You can pry Windows XP from my cold, dead hands

Third in a series. As a long-time programmer, I was still using Windows 95 when I finally purchased my mainstay computer that came with Windows XP. I am not the type to use the leading edge computers or software. The software I write (programming tools for programmers) was designed to run on minimal hardware, so I preferred to stay with an operating system much longer than most programmers would. Programmers are notorious for wanting the leading-edge computers, but not me.

My Windows 95 PC was starting to get a bit obsolete and it was time to switch to the latest operating system, so I purchased a new computer with Windows XP Home on it. The computer was an eMachine T2542, with a 2.5GHz Celeron CPU, 256 meg RAM and a 40 gig hard drive.

Well, maybe I shouldn't use the term "was". That XP computer is still my mainstay PC today. Sure it was upgraded to 768 meg RAM, a new inexpensive video card was added and DVD (read/write) drive; I just recently added a second hard drive to give me another 40 gig. I do all my work on this PC.  I also finally outgrew CRT monitors (last one was a nice 17 inch flat screen) and now I use LCD monitors on all my PCs. Yes, I do have a PC with Windows Vista (just for testing software) and another with Windows 7. I still have a Windows 95 machine (for testing software) since I write software that will still be able to run on legacy operating systems. But the XP computer is what I use daily. I write all my software on it. The computer is nearly 8 years old now (the Windows folder is dated July 2003).

As far as I am concerned Windows XP is fine and it has many, many years of life left. Oh, I did have to downgrade one item on the PC when I got it. I say downgrade because I upgraded the computer with an old used part. They don't make computer keyboards like they used to, so I downgraded the keyboard to an old IBM Model M keyboard. Nobody made keyboards like the old IBM. So I guess, if someone complains that I am using too old a computer, then my response is that my keyboard is at least twice as old.

Windows XP was never as "lean and mean" as Windows 95 was, but I have grown accustomed to it over time. It has slowed down a bit over the years, but it is still acceptable. I have been wanting to do a clean install of XP for some time, but just haven't had the heart. The Windows registry on my computer must be a nightmare by now. I have installed and uninstalled so many programs over the years, that the registry is so bloated it is probably about to bust.

But XP is still chugging along. Windows Vista is too sluggish, so it never caught on, even though I have had a Vista machine for a number of years. I like Windows 7. It's snappy, but I don't like some changes to things like Windows Explorer.

As an experienced Windows API programmer, I can appreciate the difference in the operating systems more than the average computer user. It is quite amazing how backward compatible Windows has been over the years. I am not quite sure what all the fuss was about with Windows 7 and the need for an XP mode, since if software was written correctly for Windows XP, then there really shouldn't be a need for an XP mode on Windows 7.

Windows XP was the last version of Windows that could run with minimal hardware, which made it easier for Windows 98/ME users to upgrade, while still using their existing hardware. Microsoft made the mistake of making Windows Vista too bloated and requiring too much horsepower (hardware power) and while Windows 7 is better than Vista in many ways, it too has too high a demand for hardware.

Do you realize that the average netbook today (with Windows 7 Starter) has more power (CPU) and memory than my Windows XP computer originally came with?  Many today complain that most netbooks are underpowered and terribly slow. Even the the different service packs of Windows XP are noticably different in their hardware requirements and Service Pack 3 shows some of that bloat sneeking in.

Windows XP may turn out to be the Volkswagen Beetle of the Windows operating systems. It's amazing how long a life span those little "bugs" have had. Windows XP is likely here to stay for a bit longer than many may think.

Photo Credit: Fer Gregory/Shutterstock

Chris Boss is an advanced Windows API programmer and developer of 10 year-old EZGUI, which is now version 5. He owns The Computer Workshop, which opened for businesses in the late 1980s. He originally developed custom software for local businesses. Now he develops programming tools for use with the PowerBasic compiler.

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