/ Technology

Are you nostalgic for Windows XP?

Windows XP logo

Windows XP has divided software history in two – before and after XP. But with popularity for XP showing no signs of abating, isn’t it time for Microsoft to relaunch it and give its customers what they want?

People hardly remember Windows 98 or ME but after all these years, not only has the almighty XP stuck in people’s minds but more importantly, it is still the most used operating system in the world.

According to W3Schools, XP has almost half of computer users on its side (47% Dec 2010). Quite impressive if you bear in mind the XP platform has its days numbered – the extended support ends in 2014.

Why is XP so popular?

After almost two years on the market, the massively improved Windows 7 hasn’t been able to win the popularity contest in the mind of millions of users. So what’s behind this massive support for XP? Could it be down to its groundbreaking interface, speed and security?

Maybe it’s to do with the fact that its successor wasn’t very successful – it’s widely acknowledged that Vista got a fair amount of backlash (although I have to say my experience with it was ok). Could this have contributed to the XP popularity, making users nostalgic of the “old” technology?

I can’t deny that for a product that’s been around for more than a decade, XP is still current and keeps up with emerging technologies. Even though trends are changing, (at this year’s CES, most new products were touchscreen tablets using a brand new version of Android) I reckon businesses will hold on to XP for more years to come.

XP and home users

This love affair with the old platform is reflected repeatedly in the emails we receive via the Which? Computing Helpdesk. Windows users often struggle so much with younger OS models that they have a change of heart, wishing they had never switched.

We even get requests to help people make the brand new Windows 7 look like the old XP. Funnily enough, you can find very comprehensive guides online to do exactly this, suggesting it’s a more popular activity than you might think.

And I’m pretty sure Microsoft acknowledges all this. One of the selling points of Windows 7 was – and still is – the option to run an XP mode in order to minimize any compatibility issues.

So am I the only one wondering if all this nostalgia and affection for XP can be harnessed by Microsoft, with the development of a brand new OS “XP 2012”? That, I reckon, would be a great business idea for Microsoft.

Would you ditch your current operating system in favour of a new XP 2012?

Yes (47%, 466 Votes)

No (33%, 329 Votes)

Not sure (21%, 207 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,003

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Peter Web says:
15 February 2011

Your survey would be better if it asked which operating system participants were currently using. I would be reluctant to drop my current XP Pro for XP 2012 for the simple reason that I wouldn’t want to be a Microsoft tester, which is what people who go for new Microsoft products always are. It is XP but not as we know it Jim. I would want to wait at least 6 months for a couple of service packs to be released. However, if I were a Vista user I would probably be more inclined to take the chance.

Isidore says:
15 February 2011

No I wouldn’t ditch my my present operating system for Windoze XP, although I use it in emulation. I use OS X.

Phillip says:
15 February 2011

Like other commentators I am still using XP and have found it to be well behaved and stable, unlike the dreadful 95….
I regularly run System Mechanic, especially after a Windows patch/upgrade session, which seems to clear a fair amount of system clutter and, touch wood, my machine continues to purr along nicely. Vista? Not unless I have to!

John. says:
15 February 2011

No1 No! No! ” VISTA ” is far superior & has never crashed or given any trouble over all the years that I have used it since inseption. I would not ditch” Vista” for any other operating system including Windows 7. which seems to be just a dumbed down version of “Vista”.and at a very high cost.

I would not want a new xp MS would only mess it up but do keep the old xp going for years to come and I think that Atom chip in netbooks 1.6 Ghz is way too slow many have reported their netbooks crashing and locking up with windows 7 starter. Netbooks would need to be 2 or 3 Ghz speed even if the battery life would suffer.

There’s a dreary old saying: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. XP for a vast number of users is a solid, simple and reliable system. Mike Minh is right. For Microsoft, controlling user experience means just that – we’ll tell you what’s available and what we can fix. Otherwise, tough. When I look at the desktop display on my daughter’s W7 machine, I’m amazed that anyone can really find their way around.

XP Lover says:
20 February 2011

I have been using XP Home Edition for many years and find it most reliable and easy to use and understand.
I hope that MS continue to give support for sometime to come and if they decide to re-launch a newer version I will consider it if the price is right.

anonymous says:
6 March 2011

Windows 7 is just like Vista rehashed. Full of gimmicks and fancy tricks. Aero Snap? There’s a far better version in XP called Tile Horizontally or Tile Vertically that isn’t limited to arranging just two windows but any number you select. There are many good useful features of XP removed and broken in Windows 7. The file manager, Windows Explorer was utterly destroyed in Vista and becomes worse in Windows 7. Poor usability. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_7 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_features_removed_in_Windows_Vista . Unnecessary GUI changes. Vista was innonative but horrible usability wise and removed things. Windows 7 is Vista with few new features and again many features removed and fancy gimmicks and shiny graphics added. Sure it’s more secure and XP is also *secure enough*.

Steve Divey says:
1 September 2011

I’d definitely buy new and improved Windows XP if it will have all of the features that are originally installed but new ones will be added like directx 10 and thumbnail size control and aero effects and startup screen customization. I’d prefer it over any OS any day.

Having used windows vista and 7 alot recently i find that both have some very good features but the fact is that i have gone back to windows xp its the most reliable windows operating systam and there is not alot thats not compatable with it.

So in my mind they should add some of the features 7 and vista have ie transparent taskbars ect and either relaunch xp or at least bring out service pack 4 because i fear a rebellion from the people when support ends in 2014 they did when microsft tried to for vista on us so it can and probberly will happen again.

Zarbon55 says:
18 April 2012

I’m very nostalgic of Windows XP. That 7 is a total CRAP!!! Some day, maybe i will install back my innocent Windows XP!

Paul says:
24 October 2012

Im actually 14 y/o as of june 2012, (born ’98), and im nostalgic for windows 95. When I was little,(around 2002) My grandfather gave me an old computer as my first computer which was a windows 95. i set it up myself, but my room didnt have an internet hookup, so I used it for games, like minesweeper,etc. But it didnt last long. about two years later from what i remember, my mom threw it away for no reason, the computer was just fine. RIP windows 95.

Purely on environmental grounds the ending of XP support is deplorable. I do have a new PC running Windows 8.1 but I also have a netbook, a laptop and two other desktop PCs running XP. They are all in use, running various legacy applications without problem. None of them can be upgraded to Windows 7 or 8 so Microsoft’s action means that I should scrap four perfectly good computers.. not very environmentally friendly!

I have old computers that I use periodically to use obsolete software and to access old files. I don’t connect them to the internet so there is no security problem.

Still nostalgic, because they (Microsoft) had spent so much time perfecting it and it worked. Ok, so bug fixes/updates were still required but then what operating system doesn’t need them.

Also, there was so much software that worked well on it.

Now it’s upgrade the os, upgrade all your software in the never ending upgrade cycles…

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