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End Of XP: Don’t Be Flip About It

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management

Patricia writes:

I am disappointed that you at WorldStart seem to have a flip, cavalier attitude about the genuine hardship being posed for some people by the end of support for Windows XP.
“Well, maybe it’s time to replace that old computer.”  “If you still can’t get your (whatever) to work with Windows 8.1, maybe you should retire it.”
OK, fine.  So, what are people supposed to use for time and money?

Changing computers is a nightmare for me.  I have years of critical records on my XP computer.  They came from my DOS computer to my Windows 3.1 computer to my Windows 95 computer to my current XP computer.  Every move is more difficult than the one before.  It is many hours of work to move all the data, and to reinstall the successive generations of software, or find work-arounds, to access the data.  The costs are not only the hardware, and usually at least some new software, but also the hundreds of dollars in bench time at my local guru to rebuild everything.

So, you ask, “Why don’t you do the change yourself?  That would be free.”  Not exactly.  I am probably capable of learning to do it, but I provide care and care management for a severely disabled relative who can never be left alone.  My partner volunteers a few hours a week, and there is a part-time nursing attendant.  But I am responsible for 18-21 hours a day of care.  My whole “other life” has to fit into the time that’s left.  So, is it better to pay the local guru for the work, or pay overtime for the nursing attendant so I can sit home (messing) around with a computer?  You tell me.
I know, there’s supposed to be software out there that will move everything.  It gets some rave reviews.  It also gets some disaster reviews.The end of support for XP is not just an inconvenience for some people.  For some, it will require substantial expenditures of time, energy and money, all of which may be in short supply.

Patricia, we have certainly never intended to be flip or cavalier about the end of XP.  We fully recognize that switching operating systems can be time consuming and expensive. Although I do think that as the deadline to the end of XP support approaches, we are being pretty blunt about things.

There’s nothing we can do about Microsoft’s decision to end security and but patches for Windows XP on April 8 except warn XP users of what’s coming and honestly tell them about their options if they want to stay safe. I have tried to explain some of Microsoft’s reasoning behind ending support, and that has ticked off several people. But whether it’s because they are greedy or XP has outlived its usefulness doesn’t really matter. Support is ending and users will have to make some changes to compute safely.

And if we seem to be getting blunter about the situation as the deadline nears, it’s because I’m a little alarmed that a lot of people just don’t seem to be taking it seriously.  I know that those important records that you’ve taken great care to preserve all these years matter to you, and I don’t want to see anything happen to them because of a virus. All I can ask is that no one shoot the messenger.

 Let’s go over options for the end of XP support:

1. Stick with XP and take the computer off-line –  Free and easy, but could be inconvenient. But if you have a tablet or a phone that can access the Internet, a good option. But don’t go online with that computer, ever.

2. Upgrade current computer to Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 – It’s going to cost you a few hundred dollars, but if your system can handle the later version, it could still save you some money over purchasing a new system. But it will be a clean install over XP, so you will need to back up any files or programs you wish to save.

3. Switch to a free operating system such as Linux Ubuntu and use a Windows Emulator such as Wine to run programs – inexpensive, but could be labor intensive.

4. Add Linux to your XP machine and run a dual boot. Disable XP for online and only go online with Linux – Free, but there is work involved in setting up Linux.

5. Purchase a new computer – which is expensive. But you could also opt for a refurbished computer for much less. There’s the cost of the new device, plus the time and effort of transferring your data.

6. Switch to a tablet or Chromebook – this is not a good option if you have certain computer programs you must run. But if you use your computer primarily for Internet and e-mail, it’s a viable option.

7. Do nothing and hope for the best. – I absolutely do not suggest this. As I’ve said before, it’s like leaving your house unlocked and hoping no one breaks in.

Good luck to everyone who still needs to transition from XP by the deadline. If you have any questions be sure to ask us here.

~ Cynthia

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44 Responses to “End Of XP: Don’t Be Flip About It”

  1. Jim B. says:

    When you fail to update and all your medical data gets stolen / you and your clients become compromised, then you’re in real trouble.
    If you had a car and they no longer carried the parts, then it’s time to get a new car.

    As a professional, it is your duty to protect those you serve.

    Get over it, buckle down, and get a new computer. If this is for your business, it’s a tax write-off.

    MS is not at fault: There comes a time to move on. If they continued XP but at a huge support price (because the engineers in charge have to get paid, too), what would you do?

    Interesting thread of the problem with the US these days: “It’s somebody else’s fault /responsibiity!”

  2. Vincent Rosati says:

    Buy a new computer. Then get a computer-literate friend to mremove the hard drive from your old computer, and install it in an external HD adapter (available from WS. Now you will have all of your files at your disposal, wqithout having to transfer anything to the new computer.

  3. JJM says:

    Cynthia & Jim
    I replace my property when it is no longer practical to maintain it. But I will not succumb to a manufacturer’s financial sales induced parts shortage. For instance, I will not trash my perfectly running old car because I cannot find a proper new radiator for it OR because the new model offers benefits I do not need while the new model cannot support my requirements.
    As it is, ONLY due to security concerns I have been forced to learn how to drive again with a Win 7 and a Tablet, neither of which will install my required proprietary software, thus my Garage (computer desk) is overcrowded with 2 systems now requiring a larger Garage.

  4. Calvin says:

    Why do people not understand that if new things were not made they would still be walking everywhere or at best riding horses. If Ford tried to keep making parts for the model T everyone would still be driving them, there comes a time when it don’t make any sense to keep an old model T, get a new car and enjoy all of the improvements!!!!!!!!!

    • Uncle Stevie says:

      All parts ARE available for the Ford modelT! As well as many other “older” vehicles.

      • cynthia says:

        That’s a great analogy. Because even though you can still get parts for a Model T, it lacks seat belts and airbags – so there are safety concerns. It has a top speed of only 40 to 45 miles per hour, which would make it a pretty slow vehicle, even at top speed, to drive on highways where the speed limit is 70. A fantastic product when it was introduced, but not the safest thing to have on the road now and probably not the vehicle you would depend on for your primary means of transportation.

  5. Les says:

    Many people forget that MS continued FREE support for XP much longer than any other company provides free support for their products. You don’t get that for cars, TVs, or even the computer itself. Why do some people think MS should provide free support forever?

    I use an off-line backup service, which makes changing to a new computer much simpler – after getting the basics set up, just restore your backed up data and you have it back. I also like Vincent’s suggestion above about just using the hard drive as an extra data storage unit with the new computer. I currently have an old hard drive with the simple hook-up I got from WorldStart years ago. I used it until I had a chance to gradually transition my old files onto the new hard drive.

  6. Mike Aguilar says:

    You don’t always need an external case or adapter for the old drive. Some laptops and all desktop computers will allow you to hook up at least 2 hard drives, Desktops will usually allow at least 4 without buying extra cables. Most desktop cases have mounting locations for at least 4 hard drives internally. Just move the jumpers on the back so the drive is the slave, install it into one of the open bays, and plug it in. Done.

  7. Genie says:

    Ok, so to carry on with the automobile theme we’ve got going here – if you could not find a mechanic to do routine maintenance on your perfectly running car anymore because it’s old/out of date/hard to find parts for, how long do you think it would continue running perfectly? Sure, it would run for a while, but without oil changes, new plugs & wires, new tires, new brakes, eventually it would leave you stranded, probably sooner rather than later. This is no different.

    And, it’s obvious your data is not backed up anywhere, or else you’d have an easy way of transferring it to a new system. Even without the issue of XP losing support, that’s a disaster waiting to happen. If nothing else, I’d at least get your local computer guru to teach you how to do that. (And I’d take the advice to switch to something other than XP, no matter what the hassle is because it’s just plain safer, but that’s up to you.)

  8. Lori says:

    I have Windows 7, good to 2019, but I don’t plan to go to Windows 8 or 10 so I bought a refurbished PC and set up a $10 Lunux Zorin 9 also with support until 2019 to practice on, to see if that might be an option. I had no trouble adapting since Zorin 9 is made for an easy transition from XP and Win 7. I found the Libre office has everything I need and it reads all the Windows documents which I’ve backed up to a 25 gig flash drive. I use Thunderbird mail and various other applications that are all there right out of the box so there is no tinkering to do. Other applications can be bought through the “store” that is right on the computer and the risk of virus infection is about nil. By the time Windows 7 is no longer supported, I’ll be switching to Linux entirely.

  9. Meha says:

    Wow………..I love you guys, you say it like it is.
    I love my XP and it will always be a part of me – because it
    is now exclusively “My Studio” it has all the best programs, that
    know me and my habits…used only for art work, custom designed cards
    and photography. My little 9yr. HP Printer will print the socks of of
    any thing it’s up against! Never knew it would print out on magnet paper
    or fabric…but, we’re gonna have fun-till the sun goes down!~
    ps– I work on two others-Win 7 and a new 8.1 – the 8.1 is NOT in my favor.

  10. Dorothy says:

    If the subscriber is not technically proficient enough to handle the upgrade himself (most of us are not!) he should really consider paying to have it done for him. Since he is using such an old (by now!) program, my suggestion would be that he NOT go to Windows 8 which is a dramatic switch (I still can’t get used to it!) and try for Windows 7. (I do hear, however, that the new Windows 10 is supposed to be better than “8” but not sure.) HE ALSO SHOULD LEARN HOW TO USE A FLASH DRIVE TO SAVE HIS FILES. OR, IF HE IS GETTING A BRAND NEW COMPUTER, HE SHOULD PAY FOR A “DATA TRANSFER” OF HIS FILES. Good Luck to him….I think we would all like to know how he fares. I’m sure we all do feel for him. I don’t know why Microsoft keeps making these so-called “upgrades” to perfectly wonderful programs which cause such anguish and steep new learning curves!

  11. […] just read Patricia’s letter about the difficulty transferring data from an XP computer. You offered many excellent suggestions but I think I have one more. She could move all those […]

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