacement in a day

            1. RobHib

              @Yet Another Anonymous coward -- Re: @Mephistro - Yeah, but why should he have to?

              What you say about Hyperterm is absolutely correct.

              Nevertheless, my comment was meant in the generic sense--and that's true too.


    3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Why are we throwing this away?

      I'd cheerfully pay MS another $130 to keep Windows XP in support for another 5 years, as long as I get to keep my "you don't have to count remote endpoints and license them at $100 ea PER YEAR" remote access rules. Fuck anything past XP until that rule changes. I'll just get really good at reloading my XP VM until a viable remote protocol turns up for Linux.

    4. El Andy

      Re: Why are we throwing this away?

      Nobody is throwing anything away. All the poking, prodding and patching of XP went into the development of Vista and all the poking, prodding and patching of that into 7 and likewise into 8. Windows is, like any major software development, a continual and incremental development.

      At some point people do have to pay again for continuing improvements and that's really the only reason new "versions" exist.

    5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Why are we throwing this away?

      Because that's how IT in large organisation, especially government works.

      I just bought a used Dell optiplex for my parents to do email - it's a nice 17in LCD with a tiny PC mounted on the back - it runs Vista

      It has a sticker from a local higher education college, and from what I paid they obviously sold them all for the price of a new keyboard to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.

      These machines were being used for web browsing/email, they weren't running protein folding or hydrodynamics simulations - they were perfectly adequate. But were dumped because you HAVE to upgrade

  4. joeW

    By coincidence

    The Irish Government's newly-appointed CIO made the papers today - his strategy for the 2014 deadline is to ignore it, as he thinks MS are bluffing and won't *really* end support for XP.

    “You’d have to ask whether Microsoft really will turn off their support,” said Mr McCluggage. “There are organisations larger than us [in government] that won’t be fully switched over by then. So the question is whether they mean what they say.”

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: By coincidence

      MS can extend support, but at an extortionate rate for individual clients only.

      1. joeW

        Re: By coincidence

        Actually, on second thoughts, it might be a sound strategy if played correctly.

        Microsoft - "We are absolutely 100% certainly ending support for XP in 2014"

        Irish Government - "How are ye liking that tax rate there lads?"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "he thinks MS are bluffing and won't *really* end support for XP."

      He's probably right, if MS are to be believed.

      MS themselves have said Windows XP will continue to be supported until 2016.

      You just have to be using the flavour of XP which is sold/licenced as "Windows XP Embedded".

      Same OS, same security patches, different label, different EOL?

    3. Malcolm 1

      Re: By coincidence

      That sounds like a sound strategy that couldn't possible backfire.

    4. Charles Manning

      Do we actually need MS's support?

      If MS walks away from this, it sounds like a potential for some other service provider to step in and make a lot of money.

      Sure, you would not be allowed to sell more licenses, but there has got to be a market for keeping the current user base running.

    5. El Andy

      Re: By coincidence

      Many said exactly the same about NT4. And Microsoft ended support for it regardless of the big customers who were trying to avoid change.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: By coincidence

        And some of those big customers had NT replacement programs running in 2010 that probably still aren't finished.

        Just saying.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: By coincidence

        I still support customers with NT4 boxes.

        Remember, that upgrading to W8 isn't just simply swapping boxes that cost £100 or so.

        There are all sorts of bits of application software running on it that cost in the thousands.

        Then there is porting the code to run on those applications, testing, etc.

        Downtime to replace them, etc

        The final bill can easily be in the 100k+ range

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Re: By coincidence

          Exactly. There is a far bigger functionality gap between NT4 and XP than there is between XP & 7.

          Personally I suspect that there are going to be a lot of places still on XP in ten years time.

  5. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I think a large proportion of end user customers have no idea that XP will be end of life in 2014, when i mentioned it to a friend who has a few business PCs with XP on them that there would be no security updates from MS after next April they just said they were ok because they had just renewed their Norton subscription for another 12 months!!!!

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Technically small businesses don't count as Enterprise but it would be interesting if there were a way to break down the figures based on numbers of PCs per company/location somehow. Any medium/large company - any company big enough to have an actual IT team - WILL be aware of 2014.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not statistically relevant

    .02 of a percent is within the error margin of any survey.

  7. Dr. Ellen

    8, humbug!

    Microsoft is trying to control *us*, not our computers. Let them try. They will get more pushback over this than they already have -- and they've already gotten quite a bit. But when the computers I have are already doing the jobs I want, why should I buy (and learn) their "improved experience", let alone buy new programs to replace the ones the improved experience won't run?

  8. izntmac

    XP "Just Works" and is "Good Enough"

    Windows XP just works for many business and people. It is stable and loads fast on later processors. Many people also have a lot of many invested in software and business systems that are set up or do not work on later versions of Windows. Also it runs older pre2007 versions of Microsoft Office that many people like. People are also starting to look at computers as a mature thing until they need a new one when their computer dies. Also with many of the new approaches to technology being tied to "the cloud", XP still lets the stuff stay on my machine in my own space. Windows XP was also the last "must have" Windows upgrade. Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 weren't all that exciting to people. Even though 7 works well. XP is still "Good Enough" for many!

    1. JustWondering
      Thumb Up

      Re: XP "Just Works" and is "Good Enough"

      Good enough for me!

    2. RobHib

      @izntmac - Re: XP "Just Works" and is "Good Enough"

      Exactly--'tis more concise than my earlier comment which essentially made the same point.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. JAK 1

      Re: 37%

      How long do you think MS should support an OS for? 12 years not enough?

      1. vagabondo
        Thumb Down

        Re: 12 years not enough?

        You should be counting from when they stopped selling licences, not from the launch date. It's not so long ago that new PCs were being offered with Win7/WinXP 64/32bit licences and media from the likes of HP.

        1. JC_

          Re: 12 years not enough?

          You should be counting from when they stopped selling licences, not from the launch date. It's not so long ago that new PCs were being offered with Win7/WinXP 64/32bit licences and media from the likes of HP.

          The end of support date was no secret when the buyers chose XP; if companies want to give MS money for a soon-to-be-unsupported OS, superseded twice, then they can hardly whine about it later.

          My partner just got a brand new laptop from her employer (a large airline) and it came with... XP! You'd think that their IT department would have got on with certifying/porting applications for Windows 7 by now, but apparently not.

          1. RobHib

            @JC_ - Re: 12 years not enough?

            "The end of support date was no secret when the buyers chose XP; if companies want to give MS money for a soon-to-be-unsupported OS, superseded twice, then they can hardly whine about it later"

            For heavens sake, the only people who give a damn about the end of support are M$ and those who read El Reg tech pages such as this.

            The rest don't even know about the end of support, and even if they did they wouldn't give a damn either!

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. RobHib

        @ JAK 1 - Re: 37%

        Seeing that the XP licence--Microsoft's own licence--is indefinite, try indefinitely.

    2. Richy Freeway

      Re: 37%

      If any of my customers PCs are anything to go by, they're not installing the XP updates anyway! Still see a hell of a lot of XP machines in for repair and I'd say 90% of them are at least a couple of months behind on updates, if not more.

      I've had 2 in the last month that didn't even have SP3 installed.

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Re: 37%

        "Still see a hell of a lot of XP machines in for repair and I'd say 90% of them are at least a couple of months behind on updates, if not more."

        If your customers are anything like the people I deal with (mostly relatives and friends, mostly non-tachies who don't change the auto update settings) that's because they broke a couple of months ago or more, and they had another working machine to be getting on with, making fixing it a low priority.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: 37%

          Difference with Apple though is they incrementally update their OS every year or so and make it easy and cheap to upgrade, How much was the last update, something like 20 quid and simply done via a download?

          Microsoft go for the big upgrades every 3 or 4 years but they get users pushing back because upgrading is a hassle and expensive.

          If Microsoft turn around and said "20 quid for an upgrade to the next version of windows and you can do it via download", they might get more people upgrading.

      2. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

        Re: 37%

        I'm still seeing some people not even having SP2 installed... "what's that?" "oh, just an update from 9 years ago that you didn't do, probably because it wasn't automatic"

        1. P Taylor

          Re: 37%

          Yep, ive also seen quite a few machines recently that only had SP2.

          Thing is, XP will NOT pull in any security updates unless it has SP3. Since support for XP SP1/SP2 ended a long long time ago..

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 37%

      And they will fail.

    4. Slawek

      Re: 37%

      Unlikely. If it was used for over 10 years, then surely was fit for the purpose.

    5. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: 37%

      XP was the current Windows product up until 7th November 2006. At that time, Tiger was the current shipping OSX release. The last security update from Apple for Tiger was on 10th September 2009. The 9th November update was Leopard/Snow Leopard only. I think 7-8 years support from Microsoft is pretty reasonable.

      1. vagabondo

        Re: XP was the current Windows product up until 7th November 2006


        But OEMs were still selling Win7/WinXP Professional licences up until about March 2011.

        I purchased an Acer laptop in October 2010, and from memory it originally came with HP branded media to install Windows 7 and Windows XP. I think that it was sold as a Win7 machine with a "downgradeable" licence.

        Sorry, but I can't check as I refused the media and licence, then made a futile attempt to claim the MS promised refund. In the end I was ground down by the retailer's intransigence.

    6. Gav

      Re: 37%

      I have a rotary trim phone, and I'm going to sue the Post Office for providing a product not fit for purpose.

      They provided it in 1971, but that's not going to stop me.

    7. stuff and nonesense

      Re: 37%

      Not so likely, the cutoff date has been publicized for a few years now.

      Time limited support is part of Microsoft's business model.

  10. Gil Grissum

    It doesn't matter...

    MS Support for XP is less important than MS wanting us all to use that smoking pile of cow heap, known as Windows 8. I'm happy to be working for a tech support firm who has deployed Windows 7 64 with 8GB of RAM on Core i5 3.2GHz Dells.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just a thought....

    ...but maybe the dip could be

    a) it's the summer, a less popular time to buy pc's

    b) people waiting for 8.1

    c) people just aren't buying pc's as much at the moment, regardless of OS.

    1. danny_0x98

      Re: just a thought....

      I like a and c. Over the years, I've come to believe the os version does not sell the computer. The os only matters to the degree that the user's applications may continue to run.

      Here's a loose proof. Microsoft has telegraphed its release of the next Windows versions 12-24 months in advance. If there was a wait-for-it phenomenon, Microsoft's ears would be scorched by the language the OEMs—Microsoft's true customesr— would use on the phones and in memos every month that release didn't follow pre-announcement. Also, Vista, Win7, and Win8, according to some circles, were likely to boost pc sales growth, but I don't think the effect, if any, could be shown to be significant.

      Still, in June/July 2012, we had Win8 on the way, less employment (I write from the USA), and summer was still summer. Did we see a diminishment of the fall-off in XP and a flattening of Win7? I don't recall as we did, though to be honest, while these usage stats do arrive monthly, the reporting on them is a tad scattered as writers cherry-pick moments in order to the use the snapshot, rather than the trend, in order to make some case that Microsoft has [the mojo | the curse] with regards to a new or old os.

      The key points, and these have been clear for a few months, Win8 is not growing as fast as it should (and most of the causation goes to the pc market) and XP is not declining as fast as it should—from Microsoft's perspective, of course. If one is using XP securely, well, why care that Microsoft thinks it really, really important that one gives it a couple of hundred dollars for a new os and half a day towards reinstalling applications, tracking down license keys, sorting through activations, etc., all done with some risk that key applications from minor or aggressive vendors do not run on the new shiny, now with Start button restored (!!!!! - LIstening!), as soon as it's released, any day now, no really.

  12. Andrew Jones 2

    We have several PC's here still running XP, and we bought about 10 copies of XP Media Center edition just before they stopped selling them - so we will still be running XP for some time to come.

  13. Michael B.

    Interesting comparison to Steam Survey for July 2013

    Windows 7 64 bit 52.39%

    Windows 8 64 bit 13.34%

    Windows 7 12.52%

    Windows XP 32 bit 7.12%

    Windows Vista 64 bit 5.31%

    Windows Vista 32 bit 2.46%

    So even amongst users of Steam XP is still holding out.

    1. El Andy

      Re: Interesting comparison to Steam Survey for July 2013

      You do realise those Steam figures place XP *below* even the massively hated Vista, right? If that isn't a sign it's dying out, I'm not sure what would be.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I traveled around India for a month or so in 2008 and every internet cafe I used across the entire country used the same XP licence key. Updates were barred by MS and I had to spend 10-15 mins or so destroying viruses each time I used them. I really can't imagine that situation's changed much.

    Yeah, so MS are obviously not going to support them, but they're going to account for a hell of a lot of statistics on the web.

    1. RobHib

      @AC - Normal upgrades barred - yes, security patches no!

      That was the point about Win XP service pack 3 - it was supposed to install on all those crappy machines with questionable licences.

      No new functionality as with licenced product, but M$ deemed that security patches going to all was a good idea.

  15. TheOldFellow

    I like XP apps, they run under wine just fine.

    I can happily report that I have not used a Microsoft Operating System since 2002, and at home since 1997. Linux just works, and besides it's free. It takes a bit of ingenuity to avoid vendors putting Wonkydoos on their boxes, but it can be done.

    1. frank ly

      Re: I like XP apps, they run under wine just fine.

      This old fellow has Linux Mint 13 MATE, personalised to look very similar to WinXP, pop out toolbars (LInux panels) and all (yes, it's a foolish and sentimental thing). MS Office 2000 and a couple of other things run fine under WINE, as you say. The great thing about MInt-MATE is that you can have genuinely separate workspaces, selectable on the system bar.

  16. AnoniMouse

    The price of progress - and the systematic waste of human endeavour

    "its use has been falling rather too slowly for the industry " - which says it all. The industry lives by forcing users to pay, regularly, to keep theie software "up to date". Leaving aside the geeks who always want to be seen having the latest versions of everything, for ordinary users this means that a whole raft of applications on which they depend suddenly stop working; old file formats now become unreadable; the user interface has been completely remodelled, using the vendors latest one-size-fits-all arrogance, to ensure that everything takes longer; and so on.

    If the industry started focusing on the needs of its users rather than its own insatiable appetite to extract revenue from users who do not want reguler revolutions, enforced changes and new incompatibilities, an enormous swathe of human endeavour could be applied to useful activities rather than enduring the pain of enforced "progress" in order to be able to do rather less than they could previously.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The price of progress - and the systematic waste of human endeavour

      Ain't that the truth.

      "If the industry started focusing on the needs of its users rather than its own insatiable appetite to extract revenue from users "

      That would perhaps be called something like "investment protection", whereas today's IT is viewed (by vendors at least) as disposable commodities.

      (Re)focusing on things like investment protection and value for money would involve corporate IT/IS departments mostly having their budgets reduced, and having to focus on the needs of the organisation which they are supposed to be serving.

      Even outside the corporate market, it would involve retailers having fewer selling opportunities.

      How would that ever catch on?

      There was at least one company which for many years in the corporate market liked to talk about its focus on "investment protection".

      Tribute to that is that much of their stuff that worked in 1978 still works in 2013.

      Obviously with a track record of "investment protection" like that, the original company no longer exists.

      But VMS lives on (just about, despite HP's best efforts).

  17. PartTimeLegend
    Paris Hilton

    I personally believe the biggest mistake that Microsoft made was not killing XP sooner. I had this discusion recently with a friend.

    So I went from 3.11 to 95 then 3 years later I had 98. I then waited 2 years and I got ME (let's try and forget) which was such a huge mistake that XP was forced upon the world. So in 2001 I started using XP, not XP SP3 which some people are happily using now or XP64 SP2. Then the release schedule seemed to be extended, we had 6 years before Vista. I liked Vista, I had machines that could handle it. Then we waited a standard 2 years for 7. The release of 8 was 3 years later which is again a reasonable timeframe for updates.

    So the problem is not that XP is awesome (it's not). It's that people got left alone with XP for 6 years. This would normally have seen 2 releases in this time, instead it saw none. This led to complacency in the market and has led to the problems now.

    Remember, new is always better. They should have killed XP support in 2007 and have replaced it in 2004 in my opinion.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      "Remember, new is always better."

      You should go on the stage, that's the funniest thing I've read for ages. You yourself implied how much better ME was compared to '98 and everybody just loves W8 so much that W7 has all but disappeared.

      "So the problem is not that XP is awesome (it's not)"

      Maybe not awesome but for a long time it was the least bad Windows desktop system available.

    2. Paul Shirley

      The extra long time between XP and Vista was not by choice. They couldn't get the product finished and I believe cancelled the 1st broken attempt, then rushed Vista out without much thought or user testing. MS would have tried killing XP on schedule otherwise. Vista meant they couldn't kill it even with a new product on sale.

      The only significant difference with XP is they released free service packs that changed XP about as much as the 95 -> 98 -> ME upgrades changed 95.

      1. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

        Rushed Vista out without much though or user testing, you say? Sounds like Windows 8. People aren't using Windows 8 out of choice from what I see in my market of support (small business/home users) - they're buying it because they need a new computer. First thing I do with Windows 8 is install classic shell or Start8, so that it just "works like you're used to". Windows 8 might be fast and possibly reliable, but the whole UI is a train-wreck. It is universally (from what I can see) despited, or and best just tolerated.

    3. danny_0x98

      That Was the Plan: The World Did Not Cooperate

      Vista was ill-timed, it should have been 12-24 months later, but they thought they had to do something and its delay occurred because of mis-steps and internal concerns being amplified into revenue threats.

      Vista started out as Longhorn, which would have a filesystem with relational database overlay so as to help users find their stuff (and related stuff) quickly. Also, Apple had implemented its graphical interface in Display Postscript, meaning the screen and the printers were fed the same data, PDF saving of any printable element was a side effect that customers liked. Microsoft, and I don't think it was copying, it was just the obvious way to go, does something similar (using a pdf knock-off called xps) and gives it a brand name.

      ILuvYou breaks in 2003, and Microsoft has an effective year-long security introspection. Longhorn's team focuses on security and XP SP2. 2004, otherwise the expected year for Longhorn, passes without its release.

      In 2005 or so, Google has made a huge business out of search services and it is most definitely not using relational techniques to produce quick results from searches of that dynamic database called the internet. Adios the relational file database system. Hello, background indexing, metadata, and utilizing mutli-cores and parallel processing.

      As Apple discovered when it went Quartz/Aqua, the nice graphics extracts a large cost in speed. Apple let the processors improve and did some optimizations (farewell pinstripes?). and had nearly annual os updates. (Performance improvements, that's why we paid paid for our service packs, they added value!) Microsoft will put the optimizations in service packs and the follow-up to Longhorn.

      2005, Microsoft discovers that the NT code base is such a hair-ball that something has to be done. A hero is born as one of the engineers leads a team that makes the os more modular and which means that there will be a successor to XP, something the unreconstructed codebase was not going to enable. Wall Street, meanwhile, is saying that Microsoft is clearly having problems with shipping a key product. It's right and wrong. Microsoft was having problems, there was a tiny bit of erosion of share to Apple, every speaker at a tech conference saw more Apple logos glowing back, and web developers invested in LAMP decided that the best platforms for development were Linux or OS X, so farewell cutting-edge users. Wall Street was wrong in that Microsoft still put money in the bank if the pc sold was running XP.

      At the end of 2005, Bill Gates said Vista would ship at the end of 2006, unless it wasn't ready, because Microsoft was committed to getting it right. I suspect that meant it was coming at the end of 2006 no matter what.

      Turns out, the "what" was driver support from third parties. Many folks excited by Vista's release quickly restore XP as their computer, even the ones with the Microsoft approved "Vista Capable" sticker, didn't have the graphics horsepower to work. Some found that key peripherals wouldn't work and could not work until the vendor provided a driver. Enterprise waits a year for the first service pack and generally decides that Vista is not for them. (They use their license fees to continue to run XP, Microsoft's net loss for the choice, 0.)

      In 2007, OEMs started to put out Netbooks, small, light, single-core Intel processor powered, and inexpensive computers that took off like gangbusters. Mostly ran Linux because it brought retail costs down. Linux had 70% of the share in that sector. That was a big problem in Redmond—Wall Street are not the only ones with misguided perspectives—and so Microsoft needed to spend some money to get that share number turned around.

      But, Vista was too big and needed too much processor power, so XP's life was extended because it could run on Netbooks.

      Microsoft also lost revenues because the Netbook XP license was discounted in order to help the OEMs choose Windows without having zero profit. There was a Win7 Starter Version (remember the brouhaha pre-release because it would only allow three applications to be opened at a single time?) which was discounted, but could not be used by an OEM except the device truly was small and low-powered.

      Netbooks were a short-lived phenomenon. Something people bought because Microsoft and its OEMs didn't figure out light-weight, portable computing the way Apple did with the iPhone, to some degree, and the iPad, most definitely.

      So missing search, codebase sprawl, next-gen graphics now requiring better hardware, advanced security that changed the rules for drivers, mollifying Wall Street, moving faster than their platform affiliates, missing netbooks, and caring about netbooks (and I have no doubts that there were dissenters to upper management who focused elsewhere and missed opportunities or didn't apply the stitch in time), these are the goofs that led to Zombie XP.

      Oh, and Vista, Win7, and Win8 did not provide utilities for seamless migration of applications from XP. When it was clear to me, an Apple-using idiot, that Microsoft's first task was to GET FOLKS OFF OF XP, they didn't spend the engineering resources to make it easy.

      Ah well, big company, big problems. Besides, my large-caps nonetheless, Microsoft's real problems aren't Win8 or XP, it's that people are holding on to old pcs, because the hardware advancement has a smaller delta YOY than 10 years back, the negative growth in new computer sales, though this may be temporary, and where there is sales growth, someone else's operating system is on the device. Easy migration is one more mitigation, but really, if the computer turns on and the applications works, that's as much as many folks care about. Besides, Microsoft still makes money, so XP migration revenues at this time would be the frosting roses on top of a nicely frosted cake. Once support stops, the cost for having XP users goes to 0.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: That Was the Plan: The World Did Not Cooperate

        You forgot to mention the bit about one major reason why Vista sucked so badly - DRM.

        Yes, a lot of the effort they put in to "securing" the OS had little to do with protecting the end user, and a lot to do with sucking up to Hollywood as they hoped to make Windows the #1 choice for home consumers of media, rather then actual business/engineering/software development stuff.


        1. Mystic Megabyte

          Re: That Was the Plan: The World Did Not Cooperate

          You beat me to it.

          The DRM/Hollywood conspiracy stopped me using any MS products from that (Vista) time.

          I can run all the applications that I need using Linux, so the end result was a good one.

      2. Paul Shirley

        @danny: seamless migration of applications from XP

        Epic Microsoft stupidity (or arrogance). Normal users face a choice of losing everything or sticking with XP. IT geeks install a dual boot so they can take time rescuing old data and apps.

        I've had to drop back into my XP backup several times to fix Win8 problems or where it's easier than trying to reinstall and configure programs. The temptation to just switch back is strong and the lack-of-upgrade process just makes it easier. Of course during those sessions I went online, bumping that XP count an insignificant amount!

        That must have been a frosty management meeting, where the engineers tried explaining why they couldn't make this a one way only update this time ;)

    4. Dr Trevor Marshall

      @PartTimeLegend: "They should have killed XP support in 2007"

      they did. But then the netbooks came along - with LINUX. To stop that trend MS came up with a sweetheart XP license for netbooks, and thus extended the life (and reach) of XP.

  18. SeymourHolz

    Funny how El Reg keeps flogging Microsoft Security Updates for XP, even tho the evidence clearly shows virtually everyone else considers that an irrelevant data point.

    Give it up, El Reg, it's not going to happen.

  19. MJI Silver badge

    If MS didn't remove features

    Maybe we would get newer OSes

    Perhaps that graphical DOS app cost a lot of money?

    Funny that our DOS app runs up to XP and our Windows APP starts on XP.

    Vista killed DOS full screen

    7 Killed NETBIOS (AFAIR)

    8 is too different

    So XP stays on

  20. SoFl_G

    upgrate, good luck with that

    We have some machines that have XP boxes to run them. The machine and software on the PC to run the machines use the game port to tell the program when a sensor is activated. After XP, there is no game port support. So, Microbrain wants us to dump XP, but for no real reason they gave us no upgrade path. How hard would it be to code in the driver for game port. Another legacy Microbrain fail.

  21. Pen-y-gors

    And it's still being sold!

    I discovered last week that the brand new till/stock management system that was sold to our village shop three months ago actually runs on XP! We discovered this when rebooting after a powercut - it looks like there's some sort of Windows POS system as well, but really! How can they have the cheek to sell XP based systems only months before support is stopped?

    Don't get me wrong, I like XP, but only on old machines. New machines should run Win 7 (obviously)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: windows POS

      Is that P for point or P for piece?

      1. Rukario

        Re: windows POS

        > Is that P for point or P for piece?

        Having to support RMS, I can assure you it's both.

    2. GregC

      Re: And it's still being sold!

      You'll almost certainly find that the version of Windows on that system is XP Embedded, which is supported through to 2016, and which MS are still happily selling.

  22. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Browsium are talking out of their backsides

    "Browsium states: “There’s clearly a lot of work ahead for enterprise IT." "

    Clearly? Remind me again, which part of the browser's user agent string clearly indicates that this is an enterprise user rather than a home user?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Browsium are talking out of their backsides

      The bit that also states " We were mugs and and also have to stick with ie6"?

  23. Kubla Cant

    High water mark

    June was the high water market hitting nearly a whole one percentage point of growth. Last month, though, its rate of increase slumped.

    If you hit the beach like the techies are supposed to be doing, you will have the opportunity to wade into the sea until it comes up to your nose. You will find that the high water mark is not the point at which the rate of rise decreases, but the point at which the water stops rising.

    A reduction in the rate of growth is not a decline, and is only indicative of a decline if you can predict the shape of the curve.

  24. N2

    I have

    Just one program requiring Windows so I run it on XP in a VM, it would also run on W2000 so those two are my OS of choice. Once Ive re-written my db to another format its curtains for Windows.

  25. Arachnoid

    Embeded XP as found on kiosks and terminals is totally different than that installed on Home PCs so the risk to these systems is usually minimal as they normally have no internet connection.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Embeded XP as found on kiosks and terminals is totally different than that installed on Home PCs"

      Not really. XP Embedded is not really "totally different" from its parent OS, though it may well be considered "cut down from" its parent OS.

      XP Embedded starts with XP Pro (see [1]). The system image can then be configured so that specific bits of XP (Pro) not needed in their target environment aren't built in to the system image. Beyond that, the actual OS code is identical between XP Embedded and XP Pro. Microsoft say so themselves (e.g. in [1]). There are a few other differences for specific limited purposes, such as enabling readonly system disk hardware by intercepting writes and putting them somewhere else.

      Therefore the vulnerabilities (and corresponding fixes) are the same too (though the relevant code may sometimes be configured out of some people's images).

      "they normally have no internet connection."

      And no LAN? And no sneakernet? At all? Might apply to some, certainly doesn't apply to all.

      [1] Here are some words from MS. (NB afaik the same applies to XP SP3, this document hasn't been kept up to date, and there have been some changes in the details, but the core principles remain the same):

      "Microsoft® Windows® XP Embedded with Service Pack 1 (SP1) is a fully componentized version of Windows XP Professional that includes embedded enabling features (EEF). Built on the same binary code as Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Embedded with SP1 includes key features such as standards-based security, manageability, reliability, Universal Plug and Play, and an easy-to-use user interface. It is targeted at embedded devices that are built on commodity PC hardware and require all Windows application program interfaces (APIs), services, and protocols."

  26. DaiKiwi

    Within the margin of error?

    I went to the netmarketshare site and looked at the trend for Aug '11 to July '13. This is the fifth occasion that XP has shown an increase in any given month over that period of time, set against a general decline in its market share from 52% to 37%. From this I conclude that even though the sample population is large - 160m unique IPs? - there is still going to be month-to-month variation, possibly up to 1 percentage point.

  27. Ed Hume

    Why not charge for support?

    Given that people seem to want to hold onto WinXP, why not monetize that? MS could charge $5-10/year for support per instance for consumers, and some other figure for enterprise installations after early 2014. At least make this non-adoption pay.

  28. ecofeco Silver badge

    Mark my words

    Like the cloud, this will come back to bite us all in the arse.

    XP is outdated. Period. Take it from someone who has been fixing XP machines for years. Literally 10s of thousands of them.

    Stable? Not.

    Fast? Not.

    Secure? You have to be kidding.

    Flame away, but I've worked from small business to enterprise since XP first came out. Great in its day, but it is now hopelessly, hopelessly dated.

    1. RobHib

      @ecofeco - Re: Mark my words

      You are absolutely correct, but as I said in my earlier post, we're not upgrading come 2014.

      I say again - simply because Microsoft has no satisfactory replacement for XP!

      Yes, there's upgrades but they do not do exactly what XP does. Nor do the newer Windows O/Ses have exactly what we want by way of features (WinFS or a new filing system for instance).

  29. 0_Flybert_0
    Paris Hilton

    the internet will be at risk ..

    will be building a Windows 7 machine soon .. that's for features and hardware XP won't handle .. otherwise will be keeping 2 XP machines running .. Windows problems are mostly caused by the piss poor hardware in most Win Boxen .. and negligent users .. Win95 O/S R2 32bit .. Win98SE .. both stable for the time I used them .. I've really needed no more from the Windows UI than 98SE .. Run XP in Classic so it looks like Win2000 .. also a sufficient O/S .. and I will keep my XP machines running ..

    at some point soon after April 2014 .. XP will need to be isolated from the internet .. there's a lot of cash strapped SMBs that might get 3 or 4 Win7 machines where needed facing the web .. but businesses are running all kinds of programs and machinery on XP ( Win3.1 too!).. on machines that have years of life if maintained ... that being said ..

    there will likely be a very serious internet security problem develop if 35% .. or even 10% of machines on the internet are running XP without security patches for the O/S and IE .. those machines will be owed within months despite the efforts of anti-virus .. security companies and government agencies .. we might be talking about 200 million machines or more to be owned .. even a 10 million machine botnet could f**k things up royally

    so while MS is not obligated to keep XP secure beyond April 2014 .. if they don't .. or don't co-operate to have others do so .. the internet connected world is going to be cracked wide open and disrupted at minimum

    this is a National Security issue for almost every nation in the world .. the data breech potential for industry .. banking .. a cyberwar full-on perhaps ? ..

    don't think it would be unreasonable an alliance of the EU and the Americas to require MS to continue security updates for WinXP and related MS software .. US alone could require it ..

    Paris .. because I've been a bit dramatic

  30. bigfoot780

    The April 2014 deadline

    Been the case since sp3. XP is dead move on. Most of the issues are software poorly written and/or packaged. I agree win 8 is a no go. 7 seems fairly stable now. It takes a day to do a build and capture of 7 all those .net updates. I dread to think how long xp would take.

  31. Trollslayer

    They fixed it until it was broken

    XP - yes

    Win 7 - yes

    Win 8 - why?

    The first two were good steps, Windows 8 is really cosmetic. There are a few nice things that could have been incorporated into 7.

    I know Microsoft are driven by market cycles but isn't the basic problem that the update (virtually all for security) are killing them?

    Maybe we should stop thinking of an OS as having a lifetime warranty.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They fixed it until it was broken

      "Maybe we should stop thinking of an OS as having a lifetime warranty."

      We certainly should, and I'll happily start working trying to persuade people to share that view once the operating system licences also cease to apply the moment the OS vendor stops support. If the licence is indefinite on the other hand ..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They fixed it until it was broken

      I got the £14.95 update. A lot of laptops were sold with 7 home only, and the update was to 8 pro, which gave me rdp. I reckon that's about what Win 8 is worth compared to Win 7. But the faster boot is useful.

  32. Arachnoid

    For those that are crying move on the reality is there are specialists software packages used by many businesses that are unsupported any other OS and if it works why spend money to change .Secondly for home users, why throw away a perfectly working piece of hardware [PC,printer,scanner etc] just because the specs don't support windows 8 or even 7, what a complete waste to the environment and again spending money for no reason.

    1. El Andy

      So Microsoft should absorb the cost of keeping that hardware/software running, just because the vendors themselves can't be bothered?

  33. itzman

    What microsoft should do....

    ..and would win them a huge market share, would be to port an XP like interface to something resembling Linux

    And call it Windows Legacy.

    I.e. a piece of middleware that runs on Linux, and allows 99% of .exes to actually run,translating OS and screen calls into native linux and X respectively. I'd pay money for that.

  34. Frances Banana

    Many of our customers are so desperate that they hamster XP licenses through buying used machines :) They are absolutely uninterested in making a forced move to 7 - their current stack works and it's not trivial to make the move. It will also cost money they would love to spend on something else - like marketing.

    Even funnier - I was fixing some telephony in a city hall a few days ago - haven't seen a machine w/o XP there ;)

    For us it's not much of a concern - our company is all about open source and hardcore stuff - but I can see this being a strangle here and there that can also affect the amount of orders flowing into our pocket.

  35. Nuno trancoso


    Get me a supported OS/distro that didn't get patches/fixes. Now get me one that didn't need patches/fixes by it's EOL. Failed? Of course you did...

    Thus, logic implies that whether old or new it's gonna have flaws. It's not whether or not it has them that matters, it's whether or not it's a particular show stopper for your setup.

    IF XP reaches EOL, i won't be any worse than i was the day before, because it either worked the day before or it didn't. EOL didn't bring anything new, just means there won't be more patches/fixes henceforth.

    And me, like many others, won't go jumping through hoops just to have the "latest bling" for fashion's sake, time better spent using/maintaining our established app/hardware base.

    Give me a critical/killer app that the old OS can't run and i'll start upgrading. Can't find one? Sod luck...

  36. Super Fast Jellyfish

    installations vs visits

    There seems to have been some confusion between new OS installations and people accessing websites :

    "we're told the stats were gathered from the logs of some 160m unique web surfers hitting 40,000 websites in the pollster's analytics network: each visitor's browser is expected to reveal some basic information about their computer"

    I know one can be used as an approximation of the other but this will contribute to the monthly variation others have already noted. I expect another seasonal factor will be students going home and switching to their favourite fondleslab.

    I also doubt that many kiosks access access the websites used in the survey , so don't think they will be showing up in the stats.

  37. etabeta

    Some specialized sw will only run on XP.

    I had to install XP sp3 on two servers last month because the sw won't run on Win 7 or 8

  38. IGnatius T Foobar

    Windows 8 FAIL

    As was written by Paul Graham some time ago:

    "I'm now surprised when I come across a computer running Windows. Nearly all the people we fund at [company] use Apple laptops. It was the same in the audience at startup school. All the computer people use Macs or Linux now. Windows is for grandmas, like Macs used to be in the 90s. So not only does the desktop no longer matter, no one who cares about computers uses Microsoft's anyway."

    So it doesn't matter which flavor they're drinking on board the Titanic; it's still sinking anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 8 FAIL

      That comment was so over the top, it reminds me of reading textbooks from the late 90s before throwing them out, and seeing the absolute conviction of every author that technology X would dominate the market in 5 years, where technology X is now at best a niche.

      Wild exaggeration is endemic in the industry,and it gets worse not better.

      1. IGnatius T Foobar

        Re: Windows 8 FAIL

        Funny that you mention that; the article I cited was written in 2007, and it certainly has proven true.

      2. RobHib

        @ribosome: Re: Windows 8 FAIL

        I hope you have:

        "I'm a Windows user - and proud of it"

        stamped on your T-shirts.

  39. Mage Silver badge


    I didn't read all 107 previous comments. Is the solution a better version NOT controlled by MS of NT 5.3?

    Maybe all us programmers should sign up and help ReactOS.

    Linux is fine, But even with Wine isn't an alternative to XP --> Win8 for many people. Maybe ReactOS is?

    1. virhunter

      Re: ReactOS?

      I might be able to get on board with that. However, according to wiki, the project has been around since 1998, yet is still an alpha release. It is the same story with almost every other alternative alternative OS like Haiku and Syllable. I get the feeling a thousand new developers on the project would probably not change much.

      1. RobHib

        @virhunter - Re: ReactOS?

        ReactOS? Why not?

        Because the damn product simply DOES NOT WORK.

        Even the latest version WILL NOT BOOT on any machine that I have here. It just crashes.

        ReactOS is going nowhere. Very unfortunately -- tragically even!!

  40. swissrobin

    Ignoring the doom and gloom security issues (i.e. no security patches to fix vulnerabilities).

    The real reason people will be forced to upgrade is machine failure - nobody is going to produce XP drivers for modern hardware; so one or two GPU/CPU/chipset spins from now you won't be able to install XP and make it work reasonably.

    Linux is not really any better in this respect - the difference is you can upgrade for free, provided you like what your distro offers in each subsequent release.

    If the applications you have won't run on >XP then you need to put pressure on the vendor (or internal developers) to address this, otherwise you will just end up stranded - your best hope at that point will be <whatever-OS> hosting a VM with XP inside to support legacy applications, with whatever licensing restrictions that might come with.

  41. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Hello, missing the point!

    Whilst all the M$ bashers are shrieking with joy at this news, they are missing the very obvious point that the WinXP migrators are still moving to another M$ OS, and not Linux or any flavor of Apple. As an M$ exec pointed out to a group of us customers last week in a presentation about Win Server 2012 R2, as long as the customers pay to stay on the M$ train then M$ is not too bothered which carriage they sit in (WS 2008 or WS 2012, or Win7 or Win8), it is empty carriages that M$ wants to avoid.

  42. heyrick Silver badge

    I read this yesterday

    And since then have seen two large chain supermarkets and three smaller shops running XP Pro on their POS. How do I know? The inactive terminals with the screensaver that says XP Pro in big letters. :-) Also I believe many of those instamatic photo booths use XP. I know two types in France do because of times when the UI crashes and you're dumped back in to Windows. SocGen cash machines use Windows; don't know what version, it was frozen on BSOD. Crédit Mutuel uses some flavor of OS/2, saw one stuck in a reboot loop back in '06, which might seem a long time ago but I don't think these things get replaced frequently.

    Given this, I think XP would have a huge following outside of the desktop. After all, I've run a slow but usable version of XP on a 466MHz Celeron with 128Mb memory and an 8Gb harddisc. Can you say that for any modern version? Might be able to push the spec lower by cutting out all the unnecessary things. Embedded stuff isn't going to be cutting edge...why should it be? Most of the time it is likely to be doing very little so a lower spec makes sense and keeps costs down.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: I read this yesterday: RAM

      If you don't have too high a resolution of Graphics and turn off everything not needed, then XP SP1 will run in less than 90M fine. But SP3 needs a fair bit more than 128M. NT 4.0 is faster on a 1/4 speed CPU and 20M RAM !

      Standard Distros of Linux won't work on a 1999 spec PC either though, but it's easier to create a pared down version.

  43. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Can't say I blame them.

    Do You?

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    XP will reduce a further 5-10% in the next 6 months

    As most companies start their last minute migrations ... i.e I know of over 35k XP upgrades that will take place in the next 6 months (from only 2x companies)

  45. tmoore


    Windows 8 has already overtaken the OSX market share ...

  46. tmoore

    Who would have thought?

    That Vista is more popular than OSX ..

  47. sammy_mac

    Win7 and Win8 directional shifts from XP

    Windows 7 has an advantage of being an incremental shift from Windows XP in how MS handles the desktop. Windows 8 is, by contrast, an excremental shift from XP.

  48. cs94njw

    Is it that surprising?

    How often do people change operating systems these days?

    In the past decades, it was a joy to upgrade because each new release brought an improvement over what was there before. But, now, perhaps the OSes have achieved a maturity.

    There's no longer a need to upgrade, because actually, it's now pretty good.

    Micro$oft needs to make their money from their other software(/hardware?), and perhaps slow down the releases of operating systems.

  49. localzuk Silver badge


    Lots of schools are booting up their entire network to replace XP with 7 at the moment. Those machines that departments demanded and are super important, but never get turned on, suddenly reappearing.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some Facts About Business And Some Suggestions for MS

    Perhaps a little perspective from a buisiness person.

    The cost of changing has caused us to put off changing from XP and it is the same for many corporate users.

    I don't mean the cost of the MS licences, a couple of hundred bucks for OS and Office for each of our PC's is nothing.

    No the cost is that we would need to upgrade our database to the new version, the version we have runs on SCO UNIX and only works with Win XP clients.

    New DB License £36,000 (minimum)

    New monthly Service Fee £1000 (vs £600 atm)

    Lead in time from signing contract to installed in our office 6 months

    Run off accounts on old system and transfer records to new system 12 months side by side operation

    Tie up loose ends 6 months

    Re-train all staff on new windows and office versions and new database.

    The total cost to us, both in cash and lost productivity during the 2 YEAR change over period is well over £100,000

    We have 10 users.

    Now just imagine what the impact on a bank or insurance company or government department with 1000's of users would be.

    The technical issues of upgrade vs don't upgrade are a relatively minor consideration in many businesses.

    Again speaking as a business person and not as an IT type, the shareholders of MS should retire Steve Balmer and hire someone to turn MS around.

    If it was me I would:

    Fire the design team of Win 8 (particularly anyone involved in the GUI) - someone has to burn for that crime.

    Announce that win XP would be supported indefinitely (on a paid subscription of say $10pa per PC),

    EOL or just straight out kill Win 8.

    Sell new Win 7 and Win XP licences to any one who wants either.

    Announce and start work on a true successor to XP and 7, designed to be efficient (low cpu and memory), secure (UNIX / LINUX / MAC OS manage it so we know it can be done), robust (no more shitty DLLs and drivers taking down the whole system), self healing (if something crashes, repair/restart/reinstall automatically), modular (if you don't use a feature it doesn't occupy memory or CPU and swap out parts for alternatives, eg GUI's) and most important OS feature ever JUST WORK QUIETLY IN THE BACKGROUND SO I CAN DO MY WORK!

    With regular patching XP and Win7 are both good for the time it would take to do a proper job on a replacement.

  51. danwat1234

    Kill switch? Not quite

    Title of the article mentions kill switch. No, no more updates will not prevent users from using XP. I bet the majority of them could care less and will keep on using it. It's a lean mean operating system these days

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