Just when you thought Windows XP was deader than Elvis, here comes a reminder that in two weeks, Windows XP will celebrate its 10th birthday. My oh my, where did the time go?
For those of you who fear new technology, live in the past or have a lazy IT department, Windows XP may still be part of your life. It's not a crime. XP is, to be fair, the best and most enduring version of Windows, but it's an OS designed for a bygone era: The pre-smartphone, pre-tablet, pre-light and powerful laptop era of 2001 – 2006.
During that time the large majority of machines were desktops. Wi-Fi was not a guarantee and wireless routers weren't the ubiquitous devices they are today. Back then you had a cell phone, not a smartphone. You used it to talk and text and maybe take bad photos, and that was it. Flinging angry birds with your finger at mean green pigs on your phone? Yeah, that was so not happening in 2004.
When Windows XP released in 2001 the iPod was a brand new mp3 player from Apple that had some potential.
You get the point. XP is old. But we should remember that XP was brilliant in its day. It had a much more colorful and navigation friendly UI. It made it easier to extract photos from a digital camera and connect to a printer. Wireless support was built-in. XP was, no doubt, a step forward.
But with that said, all this early millennium nostalgia tastes like stale bread. XP has become, if not quite Andy Rooney, then at least the Jay Leno of operating systems -- still around somehow and long worn out its welcome. Among my co-workers, those still using Windows XP are the ones getting hit with malware and viruses. Many who have upgraded to Windows 7 did so because their XP machine got a virus or was slow, overheating or crashing frequently. It's as if XP is saying, "I can't do this anymore."
In a recent Microsoft blog post marking the big anniversary, Rich Reynolds, GM for Windows Commercial Marketing, spends the first half of the post praising XP's rich history and contributions before transitioning to the inevitable sales pitch to get the hell off this old horse and migrate to Windows 7. He gently reminds users that Windows XP will no longer be supported after April 2014.
XP has been a thorn in Microsoft's side for the past few years. Clearly, people are still using it because Vista was an epic fail and, well, Windows 7 can wait. This leaves Microsoft with an awkward message: XP was awesome, but you're crazy to keep using it.
But the Microsoft post does not come across as disingenuous. Everything Reynolds writes is true. XP was a beauty for its time. But no client OS should still be in use a full decade after its release.
So with that I say happy 10th Windows XP!
Now go ahead and die.