On 8 April Microsoft will finally cease its support for the struggling operating system Windows XP – a decision that’s bound to be met with a mixed reception around the world.
The software, launched in 2001, is still installed on a third of all PCs globally and only Windows 7 (released in 2009) has managed to have any real impact on its usage, being installed on just under half of all PCs today.
But Microsoft would much prefer that people were using the very latest OS, Windows 8.1 as XP has become known as something of a “zombie”.
In fact, its demise has been a long time coming. Microsoft even released an XP End of Support Countdown Gadget just to make sure everyone knew it was soon to be defunct – and this news could be the gentle nudge that PC users have needed to encourage them to upgrade.
So if you’re one of the many users still loyal to XP, be prepared for vultures in the form of hackers, viruses and malware to begin circling over the rotting corpse of XP as Microsoft stop releasing security patches and updates for the soon to be deceased software.
But what has caused this long overdue fall from grace?
Well, put simply, XP became far too popular for its own good. A gap of six years between its release and Vista was far too long and in that time new computers were being shipped with XP pre-installed. So by January 2006, 400 million copies were in use – for many, it was their first taste of a Windows operating system and as the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”
This long period of market dominance gave XP plenty of time to gain a real foothold in the market, blowing any competition that had gone before it out of the water. And as some companies and organisations don’t update their machines for years at a time, the numbers soon mounted up.
So what can XP users do now?
As for alternatives, aside from users purchasing a new machine, they have the option to upgrade to a more up-to-date version of Windows. But it’s worth bearing in mind that Windows 7 has already been made pretty much obsolete thanks to the newer Windows 8, which incorporates a new interface and touch screen technology.
The choice is yours when it comes to finding a replacement, so choose wisely. But one thing is for sure, Microsoft will be glad to see the back of the monster it created with XP.