Why I Will Always Love Windows XP

It’s been over a decade since it first came out, but in my opinion Windows XP is one of the greatest versions of its series to ever be released. A combination of stability and simplicity led to it being adopted quickly wordwide, and it remains amongst the most-used operating systems today, despite the distribution of it’s successors Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Though it becomes officially obselete and unsupported in 2014, I would like to explain why Windows XP remains best for me.

Minimal Bloatware and Clutter

I won’t lie, I am a Linux user, I would say 80% Linux to 20% Windows. I have used both constantly for about 10 years. One of the highlights of Linux for me when I first started playing with it was that you receive an empty bare-bones system after installation which is yours to configure how you like. Whether into a media computer, a server, a workstation and so forth. I always felt the same was true of XP. It fits happily on a single CD-ROM, and comes with the bare essentials.

Windows 7 and Windows Vista are cluttered with unecessary junk, or at least thats how it feels to me. I understand that to the regular computer user it’s extremely handy to have everything preinstalled and not having to worry about adding more on. Even after an XP install, I spend half an hour stripping off software that I don’t need.

Oh, and start-up processes really get on my nerve. Windows 7 and Vista run so many needless tasks in the background during startup. They hog up CPU cycles, slow the computer, and are mostly unnecessary.

A final piece of clutter that irritates me in Windows 7 and Vista is the ‘Do you want to grant Admin privaliges and access to this program’ nonsense, or however it appears. It comes over too ‘Noddy’ and Early Learning Centre aimed. I know you can strip all this away if you like, but I really don’t see why it needs to be there in the first place.

Stability

I have never had a blue screen of death on my XP computers. I have probably tempted fate in saying that, but I doubt it. I know that some people have terrible trouble with crashes, blue screens and so forth, but I seem to have been lucky.

On the Hardware Of Today, It’s Fast

Windows XP was originally designed for computers which are now over a decade old. I have a ToughBook with a 400mhz processor and 256mb RAM around somewhere, which runs XP just fine. On the hardware of today, 32bit or 64bit, XP is incredibly fast. I run a 32bit version on a 64bit dual core laptop, and whilst some people may call that a waste of resources, it does me just fine. Everything still runs almost instantaneously, and since I never run CPU-intensive programs, I don’t need to make complete use of the hardware inside my machine.

All Software Still supports XP

Many computers in the world still use XP, and for that reason most software developers have to ensure their work is backwards compatible to XP. So in staying with XP I am not missing out on any software releases.

Sadly – Poor 64bit Support

Something that keeps cropping up for me in my quest to keep using XP is 64bit architecture support. I know there is a 64bit version of sorts, but from what I have read combined with my own experiences, it doesn’t make full use of the hardware offered. Neither is it a particularly ‘stable’ build, in that applications running on it often get confused as to the architecture they are on, sometimes inexplicibly crashing and so forth.

I Grew Up With It

Besides all the reasons above, it is the version of Windows I grew up with, and used the most throughout my late childhood and all through my teen years. I expect that because of this all future versions of Windows will feel a bit odd to me when I use them, unless I dedicate myself to using one of the new versions so it gets engrained in me as much as XP was. I can use Vista and 7 just fine, but they never seem quite as nice as XP does.

Final Thoughts

I am probably just slightly sentimental and clinging on to the past, but I do genuinely believe XP to be the best operating system Microsoft put together.

As always, please leave your own thoughts in the comments area below.


  • http://www.tjbarber.net/ T.J. Barber

    You may be right in saying that Windows XP is the best OS Microsoft ever released, but I have a few bones to pick.

    Do you remember what Windows XP was like in its first year? For those of us who remember (or have been told), Windows XP was so unstable in its first year that Microsoft halted all development of future versions of Windows so that they could fix XP. Their half-baked fix came out to be Windows XP SP1, which merely patched a few of the issues. It took Microsoft more time to finally come out with Windows XP SP2, which was basically a different OS. That is the XP that I grew up and the XP that I’m about to install on a REALLY old computer. SP2 and SP3 are what we love, not the original XP. Kind of sounds like Vista…

    Windows XP is fast on today’s computers… yeah I hate to bust your bubble, but so is Windows 98. The problem going forward with Windows XP is going to be the lack of drivers and supported software. Believe me, I recently install Windows 98 on an old PC for sentimental purposes and I couldn’t get a thing to work. The old software is dead, and the software that is slowly aging is slowly dying. That’s XP’s future. You say XP is still supported… Halo 2? =P

    I’ve never had a BSOD on Windows 7, but have had many on Windows XP for the record. That’s XP SP2. Maybe I was reckless and messed it up stupidly (I was a younger), but I kind of doubt it. The only BSOD I had on Windows 7 was when I was testing Windows 7 Beta and my Logitech mouse driver was acting up, but I don’t think that counts towards Windows 7 or 7 SP1.

    Bloatware and clutter on Windows 7? Umm… no. Some of the features that come with Windows 7 (User Account Control) may be seen as annoyances to us geeks, but you have to remember that we’re geeks, bro! There are instances of Windows running on millions of computers worldwide, and many of the users have probably had their bacon saved by UAC because they don’t know what they’re doing in many cases.

    Oh, and 7 has beautiful 64-bit support.

    I’m not saying Vista was anything good. I used it for a couple of years and it was terrible. I’m not a mindless Microsoft fanboy. If they do something stupid, you can be sure I’m going to call them out on it. I’ve been a desktop Linux user before, and I ran Ubuntu 11.04 a lot this year. I know this stuff, and I really just think that XP is slowing dying in the corner of the technology world. You’re in the seventh stage of grief, dude.

    Please don’t take this personal in any way. It’s just time to move on, in my opinion.

    • Sam Cater

      You are of course right about SP1 vs SP2 and SP3.

      Well Windows 95 is fast of course, but it has absolutely no support for any of the hardware, as you say the problem will be for Windows XP.

      Due to XP’s widespread use still, device drivers for new hardware is continuing to be made so I don’t agree with you that XP will loose support quite like Windows 95 did. Certainly not anytime soon.

      I like the way you put that about bloatware and clutter ;) I know it helps the average user and we are geeks but I still just can’t stand it :|

      Definitely can’t argue with the 64bit support, it has that for sure and of course so does Windows 8.

      Of course I don’t take it personally. I am just going to keep my XP CD’s for many years after it becomes obselete and install it if I can. I am just familiar with it overall and it’s kind of comfy. Wow what are the first 6 stages? ;)

      • http://www.tjbarber.net/ T.J. Barber

        To keep from spamming the comments, just Bing for “7 Stages of Grief” and you’ll find it real fast. I believe I’ve felt each one for a different stage of a Windows OS’s life. ;) Heck, I know I felt pain and guilt everytime I was forced to reinstall Vista for one reason or another…

        Sadly (or thankfully, depending on the way you look at it), we still have Windows 2000 being used by some enterprises. So Windows XP is going to be around for a really long time, and it’ll still have basic hardware support. I just bought a Microsoft Comfort Curve 3000 (which is not old at all) and it came with support for Windows 98. o.O

        Let’s put it this way: When you and I are in our 70s, we and all the rest of our techy kind will be living in the woods with our old machines running MS-DOS 5 through Windows 7 as we condemn the rest of the world for their fluffy uses of tech. Our grandchildren won’t know what a “software update” is. And if you want to use Windows XP while I use Windows 7, it won’t matter anymore because they’ll both be so old. ;)

        See you in the woods. Don’t forget the marshmellows.

  • Myke

    This is funny. I know of no one who loves XP this much.
    Just curious, what browser are you using. Do you still enjoy the nostalgia of IE6 ;)

    Not that there are not programs to rig this up in XP, but I can no longer live without the new taskbar and snapping explorer in Windows 7. I, too grew up with XP but could never go back to using it.

    • Myke

      Thought I’d throw one more thing out. The few times I have run ubuntu and suse (strictly for web server setup) it seems I had far greater issues granting root privileges both in and out of terminal. They were at least much harder to assuage than in Win Vista and 7

      • Sam Cater

        No I use Google Chrome as my browser of course ;) Internet Explorer is, and always has been a pile of garbage.

        I know what you mean about the new taskbar, hopefully Windows 8 will touch that up.

        Ubuntu is sound now, granting root shouldn’t be a problem and for servers it’s the best available :)

        • http://www.tjbarber.net/ T.J. Barber

          Yeah, as a web designer and developer I BEG you not to use IE6!! =P

          I fired up IE9 this morning and there are somethings that are still lacking (spel chek needs wrok lolz), but I really think IE10 is going to be pretty awesome.

  • http://ashish.bogawat.com Ashish Bogawat

    I think it also matters how you transitioned from XP to Win7. Remember Vista? I was stuck with that huge mistake of an operating system because it came with my laptop for nearly six months.

    I jumped on to Windows 7 the moment they made the release candidate available publicly and haven’t looked back since. And like for many, it has been pretty stable for me.

    • Sam Cater

      You are right, the laptop I mentioned that is 64bit came with Vista, and I deliberately stripped it off and installed XP on there. I only had the 32bit version of course, but nevermind. As far as I can tell Windows Vista was an attempt to keep up with being ‘new’ and having a load of eyecandy.

      I suppose I should give Windows 7 another chance and try to stick with it. I still have three years to do that though ;)

  • http://www.hbundb.de Andreas Hedderich

    Seriously? So far I didn’t talked to a person how would go back from windows 7 to XP…
    Vista was a big mistake like ME but Win 7 rocks. Nice design, fast, really practical as working environment.
    As a webdev i would appreciate a stricter update policy for Windows by MS. The world could be a better (and safer) place if we would all life in the present.

  • Fred

    The best Windows was certainly Windows 2000 (and Server)

  • laccy

    well, i think that good configured xp sp3 is better than a bad win 7

    actually is pretty easy to set up xp, for exaple i have now a fully configured xp cd 360 mb, tested on vmware, around 1.2 gigabyte only installed, all small programs included what i need

    would be nice a review of configuring tools such as nlite, powertoys, etc.

    • Sam Cater

      I’ll see what I can do.

  • http://zerp.ly/pinkfloyd Emrah Omuris

    I have to agree to disagree with your post. First of all, however fast and reliable the XP is -for now-, it has no future. The later you switch to a latest OS the harder you will find the switchover process. When Microsoft releases Windows 8, it will carry on most of the elements of Windows 7, as Windows 7 carried some of the elements of Windows Vista. Vista was a failure and everyone knows that, however Windows 7 is a success and has a great foundation which Microsoft is building the Windows 8 upon.

    Apart from this, you are also ruining the developers (both software developers and web developers) by sticking to an old technology. XP is 10 years old. 10 years is a very long time in digital world and if you and other users like you keep sticking to an old version of an OS, or any other technology, this doesn’t do any good to the technology itself.

    I am not saying you should blatantly swithc to the latest and greatest technology immediately after it comes out, but I don’t think you should wait 10 years. If you think about it, this is not doing you any good either.

    • http://samcater.com Sam Cater

      One of my biggest reasons for not making the switchover is that I use Linux primarily anyway. I have no real need to keep up with Windows as an everyday user.

      Another one is that if I were to install Windows 7 and notice a performance drop, I would just reinstall XP.

      I am so speed obsessed I go to the trouble of compiling and profiling my own Kernels and modules for my Linux boxes. Speed, Speed, Speed.

  • siggi

    one of the biggest reasons to stick with XP, mainly on my notebook ist that vista and win7 don’t have the ability to run a panning screen any more.
    with panning screen i run a desktop of 2048x1535px while my real screen resolution is at 1280x800px. you can see only a 1280x800px-frame of the entire desktop at a time, but when you reach the border with your mouse the desktop scrolls in the respective direction.)

    as long that there is no alternative for this on newer win version, i will run XP on my notebooks as this is the only way to work effectively on a 12″ screen with minimum 3 or for windows opened side by side with a rather small amount of overlapping.

  • Paul Dunahoo

    And DOS 3.1 is fast on my MacBook Air in a VM.

  • rachel

    It’s all about the quest for making more money, and we are all suckers for buying the latest Windows operating system, in this case Windows 7. Microsoft has gots everybody by the balls. I myself will not get sucked in to the latest technology. I still use MS DOS (probably the most stable operating system) and I have a multi program software called First Choice that has Word Processing, Database, and Spreadsheet that fits in a 3.5 inch floppy disk. This program is highly effective and gets the job done.

    New technology doesn’t necessarily mean good. As a matter of fact, everything today only last from 6 months to 2 years due to poor quality and/or obsolecense. Products of yesterday were of high quality and made to last 20-40 years.

  • https://syntress.com Lane Campbell

    I think this post can be summarized as: people become content with the systems that they are used to using and are resistent to change.

    Most of this same argument was used when people transitioned from 9x to NT systems, now the transition to modern NT systems from antique systems.

  • Jackie

    I agree. Windows XP is great. And I love the simple interface. I don’t need all that glitz of Windows 7. It’s fast and easy to tweak. Bill Gates should of kept the Windows XP interface and just improved on the other faetures.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ Amber

    The acicdnet of finding this post has brightened my day

  • VAL

    I see no comments on Win 3.1. True enough it was simply chasing after Apples interface. But you could drop it from 10,000 feet and it would still run. But seriously, two annoyances of Win 7 (VISTA doesn’t deserve comment, other than Microsoft developed it for INTEL, who was so disappointed they backed out of the deal and it ended up in court. Just Google it.) is that Windows explorer is simply confusing and horrible. Secondly, although it can talk to XP it does so begrudgingly. It may be a good way for MS to force us from XP.

    My nephew has an interesting theory that MS only develops every other OS to be a winner to keep us all on the hook. That appears to be the history ad if that is the case Win8 will be a dud. We will see soon enough.

  • Val

    Oh and on Rachel’s comment on First Choice. I still have that on my old FORA laptop. The one no one remembers. Heavier than a full size suitcase packed to the max. It ran only DOS but the pull out keyboard was awesome. And so was First Choice :)

  • Emanuel

    I love WINXP <3

  • Jennifer

    Well I personally use XP x64 on my acer 7740G notebook (i3 processor) and all PC’s, laptops and the server in our office use XP x64 without any problems. We also have a peer to peer / adhoc wireless network functioning very reliably. Hardware range from P4 3GHz HT to Core2Quad. We replaced the visual style with a modern style.

  • Tom

    I really like Macs old or new (OSX Lion is a bit of a pain). I’ve had a reasonable amount of fun with various Linux distros. Vista annoyed me with no end in sight. I actually repartitioned a Vista laptop so I could run Ubuntu as a dual-boot option. I’m not huge on Ubuntu either right now. A recent experience with Windows 7 on a new machine has me rating it much higher than Vista yet: After 10 years of stability and productivity with XP and just a few blue screens I’d have to agree XP was/is the best.

  • GeoJoelNE

    Agreed on everything. Especially the fact that it runs fast on today’s technology, I can personally say that is true as I had an XP back in 2005 that ran on a XP optimized Desktop. Now I run XP on a Desktop optimized for Vista (Terrible OS by the way.) and it runs LIGHTNING fast. The only thing that doesn’t run fast is the Internet card which has never been upgraded (Driver or Hardware.) but the Windsurfer took care of that problem. XP FOREVER!

  • Jennifer

    I also love XP, its treated me very well during the 11 years I have used it – very stable, easy to use and great software and hardware compatibility. I still use XP Pro x86 and x64 privately and at my office, I do not own or want Windows 7. All desktops except one has XP Pro x64 on it, all laptops have XP Pro x64 on an my server also has XP Pro x64 on it. We use Office 2007 x86. Our wireless network is very stable and a pleasure to use. The server provides fax, printing, internet and file sharing services. We have NO issues whatsoever with XP. Our PC’s / laptops range from P4 HT 3GHz, Core2Quad to Core i3

  • Mark Wiering

    The best operating system Microsoft ever made, is Windows 2000 Professional. Windows XP is nothing more than just a bloated version of Windows 2000 Professional with an uglier user interface. The only thing what’s new in Windows XP Professional, is the support for 2 processors. But, most computers only have one processor, so that doesn’t have impact on me.

    There are several reasons why Windows 2000 Professional was better than Windows XP:
    - More stable
    - Faster, lower system requirements, less bloatware (unneeded processes)
    - User friendlier
    - Cheaper

    The matter with Windows 2000 Professional is that you can’t install it on new computers because the manufacturer of new computers (almost) never have drivers available for Windows 2000 Professional. I hate it to be forced to use Windows XP Service Pack 2 or higher. If I could, I would install Windows 2000 Professional on EVERY computer I have. Windows 2000 is so much better than those shitty Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8.

    Now Windows Vista is pretty good compared with Windows 7 and Windows 8 because Windows Vista has lower system requirements, is running less bloatware, the taskbar is nicer and it’s still compatible with nearly all software and hardware which have been made for Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8. I don’t understand why people are negative about Windows Vista, but positive about Windows 7. There is almost no difference between those 2 operating systems besides the bloatware of Windows 7 and the uglier taskbar of Windows 7…

    I recommend everyone to go for Windows 2000 Professional and to install later on Avast! Antivirus and older versions for other software, like Opera 11.64, Mozilla Firefox 12, uTorrent 3.0, VLC Media Player 1.1.9, Windows Media Player 9, Java 6 update 24 and so on.

    If your manufacturer doesn’t have drivers available for Windows 2000 Professional anymore: go for Windows XP Service Pack 2. If you have an extremely new computer: go for Windows Vista. Don’t buy computers with an operating system pre-installed. If you do that, you can’t re-install it after a malicious program deleted files which are important for Windows to run. You will simply walk to a big wall if you do that.

  • Nervous Nelly

    I love XP! I hate people who try to tell me it’s time to let go of something that works for me. It’s an OS, not a living organism or even a car. Eleven years is a baby for a successful OS such as XP. I have privacy issues with Vista/7/8 and whatever is next. I believe Windows Vista/7/8 have private services running in the background that records your activities and then compresses all that data in a unique format and then uploads it to some server later on when your PC is idle. At least that is the only logical explanation to why my computer started thinking hard when it sits idle with no anti-virus software installed and no other applications scheduled for anything back when I took Win7 for a test drive. In Windows XP when I’m idle, my pc stays quiet and calm. The HD light may blink once in a blue moon but that’s normal. On windows 7 that HD light blinks like crazy as if I executed an application when I didn’t. I will use XP for the rest of my life! I don’t feel safe on anything else. Newer OS’s are frustrating to use because you have to relearn how to do the same things again. I just don’t see the point in that. I’d rather repay for my XP license once every 10 years if it’ll renew support for another 10 years than upgrade to something I like a lot less than what I already have. If I had my own business I’d be paranoid using Windows Vista/7/8 because of my privacy issues. When you think about how people say “it’s time to let go of xp and upgrade” it’s probably the same people who want to get their hands on all your information. That’s probably the reason they’re trying to rush people to upgrade. Nobody cares about what car I drive so why care about what OS I use?

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