Windows XP was great, but is ten years too long?

Credit: flickr/Will Clayton

At one time, 80 percent of all desktop computers ran Windows XP. The breakout OS appeared on October 25, 2001, making it 10 years old. But is 10 years too long for any OS?

Of course, Service Pack 2 in 2004 revamped plenty of XP modules, particularly security. Should Microsoft have tweaked the interface and called SP2 a new OS? They didn't, and no other major OS came out of Microsoft until Windows Vista appeared in 2006. Vista had the smell of New Coke and the Ford Edsel, so XP kept on going until Windows 7 (and beyond). Windows 7 likely will stay below 50 percent market share when Windows 8 appears in a year or two.

Since technology is all about change, bolting new tech onto old OS frameworks can be painful. Those fancy new SATA disks? Gluing those onto an XP box strains patience. 3D graphics? Large amounts of RAM? XP lets us down. But that doesn't mean we don't still love it in many ways and for many applications. And Microsoft will support it for three more years because of enterprise demand.

Greatest ever

XP was a very well engineered system that improved by orders of magnitude upon Windows 2000. Its popularity and continued use demonstrate just how well designed the system was. Great compatibility, excellent stability and performance.

xpclient on arstechnica.com

I'm running XP at home and still using MS Office 2003. Hey, if it ain't broke why fix it? At work I'm stuck using W7 with the latest MS Office and I have to admit I only whelmed by W7 and I hate the latest version of Office. I have no motivation to change.

SameStuffDifferentDay on pcworld.com

I'm a happy XP user. XP fits into 1GB and is very very fast.

ck2 on news.ycombinator.com

Not so fast

Remember in 2001 doing a clean install opens the permissions of the shared folder to read/write public. I hooked my new windows XP Computer onto the network !Bam! Got a virus. Those were the days.

fung81 on arstechnica.com

I recently upgraded to 7 a couple of months ago and I haven't noticed a ton of performance difference (probably due to my old hardware). But it does play HD movies now (was able to upgrade graphic card drivers), and it doesn't freeze very often.

JonathanBrownwp28 on pcworld.com

I think OS X does this right. Every Windows upgrade feels like a brand new operating system. In contrast, every new OS X release feels more like an iterative update. In a sense, OS X has been your ten year operating system, just with rolling updates.

rkudeshi on news.ycombinator.com

I have tried all versions of windows. The best is still windows 2000, which I use at all computers in my business (87 terminals). If a new piece of software forces me too, I will be using windows XP on that PC and that PC only.

EMMYL on pcworld.com

Limited choices

That was a lot of paragraphs to say, "Despite being pretty great for its time, Windows XP is pretty outdated, and somewhat annoying to deal with."

pavel_lishin on news.ycombinator.com

Don't worry, some enterprising independent developer will manage to block that nightmare and this way we'll have the best of both worlds - a usable true Desktop UI and the Win8 back-end goodness

bk109 on arstechnica.com

We still standardize on XP on the corporate images at my work (where we have more employees than many cities have residents), and are just now starting to even consider running a trial build of Windows 7.

m0nastic on news.ycombinator.com

Be honest: how many XP boxes are still running in your company? Will it hurt to kill the last one?

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