Goodbye Windows XP

For those of you still running Windows XP, it’s about time you thought about moving on to something else.

With this in mind I think we need to go back 12 years to the second year of this century: 2001. There may not have been a Space Odyssey, as predicted by Arthur C Clarke, but there were some seminal technology moments nonetheless.

In October of 2001 we were first introduced to the iPod with its 5GB capacity and stylish white design. Although many of us had them, how many do you see today? Not many I bet. Two days after the iPod’s launch came Windows XP. It followed the mostly awful Windows Me and the business-focussed Windows 2000 (basically a slightly better version of Windows NT) and was what everyone, business and home alike, wanted.

So much so that it is still going today, but not for much longer. Microsoft has repeatedly extended support for it but has now said that come April 2014 it will stop supporting the OS.

For those of you who are still on the platform, you are not alone. According to a recent survey by Net Applications, a US firm that tracks browser and operating system use by monitoring the number of unique users who visit the 40,000 websites of its customers, 43% of people still use Windows XP as of last summer.

In fact at the time Windows 7 was only just about to overtake its older sibling. That is quite an amazing statistic when you consider that the core of XP is now getting on for 13 years old. After all it was developed long before its 2001 release and was itself based on a lot of Windows NT technology.

Now I know there are many reasons for still being on XP, Vista being one of the main ones, but also legacy applications. However, what companies and individuals alike need to consider is not only the support from Microsoft, but also other software vendors and the security risk that running old software can bring. Even now, 12 years after its release, exploits are being found and fixed, soon they will just be found and not fixed. Are you sure that’s a risk you want to take?

So, just as you don’t use that old iPod anymore, are you sure you should be using that old software?