Microsoft said a prayer over Windows XP and threw dirt on the coffin. Nobody sent flowers.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 31 years


A moral tale for XP users

May 18, 2014

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, The Post-Standard

What's happened to Windows XP?

Old age, that's all. XP is 13 years old. That's practically forever in Internet time. If UFOs visited us once each decade, the aliens might be forgiven for thinking earthlings just can't get off the dime. At a time when your cell phone is outmoded every three months, running the same operating system on your PC for all those years seems terribly quaint.

But it's most certainly not a good thing. If you're one of the 400 million Windows XP users still clinging to an old habit worldwide, you'd better listen up. Microsoft said a prayer over Windows XP this spring and threw dirt on the coffin as it disappeared into the ground. Nobody sent flowers.

That's what Microsoft thinks of Windows XP. It's what you should think, too.

Tech writers seem to think the big story here is all about support. Microsoft is no longer supporting XP. But when DID it support XP? If you had a problem with Windows, you called your brother-in-law or asked your roommate -- or sent an email to, ahem, a newspaper tech writer. All Microsoft did was continually patch XP every time someone poked a hole in it. Newer versions came along, all working the same, sad way. All of them inviting the bad guys to sail into your PC and plunder your riches -- your credit card accounts, your passwords, your very privacy.

A newer and safer version of Windows came and left while you were still poking away at XP. That was Windows 7. An even newer and even safer version blew in after Windows 7. That was Windows 8.

Don't wait for Windows 9. Do something. Now.

I recommend one of two approaches:

-- Install Windows 7. Please, oh-so-pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top, don't install Windows 8. It's Microsoft's second biggest mistake ever. (The biggest? The company's Windows tablets.)

-- Go get a Mac. I hate Apple's predatory pricing just as much as you do, but Macs are almost foolproof, practically virus-proof and exceptionally good looking. And all your Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other PC stuff can be magically mated to a Mac. Just ask at the Apple store.

Windows 7 is a superb incarnation of Windows, undoubtedly the best Windows yet. It even works as lot like the Mac. Windows 8 gives users a way to adopt the Windows 7 look and feel, but most users don't even try. They just plod along with a childlike play-with-the-blocks system and wonder why nobody loves them. (If you've never tried Windows 8, don't do it now.)

Note that I didn't rattle off geeky jargon about stuff you shouldn't have to deal with. Just replace Windows XP, and do it now. Your computer's old operating system is officially dead and buried. It's time to move on.