Microsoft has officially retired Windows XP after twelve years, no longer offering support or updates to the system. They have urged users to switch to more modern versions of the software. But it might be a more difficult upward battle than many expected.
Windows XP is perhaps the most beloved of all Windows operating systems. It was more intuitive than predecessors, great for both home and professional use, included a later released 64-bit version, and took features from the already decent Windows 2000.
So well received was XP that nearly 30% of PCs still use the old operating system. That is an astonishing amount, a fair number of them being businesses that feature the professional version.
The problem with using an old OS that no longer has support is that it fails to provide adequate security. Updates and patches are a necessary part of using any computer. Microsoft products have more updates than most, regularly testing for and patching vulnerabilities found within the system.
Cyber attacks become more advanced over time as they fight to keep up with that security. Without near constant vigilance you are going to end up with some nasty malware. Even remaining alert isn’t always enough to keep a bit of spyware slipping through the cracks.
But that concept isn’t always easy to get across. My in-laws still use Windows XP, and they will continue to do so. For years my husband and I have been urging them to upgrade. They refuse, saying that they have never had any issues and like their operating system.
“We don’t use youtubes or download piracy music,” my mother-in-law recently assured me, verbatim, in a Facebook message. “So we don’t need anything new.”
This seems to be the same attitude Microsoft themselves have encountered by that 30% of XP devotees who have refused to try either Windows 7 or 8 (or even Vista). We are dealing with generations who have little real understanding of computers or how they work. And so they will remain vulnerable due to that lack of knowledge, and a fear of technology that keeps them from branching out into the unfamiliar.
So my in-laws, along with thousands of others, will keep using XP. Even as it is buried in the graveyard of other Windows releases, alongside 95, 98, 2000 and ME.
Goodbye, old friend. You will live on in the trojan infested masses of the unchanged.