Rest In Peace Windows XP

DfgDfg Admin
edited April 2014 in Tech & Games
Taken from Reddit:

As someone who works in corporate IT and does occasional freelance IT on the side, thank god and good riddance. We're not out of the woods yet, since many people still use XP and are unaware of what's happening with it, but I really do think this is the first major step towards it finally dying for good.
I wrote a few weeks back a fairly long tirade on why XP is a cancer on consumer computing and is really more trouble than it's worth; with the support deadline having finally hit today, this is an excellent time to repost it. I've made some alterations to it better fit the context of this thread, and if you're still on XP, there's another section at the bottom of how to get yourself as up to date as possible.[h=3]XP is not a good operating system anymore, and here's why:[/h] Think of how many people in the world still use XP; even twelve and a half years after it first launched, it still commands a huge 27% worldwide install base[1] . There are zero-day exploits in XP that malware writers are undoubtedly holding on to, so when Microsoft stops fixing XP, they can move to infect millions of computers worldwide without fear of having their work blocked on an OS level. Yes, some of us may use antiviruses, but think of all those who don't: it'll be a free for all. Even if you do have an AV, it's part of the operating system's job to stop exploits, and without being up to date, it can't effectively do that job. By having XP on your machine, you're just presenting yourself as a potential helpless victim ready to become a covert slave of some botnet or the source of someone else's next credit card spending spree.
Ignoring the terrifying security complications of the drop of support, please know the adage "don't fix what isn't broken" is not applicable to computers. Everything is broken; you just don't know it yet. Remember Y2K? That happened because it was common programming practice to represent years with only two digits instead of four; it made sense because back in the 60s and 70s when computing as we know it started to have its genesis memory was easily the most expensive component in a computer, personal or mainframe. This practice continuing into the late 80s and early 90s, when memory was relatively plentiful, does not make as much sense. Only in the mid to late 90s did researchers and programmers realize the monumental issue that they created by sticking to an outdated paradigm of coding, and only in the final years before 2000 did they finally rally a gargantuan effort to fix these systems to either patch in proper time support or to make them fail gracefully instead. Some of these systems had been in use for as much as forty years prior, and I would not doubt for a minute that many are still in use today. Will XP be any different? Obviously there will be less resistance to change than some of these larger systems affected by Y2K due to the rapidly shifting nature of consumer technology, but many businesses and institutions have had software written for them that will only work with the proprietary IE6 markup that Microsoft had introduced back in 2001... I can only shudder to think how long these systems will remain in use. In my own company, I've realized I'm rather lucky; I've managed to get Windows 7 running with networking and some form of graphics acceleration on almost every single model of shitbox in my company (save for the Dell Optiplex GX240; the 260s, 270s, and 280s run fine with some TLC), plus we're going to be ordering a large batch of new computers soon to replace those. Other companies won't be so lucky.

And if you're only an end user who still uses XP for gaming, then you're one of the contributing factors that's dragging down the gaming industry. The maximum supported version of DirectX that XP supports is DirectX 9, which once again has been out for over a decade now. We're finally getting away from the limitations of DirectX 9 with the newest consoles and a growing interest in PC gaming, and embracing the enhanced feature sets of DirectX 11, 11.1, and very soon DirectX 12 (ignoring OpenGL and Mantle). We PC gamers have already seen the wonders that these new APIs can offer us, and the console peasants will also be able to see what we've had for so long now when they finally stop developing games to run on the PS360 (albeit at lowered resolutions or framerates, but that's a different argument for a different time). By sticking with DirectX 9, you're showing developers that there's still a market of people who only use XP, and that they should tone down the breadth and scope of their games to accommodate the limitations of the platform. It is the same underlying issue that we call "consolitis," and it is the same underlying factor that will continue to hamper gaming on all platforms so long as people use that platform.
On a similar note, by using XP are you also encouraging the continued prevalence of 32-bit programs. On the Windows platform, 32-bit operating systems can only address 3.8 GB of system memory, regardless of how much physical memory is installed in the computer or supported by the motherboard. On top of that, by default 32-bit applications can only address 2 GB of system memory[2] , and in these days where your standard gaming computer has at least 6 GB of physical memory, and where we're modding in 8K textures into our games or forcing hundreds upon hundreds of AI bots into real-time simulations, we've hit this memory ceiling hard. This problem isn't just inherent to XP; Vista, 7, and 8 all have 32-bit clients, but XP's install base is almost entirely 32-bit. This is already holding us back in the short term, and I'm overjoyed to see some developers release 64-bit clients instead of 32-bit clients (Battlefield 4's beta was entirely 64-bit, while the final game had separate 32 and 64 bit versions). There's also the Year 2038 problem, or Y2K38 for short[3] , which despite its Linux roots also will affect XP[4] .

And finally, that line about "it still works just fine?" Internet Explorer 5 still works just fine; it's not like Chrome or Firefox has caused IE5 to burst into flames, and it'll display static HTML just fine. Why aren't we using that for our internet browsing? It's because the field is continually changing. We've advanced the state of the Internet from being ActiveX Hell to one of open standards instead. The PC is a platform of pushing what's currently possible, bringing us to new heights not just in gaming, but in changing the ways we think and use technology. Right now, 7 is the current benchmark for what's considered a great OS, and it is. Will I continue to use it eight years from now, when it's celebrating its thirteenth birthday? Of course not.

TL;DR XP was a great operating system in its time. It helped bring computing to the masses, and the contributions it made to computing can't be understated. It's 2014 now. We need to move past nostalgia and rose-tinted glasses to ascend to new heights. Windows 7 or 8, OS X 10.6.8 or later, any recent version of Linux... Just not XP, please.[h=3]Okay, so XP is bad. I can't upgrade immediately; what do I do?[/h] Get your computer as up to date as possible, as soon as possible. Chances are, you're not fully up to date. Unfortunately for you, Windows Update on XP is a festering pile of shit, and you'll have to manually relaunch it to continue updating. Thankfully, especially for us IT folk out there, there are other solutions.
I've been using Windows Software Update Service Offline[5] (WSUS Offline) to create portable batch update installers for all of the versions of Windows that my company uses. Basically, you run the generator and select your updates, and once it finishes downloading and preparing every update since the last service pack on your chosen OS, it creates an installer that does it all automatically. It also works great for standard users; I've written a step by step guide on how to use it.
  • Download the files (click on "Version 9.1" in the sidebar)
  • Run UpdateGenerator.exe
  • Select your language in the XP section in the "Legacy Products" tab (and whatever version of MS Office you're running, which is either under "Office" or "Legacy Products")
  • At the bottom, select "Include C++ Runtime Libraries and .NET Frameworks" and "Include Windows Defender definitions"
  • If you have multiple computers, or if you want to share this with friends running XP, also select "Copy updates for selected products into directory" and give it a blank folder to copy everything into (preferably on a flash drive or external hard drive, but pretty much anything's fine). This software really excels for this type of stuff.
  • Give it lots of time to download the selected updates for your stuff (it's gonna download pretty much every security update from SP3 forwards). Grab a coffee or whatever.
  • When the command prompt window is gone and it's all finished, go into the "client" folder and run "UpdateInstaller.exe"
  • Select pretty much everything under "Installation" except for "Install Microsoft Security Essentials" if you already have an antivirus or already are running MSE. If you're not running anything at all, you are a brave but stupid person. Check it in that case.
  • Make sure "Automatic reboot and recall" is set up, and if you're gonna do this overnight, "Shut down on completion" is a good idea as well.
  • Press Start, then get another very long coffee break. It'll run through everything on its own, and it's gonna restart a bunch of times.
Once finished, delete the WSUS folder to reclaim your hard drive space.

I don't use Windows Xp, it's just Windows 7 for me. I am thinking of upgrading to Windows 8.1.


  • SlartibartfastSlartibartfast Global Moderator -__-
    edited April 2014
    Up until last year i had an xp machine. The ancient hardware died and i moved on.

    I remember when xp was considered shit, before sp2. It was what got me onto Linux actually. sp2 made it usable.

    The vast majority of malware can be thwarted by not running as admin.
  • Darth BeaverDarth Beaver Meine Ehre heißt Treue
    edited April 2014
    One thing to say about XP is that it lasted longer than any other version of Windows so far.
  • bornkillerbornkiller Administrator In your girlfriends snatch
    edited April 2014

    Ding Dong! The Witch is dead.
    Which old Witch? The XP Witch!
    Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.....

  • Darth BeaverDarth Beaver Meine Ehre heißt Treue
    edited April 2014
  • bornkillerbornkiller Administrator In your girlfriends snatch
    edited April 2014
    The best part about that vid is when Dorothy's like all WTF? WTF? WTF? @ the start, and then she gets into it near the end because she realises the wee little folk aren't going to give her midget herpes afterall.


    I have 2 new XP discs, still sealed. I might keep them for a while and wait for either Harold, Leonard, Sheldon or Raj to offer me some bit-coin for them.
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