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Last Call For Windows XP (More or Less)

It's finally here: Windows XP's last day in the retail market. After repeated delays--most caused by the belated arrival of its successor Windows Vista, the last due to Vista's hesitant reception by the market--Microsoft will stop selling that nearly seven-year-old operating system to stores and large computer vendors today.

That doesn't mean XP will vanish from shelves instantly. You'll still be able to pick up XP in stores and buy computers loaded with it while supplies last. Small "screwdriver shops" that build their own computers can keep installing XP through the end of January and manufacturers of ultra-light, low-cost laptops can keep shipping XP through June 30, 2010.

I've written before that XP's passing is not exactly something to mourn, and that Vista is not all that bad (and have been criticized at length for it), but even I still expected that Microsoft would relent on this deadline. Executives at three or four different PC vendors had told me earlier this year that they were sure Microsoft would grant XP a stay of execution in at least some cases, and if anybody had some insight on Microsoft's plans I figured it would be those folks. That reprieve didn't happen--or, at least, it hasn't happened yet today.

So here we are: XP seems to be history, as far as most users are concerned. Are you depressed, indifferent or delighted?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 30, 2008; 9:58 AM ET
Categories:  Windows  
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Thank goodness my little computer maker here can load XP for a while yet. We recently bought two computers - both with XP. The shop specializes in XP. No matter what you say Vista is a disaster. Hope MS can get it fixed before it's forced on us.

Posted by: Jimmy P. | June 30, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I am bewildered by the incessant bad-mouthing Vista gets both from the press and civilians. Given the load Vista exacts, it is no wonder it doesn't work up to its billing on older 'puters. XP didn't work any too well on Pentium 386 machines either. But, given a fairly new and brutally powerful processor, it's the best thing to come along since sliced bread. I adore it.

Posted by: valerie | June 30, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Windows XP got my teenage daughter pregnant and forced her to drop out of high school.

Posted by: Slim | June 30, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Indifferent. I still have two XP licenses (one in use at the moment), it's not like Bill Gates'.. er, Steve Ballmer's lackeys are going to break into my house and take them. I wonder if eventually they're going to shut down the activation server, though. Though it doesn't matter much to me, since at least one of my licenses has been activated so many times from reinstalling and it no longer activates online. So I have to call up Microsoft to activate it anyway.

I suppose the main thing keeping me from upgrading is the cost. My XP licenses both came from my school when I was a student, and cost $5 each. (And yes, the license allows reinstalling, transferring between computers, continued use even though I graduated 5 years ago, etc.) I'd happily pay $5 for a Vista license, but I'm less happy about paying $90 or $190 or whatever depending on which "edition".

(I know most people just pay the Microsoft Tax when they buy a new Dell or Packard Bell or whatever, but I assemble my desktops myself so I'd have to specifically buy it.)

Posted by: KR | June 30, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Installing XP on a PC with a 386 processor wasn't an issue. The 386 doesn't even meet the minimum requirements for XP. (Max clock speed on a 386 = 40 MHz; Min clock speed for XP = 233 MHz.) So who'd try?

Posted by: dagwud | June 30, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@ Slim

Perhaps the Gates Foundation can help her with her "problem!" (-:

Posted by: kfritz | June 30, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Vista is an absolute disaster. To date (in 3 months with Vista) we have corrupted photos, a corrupted external HD, and have lost ability to use Explorer. We will likely either go back to XP or scrap the PC and switch to Mac. Maybe the OS should have been ready BEFORE release...

Posted by: BW | June 30, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Vista is okay, I guess. Though sometimes I can hear my hard-drive going and I have no idea why. I just think, after 7 years this is the best Microsoft can come up with?

Next time get rid of the bloatware. I can do without the bells and whistles. I just want a lean and mean O/S that will run all my software.

Posted by: EL | June 30, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

All the idiots complaining about system crashes and hardware corruption don't know what they are doing. I've been running Vista for a little over a year (even before SP1) and the only problem I had was getting it to recognize my iphone. That was an easy fix. I have no crashing or corruption problems. It runs very smooth. My advice to the people that are having problems is this. Learn about what you are doing before you do it, quite downloading cracked software, and quite crying. Learn to embrace the evolution of technology, you just might like it.

Posted by: BOSD doesn't happen to me | June 30, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

BOSD: You shouldn't assume just because a user is having problems with Vista the user is an idiot. Or that one idiot necessarily means everyone is an idiot. Or that anyone not as computer savvy as you is an idiot.

Good for you, though - Congrats on having a problem free Vista.

Posted by: EL | June 30, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Ya, I'm sad. I too thought the wigs at MS would see the light and change their minds, but perhaps this is indicative of their minds!

I sure hope that my computer doesn't go belly up on me -- I'd really HATE to have to deal with the VISTA problems my friends have dealt with -- including the new SP.

Posted by: Regross | June 30, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Well,I missed a deal on a Winbook GL35 with XP and now I'm told Vista and a $500 PRICE INCREASE so guess what-I'll get a custom built with XP for about $800 and be happy. Vista will never be used on my machines, I'll switch to Ubuntu (already bought it) or go with a Mac. MS is majorly on my s-list over this Vista issue. I will not be told which OS to use especially by MS.

Posted by: bear2 | June 30, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

My bf has Vista and I have XP. Until Microsoft came out with its most recent update of XP I never, ever had any problems with my computer. Now I do, but only occasionally.

The bf's computer on the other hand, offers very little without complications, getting kicked out, etc.

I'm surely not a techie. I just get along with techies very well (I imagine an app, explain what I'm thinking and those wonderful people make it happen -- in spades), but from a user's standpoint I believe XP beats the heck out of Vista.

Will there be visitation rights before the actual funeral?

This is a crime.

Posted by: jmgm | June 30, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't doubt that people are having problems with computers running Vista, but I seriously doubt that all but a small minority of these problems are due to crapware installed by the manufacturer, inadequate hardware, or poorly written drivers. From my experience with Vista, it is stable and adds useful and welcome, though not earth-shattering, improvements over XP.

I'm currently running Vista Ultimate with full Aero on a 2 year old laptop with a modest processor, shared video memory (set to a 256MB buffer) and 1.5 GB of RAM. Because of Vista's better use of memory it runs faster than XP did on the same computer. Since I updated to the latest drivers and SP1, Vista has been nearly flawless and made a long-in-the-tooth low-end laptop feel relatively new. I really like it.

Perception is reality and Microsoft wouldn't know how to market raw steak in a lion's den, so unfortunately many people, who have never even used Vista, have bought into the "Vista Sucks" mantra which is unfortunate. They need to work with OEMs to prevent the crap that comes installed on new computers from ruining users' experiences. Thankfully the driver problem is improving. They also need a new marketing plan (and not their typically embarrassing clueless, your grandfather's generation approach to "hipness" they seem to like) so that the often untrue, but believable, Mac ads don't assume the mantle of truth in the minds of people who don't know better.

Posted by: Boyd | June 30, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm indifferent about MS getting rid of XP. Remember how useless SP3 was? They've essentially forgotten about it already. And I suppose they need to be concentrating on Vista and whatever that new windows is. And vista is fine aside from the fact that you need to buy more than 1GB of ram now.

EL: vista has windows defender and a few other maintenance tasks set to run automatically, that might be why your hard drive runs for no apparent reason.

Posted by: ugh | June 30, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

So if XP will be history, will Microsoft lift the ban on alleged 'illegal copies?'

Posted by: BRUCEREALTOR | July 1, 2008 4:59 AM | Report abuse

Out of fear, loathing, and resentment at the prospect of having to use Vista on my next PC, I decided to test drive Ubuntu Linux. Guess what - Ubuntu has worked perfectly and easily on my 2 laptops and PC at home! And, it's free! And, it was much easier to install than Windows XP was! So thanks Microsoft, you have pushed me into liberating myself from your (formerly) all-empbracing tentacles!

Posted by: BobOran | July 1, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Not everyone needs all the latest technical stuff that Microsoft thinks they are helping us with. Improve the programs you already have and add to them (at a price if necessary) but leave us other alone. The best programs I had was with the old 3-1. I had design programs, write music program, and much more.. As Microsoft supposedly improved, these programs would not transfer over and to do anything like it you had to BUY another program. Some of his PROFIT should be returned to those that have his products.
ie: the flat scanner I had with W98 would not work with XP so.. buy a new one.. that's a bunch of bull!

Posted by: VEM | July 1, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Still using W2K on a P1 633MHz, stable and no driver problems. Firefox and Thunderbird. Tried and true, no bleeding edge for me.

Posted by: Bill | July 1, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I use both Microsoft's XP & Vista on my desktop & laptop respectively. I keep ensuring that all patches and updates are automatically installed, and have had very little problems with either. I am more comfortable with XP, and find it giving me better value for money spent on it, and am sorry to see its end.

Posted by: Ashit Sarkar | July 1, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Still using Win2K with a P4 3.0Ghz and Firefox and Thunderbird and no problems.
I am even in the IT field and haven't upgraded to XP.
I guess I will wait and see what this Windows 7 is all about and see.

Posted by: Marissa | July 2, 2008 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Super-duper programs and computers are wonderful ... if you really need them. But how many people who buy them really need that power? Sort of like driving a Ferrari in the middle of a major city during the day.

Vista still has a way to go before I'll install it. (I had tried it out and wasn't pleased with its limitations.)

XP is the first MS operating system I've used (and I go back to DOS2!) that has hardly any problems. (Compared to all the others, it's almost zero!)

Linux is appealing and I'll be adding it as one of the systems to choose when starting up my PC.

Posted by: Norman | July 2, 2008 4:51 AM | Report abuse

I'll stick with XP for a good long while. Not that I have anything against Vista, but I also use Photoshop CS. Changing to Vista also means changing to a newer version of CS. On top of the additional cost this represents, CS does everything I need it to do and more so I'm not inclined to make this change. If CS ran on Vista I'd be willing to get on board, but that's not the case. If and when CS no longer meets my needs I'll move on to something else, but until then I'll stick with XP and CS even if that means having a dedicated PC just for that one function.

Posted by: James | July 2, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I find it offensive.

XP was a definite improvement, and actually made Windows pretty reliable. NT had almost made it, but I felt that XP was the first Windows OS that could be trusted.

Vista seems to be nothing but incremental enhancements of small value, slicked-up user interface (could someone explain to Microsoft the difference between an OS and a User Interface?), and a bunch of added Rights Management capabilities that are for the benefit of Microsoft, Sony, Paramount, etc., and cause nothing but trouble for me.

Posted by: Rick | July 2, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Now here's my problem and I would love some feedback. Before Vista had even been fully accepted and many programs will still not run in Vista 32 bits I pick up the paper to see the chain box electronics stores are advertising nothing but a 64 bit version of Vista on their machines. My god just when I hoped the programmers were working to make programs compatible with the Vista 32 bit version we have this new wrinkle!? Is this simply a ploy by the manufacturers, or stores to add a profit margin or is Microsoft involved? The 64 bit version of Windows XP failed miserably and with good reason. But, the consumer was given the choice there. Hell, I have no problem with a graphics studio buying the 64 bit version or a over the top gamer for that matter. But, after suffering through the last year getting the original Vista to where I like it I'm now being outdated? Hell, half of my beloved freeware will not run on 32 bits. But, it might have several months down the road except someone seems intent of changing the rules in the middle of the game once again. This simply sucks

Posted by: Billy Conn | July 8, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I tried Vista and absolutely refuse to have to replace all of my software, printers, scanners, etc. to accomodate the MS insatiable appetite for money and control. After trying Vista, I bought three XP laptops and two XP desktops as some "insurance" against the day when XP would be discontinued and I'd be painted into the Vista corner with all of the useless additional "upgrades" that I don't want, and can't afford.

I run a small consulting company, and 90% of my software that I'm now using on XP is also software I was running on Win98 SE for years. If it ain't broke, why do we HAVE to "fix" it?

No thanks to Vista. Gates et al already have a hell of a lot more money than I do, and I couldn't be happier with XP. If MS keeps pushing, their greed will only result in their pushing people over to other OS, including MAC.

Good luck with your short sighted greed and your long term eventual demise, Microsoft. Some of us are mad as hell and not going to take anymore, and others are getting there.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 13, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

to KR: read your licence. when they would shut down the activation servers, they 'promise' to release a crack that would remove activation.

Posted by: Azarien | July 16, 2008 3:25 AM | Report abuse

When someone installed a illegal version of windows xp and want update it on microsoft's website, he can see advice to buy it. It's working now and as I understand, this version is retail.

And sorry for my poor English.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 15, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

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