Though I have machines with Windows 7, I also have machines with Windows XP. I can see reasons to have both, but I don’t think that the reasons many people, no doubt prompted by some form of remuneration from Microsoft, give for the change are truly valid. It is amusing that after all I have said about it, there are now people in the mainstream press debating the reasons for staying with Windows XP versus changing to Windows 7. (Note: no one is advocating staying with Vista unless cost is a problem.)

A relatively new writer at Neowin, speaking as an IT professional, gives many valid reasons why Windows XP is still a very good choice for many.

Are Windows Vista and Windows 7 really much more stable and secure than a fully patched Windows XP system with up to date anti-virus and firewall protection? Can staff who spend most of their day writing e-mails, creating office documents and designing things in AutoCAD or looking at financial forecasts really get a lot more done more quickly? It would appear that most organisations are saying “No.”

A recent article from a college student, and former Microsoft employee, now writing for ZDNet gives the push for changing, yet, as I read the piece, all I can see is “This is new, it looks cool, those are your reasons for change”.

His points are based upon, and speaking to, the points given by another ZDNet writer, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. Adrian’s article is much more even handed than I would have expected, as he was very pro Windows 7 during the run up to release.

These articles all show bias by the authors, but also show that Windows XP continues to be the most popular operating system on the planet because it is a great product. It continues to be very useful in that it runs the majority of software available today, and unless something like the odd Microsoft update comes along and hoses your machine, it is very solid, and works without drama from day to day.

For many, the different look and feel  of Windows 7 is the big draw.

While not all the look and feel of Windows Vista or Windows 7 is available on Windows XP, most all the old look of Windows XP can be removed by simply buying Window Blinds ($20), which allows for amazing styling changes that go far beyond what Microsoft planned for Windows, any Windows. The cost is small, and it works without problems.

For those on a tight budget, there are Microsoft themes that were released almost under wraps, as many people I speak to have no clue that they were available, or that they are official Microsoft products. Putting the Zune theme on a Windows XP machine (Home or Professional) makes a huge change, and there are others. All that is necessary is a bit of looking around.

Reading the above articles, and making sure that you have the proper lockdown of the machine; antivirus, firewall, antimalware – there is absolutely no reason to have plain Jane Windows XP. Yet there is no reason to feel that you are suffering with the “old stuff”, or have something shabby, simply because you have no money, or lack programming ability.

The word of the day is FREEWARE. There are enough things made for Windows XP to make it almost unrecognizable as a Microsoft product, yet retain all the functionality that makes the world happy with it.

Everything is there for the taking to make XP work like a champ, until at least 2014.

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