Windows XP 2001-2008 R.I.P


Suggestions for a suitable epitaph are welcome, although I suspect ‘good riddance to insecure rubbish’ will stand the test of time as well as any other when it comes to the death of Windows XP.

Yes, despite the fact that Vista has hardly set the world on fire if recent reports such as the US Harris Interactive poll which revealed only 12 percent of the 87 percent of users who had heard of it planned to upgrade to Vista in the near future, Microsoft has taken the decision to kill off XP sooner rather than later. How soon? How does February 2008 strike you? That Harris poll is important; because of the people questioned some 79 percent were actually using XP.

As from the end of January 2008, new PCs will no longer be available with the Windows XP operating system it has been revealed. And that means the versions for Tablet PCs and Media Center devices alike. Of course, the Microsoft confirmation is only half the story, because while it will certainly impact upon the likes of Dell and HP who will not be able to buy the relevant licenses required, small computer building organizations will no doubt find a way around the restrictions and fulfill customer demand, should there prove to be any, for a new system with XP pre-installed.

Indeed, a Microsoft spokesperson has already confirmed that PC makers will be able to get suitable licenses through 2009 if they go via a third party supplier rather than dealing direct with Microsoft.

But is the death of XP such bad news any way? The truth is, no it is not. Vista is the more secure OS, and as such a natural evolutionary path for Windows based computing. The fact that there are still far more people than you might expect using Windows 98, of course, is a worry for the Seattle software giants, despite canning support for that ages ago.

What Microsoft do not want is a thriving legacy market of XP users dragging the Windows OS backwards on a security evolution scale and dragging what little reputation Microsoft has in this area with it. Or at least that’s what you might think, but the reality is quite different. I suspect it is all about shoring up the sales figures for what has been a very disappointing Vista launch as far as Microsoft is concerned. After all, there are no plans to cut short technical support for Windows XP any time soon, that product lifecycle remains untouched by the new machine licensing announcement.

As an aside, if you are still using a pre-release version of Vista then you had better think about buying a proper copy real soon now because the software will cease to work as from June 1st. Don’t bother about rolling back to XP either, that function is not supported so it’s upgrade to a full price version of Vista or go and do a full re-install of your old OS. And just to add to the expense, you cannot use an upgrade version of Vista either, it has to be the full price version. Nice, Microsoft, nice…

About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

jbennet 1,618 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

When will the XP Activation servers be shut down? - 2008? - Will that mean no reinstalls then?

happygeek 2,411 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

Interesting point, although I suspect that while official support continues so will the activation servers.

jbennet 1,618 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

Hmm... thats my plan out of the window then. I was going to upgrade all my 2k boxes to xp this year :(

cutepinkbunnies 4 Junior Poster


Please don't go crazy here but there are significant advantages to Vista. At nearly the same price (OEM) I don't think MS is scaring people away, except those that are afraid/reluctant to change.

happygeek 2,411 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

Pretty much what I said in my piece with "But is the death of XP such bad news any way? The truth is, no it is not. Vista is the more secure OS, and as such a natural evolutionary path for Windows based computing."

Infarction 503 Posting Virtuoso

Activations will likely still work. Afterall, they did say that 3rd parties can still sell licenses. And since they've already dropped support for SP1 (since October, IIRC), this really isn't much of a surprise. If anything it's good that they're moving past a product with known problems and trying to get people to update (although the Vista reqs make that hard on some people).

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