From The Forums: Our readers look back on Windows XP

We are now less than a year from Microsoft officially ending support for Windows XP. By the time the deadline is reached on April 8th, 2014, Microsoft would have offered software security and bug fixes for Windows XP for over 12 years.  Even with that cutoff date in sight, there are a lot of people who still use Windows XP at work and even at home.

This week, Neowin member lctb51 posted up a new thread on our forums, Memorable things about Windows XP RIP, that asked Neowin members what they felt were the most memorable things about Microsoft's OS. His own post stated, "I have too many to list, but I loved everything about Windows XP from the start up sound to the new luna theme etc! I am going to greatly miss XP!"

The forum thread brought out many different opinions of the OS. One came from Mephistopheles who listed several memorable things such as, "The selection of high quality visual styles. Back in the day when I still cared for customising Windows. This very forum was sort of a central hub for the XP customisation scene." He also said he went "WTF" when he first saw Luna, "...which was on Neowin I believe."

Many Neowin readers on the message board thread stated they still use Windows XP, including firey, who stated that he had Windows ME installed on his PC but he " .... had to take it in nearly every week to get it wiped and redone. It got to the point the PC Place gave us a free OEM copy of XP and installed it and we never had to take it back."

A similar comment came from Slammers, who said:

Still use XP at my business. Got 8 computers on the network. Light weight, extremely fast, works on the older setups - networking is easy on. Could install 7 but don't see the point. Dont use any programs that use it. If anything, most of the software used to run laser and cnc machinery is more compatible with xp than win 7. Best OS ever - for the time. Much bigger leap back then than vista/7. Lets not talk about 8.

Dot Matrix even posted up a screenshot of his old Windows XP desktop in the forum thread to show off its visual style. He stated, "This was my XP desktop the morning I blew it away for the last time before installing Vista."

Not everyone writing in the message board was as nostalgic for Windows XP. Theyarecomingforyou posted his thoughts on the OS:

I remember the major security breaches, like the Blaster worm - simply connecting to the internet with an unpatched computer could bring a system to its knees. Then there was a horrible Luna theme and the animated characters, like the dog for searching. There was the new activation system which was overly sensitive, resulting in unnecessary calls to Microsoft support. And there was all the hardware that ceased to work.

The situation was much better after a couple of security packs and the explosion in the skinning community.

One thing is for sure; Windows XP will still be used by many people all over the world when its support ends in less than a year and it will be interesting to see just how many of those PC owners stick with Windows XP or finally upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.

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Still using it on my spare machine, so funny seeing the insanely low RAM usage, just as well really (Only has 2GB). Still runs pretty much all of the latest games and stuff, so cba to upgrade it.

First XP PC specs (a few months after XP was released, so early 2002):

AMD Duron 800mhz
40gb hard drive
320mb RAM (256mb + 64mb)
Nvidia GeForce 2 (16mb)
CD-RW
Floppy drive

Completed nicely with a beasty 17" CRT and ugly beige/grey case.

Good times!

I feel bad for the people using past the 2014 date. You know someone will be targeting those systems now that Microsoft won't be patching them.

I love the "guts" of Windows 8, but that last screenshot above looks ten times better than Windows 8. To me, Microsoft has gone backwards in the GUI department.

JHBrown said,
I love the "guts" of Windows 8, but that last screenshot above looks ten times better than Windows 8. To me, Microsoft has gone backwards in the GUI department.

I'd say Windows 8's desktop actually looks better than screenshot.

Great OS at the time. Back when personally I thought Linux was a viable alternative for desktop use. XP was englighting to use after ME. Although I've stuck with ME until XP SP2 (had it on dualboot though) since I was using my system almost only for gaming and ME (even while a bit more unstable) was better at it in the time. Untill SP2 removed my graphics instabilities (the new drivers helped too) . Easy going OS, I did enjoy vista/7 and now 8. I do miss the classic style though

The Classic theme was the only way I could WinXP without wanting to puke. I don't know what it was about that Luna theme, I just hated it and any variant of it.

It's funny to see how all the hate that greeted WinXP has been forgotten over time. WinXP brought a lot of change over the previous OS's that didn't go over so well with users at first.

XP sucks! Incompatible with a bunch of my DOS programs, bloated and runs like crap on my 256MB P3, a bizarre start menu, WTF an animated dog to search.. I could go on. Why should I be forced to upgrade my hardware just to use that Fisher Price interface?? Who the hell needs 512MB of memory anyways, never mind the ridiculous install size. This is their answer for the problems with WinMe? They can pry Windows 95 out of my cold dead hands. I swear if Microsoft doesn't do something about XP I'm switching to Mac or Linux.

Edited by Max Norris, Apr 10 2013, 6:16pm :

Max Norris said,
XP sucks! Incompatible with a bunch of my DOS programs, bloated and runs like crap on my 256MB P3, a bizarre start menu, WTF an animated dog to search.. I could go on. Why should I be forced to upgrade my hardware just to use that Fisher Price interface??

The dogs was so easy to disable, and finding a better theme was easy too.
Actually I liked better windows 2000 to some extent, because it was my first stable os (no more blue screen, crash), and no bloat.

bigmehdi said,
The dogs was so easy to disable, and finding a better theme was easy too.

Heh I probably should have put /s at the end, guess it wasn't obvious.. but yea, tweaked the hell out of XP back in the day (theme, shell, file manager, etc), although even with SP3 I found it's stability somewhat questionable. Otherwise it was pretty decent for it's time.. it's no 7 mind you, that one I won't put a /s on for "prying out of my cold dead hands." Sadly still have one unit running XP Tablet Edition, no current driver support. One of these days I need to toss the thing and get a Surface Pro or its like.

Max Norris said,
XP sucks! Incompatible with a bunch of my DOS programs, bloated and runs like crap on my 256MB P3, a bizarre start menu, WTF an animated dog to search.. I could go on. Why should I be forced to upgrade my hardware just to use that Fisher Price interface?? Who the hell needs 512MB of memory anyways, never mind the ridiculous install size. This is their answer for the problems with WinMe? They can pry Windows 95 out of my cold dead hands. I swear if Microsoft doesn't do something about XP I'm switching to Mac or Linux.

The funny thing is that Windows XP did run actually like crap on my Pentium 3 800mhz system with 256mb of RAM - which ran Windows 2000 fine.

I found performance to be unsatisfactory even P4 systems than were like 3.2ghz - I only got satisfactory performance on XP with a core 2 duo system (no explorer windows appearing halway with the torchlight search icon and sh*t).

I can't help but to think that XP was a poorly optimized system for it's time, even more so than Vista. We're just used to it - and the stability of service pack 3 - years worth of patching - has made XP pretty much rock solid.

Vista was actually better optimized at it's time, I was so amazed that my P4 system could pull off Aero glass without breaking a sweat on a Nvidia 7300GT (I was stuck on a AGP slot at that time). However, expectations in the industry had changed by then, and Vista's optimization didn't go far enough to please people, and it ****ed people off.

FalseAgent said,

The funny thing is that Windows XP did run actually like crap on my Pentium 3 800mhz system with 256mb of RAM - which ran Windows 2000 fine.

I found performance to be unsatisfactory even P4 systems than were like 3.2ghz - I only got satisfactory performance on XP with a core 2 duo system (no explorer windows appearing halway with the torchlight search icon and sh*t).

I can't help but to think that XP was a poorly optimized system for it's time, even more so than Vista. We're just used to it - and the stability of service pack 3 - years worth of patching - has made XP pretty much rock solid.

Vista was actually better optimized at it's time, I was so amazed that my P4 system could pull off Aero glass without breaking a sweat on a Nvidia 7300GT (I was stuck on a AGP slot at that time). However, expectations in the industry had changed by then, and Vista's optimization didn't go far enough to please people, and it ****ed people off.


XP did ran crap on 256mb, especially since SP2 you really needed 512MB for it to run somewhat decent. I found that the CPU wasn't so important from ~1ghz and up in most scenarios, still depends what you do with it though. And XP was poorly optimized by todays standards. It was very resource hogging compared to 2000 or ME. I was on 256mb ram with ME, added another 256 before switching to XP as my main OS. But ME, 2000 and 98 are even poorer optimized on higher hardware. I had some fun with my old XP box (AMD 2600+, 1gb ram, fancy ass 128mb NVidia) and installed 98SE, 2000 and ME to it to see how they performed. 2000 wasn't to bad, but ME and 98SE where absolutely horrible
Vista was quite alright, the biggest issue was people running it on single cores, or the first core2duos and worst of all, ran the 32bit version. The 32bit version of Vista is horrible, no matter how much hardware you throw at it. When it came out I was or just upgraded to an AMD 5000 dual core with 2,5GB ram and Vista (64bit) ran allot better then XP on the same machine. Then 7 ran even better.
Then upgraded to an FX4100 and Windows 7 isn't optimized properly for AMD's new design. Windows 8 luckily is and it shows.
I think we're rather spoiled when its coming to optimization. Every Windows since Vista requires less resources. But also very important, Vista pushed hardware forward by a big leap, it forced the adoption of dual/quad cores, 64bit and 3gb+ ram systems. And within a year or 2 after Vista, Hardware has finally for the first time in computer history, surpassed the requirements of software.

I thought I'd saw the last of XP, but just the other day I noticed a computer in a hospital I visited still was running it. Actually, I noticed the computer on the desk of my GP at my local surgery was running XP too. Must be an NHS thing.

jren207 said,
I thought I'd saw the last of XP, but just the other day I noticed a computer in a hospital I visited still was running it. Actually, I noticed the computer on the desk of my GP at my local surgery was running XP too. Must be an NHS thing.

its a medical thang, in Bio-med sector the bulk is still Windows XP Pro SP3 due to Software validation, FDA & 21CFR regs, requiring extensive software validation & testing, I support almost 750 workstations and even now at least 90% of them are still XP SP3, heck ive still to support some W2k WS boxes and NT4 Servers........

I haven't seen Windows XP being used in public since 2007. Every library, computer lab, or house I visited used Windows Vista/7. It was a great OS for its time but it's simply too old now. Windows 7 is much better in terms of usability, performance, and security.

Ah, WMP taskband. One thing I do miss about XP. Well, Vista also had it still, but I never did run Vista for any serious amount of time...

The fact that people still prefer to avoid unnecessary (to them) changes for changes' sake is probably the one good thing left in this crapsack world.

Phouchg said,
The fact that people still prefer to avoid unnecessary (to them) changes for changes' sake is probably the one good thing left in this crapsack world.

Sadly, recent moves by Apple and Google has the entire industry convinced that what we exactly need is yearly OS upgrades. However, that isn't true, sigh...

I still have to deal with XP on a daily basis (not much longer, just 50 more boxes to migrate!) and it's appalling in comparison to 7. The fact that people still prefer it shows that some people just truly cannot accept change.

I use to have it for work and to be honest it's not too different than 7... except that it takes ages to boot. XP machines are often found in work, I used to repair and upgrade machines before and I can say that a lot of people actually wanted to switch once I show them what was Win 7 and what risk there were if they remained on XP, the very few people that didn't wanted to upgrade were the people who had less than 1gb of RAM, for them their PC was more than enough running XP.

Change in the way you express it makes it seen as most of the people don't like change when it isn't the truth, people just don't like change when this makes more difficult things that before were very easy to do. In example gratia, Windows 8.

siah1214 said,
I still have to deal with XP on a daily basis (not much longer, just 50 more boxes to migrate!) and it's appalling in comparison to 7. The fact that people still prefer it shows that some people just truly cannot accept change.

I use Windows 8 on one machine, and Windows XP on an older machine. I accept change, what I don't accept is the fact that I have to hinder an older machine's performance to have the latest and greatest.

Azies said,

I use Windows 8 on one machine, and Windows XP on an older machine. I accept change, what I don't accept is the fact that I have to hinder an older machine's performance to have the latest and greatest.


Unless your XP is a single core with <512mb ram... Windows 8 will run faster then XP.

Arceles said,

Change in the way you express it makes it seen as most of the people don't like change when it isn't the truth, people just don't like change when this makes more difficult things that before were very easy to do. In example gratia, Windows 8.

Sometimes change doesn't come with an opportunity to suit personal preferences. WinXP is dead in less than a year and a business running on an unpatched, unsupported OS is a scary thing these days with all the exploits and hacking that takes place. Especially when government regulations require you to protect PII and PHI.

Granted, users have a calendar year to upgrade, but planning and executing in the business space takes much longer than a year depending on the size of the company.

Shadowzz said,

Unless your XP is a single core with <512mb ram... Windows 8 will run faster then XP.

Exactly. Windows XP runs much slower on current machines than Windows 8. Probably because XP's system libraries and applications don't support newer features and drivers, like SSE3 onwards, and 3D accelerated GDI. Not to mention it is way less secure.

Shadowzz said,

Unless your XP is a single core with <512mb ram... Windows 8 will run faster then XP.

It's got a REALLY bad GPU, I'll upgrade it once I get rid of the Geforce 7300.

Lprd2007 said,

Exactly. Windows XP runs much slower on current machines than Windows 8. Probably because XP's system libraries and applications don't support newer features and drivers, like SSE3 onwards, and 3D accelerated GDI. Not to mention it is way less secure.

For the most part, yes it is less secure, it doesn't have nearly half the security features that Windows 8 has, and heck, even Windows 7. I'd like to upgrade, however I need to upgrade a few components before I can do that.