Although millions of people will continue to use Windows XP after today, the 'end of life' milestone is still hugely significant. It’s the official end of a very long era for XP.
I remember the operating system’s launch clearly. It took place on Thursday, 25 October, 2001, with events coordinated globally across 63 cities. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates hosted the New York launch, while CEO Steve Ballmer presided over the London event. I attended the latter which was held at the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank. Security was very tight -- attendees were searched going in, and our bags were X-rayed -- this was a high profile event, and with the horrors of 9/11 still very raw in everyone’s minds, the organizers were taking no chances.
As I try to start this article with a bang, I realize how difficult it is to describe exactly how I feel about Windows XP as it is being put out to pasture today. On one hand the operating system is nearly 13 years old and long outdated, but on the other hand my early PC days are linked to it.
Around 2001, back when Microsoft introduced us to Windows XP, I was jumping back and forth between Windows 98 SE and Windows ME. I liked both, for different reasons. The former was fast and I had every driver that I needed for it. The latter felt more modern. (Well, anything felt more modern than Windows 98 to me, to be honest.) But after I had a taste of Windows XP, I never looked back. It looked like the future of PCs, and I simply could not resist the sight of that new UI.
Windows 8.1 Update goes officially live tomorrow, and will be pushed out to all Windows 8.1 users via Windows Update. I think it’s an improvement, although it is the third big set of changes for users to master since the OS was first released not quite 18 months ago.
To help potentially confused users discover what’s new, and how to get more from the OS, Microsoft has rolled out an updated Advanced Power User Guide filled with tips and tricks.
Microsoft and Google are unlikely partners nowadays. After all, they are direct competitors on many fronts. There is Bing vs. Google Search, Windows vs. Chrome OS and Office vs Google Docs. Let us not forget that Google has been blocking Microsoft's YouTube app on Windows Phone. Heck, Google has essentially ruined Windows Phone for many, by not bringing its services to the platform.
Surprisingly, despite all the bad blood, Google has embraced Microsoft's Xbox One game console. Today, both companies announce that you can now upload Xbox One gameplay footage directly to YouTube or watch a YouTube video while simultaneously playing a game.
With XP’s end of life imminent, you’d imagine users of the 13 year old OS would be scrambling to upgrade, but as NetMarketShare’s latest statistics show, that’s not the case at all. There have been a lot of XP-related surveys produced lately, and the results make for interesting reading.
IObit surveyed 5,000 XP users and found that 61 percent of them were keen to stay with the OS. The company, which has just released PCtransfer to make the transition from one PC or OS to another a little bit easier, also found that 57 percent of users were put off by upgrading because of the fear of losing important data. 38 percent of those surveyed cited the time it would take to make the switch as the main reason for avoiding the task.
Last week, at the yearly Build conference, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8.1. It is the first major update for its smartphone operating system in nearly 18 months, so, naturally, many want to get their hands on the new release as soon as possible.
Microsoft, at launch, revealed that developers will get the chance to test Windows Phone 8.1, hinting at an availability date that precedes the release of new smartphones shipping with it. Seeing as the Windows Phone Store is still in need of improvement, the sooner the software giant delivers the goods the better. Luckily, developers (as well as early adopters, like myself) do not have to wait long to get Windows Phone 8.1 up and running on their smartphones.
It's difficult to deny Microsoft at least some of the limelight this week as the Build developer conference generated some interesting news. Bringing Windows version numbers in line with each other, Windows Phone 8.1 was finally revealed, complete with a notification center and Siri-like Cortana. The highly anticipated Windows 8.1 Update (which you may have heard something about) was official unveiled and given a launch date of April 8. Wayne, for one, liked what he saw.
Microsoft came over all open source, making the Roslyn compiler as well as WinJS freely available. Brian was pleased with the tech giant's latest moves, proclaiming Microsoft is now back. Build also gave us a sneaky glimpse of an upcoming, but as yet unnamed, version of Windows that features the return of the Start menu -- all of this chopping and changing is getting confusing. Maybe next on the list of things to do with Windows will be getting rid of those apps and features that should have been killed some time ago.
The office suite battle is really starting to heat up. Last week, Microsoft released Word, Excel and PowerPoint for the iPad, signaling a sea change in the company's focus. However, Google is still pushing forward with its attempt to sway users with its web apps. While both are good, no one can deny that Microsoft's offers more features.
With that said, more features does not always equate to better. In other words, if Google's offering meets a user's or business' needs, then it may be more cost effective. Quite frankly, too many features can be seen as noise when unused. One such company, the Glyndebourne opera house, switched from Microsoft to Google with great results.
Microsoft is a lot like Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears, and the tech news community has been acting like trashy paparazzi. You see, Lindsay and Britney were at one point the darlings of the entertainment business. They were well respected and people enjoyed following their rise to fame. However, once on top, those same people took joy at their self destruction.
Microsoft is the same; its Windows product was a huge reason why the personal computing explosion occurred. Without that operating system, the world would be a much different place -- likely for the worse. It too was celebrated, but once on top, many people bashed the company for its policies and business practices. Windows 8 was perhaps the apex though, with many news publications claiming that the operating system was a failure and that the company's best days were behind it. Well, I am here to say that Microsoft is finally doing some things right! Here are five things that prove it.
If you use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) you're probably aware that support for the 2007 version ends in July.
In response to this, systems management specialist Adaptiva is launching a Content Push Policy to its OneSite product, aimed at simplifying and cutting the costs of migration to SCCM 2012. It will also allow newcomers to SCCM to deploy the package more quickly.
In an effort to make its tiled OS more popular, Microsoft has been forced to make a series of compromises. People haven’t been rushing out to buy touch screen computers, and Windows tablets lag a long way behind Android and iOS devices, so with the Windows 8.1 Update Microsoft has made changes designed to appeal to keyboard and mouse users and further bridge the gap between the desktop and the Modern UI.
Sure, the result is a Frankenstein product, and the compromises made along the way are obvious and awkward, but you know what? Windows 8.1 with Update installed, is actually a damn fine OS. If this was the product that Microsoft had rolled out as a successor to Windows 7, I suspect it would have been a lot more popular and received a lot more praise.
When the story of open source is told, Microsoft is often portrayed as the evil, closed-source antagonist. While I like the open source model, I also understand Bill Gates' belief in paying for software. After all, there is nothing wrong with someone wanting to be financially compensated for their hard work. In other words, closed source ideology is not evil, just different.
While Microsoft's commitment to closed source ideology is not expected to change anytime soon, that doesn't mean the company can't stray a bit. Today, in a shocking and surprising move, the software-giant announces that it is releasing the WinJS source code as an open source project.
Build 2014 has seen lots of revelations already -- a free version of Windows is on the cards, universal apps for different devices will make the lives of developers rather easier, and a raft of new Windows Phones are just around the corner -- but there is one that is particularly intriguing.
During the keynote speech today Microsoft also revealed something else. That it is changing its bloody mind yet again. The Start menu is going to make a return. Yep. The Start menu that was shunned is coming back.
Today, at the Build conference in San Francisco, Microsoft takes the wraps off Windows Phone 8.1, the first major update for its smartphone operating system since late-October 2012. The much-awaited release should finally give the software giant's competitor a clear advantage in the race against main rivals Android and iOS, that dominate the smartphone market from afar.
Microsoft has thrown a lot of features at Windows Phone 8.1, some of which we had been expecting to arrive with Windows Phone 8. A lot is riding on this release, as the platform is at a critical stage now. Its market share fails to top 4 percent due to low consumer adoption, Microsoft is set to become the largest Windows Phone vendor, manufacturers have shown little interest in it as they focus their efforts on Android instead, and the competition is more fierce than ever. Windows Phone 8.1 is the release which sets the tone for the platform in 2014, and, naturally, our expectations are high.
There are a couple of major events scheduled for today but, with apologies to Amazon, Microsoft is set to steal the limelight with the kickoff to its Build 2014 conference. The show, which takes place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, will run through this Friday, and features a plethora of sessions geared towards developers.
But those sessions aren't what matter to the average user -- the big stories will come out on day one with the keynote that kicks off at 11:30 am EDT. There are a few things we expect and others that are are rumored, and some that can be left to pure speculation. Here is a brief look.