XP support Ends April 8th

Being a Newbie, I hesitate to pitch in here and will probably get flamed, but here goes.

Spouse and I retired from IT a few years ago - he was a project manager in software development, I was in charge of a Helpdesk and was expert in Windows and MS Office. We have just bought a cheap Win 8 laptop (what a dog's breakfast that is) and I have a Win 7 one, but the rest (!) of our machines run XP and will continue to do so until I bin them.

Most of the features of Win 8 are superfluous: I downloaded Classic Shell and now the new ones behave like Win XP. If I want the rest of Win 8 I'll turn to my Android tablet and smartphone, thanks.

I tried Linux years ago and decided to stick with Windows as getting hardware and software to work with Linux then was not worth the work. Yes I have a raspberry pi as well, but not as my main machine. End of the Linux story for me so I will not get involved in further discussion as to Win v Linux merits.

Most users have Windows and don't want to learn new IT skills. For me a new laptop is a thrilling new toy. While spouse is away I'm demolishing a ThinkPad to change the fan, more fun than the ironing. Most users just use computers as tools, and are afraid of losing precious photos and files: Microsoft have played on this fear. I strongly believe that it is most important to back up your files regularly - monthly rather than annually or once every few years - onto an external hard disk which lives in a cupboard between backup connections. Few of my friends have ever done this, I do it fortnightly onto one of two disks. Paranoid, yes, but I have files going back decades.

Malwarebytes is free, and works. Ditto Avast. Using Chrome or Firefox instead of IE is less risky. My filing is safe. So I'll keep XP running on the older machines, online, or I won't access the anti-malware and -virus updates. If you really must buy a new laptop, look at e-Buyer and order a nice cheap Asus or Acer with Win 8 and install Classic Shell. Laptops have never been cheaper, and external hard drives (usb) cost far less than the pain of losing a generation of photos.

As Peter says, it's only worth investing in something your partner will be able to use, or your kids. How else will they sort out your affairs now we keep so little in bureau drawers (apart from a stack of backup disks, that is)?

Can you still buy a drive for 5¼ inch floppies? ;-)

Another good article on an XP inexpensive alternative, this time from Google.

As always these might not be for everyone - but they just might fit your bill for what you need a PC for.

Large Sales for Chromebooks in 2013

The key to your replacement decision should always be your absolute application requirements.

I agree, the downward pressure on cost is inexorable. The market to me seems to be splitting in two, with top notch machines at the £800 - 1,000 price and more utilitarian market starting at around £200-250 these days.

There is also massive downward pricing pressure on smartphones, with China bringing out a whole raft of inexpensive units.

Not good for the Planet for sure - but an inevitable by-product of the free market I suppose.

You don't need to use every new application that comes out so you don't need to upgrade your machine. How many people actually use the features that exist in Word 2013 that didn't exist in Word 97 ?

Sign of the times........

We used to buy desktops and thought we were making long-term investments.
Every few years, someone came out with the latest, greatest machine that was going to serve our needs for ever. And guess what? Before you could count to 10, someone built an application that needed a faster machine.

So now, computers are like mobile phones - they just need to last until something better comes along. Not worth the trouble of repairing or upgrading. That's what people want. That's what you get.

I thought you were taking a sabbatical Carl, good to see you back.

What exact hardware were you really expecting for 219 pounds?

Seems like a good deal to me for simple tasks, not everyone can afford top of the line hardware.

Even at £219 that hardware looks like junk.

Here is a very apropos and inexpensive item I came across yesterday for those people who decide to change hardware when dealing with the XP problem.

HP Ubuntu laptop - £219

Now it will do 99% of what all people will want - and will also run the XP virtual machine I'm building so you can keep all your favourite applications running - without internet for XP for security reasons of course.

It's just another option you can put in the mix for your decision.

I think I'll join you Mike.

Sorry Nick! It seems I have become slow and foolish in my old age. I shall say no more......

Mother also told me to avoid ladies who hide their faces behind a black screen.

I hope you have been drinking Mike, and on reflection in the morning you will realise what an obnoxious person you have been here this evening, I always assume with age brings great wisdom - unfortunately you are the exception that proves the rule.

"Please" is a polite request where I come from......

But Mother told me to always be suspicious of men with dark glasses. ;-)

Mike , i don't know if you meant to sound extremely rude, but just re-read your message and think on what you have written.

Why on earth would I need to explain myself to you?

When you first mentioned this, I thought you were having a laugh......

But now I am almost half-convinced you are serious.

Explain why Virtual XP is better than just hanging on to old XP with no further updates, please.

Windows XP virtual update. The build is going well and I have it fully patched with SP3. It wont have all the post SP3 patches, but as it is going to be standalone , I'm not that concerned. Its very fast to load and run on my PC, and I have given it 512MB of RAM to start with. This can be updated depending on your hardware. It will be a big image though, around 5GB to download, so I suspect some people will have to leave it over night to grab it from Dropbox.

I'm looking to release on Tuesday, and would like some volunteers to test for me on different hardware. So if you are in, then PM me your email address , install Virtualbox on your machine, and get ready for the image.



lol, well as well are tripping down memory lane, I wrote my first program in fortran on a DEC PDP11, and then moved onto C and 68000 assembler on SUNOS as it was in those days.

Had a spell writing Cobol and Focus on IBM 390's, but switched over to Perl and C when the mini computers stole the big irons breakfast.

You all must find it as amazing as I do, that I now have more power in my phone than I did on some of those machines that took up half a room.

Assembler was never my thing, Fortran at the university. At IBM I learned Rexx, just because I'm curious, didn't need it for the job (first in sales, later finance).

The family packs of windows 7? Noooo... It's been a few years now.

Single copies start at around £50 each on ebay nowdays.