Wednesday, 5 March 2014

They Think It's All Over

Unlike the famous quote from Kenneth Wolstenholme in the 1966 World Cup final where England beat West Germany 4-2 it isn't.

With April 8, 2014 fast approaching Windows XP after 12 years is being taken 'out back' by Microsoft and put out of its misery. But what is to happen to all the people and businesses that are still running Windows XP which was originally released on October 25, 2001?

The quick, short, simple answer is - Not much.

In reality Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP ages ago. On November 30, 2006 Windows XP users were left with DirectX 9.0c when DirectX 10 was released for Vista only. On March 14, 2011 Windows XP users were left with Internet Explorer 8 while Vista and Windows 7 users marched on to version 9. And on January 29, 2013 Windows XP users were further left out once again when Microsoft released Office 2013 for Windows 7 and 8 users. For Windows 7 and 8 Internet Explorer is currently at version 11, DirectX is at version 11.2 and Office is at version 2013.

Mainstream support from Microsoft for Windows XP ended on April 14, 2009 entering into the extended support period where only security updates are released.

But it doesn't mean the end is just around the corner. If you are running Windows XP and it is doing what you want then just keep running it. Anti-virus manufacturers have already made various commitments to support Windows XP for at least another year. Even Microsoft reversed their decision and will support Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows XP until July 14, 2015.

If you really want to update your Windows Operating System from XP what are the choices?

Linux. No most of your Windows software will not run in Linux even with WINE installed. But then again most of the Windows XP software doesn't run on Windows 8 that well either. Choosing a distribution such as Linux Mint will make the transition easier. Another distribution is Zorin OS which has themes to make Linux look as much like Windows as possible.

Windows 8.1. There are rumors going around that Microsoft are soon to be launching a free 'cut down' version integrated with Bing. Or if you want to spend the money, and your system can run it, you could purchase Windows 8.1 and pray to whatever God you wish that your current software will run on it.

ReactOS. An operating system that isn't quite ready but is getting there. ReactOS is an Open Source Operating System that is intended to be binary compatible with software and drivers made for NT versions of Windows (2000 and XP included). With some backing this could be a great contender to take over where Windows XP leaves off as it will be supported and updated.

So, even though the tech world is all walking around screaming "the end is nigh" there are choices and alternatives.

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