Windows XP users: Your OS will retire; it's time to give up and join the real world

Some experts have questioned whether Microsoft will really end support, bug fixes, and security patches for Windows XP on April 8, 2014, as it has previously announced. My guess is that Microsoft will stick to its guns. And so it's finally time for the XP holdouts to join the real world.

Computerworld's Gregg Keizer reports that several analysts believe that Microsoft will extend XP support beyond April 8, 2014. Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, says that if an XP vulnerability somehow causes massive Internet problems, Microsoft will issue a fix. Jason Miller, manager of research and development at VMware, echoes Cherry, and says that if XP turns into a "virus hotbed," Microsoft will be forced to fix it.

Other analysts, though, disagree. Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Security, for example, told Computerworld:

"I don't see them [Microsoft] changing their minds on this whatsoever. To do that, and alter their support lifecycle, would remove all credibility. Next, people still running Vista would say, 'They're not going to [end support].' And those people would hold onto Vista forever."

I think Storms and others are right: Microsoft will likely end XP support in 2014. And it's the right thing to do. XP, after all, was released in October, 2001, more than 11 years ago. By the time support for it runs out, it will have been nearly 13 years since the operating system's release.

I like XP as much as anyone else, and still have a dual boot XP-Linux machine that I use at times. But I don't expect Microsoft to support an aging operating system designed for the tech world of what amounts to several generations ago.

A few things of more than minor importance in the tech world have happened since XP's launch. The Internet got really, really big. Facebook and Twitter were born. Google went public. The iPhone was born. The iPad was launched. Bill Gates handed over day-to-day leadership of Microsoft to Steve Ballmer. Steve Jobs died. And there's a lot more that happened as well.

So XP users, I know that you don't like change, but it's time to join the world again. Buy a new machine. You'll be surprised at all the things it will be able to do for you.

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