Microsoft counts down to XP death
Written by Mike James   
Thursday, 21 April 2011

A new end-of-support countdown gadget focuses the mind on the fact that XP is being forcibly retired. It is a wake-up call to think hard about the unpleasant situation and consider the alternatives.

The all new "Windows XP End of Support Countdown Gadget" is now available from the Microsoft download site. To quote the site:

Looking to get off Windows XP? Use this handy gadget to count down the number of days until Windows XP End of Support (EOS) in 2014.

It installs as a desktop gadget and it slowly ticks away the time that XP has left to live. Clearly Microsoft thinks that this is something for you to contemplate and if you make the gadget bigger it gives you a button to press to visit a website that will help wean you off your dependence on old technology.


Of course being a desktop gadget it will only work on Windows 7 or Vista so you can only view the countdown if you have actually solved the problem and moved on from Windows XP!

Microsoft is very eager to get users off XP and onto Windows 7 but the only pressure that they can apply is to deny the older operating system the advantages of its new technology - notably IE 9 and Windows Media Player. It has even extended this denial of support to Windows Vista in that IE 10 will only run on Windows 7.  Of course this also has the obvious effect of driving users to run Firefox or Chrome both, of which make no such distinctions between old and recent generations of operating systems.

One of the huge advantages of adopting an open source operating system is to avoid such nonsense as the forcing of obsolescence on technology. For example, upgrade to the latest Ubuntu, say, isn't an issue because it is free and if the hardware won't go there you can just stick with the old version, safe in the knowledge that developers aren't actively trying to find reasons to make their latest offerings not run on it.

Then there is the small matter of the activation codes and the activation servers that Microsoft has to provide to make it all work. Windows XP is the first such Microsoft OS to reach the end of support state. Given you can no longer buy XP will it still be OK to activate newly installed copies once support ceases? It seems unlikely that Microsoft would turn off the activation service close to the end of support but what about ten years after that?

Currently if you have a copy of Windows 98, 95 or even  earlier you can install it if you have the right hardware. This might not be the case with XP - and what does this mean for digital history?

So as you watch the count down to XP's death tick by think about the problems created by using software that actually belongs to someone else...



More information

Download the Windows XP End Of Support CountDown Gadget



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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 August 2011 )