Are you really excited by this?

April 8th, 2014 marks two events in the Microsoft calendar.

Event #1:. Microsoft Windows XP is taken off life support and will have to fend for itself. OK, so let’s look at the picture

Microsoft has extended  MSE coverage for a year, and other anti-virus producers will also cover it for a while, but NOTHING is for ever.When Windows 9x was on its last legs, some promised to continue support but lost interest very quickly. Most software people like to be at the cutting edge and that doesn’t include supplying duct tape to patch up holes in old stuff.

If you are still using old versions of popular yesteryear software, you should be looking for alternatives. The software authors lost interest in it years ago, and while you think that it is still doing a good job, new software will generally do it better.

For those of you who like the old games, there is nothing written in law stating that you can’t keep your old computer specifically for them. Desktop machine users can hook up two computers to one screen, keyboard and mouse,using a KVM switch, many now having a button which flicks from one to the other.

You may have a printer, scanner, or ‘all in one’ that looks new, but it isn’t. Many of the older printers were fairly careless about how much ink was used, and scanners were low resolution, slow and noisy. I have recently treated myself to a shiny new Brother MFC-J470DW all in one which cost me $50 in a sale. It takes up less room than the venerable HP DeskJet 5150 and Canon Lide 30 that it replaced, is way more ink efficient than the 5150 was, and the scanner is fast and able to manage high resolutions should I feel the need to scan images into huge file sizes..

So, why do you still want XP?

Because it is fast? Well, Windows 7 and Windows 8 desktop mode are too, Windows 8 noticeably clipping Windows 7 for some processes, plus you get the benefit of a better core and advances in Windows built in utilities.

Browser security is always an issue and affects ALL users. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you are only online for a few minutes while getting and replying to email that you will not be a target. XP can manage IE8 which may have been ok at one time but isn’t anymore. Heh, I can hear you saying ‘but I don’t use IE anything’. If you think that the other browsers are safer, think again. While IE gets a lot of press, and it gets it because Microsoft doesn’t make a secret of IE updates, the other browsers are sneaking in updates without necessarily telling you. Being online at all is enough to get unwelcome attention.

The biggest issue is cost of replacing the machine itself, but you will not be the first to have to do this. Many of the machines which ran Windows 9x were not fit for running XP, featuring small hard drives and only 32mb RAM, way below what XP required. Sooner or later, your venerable PC is going to break down terminally, and when it does, that will be the end of you running XP. Rather than wait for that time, and taking into account what I have already written above, now would be a good time to move on.

Event #2: The Windows 8.1.1 update

SPOILER ALERT: if you do not want to be upset before April 8, do NOT read this section.

Microsoft will not be including a classic menu in the update. The company is STILL firmly committed to making life difficult for the greater majority of computer users, i.e. those who don’t have or want touch screens and tablets. There will, however, be improvements to the Modern UI and there will be the facility to boot to desktop. Users will still have to fish for stuff in the Modern UI or pin everything to the taskbar in desktop mode.

The Modern UI will also get a taskbar of its own, complete with means to more easily switch from app to app and also to switch the machine to OFF.

I can see that you can’t wait for the update already, so that’s it for today..


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