Notes from underground

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Windows XP: to upgrade or not to upgrade?

Someone recently retweeted the following warning about the need to “upgrade” if one’s computer is running Windows XP. Here’s the warning:

Still Running Windows XP? Upgrade Now to Reduce Security Risks – Cloud Computing | Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Blog – Site Home – TechNet Blogs:

Back in April, Microsoft’s Windows team began reminding customers that the company would discontinue support for the Windows XP operating system in a year’s time. As of April 8, 2014, customers and partners will no longer receive security updates for Windows XP, or get Microsoft tech support for Windows XP.

I’d be a lot more willing to “upgrade” if Microsoft didn’t make it such a schlepp to do so.

For one thing, one might find that a new version might not run on one’s existing hardware, so that’s a lot of extra expense right there.

Then there’s the schlepp of reinstalling a lot of software.

First you have to find the original discs from which you installed the software, and that can take quite a lot of time. Then you find that you’ve updated it several times since you first installed it, and that can take yet more time.

Then you find that the “upgraded” operating system comes with little or no documentation, so you have to traipse from bookshop to bookshop to try to find third-party documentation, and eventually, at the fifth shop you go to, you find Windows Whizz-Bang11.35 for Dummies and lash out as much as you paid for the upgrade itself to buy it, and spend hours looking for the information you are seeking (like how to set the PATH to make your batch files work) and find that it still doesn’t tell you.

And until you find that piece of information you have to spend an hour each day transferring data files one by one from desktop to laptop and back again instead of simply typing the name of a batch file and letting the computer do the work.

When I upgraded from Windows 98 to XP (because the motherboard on my old computer died) it took about a year to get my computer working properly again. And there is still a lot of disk space taken up by software that doesn’t work because I haven’t reinstalled it in Windows XP yet.

And then there’s the uncertainty about whether ones software will work at all with an “upgrade”.

When my XP laptop was stolen, I replaced it with one that had Windows 7 pre-installed — the 64-bit version. I found most of my data was inaccessible because it would not run MS DOS programs. Fortunately it came with a DVD with the 32-bit version, so I was able to install that, and then the programs worked, but three years later the screen icons still show blank white squares, while with Windows XP I can put pictures in them.

So one of the problems with “upgrading” is that I fear losing access to my data — stuff that I have collected over the last 30 years. And if “upgrading” means that I have to start itn all from scratch, well I’m not going to live that long, am I?

This “upgrading” is a huge schlepp, and not just the operating system.

Some days I can’t work on my computer for an hour or more because it wants me to update my browser, and Flash-Player (which is disabled most of the time anyway) and this reader and that add-on and that widget, and something else — and all this before I can start my computer to look up a phone number or something.

I keep hoping that computers were made for man, not man for computers.

But “upgrading” swiftly dashes those hopes, and means I have to spend hours and hours and days and months working for my computer instead of my computer working for me.

Yes, the possibility of a virus means that there is a risk that you will have a lot of schlepp getting your computer working properly again.

But with an “upgrade”, there’s no risk, it’s an absolute certainty.

If Microsoft want us to “upgrade” they need to devise a simple way to install the new operating system, and have it update the registry so that it can find all the installed programs and have them work right after installation of the operating system, without having to reinstall them one by one.

If they did that, I bet a lot more people would be willing to upgrade.

And if the new operating system is so superior to the old one, then the software wizards at Microsoft could surely find a way of doing that, instead of filling the “upgrade” with useless bells and whistles.

 

 

 

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One thought on “Windows XP: to upgrade or not to upgrade?

  1. When I lost my motherboard a few years ago, long story short – unexpected bolt of lightning, I learnt what was most important for me. Export favourites from your browser regularly and save elsewhere not on your hard drive. When re-installing software, install all software before you install your antivirus software – this saves you 24 hours of wasted time and agitation. I see my Windows Vista cannot update at all now. Windows 8 will probably be my new investment this coming year 😦

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