• Wednesday, July 23, 2014

R.I.P. Windows XP

Talat Ahmed

Windows XP, 13, died on April 8, 2014.
(Okay well maybe die is too strong a word, but as a growing organism, it stopped by all accounts.)
Born to Windows 2000 and Windows 98SE on October 25, 2001 in Redmond, Washington, Windows XP was originally conceived as an operating system for the business audience. After thirteen years, Windows XP still managed to remain the second most popular operating system in the world before Microsoft decided it was time to let go, to promote Windows 8 if nothing else.
Three editions of new operating systems have been released since XP, but if you were to compare the stats you'd see that most people are still using XP instead of Windows 7 or 8. Its popularity has made the rolling green hills under the quintessentially blue sky image of what incidentally is Napa Valley, one of the most iconic images in the world. That image alone has graced, and still graces, the desktops of a significant portion of the computer using world. With 800 million users and at the ripe old age of thirteen, Windows XP is probably the most famous operating system in the world; definitely the longest surviving one.
One of the reasons why it remains so popular is because Microsoft hasn't made it easy to upgrade to newer software, and after the Vista debacle it's perfectly understandable how people don't want to upgrade. If it's ain't broke, don't fix it. All software still works on XP and by now using XP should come as second nature. Not to mention, upgrades are expensive.
XP was the first Windows operating system that moved away from the MS-DOS infrastructure, making it a huge landmark in modern day operating systems. Even on the first use, XP oozed of more familiarity than its predecessors. Grey, sharp edges were replaced with colour and it was the first operating system that let you customise its appearance to far greater extents than ever before. So much so that BBC even made a step-by-step guide series on “How to customise Windows XP”. You could download complete themes to change every aspect of the operating system. When it came to customisation, the possibilities were nearly endless. The massive revamp in file explorer/manager change was a huge factor in why people who made the change to XP back in 2001 loved it so much. It was visually appealing and easier to navigate around. The search function was greatly improved as well. Imagine not being able to search by criterion or without thumbnail views when looking for a picture. Well that was what pre-Windows XP computing was like.
At one point in time, two-thirds of all the world's computers were running Windows XP. 76 percent of the market share in 2007 and 13 percent in as recent as last year. That's 12 years after its initial release. 12 years. It would be hard to find something in technology that had this sort of a mainstay impact.


Now that Windows XP has finally hung up its service packs, it doesn't mean you can't use it anymore. You can still use it, for nostalgia's sake, but it wouldn't be advisable. With no security updates, or any support whatsoever, hackers will have a field day with anyone who accesses the internet on a computer using Windows XP.
After thirteen years, there is no doubt that Windows XP will be fondly remembered, and with the love it or hate it relationship people have with Microsoft's latest OS, Windows 8, Windows XP will always have a special place in the hearts of those who grew up during Microsoft's golden age with the near perfect operating system.

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, April 17, 2014

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