Saturday, April 19, 2008

Save Windows XP

The sale of Windows XP to the public is due to be totally discontinued by Microsoft on June 30, 2008. Support for it will continue via automatic or manual update, but it will be unavailable for purchase. The vast majority of computer manufacturers have switched to "forcing" Vista on the buyer of new computers because that is the only Operating System MS will provide to them (except for relenting to some business customers who loudly and forcefully complained that Vista didn't work.) A very few, small, specialized "white box" computer manufacturers (generally of ultra-fast, high-end gaming computers) have been allowed to continue new installs of XP. One can also still buy the shrink wrapped, boxed software to install Win XP on your own if you are building your computer. Some are going to dual-boot computers, using XP and another OS on separate hard drives.

Even this set of dates has been atypical for Microsoft, which has left XP in production and available to manufacturers over a year longer than previous Operating Systems. There are also industry rumors that Microsoft is pushing very hard to have an early release date for OS 7, the system that is to replace Vista, in the second half of 2009. Enough problems, including lawsuits over proprietary rights, have reduced Vista from what was originally "promised" to a substantially less desirable OS. About the only positive things I have found written about Vista is that it has a prettier desktop and is "safer" online. Clearly, they are concerned about Vista sales, already have issued a Service Pack for it, and are trying to produce a better system as quickly as possible.

Many individuals and business users have resisted the adoption of Vista due to a variety of compatibility problems, system investment, and the generally much heavier draw that the Vista OS places on the computer's resources. More and faster memory and system resources are usually necessary. I have seen minimum specifications that state one Gigabyte of RAM is a minimum requirement. Reviews that I have read, however, strongly suggest that three to four Gigabytes is the "real" minimum for Vista to work correctly. Faster hard drives and more powerful CPU chips are also required for acceptable performance. Problems with finding appropriate "driver" software to interface your older peripheral hardware have frequently occurred.

So, what is it that I would ask you to do about this? Go to InfoWorld's Save Windows XP site and sign the petition requesting Microsoft to continue production of XP. It takes nothing away from anyone that wants, prefers, or needs Vista, but allows XP devotees to continue to be able to purchase current equipment that suits their wants and needs. What will I do? I've already signed the petition and read a fair amount about the subject. I have a Maxtor backup drive that saves everything on a computer, including the OS, as a complete clone if you tell it to (so I could transfer this whole system onto a new, bigger, better hard drive.) I'm considering buying the boxed XP software on June 25th or thereabouts. In an ideal world, I would have the funds to buy a quad-core monster of a PC from one of the white box builders. But if everything else fails, I still have a Win 98SE box that works.

Peace, Doc

Copyright © 2008, Thomas A. Blood, Ph.D.

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