Windows XP: Your Last Chance to Get it. Really.

Analysis: After repeated extensions, Microsoft is planning to pull the plug on Windows XP sales in October.

Windows 7 has been around for almost a year now, but lots of people are still sticking with Windows XP. Now, Microsoft is getting ready to pull the plug on Windows XP sales. No! Really! They mean it this time. Would they lie to you?

Just because Microsoft has extended XP sales over and over again doesn't mean that they'll keep selling XP forever. Well, yes, they are supporting XP for years more to come, but this time -- cross their hearts and hope to die -- Microsoft really is killing XP sales on October 22, 2010. Some companies, noticeably Dell, are pulling the plug on XP even sooner.

Microsoft spokesperson Brandon LeBlanc has written that most Windows users may "not notice much change." I disagree.

I know lots of Windows users, and even now, they really don't want any part of Windows 7. For some of them, it's a matter of finance. They look at the cost of moving their business PCs from XP to Windows 7 and get the shakes. In this economy, who can blame them? (See also "How to Upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.")

Others just don't like or trust Windows 7. I can sort of see this one. I'm no Windows fan, but my favorite version of Windows is still XP SP3. I can also come up with lots of reasons to hold off moving to Windows 7.

All that said, if you must use Windows, I think Windows 7 is actually quite decent. Yes, I'm still a Linux user, but I'm not blind. Windows 7 actually has several good points in its favor. For example, I like all of its new network features. Windows 7's security is still a stinker, but then security holes come built-in with Windows. Still, if you really are joined at the hip with Windows, Windows 7 is a fine upgrade.

Well, not upgrade really. You can move an existing XP system to Windows 7, but it's not easy. The best way to handle going from XP to Windows 7 is to bite the bullet and buy a new PC.

No matter which path you take, you end up spending more money. Maybe you'll end up spending a lot of money. So, I've been finding that people are either sticking with their old PCs, or if they do buy new, they've been asking for XP. After all, XP is more than good enough and it doesn't require any additional training or expense.

But now, it's a different story. If you really like XP, and you know you're going to need new PCs, dig into your budget and order XP systems today. They're not going to be around much longer.

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Steven J Vaughan-Nichols

PC World (US online)
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