back to article Expert chat: The end of Windows XP and IE6

In six months' time, it'll be open season for hackers, malware and virus-writers targeting people running Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6. The reason is after 8 April, 2014, Microsoft will no longer make the software patches needed to protect these people from the worst of the web. From the biggest to the smallest, nobody …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to investigate the alternatives

    For small organisations and those not tied to Windows specific apps, now is the time to trial a Linux distro.

    Users are more used to non Microsoft software these days (mobiles & tablets).

    Plus, you should be able to use your existing XP hardware.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time to investigate the alternatives @AC 10:45

      Yawn ... do you get points for each conversion or something? Or if/when someone converts and likes it, are you just waiting to point out how you've been running it for years, because you're soooo tech-savvy?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

      "now is the time to trial a Linux distro."

      Just LOL. Linux sucks on the desktop - especially for small organisations where the required expert knowledge does not exist.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

        Linux sucks on the desktop - especially for small organisations where the required expert knowledge does not exist.

        Your second point has some merit, shame you ruined it with your first unsubstantiated one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

        > especially for small organisations where the required expert knowledge does not exist.

        There, I fixed that for you. If all you want is windows level of functionality, Linux is no more difficult to administer than Windows. Especially if you use one of the teletubby distributions like the many poobuntu variants.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

          "If all you want is windows level of functionality, Linux is no more difficult to administer than Windows"

          That's simply not true. Linux is far more confusing and difficult to administer than Windows if you need to do anything outside of a GUI....

          Not to mention that the latest Windows performs better than the latest Linux (Ubuntu anyway)....

          1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

            Outside a GUI

            Well, that's hardly a fair comparison, is it? Try doing *anything* outside a GUI with vanilla recent Windows versions. There isn't an outside for you to visit. There's an emulator pretending to be a 1980's DOS session, and that's it. Every Linux distribution I've ever used supports a terminal emulator in the GUI, and the massive advantage is that you can give people exact and precise instructions to fix a problem, without having all this "click on the little yellow square to the right of the left pane on the right side" nonsense.

            If you really want to fiddle with the insides of a Windows 7 install (I have no experience of 8, so won't assume anything) you have to get down and dirty with registry hacks, with downloading special uninstallers for bits that don't work, with worrying about which updates have been applied; it's a nightmare. When "it just works", that's fine. When a KDE/GNU/Linux distribution "just works", it's fine, but in my experience fixing the latter when something is wrong is MUCH easier. There are meaningful log files, masses of documentation, and a high standard of user support. This is not the case with Windows, where there is masses of advice, certainly, but only from people who have made something work and have no idea why. A relative's Win7 machine has resolutely failed to install a service pack for more than a year, now. Some voodoo about a corrupted language pack, or something, is the best I can infer. Nothing works, everyone advises "why don't you reinstall?" Whereas I've got a Linux distribution here that installed onto an empty machine in twenty minutes flat, and would certainly just go on functioning in any small business setting where people need a PC to work and don't fiddle with computers. It hasn't been switched off for almost two years, and only gets rebooted when there is a kernel upgrade. Then it cycles in about 100 seconds.

            I'm bored with this "Linux sucks on the desktop" reflux. Evidence clearly shows it just doesn't. I suspect it's regurgitated often by people who haven't tried it, and are frightened of doing so.

      3. TimeMaster T
        Mushroom

        Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

        "Just LOL. Windows sucks on the desktop - especially for small organisations where the required expert knowledge does not exist."

        FTFY

        Once you have Linux configured it "just works", exactly like MS Windows. "Small organizations" usually don't have anyone who can do basic Windows configuration, never mind a full blown reinstall. Hells, at work I've had to do remotes and onsites at small businesses just to install printer drivers and plug the USB cable into the printer because no one there had a F'ng clue how to do it.

        Based on my experience, 20+ years with MS and another 15+ with UNIX/Linux, the biggest problem the common SB user faces is getting the system plugged in and the printers/network/ect. installed and configured. Once that is done they don't give a rat's arse what OS they are using as long as it does what they need it to do.

        The two biggest things holding Linux back is the lack of specialized apps like financial management packages/etc., and the misconception, perpetuated by comments like yours, that you have to be some kind of "Uber Geek" to even use Linux.

        And as an aside; Linux is easier to install than Windows and has better driver support for hardware during the setup and best of all; no "activation" BS.

        1. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

          Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

          Make no mistake, I'm no Microsoft fan, but I'm realistic. Precious few of our small business customers could run on a linux desktop. Most of them use Sage or some such. And driver support isn't better on linux when you're comparing it to Windows 8.

      4. Big-nosed Pengie

        Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

        "Linux sucks on the desktop..."

        Yep - it does. Just not nearly as much as Windows or OSX.

    3. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

      The problem is that small organisations don't have the time / staff to do the sort of testing that would be required - there's seldom any kind of IT strategy at all.

      It's a shame as many would probably find that Linux or another non-Windows option would fit their needs.

      Once you get big enough that this sort of trial is feasible you have more apps to deal with and more likelihood of some sort of MS lock-in, even if it is just Active Directory, as well as having more staff that would need some sort of training to cope with the change.

      It looks more likely to me that non-Windows tablets will gain traction than non-Windows desktops.

    4. vonRat

      Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

      "For small organisations and those not tied to Windows specific apps" - Good luck finding one of those! For example, a typical small UK accountancy firm will be using Sage, CCH, IRIS, QuickBooks and none of these vendors have a Linux app.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

        But do they have a Win7 version ?

        One previous employer had a box running some specialist software which just doesn't exist under Win7. The vendor disappeared years ago, and nobody has released anything new.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

        Don't any of these work via Wine?

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

      Why bother? Windows was only ever any good as a Steam boot loader. And the Linux version of that is rapidly maturing.

    6. MJA

      Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

      I'm sure nobody would doubt the ability of Linux to perform for a small org just as well or better than Windows but as others have mentioned - you need somebody with a bit of knowledge or enthusiasm for Linux, which is unlikely in a small organisation that probably don't have their own IT staff to A. suggest the idea or B. assist them with the inevitable problems such as when their old scanner that gets used once a year suddenly doesn't work.

      That said, most non specialised organisations would probably have the same issues with Mac and OSX but I'm sure staff would jump at the idea of having flashy iMacs on their desks. Cool always outweighs Function. Normal is always the solution. Unfortunately Linux falls under the Function category and Windows is the 'Normal'

      1. Daniel B.
        Boffin

        Re: Time to investigate the alternatives

        Meh. At least two minimart chains have switched to Linux; I noticed it because the cash register GUI has a GNOME/GTK+ look & feel. It can be done, it just depends on how much time the company has to do the switch, and how much will they save by doing something like that.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Elmer Phud

    IE 6

    I had a call today from a friend who is a bit of a technophobe.

    At home he has two machines, each running XP and IE6, IE6 that will not update as XP is the O/S.

    ("but I've always used Internet Explorer!")

    I've already set up FFox and Chrome with bookmarks and tabs that point to Hotmail but he insists on calling IE his 'search engine' which today wasn't playing ball.

    Monday I will go round and hammer a sign to his screen saying 'FFS NOT IE!' and hide the bloody thing.

    1. dotdan

      Re: IE 6

      If you go to Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs > Set Program Access and Defaults, you can untick "Enable access to this program" beside Internet Explorer

      Just set a shortcut to Chrome on the desktop and start menu, change the icon to the blue "e" logo, and he'll never know any different.

      1. Ol'Peculier
        Thumb Up

        Re: IE 6

        Yes he will, he'll notice that everything is faster and renders correctly...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IE 6

          "Yes he will, he'll notice that everything is faster and renders correctly..."

          And that he has far more security vulnerability patches to install with Chrome....

          1. Jess

            Re: And that he has far more security vulnerability patches to install with Chrome...

            It does them itself.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Euripides Pants
          Windows

          Re: IE 6

          "Yes he will, he'll notice that everything is faster and renders correctly..."

          But he'll think it's because somebody fixed the Iddernet.

    2. Dr?

      Re: IE 6

      You can install up to and including IE 8 on a copy of XP. And Chrome is about the worst choice for a low powered PC as it eats every last available megabyte of RAM on your machine.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Chrome with little Ram - not great

        >And Chrome is about the worst choice for a low powered PC as it eats every last available megabyte of RAM on your machine.

        Agreed, one company I help has lots of low powered XP machines (just for data entry, really), usually with 512 MB RAM. Chrome is hopeless, but opera isn't too bad.

        Most of the staff don't use anything beyond a spreadsheet and a web browser, so migrating them to a Linux distro should be fairly straightforward.

    3. David Woodhead

      Re: IE 6

      You can install IE7 or IE8 on XP, you know. They may not be your browsers of choice, but they're a lot better than IE6, and if your friend really likes IE why not indulge him? Don't drag him out of his comfort zone just because of your personal preferences.

    4. Geoff Campbell
      Facepalm

      Re: IE6 that will not update as XP is the O/S.

      Wait, what? And you're providing support on these things?

      GJC

    5. TimeMaster T

      Re: IE 6

      Windows update doesn't work with IE6, you need to update it to IE8 manually, then Windows updates will work normally. Hit this same thing during a reinstall on a laptop last month.

    6. JDX Gold badge

      Re: IE 6

      "I had a call today from a friend who is a bit of a technophobe.

      At home he has two machines, each running XP and IE6, IE6 that will not update as XP is the O/S."

      So firstly he's the technophobe, but you don't even know you can upgrade to IE8 on Windows XP.

      Secondly, he's running WindowsXP, and your solution is to install FireFox/Chrome? Never mind the OS?

      Are you sure you're a friend?

    7. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

      Re: IE 6

      This is a recurring problem I see.

      "what internet program do you use to access the internet?"

      "er... is it google?"

      "who is your internet provider?"

      "er... is it google?"

      "who do you actually pay monthly for internet access?"

      "er... is it vodafone?"

      "do you use google chrome or internet explorer?"

      "what's internet explorer?"

      "it's the one with the 'e'"

      "oh in that case I use BT"

      1. dotdan

        Re: IE 6

        Have you been listening to my incoming calls?!

      2. RyokuMas

        Re: IE 6

        ...

        "oh in that case I use BT"

        And that is exactly why it is very likely that Linux will never be a big player in the desktop market when compared to Windows - the vast majority of people just want to take their new PC home, plug it in and go, and at the current time it's the people with the money - ie Microsoft - that control what gets loaded onto those PCs before they get bought, taken home, plugged in, etc...

        Of course, there are other factors. I'll admit that I don't use Linux myself, mainly because I have too many bad memories of weeks of wasted time trying to get drivers etc all working. Yes, I know this was many years ago, but I'm a cynic, and it's probably going to take seeing a number of trouble-free installs to the point where I know I can be productive before I think about switching.

        ... and also, the number of self-righteous vocal zealots in the community who spout bile about anything that isn't Linux with no basis for their argument apart from "it's not Linux" and belittle anyone who can't recite the entire kernel source code from memory (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little) are quite off-putting too...

        1. cyborg

          Re: IE 6

          Buy a Linux magazine. Use live DVD of some distro that will be stuck to the front. Done. If it doesn't work properly don't use it. Couldn't be easier really.

          1. RyokuMas

            Re: IE 6

            "Buy a Linux magazine. Use live DVD of some distro that will be stuck to the front. Done. If it doesn't work properly don't use it. Couldn't be easier really."

            Means wiping my laptop, putting on said distro, hoping it works and probably being stuck with a bricked machine if it doesn't - and given my track record and experience, it won't work, and neither will the recovery process.

            ... unless someone has a spare game developer-specced laptop they're willing to give up and donate for me to play with. But right now, I'm not prepared to risk my working production machine and environment to see if things have improved.

            1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: IE 6

              You missed the "live" part - you don't have to install it, just boot it from the live DVD, and if it doesn't work properly, you don't HAVE to install it.

              1. cyborg
                Facepalm

                Re: IE 6

                Indeed - *LIVE* DVDs have been a mainstay of Linux distros for awhile now. You're doing it wrong if you're formatting your hard drive.

                1. Robert Sneddon

                  Re: IE 6

                  Maybe he should try another distro since he's doing it wrong, the stupid noob. RTFM!

                  1. cyborg
                    FAIL

                    Re: IE 6

                    RTFM in this case is a sentence. Troll fail.

        2. Obvious Robert

          Re: IE 6

          ... and also, the number of self-righteous vocal zealots in the community who spout bile about anything that isn't Linux with no basis for their argument apart from "it's not Linux" and belittle anyone who can't recite the entire kernel source code from memory (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a little) are quite off-putting too...

          Total FUD. I've only started to get into Linux about two years ago, and only seriously started to use it as my main OS within the last year, but at all points I've found all the people more knowledgeable than me to be thoroughly helpful. The wealth of people out there prepared to give their time to help new users for free is overwhelming and it's a community I'm proud to have become a part of. In my experience, the myth of the bile spouting newb-bashing Linux ubergeek is exactly that - a myth. What's more, stop pontificating on how complicated it might be, just give it a go. It's was actually extraordinarily easy - and this is coming from someone who had never in his life even partitioned a hard drive before.

  3. CAPS LOCK

    We are switching to Linux Mint XFCE

    Dump the wallpaper and change to the high contrast icons. And relax.

    1. Nial

      Re: We are switching to Linux Mint XFCE

      "We are switching to Linux Mint XFCE

      Dump the wallpaper and change to the high contrast icons. And relax."

      ...until you want to print something over the network!

      >:-0

      1. majorursa

        Re: We are switching to Linux Mint XFCE

        $Nial what's you point. I have far fewer problems getting a networked printer working under Linux than I have with Windows. It just finds them and their drivers within a few seconds and I'm running.

        While Windows keeps wanting the 'manufacturer disks' smh.

      2. itzman

        Re: We are switching to Linux Mint XFCE

        ..until you want to print something over the network!??

        i've had linux mint printing over a network from day 1.

        Not sure what your prejudice is, ...

        1. wowfood

          Re: We are switching to Linux Mint XFCE

          I had a network printer. Took freakin' ages getting the damn thing to play with windows. Laptop running Mint hooked up no problem.

          1. cyborg
            Devil

            Re: We are switching to Linux Mint XFCE

            But that's unpossible! Every fool knows that you have to write in Sankrit just to boot a Linux machine! It can't possibly be better than Windows at makig things easy because as we all know Windows makes everything so easy no one has ever had any problems with it!

      3. CAPS LOCK

        Re: We are switching to Linux Mint XFCE

        Setting up network printing was a doddle. A few clicks and it was done. No finding drivers, no messing about.

  4. tentimes

    Why can't I register for this?

    All I see is an email reminder form - where can I register for it? Or is the email reminder the registration too?

    1. mhoneywell

      Re: Why can't I register for this?

      You don't really need to register, just add your email and it'll give you a reminder.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why can't I register for this?

      Looks like Elmer Phuds friend has just joined the chat...

  5. taxman

    Browsium?!!!

    Well, if anyone from one of the 'large organisations' joins in it could prove embarassing!

    Panacea or placebo?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, for us it went like this:

    1: Upgrade all our web applications to run in IE 8

    2: Anything that couldn't be run in IE 8 was put in a VM

    3: We upgraded XP to IE 8

    4: We looked at our Java 6 applications and found most were replaceable with newer version compatible with Java 7 or with products that didn't rely on Java at all - we are working on the rest to fully flush our company of them

    5: Anything that couldn't be run in Java 7 were put in a VM

    6: We put the 6 Vendors of applications that would not upgrade on notice we were cancelling our support contracts - 4 of them in the last 3 months have now made changes, 1 has said they will by XP death date and 1 we have found an alternative product and will begin migration shortly

    7: We found the remaining applications that needed upgrading and mostly upgraded them, some in house legacy applications were rewritten and brought under IT control

    8: We rolled out Windows 7 department by department tackling mostly minor issue along the way

    9: We learnt from our mistakes so next upgrade time we wont be depending on applications that are tied to certain versions of Java or IE (which were the only real problems we had)

    This took us 2 years to accomplish so far and we are not yet entirely XP free. Fortunately we have the understanding of the powers that be and a reasonably small less than 1k desktops.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      I should downvote you

      As you have shown a degree of common sense and no rabid fanboyism, which as you know is against the spirt of things on here.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I should downvote you

        I am sorry to disappoint and I will try harder next time!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like you are lucky enough to have a decent budget to throw at this! And suppliers prepared to be compliant and not regard you as some annoying small fry whose support contract they couldn't give 2 figs about.

      It's the right approach, but I suspect not everyone will have such favourable circumstances.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Budget was only an issue because of the labour involved. So we got the departments involved and in each one you tend to find a few who have a vague idea of what they use and why and are willing to be a test bed and eventually a trainer. From a supplier point of view we were lucky, but then we had continued to pay support fees and our management team had tied the contracts up in a reasonable way when signed originally including clauses about OS upgrades in most (we were founded by a techie however). I think some companies troubles are caused by providers actively designing their software to not be easily upgradable. It has also taken us a long time to get here.

    3. majorursa
      Linux

      Thanks, that looks like a reasonables planning script.

      Have to say though that migrating to Linux would have been just as 'easy' if not easier.

      Point 6 could also be to push the suplliers to move to the web and become agnostic.

      First thing in that scenario would be to get rid of the Exchange/Outlook monster by moving to Google Apps.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well exchange was actually never an issue as we are based on Debian / dovecot / exim / roundcube / sieve. But even of we were an exchange upgrade would have been seperate from it. Being OS agnostic Would be nice but never could happen with the sheer quantity of windows only stuff we currently use, as im sure it must be in other places.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Have to say though that migrating to Linux would have been just as 'easy' if not easier."

        Have to say that you really don't have a clue what you are talking about.

        Just look at Munich - ten years, and tens of millions invested and they still havn't finished a migration to Linux, and when their staff need to do real work - like use a version of Office that actually works - they still have to access Windows VDI Desktops!

        1. Chemist

          "Just look at Munich - ten years, and tens of millions invested and they still havn't finished a migration to Linux"

          You've already been laughed off the Register about that one !

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "First thing in that scenario would be to get rid of the Exchange/Outlook monster by moving to Google Apps."

        That might work for very small companies, but it's not fit for the enterprise. Office 365 would be the better choice.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "6: We put the 6 Vendors of applications that would not upgrade on notice we were cancelling our support contracts - 4 of them in the last 3 months have now made changes, 1 has said they will by XP death date and 1 we have found an alternative product and will begin migration shortly"

      Awesome move. I like it.

  7. Bod

    XP eveywhere

    Displays in railway stations are usually powered by XP (evident when they crash)

    Likewise a lot of other animated displays in shopping centres, airports, etc.

    I've had ATM machines crash on me, reboot and hey... XP comes up before the ATM UI is slapped on top.

    1. Spoonsinger

      Re: XP eveywhere

      Yep, but they are probably XP Embedded, (a misnomer if ever there was one), and has continued support way after the 2014 date.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: XP eveywhere

        And they tend not to browse the internet....

      2. TimeMaster T
        Boffin

        Re: XP eveywhere

        I worked in the embedded industry so I can tell you that, based on my knowledge gained from talking to people in my classes and at industry events, that ATMs are usually just a desktop OS running some cool peripherals, dito with the advertising displays.

        XP Embedded licenses costs more than a desktop license, most manufacturers will not use it unless they have to. For big stationary devices desktop XP is fine, you only need the micro (LOL) kernel of XP Embedded for things like meter readers, car infotainment and other equipment where the hardware has to be small, durable and portable.

        1. TimeMaster T

          Small correction

          The license fees for Windows XP Embedded are usually based the number of devices and volume purchase agreements come into play. For just one or two your going to pay a mint, but for 1000's it drops significantly.

          For something like an ATM or Mall Kiosk the hardware is just a normal PC and so is the desktop XP OS installed on it.

  8. Wing_Chun_Master

    mwuhahaha the fools..people may have laughed when I refused to migrate to windows 95 but now running my entire 200 workstation network purely on windows 3.1 it would seem that hackers, trojan and virus deviants have moved on and I'm as safe as safe can be!!!

    and people mention tech savvy pah!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmmm...

    Upgraded to Vista to remove the abortion that was XP, upgraded to Win-7 and now upgrading to Win-8.

    Ignore the doom-sayers! Windows 8 is great!

    1. Spoonsinger

      Re : Ignore the doom-sayers! Windows 8 is great!

      So says the AC!

      (Actually it's fine, wouldn't go far as to say it was great though).

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Re : Ignore the doom-sayers! Windows 8 is great!

        I'm hoping MS give us a cheap upgrade to from XP to win8 at the last minute. Only found out the other day they charged £25 for the download upgrade when it came out. Now it's £100 (despite the disk being £50 on Amazon). Charge me £25 or less and I'll finally bite. If they publicised it enough they might actually improve their win8 uptake numbers..

        1. TimeMaster T

          Re: Re : Ignore the doom-sayers! Windows 8 is great!

          Why should they?

          They have you by the important bits already. All they have to do is wait till your hardware dies or your business gets taken out by some worm/virus and you HAVE to upgrade to Windows 8, at their price.

    2. Jess

      Re: Ignore the doom-sayers! Windows 8 is great!

      The core may be.

      But on a single screen machine, the UI (even with a touchscreen) is quite simply the worst I have ever used. (Apart from a particularly nasty PVR).

      On dual screens it isn't too bad, however. All the metro garbage restricts itself to one screen, and if your work is primarily on the second screen, it doesn't mess you up.

      The lack of start menu isn't a problem for anyone who has used windows 3.1 or any old linux distro.

      It is very much like using Windows 3.1 (treat the desktop like program manager and fill it with shortcuts, and do anything complex via command line)

      If the ability to remove metro didn't rely on third party apps, it would be quite decent system.

      From the behavior of metro, it is almost as if the original designer expected the user to use a tablet where the keyboard would normally be and the second screen in the usual position, but never bothered to tell the rest of the organization. (It would work quite well with a Nintendo DS style laptop, or a keyboard sized touchscreen on a work station, shame no-one actually makes kit like that)

      1. RyokuMas
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Ignore the doom-sayers! Windows 8 is great!

        While I wouldn't go so far as to evangelise Win8 - or any other OS - I really can't see why so many people have such a downer on Win8.

        "Modern" view? Windows-key+D, problem solved.

        No start menu? Pretty much everything I use has a shortcut on my desktop, no problems there.

        Shutdown/sleep options not visible? I just close the lid on my laptop.

        So my usage patterns have barely changed since... well, my WinXP days, and apparently the Win8 core is better and more secure.

        So why all the fuss?

    3. Mystic Megabyte
      Linux

      Hmmmm...

      Downgraded to XP to remove the abortion that was Vista, upgraded to Kubuntu and now upgrading to Ubuntu 12.04

      Believe the doom-sayers! Windows 8 is shit!

      FIFY

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Windows 8 is shit!"

        It has faster graphics and file system performance (like copying a large ISO) than Ubuntu 12.04.....

        And about a tenth of the security vulnerabilities!

        http://secunia.com/advisories/product/40762/

        http://secunia.com/advisories/product/42951/

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Vulnerabilities

          I was intrigued by your comment, and wish to subscribe ^W ^W ^W Hold it! I went to the link you almost provided, and Secunia says

          <quote>PLEASE NOTE: The statistics provided should NOT be used to compare the overall security of products against one another</quote>. Then they go on to give reasons why you shouldn't do what you just did, including:

          <quote>It should also be noted that some operating systems (e.g. certain Linux distributions) bundle together a large number of software packages, and are therefore affected by vulnerabilities, which do not affect other operating systems (e.g. Microsoft Windows) that don't bundle together a similar amount of software packages.</quote>.

          1. Chemist

            Re: Vulnerabilities

            "I was intrigued by your comment, ....."

            He's always doing that, quotes a ref. that often turns out to be an argument AGAINST his 'expert' opinion

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I will consider Windows 8 a valid alternative when 1) there are full Metro programs to replace everything on the desktop completely, 2) the desktop can be permanently disabled 3) there is a more obvious way for average users to close programs than dragging them to the bottom of the screen or Alt and F4. Until that day, Metro remains a useless inconvienence, and I'll keep with Windows 7.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Until that day, Metro remains a useless inconvienence, and I'll keep with Windows 7."

        But you don't have to use Metro. Just set the OS to boot into Desktop mode and forget that it exists.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Or just install (or keep with) Windows 7. Most power users probably have moved on from XP anyway. I shudder at the thought of trying to explain the bizarre Metro / retarded Win 7 desktop combination to non technical users.

    5. Gordon861

      Win8 Upgrade

      I took the plunge last night and installed Win8 on one of my low powered XP PCs to see how it went.

      It runs surprisingly well on a 2GB RAM Atom 1.6Ghz machine.

      All I need to do is work out how the hell to use the OS, hope the 8.1 update brings back some ore familiar stuff.

  10. tin 2

    How the piss pot has nobody in the entire world written anything that's *markedly* better than XP, so that a big wedge of the userbase have felt compelled to update, or worse, are still not compelled to upgrade when faced with this apparent impending doom?

    In 12 years +??!!

    How!???!

    1. DutchP
      Trollface

      A *lot* has been written that's better than XP, just not by Microsoft

    2. Bob Camp

      It's the opposite of that. Windows XP is really good, and the hardware running it is plenty fast enough to run Office and a Web browser. It's more like nobody HAD to upgrade, and there was this global partial economic collapse that made it so nobody could AFFORD to upgrade, so many people chose not to upgrade.

      As far as Linux goes, that's a poor choice for small businesses who don't have real tech. support and for businesses who have to run applications and hardware designed for XP, such as Office. So basically nearly all of them.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Rogue Jedi

    At the school in which I work we upgraded most of our PCs to windows 7 in August 2012, the approximately 100 are now 7 years old and are missing vital hardware drivers for Windows 7 (display and network) so must last until we can afford replacements probabally August 2015.

    1. Not That Andrew

      I'm surprised that those 7 year old machines don't have Vista drivers available that work with Win7. Whoever does your purchasing should be shot.

      1. hplasm
        Windows

        Oxymoron...

        Vista drivers available that work

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In our case, licensing cost is not an issue. We have the licenses (SA). Major problem is management.

    We still have a couple of hundred desktops and laptops happily running XP/IE8. The need to upgrade is there, but BMFH's insist that we move department by department. Unfortunately, BMFH always beats BOFH, which is why we have to upgrade large numbers of desktops (behind corporate firewalls, application filters, and 2 layers of malware scanners) BEFORE we can start upgrading mobile users who are basically online everywhere.

    If you want to ask whether a Linux distro is an option: it might be, and I would like it to be an options,but there's a couple of conditions...

    So, dear El Reg readers, enlighten me:

    - for my "power" users: what would be the equivalent of the Outlook/Exchange/Sharepoint combo ? (including calendaring, meeting requests, reminders, tasks,... and syncing all that to WP8/iPhone/Android... )

    - is there something like iSeries (or Power whatshallwecallitthismonth) Navigator (including db2 access on aforementioned machines). Which reminds me, fuck you IBM.

    - can we use that db2 access for macro-like functions in any kind of spreadsheet ?

    - is there something like GPO's in the linux world ?

    These are questions (just the basic ones, mind you) I need answered before I can make a business case.

    1. Trevor 3

      Seeing as no-one has provided you an answer, just downvoted you...

      Try Zimbra or Citadel, for email/calendaring etc...

      for DB2, yes probably, google is your friend. I highly doubt there isn't one.

      For GPO, yes there is.

  13. henryl

    I'm sticking with XP. If it ain't broke...

    I just installed XP on a friend's PC and he's more than happy with it for surfing the web, watching movies, listening to music and writing the odd email. Although I don't use it on my main PC, as a developer I'll keep a VM of it running for testing purposes.

    I'm pretty curious to witness this flood of trojans that I'm told is going to kill my computer next year. I bet it doesn't happen. More likely is that XP will be running business as usual.

    1. Salts

      Re: I'm sticking with XP. If it ain't broke...

      The flaw in your logic is that most software is broken, we just don't know it until someone points out or exploits a fault, TOR+FF+NSA for a recent high profile example.

      Another problem is we don't know if the bad boys are saving exploits for next year and are ready to pounce

      If your friend does any form of online transactions, as a friend you perhaps should point out there could be risks and let him make a choice, rather than force your choice on him.

    2. Daniel von Asmuth
      Windows

      Re: I'm sticking with XP. If it ain't broke...

      I'm sticking with 2000. What's the point of upgrading to XP?

    3. Not That Andrew

      Re: I'm sticking with XP. If it ain't broke...

      I hate to sound like a Linux fanatic, but if that's all he does on the computer, he sounds like the perfect customer for Linux.

  14. majorursa
    Thumb Down

    Business fools

    I'm really glad Micro$soft takes this firm stance because it finally shows how little they understand their customers.

    It's not that the small-shop 'IT-managers' do not want to upgrade, they don't know where to start. It should be M$'s responsibility to build upgradepaths and -tools and make it totally easy to do it. Instead they rely on their clients to hire their OEM/consultants and pay an extra $500 per workplace to get it done.

    I think many of these will be very pissed of by being let in the cold again and from my experience a lot have finally decided to move away from the Redmond mobsters.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extended support

    Won't Microsoft keep producing patches for it, since those who are on extended support will be paying for them? I wonder if Microsoft would try to stop someone who put those patches up on the web?

    I also wonder if Microsoft might not be willing to put out the occasional very critical patch to all XP machines after that date, if there is some particularly nasty attack? Doing so would be good PR, having millions of Windows machines all becoming spambots or worse because they decided to quit supporting them on a certain date, not so much.

  16. arctic_haze

    Some advice for the post-update era

    0. Put your PC behind a router (most people already have this)

    1. Stop using IE and install Firefox (not Chrome, see below)

    2. Set the proxy configuration of IE to a nonexistent server (like your own computer meaning 127.0.0.1). Firefox will ignore this and continue but Google Chrome will not. This way no software using the IE engine will connect to the Internet which will make you much safer. If something stops working look for a safer and upgradable alternative.

    3. Uninstall Silverware, any .NET frameworks and other MIcrosoft crap which will stop being upgraded anyway. You will be surprised how few things stop working.

    4. Do remember to upgrade the non-Microsoft software you use including Firefox, Java (if you must use it), Adobe Reader and Flash player etc.

    1. kain preacher

      Re: Some advice for the post-update era

      Except that amd catalyst requires .net. Removing .net will break things.

  17. John Crisp

    It's all about the 'apps' Luke

    Not the OS.

    I migrated our small business to Linux at the start of this year, and it was the best thing I ever did quite frankly. None of the users are 'young' and I expected a degree of resistance from dyed in the wool MS users. The reality ? Barely had a problem with Linux. Much less than I ever had with Windows (and we were on XP).

    The trick was the apps. I got them to use programs that would be the same on both systems for a while before the change - Firefox/Thunderbird/LibreOffice etc

    The ONLY program that we couldn't change was Sage, so we dumped it - the reality was (in hindsight) that one program alone cost us a fortune in time and energy, and money. It really was awful, along with the support. I just felt like an udder being constantly milked. I guess we could have VM'd it - but dumping it was way more satisfying. The best chat with Sage I ever had :-)

    Admittedly the big companies have the luxury of leaning on their suppliers for change which small ones don't. But there is an answer for most things if you throw away your prejudices and take a little time to look. And if it doesn't break, you don't need much support.......

    Hardware has not been a problem as we were using slightly older machines. Just check everything before you go - fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Anything suspect (very little) was dumped for something that worked.

    Desktop Linux has come a long way. it still isn't perfect, but then what is ? Maybe with more users, there would be more pressure to resolve some things which are still annoying. However, I spend far less time sorting out OS issues, and more time on actual work.

    Ironically, just recently it took me an hour to find and fix something on a friends Windows 8 system which would have taken me 5 minutes in XP, purely because I couldn't find what I needed when I needed it. I found the learning curve is much bigger than it was going to Linux.

    I also just ran a test on a friends laptop. An typically 'underpowed' Windows 7 spec, it took 2m 50 secs to boot to a desktop with Firefox and Skype open and on the ragged edge of swapping itself to death. Xubuntu took 50 seconds to do the same with plenty to spare. I was gobsmacked to be honest. I've recently been converting a lot of older XP machines, used in the main by older than average users (a lot of pensioners). My phone has not been burning with support queries.

    The reality is that Linux ISN'T that hard either to learn, or maintain. Certainly no harder than 'learning' Windows, and is not something to be scared of. It has its pros and cons like any system. I just feel a lot of the MS people here put Linux down without really having tried it properly. Maybe it isn't for you. But at least now you have to upgrade from XP, forget the scaremongering and give it a decent trial.

    And for the record, I was a long time believer in MS. I just woke up one day and smelled some coffee :-)

  18. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Windows fantasies and why people use XP

    "That's simply not true. Linux is far more confusing and difficult to administer than Windows if you need to do anything outside of a GUI...."

    Ahh the fantasy that everything in Windows is easy-peasy. You've never had to deal with the registry or any of the esoteric bits deep deep within the bowels of Windows? I'm not claiming it's difficult to run regedit, but it lets you adjust stuff outside the scope of the normal GUI -- just as editing some text file or other in Linux allows for adjustments outside the scope of the GUI. End users usually never have to do either one, they'll have some guy "fix" the computer for them.

    "Not to mention that the latest Windows performs better than the latest Linux (Ubuntu anyway)...."

    I haven't found that to be the case *shrug*.

    -----------------------

    Back on topic, I can summarize real shortly why so many still have XP: 1) They bought XP systems. 2) They didn't replace them. Either no IT plan (don't replace it 'til it breaks), or no budget to do it, or they planned to do it when they replaced the computers (and can't due it before due to steep hardware requirements) or they found Vista, 7, and especially 8 too disruptive (either software incompatibilities or too radical a GUI change for them.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows fantasies and why people use XP

      "You've never had to deal with the registry or any of the esoteric bits deep deep within the bowels of Windows?"

      Registry access is still via a GUI. And far easier than using some prehistoric text editor with Linux....

      1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

        Uninformed AC, again

        Don't use a freaking prehistoric editor, then. Nobody is telling you you have to use edlin on a real Teletype, for chrissakes. Kate (the KDE Advanced Text Editor) supports every editor function I could conceivably want, and syntax highlighting for 226 languages and file formats. When your naive user starts it up, it will behave very much like Notepad for him, but the power is certainly there. For £0.00 outlay, incidentally.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Uninformed AC, again

            > You've TOTALLY missed the point

            No, I TOTALLY missed the point that you made, but that the Uninformed AC didn't make. It was alleging that there was a choice between regedit and a "prehistoric text editor", which is a false dichotomy.

            You're quite correct, working through a human-readable *nix configuration file is nowhere comparable to regedit. Many of us prefer the former, for arguable reasons, but "prehistoric editors" don't, or shouldn't, come into those arguments.

  19. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "I'm surprised that those 7 year old machines don't have Vista drivers available that work with Win7. Whoever does your purchasing should be shot."

    Vista (7, and 8) have surprisingly poor support for older hardware, like it or not. I'm not playing a blame game, I think Microsoft's assumption was that most people would run Vista on new systems (due to Vista's bloat). They slimmed 7 down, but I think assumed even fewer people would have this older hardware by then. And, realistically, there probably aren't huge numbers of people effected.

    Linux (ubuntu at least) *MAY* be going that way soon for graphics, when they replace the X server with Mir graphics system... but so far, with the Linux kernel and X server, they really have not dropped support for any PCI video cards, and still support a few that are even ISA bus. It's a little shocking to be able to dig up like an old S3 Trio or whatever, shove it into a box, and have it come right up. Other drivers are similar, they've dropped very very few drivers, and shockingly old hardware will work. Those weird old parallel port scanners and ZIP drives? They still work.

    1. uvavu

      Have a 9yr old machine (P4 800Mhz) that runs windows 7 fine. It won't run 720p video, but then neither would Win XP, its not an issue and Flash video runs fine at 480p. All the drivers are supported in Win 7, including a Radeon 9800 video card and on board sound/ethernet.

      I tried moving to Suse/Ubuntu/Debian but video/user interface was far too slow. ATI will not release the drivers for any later than the R300 series video chipset under Linux to open source. The Linux ATI video driver sucks, and so I have resorted to Win 7. Maybe i'm one of the few where Windows gives me better hardware support than Linux.

      I'm keeping Win 7. I was bitten by the 'Lazy writeback' default cache management when a PSU started failing, but managed to fix the corruption eventually. Turning it off will kill performance but might be a good idea, or buying a decent PSU even better.

      It's the only home desktop OS though, that I have ever felt the need to backup before any major updates. Its not as rock solid as XP was.

      1. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

        Driver support

        "Have a 9yr old machine (P4 800Mhz) that runs windows 7 fine. It won't run 720p video, but then neither would Win XP, its not an issue and Flash video runs fine at 480p. All the drivers are supported in Win 7, including a Radeon 9800 video card and on board sound/ethernet.

        I tried moving to Suse/Ubuntu/Debian but video/user interface was far too slow. ATI will not release the drivers for any later than the R300 series video chipset under Linux to open source. "

        So, to contradict my saying Win7 doesn't support older hardware, you get an old PC with a much MUCH newer video card than it would have shipped with. Then refuse to use the (admittedly not as good as NVidia's) closed source drivers in Linux, even though you are using closed source drivers in Windows. *shrug* Yeah. For what it's worth, they now supposedly have open source driver support past RV790 to some of the pacific island named card models; although I would probably use the flgrx driver on most of them.

      2. Piro Silver badge

        I'm certain there wasn't an 800MHz Pentium 4.

        1. uvavu

          My mistake, 800MHz FSB, AGP 8 times , 3GHz CPU.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a website developer, we still have to test everything we do in IE 6 - it has to look right and function. We still have masses of clients in Asia using IE 6, it is still 30% of our IE usage.

  21. ceebee

    Clearly if you have hundreds of millions of XP users and using IE8 or earlier, the vast majority will not be changing to newer Windows versions (or other alternatives) by April.

    Then what? With 30% approx of the world's PCs not being patched the danger is massive. This will put immense pressure on Microsoft to continue patching XP.

    Pulling the plug on XP is going to be very tough!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Awil Onmearse

    Bah

    Microsoft has you all by the testicles, and it's your own, stupid fault. Eat it.

    Alternatively dump windows now at great cost and you might just escape with one gonad intact, before they come back for the remaining one with "Windows ..er ..IX P".

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Web apps

    Last time I checked, everyone is throwing "pay monthly" web apps to SMBs and saying here you go, this will solve your issue.

    In this scenario, any modern browser on any OS including Linux distribution would surely suffice?

    Continuing on this scenario, this will then require a change in the way people work. Will that happen?

    Having provided SMB support for 5 years now, probably not.

    However, I am getting increasing number of calls from customers saying "OH MY WTF IS THIS WINDOWS 8 ALL ABOUT".

    The lack of thought from our friends at Microsoft on the UI experience could well push people towards a more familiar platform. And if the way of the world is the web, then I'm not seeing issues with a Linux distribution.

  24. yossarianuk

    Who cares?

    If your company/organization is pathetic enough to still be using this shit then you deserve whats coming to you, and ultimately unless you have migrated to Linux / Mac that will be Windows 8 - enjoy working with that won't you.

    Seriously there is no excuse.

    Personally I can't wait until the police/hospitals,etc waste our tax on shiny new PC's to run Windows 8 (instead of saving money in the long run with Linux..)

  25. IGnatius T Foobar

    Thinstation

    Move your apps to a server (including the legacy Windows apps) and install Thinstation on those aging XP machines. Not only does it re-use the existing hardware, but it also make those machines maintenance-free (except when the physical hardware fails) -- AND sets you up for mobile-enabling those virtual desktops as well.

    I can't believe so many people are still stuck in the 20th century "this is my desktop computer" model.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. MJA

    After all the work on compatibility...

    the main concern users had was 'my email address history has gone so I have to type the address in instead of it appearing when I type the first letter'. (Didn't migrate Outlook profiles from 03' to 10').

    Me: 'You only have to type it once, or even just add it once from the address book. You'll build up your list again in no time'.

    User: 'It's lowering the efficiency at which I can perform my job... I want it back now'.

    Definitely don't envy the person in charge of the HMRC task. The migration part is easy compared to the people politics involved.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vista fail

    A bit off topic - but I woke today to find MS Vista on my laptop had been 'upgraded' during the night. But now DHCP doesn't work with my BT supplied BT Home Hub. Applied the MS KB Fixit and it works again. I'm blaming MS here because all my other Linux/Windows-XP-7/Mac machines work fine with the router. Good luck to the average punter.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so why are public gateways just being updated to XP and IE8 at £90 a month?

    hi

    puzzled why so many libraries are now offering access to their gateways - gosh- internet for all.

    Let's have all those who want internet access use this wonderful facility to get NOWHERE.

    took nearly 17 steps to find the local hospital though (and yes I thought of admitting myself in sheer frustration!)

    gov.uk gateways on these public service pc's are accessible under password and pin, but use XP and IE8 and are routed through the local councils.......hardly secure or accessible in real time (slowwwwwwww)

    Northamptonshire CC allow access to the internet for 20 minutes for a quid. That's a WHOPPING £90 quid a month for 1 hour browsing every day for 30 days (libraries are closed though on weekends).

    I can get satellite broadband with NO FIREWALLED RESTRICTIONS for a fraction of that!

    So much for the "digital divide". If your disable, stony broke or just out of luck in a rural community, the Local Government will "screw" you!

  29. dougal83

    IE6 needed to die. so does IE 7,8 & 9. 10 may live.. for now.

  30. vinyl1

    This sort of upgrade can be very painful

    It took my company 3 years to go from XP to Windows7. They had to test 40,000 applications, many of which had to be replaced because they could not be migrated. Some things still don't work.

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