In less than a year, Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft. This means no more updates, upgrades or security patches. For software, that’s pretty much the end.
Microsoft’s operating systems are like some families, there are winners, losers, and some family members we don’t even talk about.
Windows was Microsoft’s blatant attempt to have an operating system just like Apple’s. (See, it’s different; Apple has a trash can, Microsoft uses a recycling bin!!)
The first successful version of Windows was version 3.0. Version 1 and 2? Don’t ask.
For most of us, what came next was Windows 95 and 98 which were okay. An improvement here, an improvement there, but not earth shattering.
In 2000, Microsoft released Windows ME which was the first of Microsoft’s marketing efforts to get people to change to Apple computers. Windows ME was notable for its instability and was derided as “Mistake Edition” or “Many Errors.”
Everything up to this point Windows was a Graphical User Interface (GUI – pronounced gooey) bolted on top of the old command driven Disk Operating System (DOS). Basically you used a mouse to point and click and the computer essentially entered the equivalent old DOS command for you. However, a mouse was easier than remembering a couple of hundred commands each of which had to be typed in the exact correct manner. Windows XP eliminated this extra step and proved to be a robust reliable performer.
Totally unsubstantiated rumor has it that Microsoft realized that people would flock to whatever new operating system it released. If true, this would also mean that they wouldn’t have to make good operating systems every time.
If so, that would explain Windows Vista. Vista was universally recognized as a “target rich environment” for improvement. Many businesses elected to stay with or return to Windows XP. Everyone waited for the updates to correct the problems.
Microsoft’s solution was to release Windows 7; this meant you could buy what Windows Vista should have been rather than Microsoft correcting it. That was the bad news. The good news was that Windows 7 worked, was reliable and did most of the things that users wanted.
Then came Windows 8, supposedly for tablets, although it runs clumsily on laptops. Unfortunately, lots of people spell tablet “i-P-a-d” or else have something like a Kindle or Nook that uses its own operating system. Industry sources say that sales of PCs have dropped recently, and they believe the reason is that since the only option is Windows 8, people are holding off.
A winner, XP is being deep sixed. Windows 8, on the other hand…
I only recently took Windows XP off the only computer still running it and installed Windows 7.
At the same time, I updated 2 other computers by removing Windows 8 in favor of Windows 7.
So, to XP, I say, thanks for all the hard work. You’ll be remembered among geeks for a long time.