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  1. #1
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    TOP STORY

    Windows XP: Looking back, looking forward


    By Fred Langa

    On October 22, Microsoft pulled the plug on sales of Windows XP, ending the operating system's spectacular nine-year run.

    With no new copies being sold, support for XP will start to decline. Fortunately, XP's long run has produced a ton of collected wisdom: everything you need to keep your copy going strong and — when ready — to help you move on.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/2010/11/11/01 (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by revia; 2011-01-19 at 13:51.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
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    Fred --

    I liked your appreciation piece about XP, but I found one thing lacking. XP's immediate precursor, about 18 months before, was Windows 2000. Business oriented, some said, but a swift and useful operating system -- and certainly the one to choose instead of ME. Eventually, a couple of years after XP's initial release, I found there was good reason to shift to XP -- features that 2000 would never get, for example, and enough speed in new PCs to handle XP well (2000 was certainly less demanding of power, RAM).

    Gee, I'm feeling strong enough about this that I might go convert a 2002 vintage computer (a Shuttle XPC) back to 2000 -- which would be fine for that unit's service at my work bench! I had been proud that I could load Windows 7 Home Premium on the XPC (only problem was USB ports, solved with a 4 port PCI card), but pride isn't necessary now -- I've done it. Back to 2000!

    Don Schwab (a long time reader, LangaList, W.Secrets)

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Donald, I have to agree. I've used all the Windows versions and felt that 2000 was the first time that MS got it right. It was rock solid compared to earlier versions. Thanks to Fred and many others there was always an answer to a problem published somewhere.

    Jim

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Fred, your brief review of the history of Windows failed to mention the OS which made it possible for many businesses (I know, as I was head of support at a large company) to postpone upgrading to XP until SP1 came out: Windows 2000. XP matured into easily the best OS that Microsoft has released, but it wasn't mature out of the gate. It was a year later, late in 2002, that it was worthy of taking the place of W2K.

    I realize that MS never intended W2K for home use, and maybe that's why you left it out. Still, it played an important role for business computing and for a great many home users who ignored the advice and went to Windows 2000 despite MS's intent. In fact, the difference in reliability and supportability between Windows 98 and Windows 2000 was greater, in my opinion, than the difference I saw between W2K and XP.

    Example: we were able to support over 300 computers running W2K with only a couple of techs. Those same two techs were kept fully occupied by less than half that many -- 120 -- Windows 98 SE boxes. There was nowhere near that kind of improvement in supportability when we went to XP.

    With the exception of the omission of W2K, I found your review to be right on target. I'll bet that XP will still be in use a decade from now, too. Admittedly, it will be in the nooks and crannies by then, not a leading OS by a count of PCs using it, but it is that good.

  5. #5
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    I suspect that 60.03 % you mention would be quite happy to stay with XP if given a choice. Unfortunately the game is to force users to upgrade. Planned obsolescence, true with most consumer items.
    You mention the option to run in XP mode with a free "Windows XP Mode" software for Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate. Great... you just paid a lot extra for the Professional or Ultimate and they throw in a freebie. The folks that likely need to run XP stuff because they could not afford to upgrade all the peripherals or software are the same one who can not afford the deluxe version of Windows. Typical pricing policy of Microsoft though, they need to make that obscene profit.
    You imply that Windows 7 is to Vista what XP was to ME. What issues that made people unhappy with Vista have been resolved with 7? I suspect Vista was unpopular because it was seen as an unnecessary upgrade just as is Windows 7, except for a very small percentage of users.

  6. #6
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    I have two machines with XP Option. Although most XP programs will install and run successfully, I've already run into one that does not (sorry, I don't remember the name). Also, if you read Microsoft's description of the XP option carefully, you''ll see that they don't claim full compatibility with all programs that run successfully in a true XP machine.

    njw

  7. #7
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    Yes I have super fond memories of Windows XP, particularly Professional! My desktop runs a still fresh install of Windows XP Professional with all the goodies, Service Pack 3, which made XP capable of everything Vista could do only with better resource management and speed. In fact it was Service Pack 3 that extended the life of XP. That made my machine what it still is in my network, the one connected to the big 100-watt audio amplifier that drives my 5-foot high tower speakers! All of my music resides there on Drive D which is a big 500GB IDE drive! I listen to streaming audio from all over the world on Internet radio using the powerful Winamp media player which is the heart of my audio setup! I watch video on it's acer 20" ultrawide screen monitor and when I go crazy with digital images that dive under the side toolbars of my Gimp image manipulation program, (my digital darkroom!), of my Windows 7 Home Premium laptop I transfer it over the network to my version in the XP desktop with that huge amount of desktop space and it even handles the big files with 1.5GB of RAM installed! Windows 7 needs 4GB to do the same thing! It's even got the excellent Symantec Endpoint Protection corporate security suite that keeps it nice and secure! Then there is 3D Pipes! I can watch them for hours on end, especially when you have a DVI-D connection with the monitor. I will never forget that! I ran Ubuntu Linux for awhile and there was even a version of it in there...just not the same of course! Ah yes, screensavers are passe with LCD monitors but I will miss Pipes even though! Alas, Windows XP Professional will die away once we implement IPv6! There is and will not be support for IPv6 in Windows XP! All is not lost however. The tried and true network trick called Network Address Translation may just save it for even longer! Outside your network you run IPv6 and you translate to an IPv4 private address inside your network! Yup, XP can live on after all!

    I want to correct the author on something. The first non business version of Windows that ran in an NTFS 5 partition was Windows 2000 Professional. That OS was very close to XP Professional in fact! It was way better than anything Millenium could ever have been! I actually ran Windows 2000 in 64MB of RAM on a Windows 98SE machine in FAT32, and it ran, although s-l-o-w-ly with a lot of swap file action. I was totally surprised by that! Another thing about XP versus 2000 was that XP would not immediately blue screen you if you failed to properly eject a USB storage device! Boy 2000 sure would! Then you had to wait for Scandisk to do it's thing! Remember Scandisk?

    Yes, I love Windows 7, but I will always have fond memories of Windows XP! How the install program comes up! How you create the partition, format the drive. How the screen looked as the operating system installs. How you installed the drivers to run all your hardware. The Classic View of the Control Panel. The icons in the System Tray. How my taskbar autohides when I'm not using it. Ah yes, I learned all of the things I know about computers and have some of the best hours of computing experience behind the screen of a Windows XP machine! These I shall never forget. all from an operating system that refuses to get long in the tooth! I love you XP and I always will! Still alive and kicking after all these years. My hat is off to you!

  8. #8
    Star Lounger hammondmike's Avatar
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    I ran into a problem accessing information in the ''Windows Secrets XP setup/maintenance articles'' section. The link in ''How to move a Windows XP installation to different hardware'' cannot be found at Microsoft. Has anyone else tried this link and encountered the same problem?

    I am attempting to install new hardware in my cases, but XP SP3 does not want to run on them. i had to replace both MBs and video cards several years ago and had no problems using the same HDDs and OSs. Aside from having to reactivate, everything went smoothly. Now with the problems I have encountered, I am looking for methods to do the same with the new equipment and thought the information Fred cited might be helpful. Unfortunately, I can't get there from here.

  9. #9
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    Well, i had to laugh out loud when i read:

    Before I joined forces with Windows Secrets, I wrote a column called the "LangaLetter" for InformationWeek.com. Please excuse the vanity, but I believe XP users will find some of the following articles of interest.

    Well, yeah, the LangaLetter rocked. I miss it, as do many. Packed solid with usable information, well-written, no filler, just like Fred still does. I always looked forward to getting the langaletter. I have all my old langaletters archived, but I only archive Windows Secrets when Fred has the lead article. Sorry, that's the way it is.

    Yeah, i know, I'm a Langa fanboy. Tell me I'm wrong.

  10. #10
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    I cannot even begin to accept your characterization of Win95 and Win98 as Stellar OS'es. Did you ever run these other than for word processing your columns? They were awful. I am sure they caused a lot of Linux and Mac conversions. And it does seem a shame to diss poor Win2K which really did work pretty well.

  11. #11
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    Does anyone know if I can download Windows XP Mode on my machine containing W7Ultimate 32, then copy it and install it on my machine running W7 Home Premium 64? How big might the file be?

    And yes, W2K was an excellent upgrade from 98SE and I stayed on W2K until about 2005.
    Glen R. Fotre, CCIM Life Member
    Designated Broker
    Triple Net Investments LLC
    www.triplenetinvestments.com
    glen@ccim.net

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Fotre View Post
    Does anyone know if I can download Windows XP Mode on my machine containing W7Ultimate 32, then copy it and install it on my machine running W7 Home Premium 64? How big might the file be?
    Hello Glen,

    XP Mode can only be run on Windows 7 Professional or higher. The XP you will download to your Windows 7 Ultimate machine is licensed by Microsoft for use only on the computer on which your W7Ultimate is running. Even if it were possible to copy and install it on Home Premium, Microsoft would never validate it to run on two computers.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  13. #13
    New Lounger
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    Microsoft has stated they will continue to offer Windows 7 with XP downgrade rights for the full life of Windows 7. So, as long as you can find hardware with XP drivers, you'll still be able to install XP until late 2014.

  14. #14
    New Lounger
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    Hello,
    I value Windows Secrets and found the Windows XP top story very interesting. However I too was struck by the omission of any mention of Windows 2000 and signed in here to comment. I see several others have beat me to it! The first computer I ever bought for myself was a Gateway Solo notebook (then regarded as one of the best) which shipped with then brand new Windows 2000 Professional. I thought Win2000 was excellent and appreciated it both as a profesional developer and a personal computer user. Win 2000 was the first OS with power management - a big advantage for notebook PCs - and also a built-in disk backup tool, and many other neat things. I still use that computer occasionally for old times' sake, and to make sure it still runs OK. The second computer I ever bought was a 2008 Macbook and I doubt that I will ever buy another Windows PC again! The Gateway still runs Win2000 SP4 and will do so until it decides not to run anymore.

  15. #15
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    I do have Win7 64-bit and I like it very much, but paranoid I am so I figured out a foolproof way to protect my OS. I've repaired way too many PCs due to viruses and I came to the conclusion that you will never be protected while browsing in your native OS. I came up with a rock solid method involving VMs and went one step further and use Sandboxie inside my XP VM. Trust me; I already went to some known malicious sites and laughed at them. I know that Win7 (well supposedly Vista too) have safeguards and their supposed own way to virtualize the browsing, but I do not trust that; sorry Microsoft. It's a little inconvenient, but what I said does work. I created shares between my VM and Win7 when I need to share data and that works quite well. What I am a little concerned with is when XP will stop being supported, but I should have until 2014 to really worry about that. Sandboxie only recently began supporting 64-bit OSs but tzuk himself said that he couldn't 100% protect the 64-bit environment like he can the 32-bit environment (being simplistic with my explanation of course) because Microsoft has not been up front with all the information that he needs to do so, so you get a little better protection then no virtualization at all; to me, that is not good enough (I want 100% protection). Anyway, just wanted to pass on my technique; sure others here use a similar protection scheme. I do have a trojan protector (Threatfire) running in my XP VM (only protection besides built in firewall that I use in my VM XP; probably don't even need that, but I do want just a little protection just in case; lol). My Win7 is protected by MSE.

    As a side note, I do use VirtualBox for my VMs. I have an Ubuntu, XP, and Win98se VM that I use for various reasons. Use Microsoft's Virtualmode XP for one of my Dad's programs that, for some reason, could not get to work in my VirtualBox XP (and it won't work at all in Win7). There is a weird interaction between Virtualmode and Virtualbox XP so I have to close that session before I start Virtualmode. Just don't forget to do your OS updates for you VMs (that includes Virtualmode XP) either.

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