Why Are You Still Using Windows XP?

A decade after its launch, and two major Windows releases later, Windows XP still remains the king of the desktop OS hill.

A lot has happened since 2001. Technology evolves rapidly, and you won't find many instances of someone using the same technology today that they used a decade ago. Yet, Windows XP just turned 10 years old and many businesses and users still rely on the antiquated operating system.

When Windows XP was introduced, many of the concepts and technologies we currently take for granted were in their infancy, or didn't yet exist. Microsoft has an infographic that illustrates many of the fundamental changes computing that have occurred over the last 10 years.

Those who tenaciously cling to Windows XP have their reasons. Windows Vista was considered a dud and made many think twice about jumping on the Windows 7 bandwagon. The lack of a direct upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7 doesn't help. But, many embrace the "why should I switch when what I have now seems to work just fine?" philosophy.

Let's consider that line of thinking. Here are a few similar scenarios:

"My horse gets me from Point A to Point B just fine. Why should I spend money on a horseless carriage?"

"I can light up a room with a candle, so why should I upgrade to a light bulb?"

"My eight track tapes play all the music I need. I'm not going to waste money on cassette tape…what? Oh, well, I don't need any fancy CD player either."

Does Windows XP work fine? Maybe. It all depends on how you define "fine". When Windows XP was introduced a decade ago, it was awesome. But, it was designed to run on hardware from a decade ago, and interact with technologies from a decade ago.

I used to feel that way about broadband Internet. I thought "my 56k dial-up connects to the Internet and downloads stuff just fine." Then, I visited a friend with broadband Internet and had a chance to experience it firsthand. Once I saw broadband in action, there is no way I could go back to using dial-up. It was abysmally, painfully slow by comparison.

Last year I had a chance to follow two small businesses that were given the opportunity for the same sort of experience with Windows 7. They had their reasons for still using Windows XP and other outdated technologies -- including the "it’s not broken, why fix it?" reason.

Those two businesses--Balin Accountancy and Cupcake Royale -- were given a tech makeover by Dell and Microsoft. Both fell in love with the features and improvements in Windows 7 and never looked back.

Josh Balin said, "Speed and efficiency are critical. Saving 15 minutes per day per professional translates to bottom-line dollars. The new systems are much less frustrating and reduce stress for our workers, and doing the math on the increased productivity, the upgrade would pay for itself in a relatively short time."

Yes, Windows XP does still work. It can get the job done. But, if you're still using Windows XP because you feel like it's not broken and gets the job done, you should take a closer look at Windows 7.

You can still cut down a tree with a plain old axe, too. But, I think you will find that chainsaws are much more efficient tools for the job just as Windows 7 is a more powerful and efficient computing platform than Windows XP.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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