Microsoft on Monday announced PCs running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 are eligible for a downloadable upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 in 131 global markets and in 37 languages.
At Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in June, Apple announced its next version of OS X, Mountain Lion, would be available as a $20 download in the Mac App store in July. This upgrade is available to Mac users currently running Lion or Snow Leopard, meaning it applies to Macs around three years in age.
Last in a series. I've got a box full of Microsoft mice cluttering up the living room, and my wife begging please to get rid of them. So with that pressure, I must finally announce winners of our "Five Reasons to Quit Windows XP" contest. My apologies for the delay. Winner for the Windows Phone 7 contest will come quicker.
Before continuing, I offer heartfelt thanks to Microsoft's hardware PR team for providing the mice five lucky winners will receive. In appreciation, let's plug Microsoft's "The Art of Touch" contest. Click the link to create online art, which I can say from trying works better with some kind of touch device. According to Microsoft:
Twelfth in a series. Here’s a dirty little secret: I’m still using Windows XP.
That’s right. A technology analyst -- independent, mind you; not working for a firm that requires a specific load -- and I’m voluntarily using XP. In fact, I’m writing this article on it. I’ve been using it so long, I almost stopped noticing, and as XP crossed the 10-year anniversary of its official launch this week, I thought some about my own experiences with it.
Eleventh in a series. Our celebration of Windows XP's 10th anniversary continues with a contest! You give us reasons to quit XP for Windows 7, and we could give you a prize. Right now we've got five Microsoft mice to give away. But I'm hoping that some other Microsoft group will see the Entertainment & Devices division's generosity and throw more prizes your way. For a contest like this, a few copies of Window 7 would be appropriate. We thank E&D PR for providing: Arch Mouse (two), Explorer Touch Mouse (two) and Touch Mouse (one).
The rules are simple: Submit your reasons in comments below or (if you want to keep your ideas secret from others) email joe at betanews dot com. You can submit up to five reasons, and we will choose five from all submissions -- more if we add to the prize list. Your reasons must be why give up Windows XP for 7. Sorry, but this is a Linux- and Mac-free contest. Reasons can be serious or funny, but they will need some originality or pizzazz to beat out others. For example, "security is better" won't win anything, unless all the submissions are godawful. But "my mother-in-law is a botnet herder" has potential. Our panel of editors will pick the winners. The contest is open from now until 11:59 pm ET on October 29. We'll announce prize winners the first week of November 2011.
Tenth in a series. Microsoft launched Windows XP on Oct. 25, 2001. By every measure it is the most successful Windows version ever, bringing stability to the platform, too.
Anyone can easily dismiss Windows XP, because it's so overly familiar, having stayed long in market and so seemingly unchanged. But Microsoft accomplished much around the venerable operating system, which quickly became a stable platform for the company, too. In fact, change defined XP during its first half-decade in market, but built on the stable platform beneath. Within three weeks of the launch, Microsoft announced the Tablet PC version and Media Center Edition, then codename "Freestyle", in January 2002.
Ninth in a series. Few products have impacted more people than Windows XP. Microsoft officially launched the operating system -- the first for consumers based on the NT kernel -- on Oct. 25, 2001. That's right, 10 years ago today. But PC manufacturers started offering XP systems in early September 2001, a week before terrorist attacks against New York City and Northern Virginia. XP is the most popular Windows version ever released. Even today, depending on the analyst crunching numbers, more people use Windows XP than any other PC operating system (although Windows 7 is nearly tied).
Windows XP is a workhorse. Microsoft kept it in market longer than any other Windows version, allowing a very stable ecosystem of third-party applications and products to evolve around it. The operating system fulfilled the vision set for Windows 95 six years earlier -- release of stable, 32-bit code suitable for businesses and consumers. Microsoft's biggest development challenge: Providing compatibility with games and supporting hardware drivers that wanted access to the kernel, which NT blocked for security reasons.
Eighth in a series. This week, the most successful personal computer operating system ever turns 10. Microsoft officially launched Windows XP on Oct. 25, 2001, with a muted New York gala. The Redmond, Wash.-based company tempered planned festivities. The collective American psyche wasn't ready to celebrate much of anything following terrorist attacks the previous month against the World Trade Center and US Pentagon. This week at BetaNews we'll give Windows XP a bit of the festivity it deserved and didn't get a decade ago.
But we'll temper this celebration, too. For all Windows XP's successes, it has been too long in market. Too many of you still use this venerable workhorse, which is testimony to its compatibility, familiarity and utility. But XP is showing its age. In August, F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen wrote for BetaNews: "Do a good deed today, uninstall Windows XP". That's good advice. He observes that the operating system's security simply isn't as good as Windows 7, or even Mac OS X. "Ten years is an eternity in this business. So it's no wonder XP's security architecture is not up to date".
In late August, Betanews published a series of seven stories, sharing memories using Windows XP. The majority came from readers like you. The first set of recollections commemorated the tenth anniversary of XP's release to manufacturing. Another date remains. Microsoft launched Windows XP on Oct. 25, 2001, and we'd like to celebrate the decade since with even more Windows XP memories.
Ideally, we want to publish your recollection as its own story with your name, photo and bio. You write it -- we edit and publish during the launch week anniversary. Please email your stories to joe at betanews dot com -- or, if you must, comment below. The first round, we only posted stories received for publication with author identified. During the second round, we will also post from the many memories shared in comments. The majority of these will be collections rather than stories written by you.
Seventh in a series. Two short years ago -- not even that yet -- soon after testing Windows 7 for several months, I came home to find a UPS post-it stuck to my front door with "delivery attempt" on it. I live in a small town, so I drove around looking at the major places I might find the UPS guy. SCORE!!! He was at the bank. There I was standing by the brown truck waiting for him to come back. I must have looked a little creepy -- crazy guy physically shaking in anticipation. I’m not sure what the UPS guy thought as he handed the Windows 7 package to the creepy guy with shaking hands.
Many people do not realize how many geeks actually get overwhelming joy when a piece of software or technology gets released -- something that can or will change the world of computing. Now that is said, let’s go back 10 years.
Sixth in a series. My Windows XP experiece started in 2003 when I bought my first Laptop. I had delayed jumping on the personal computer bandwagon for years. It was a Dell Inspiron 2500 -- the first and only time I would own a Dell system.
I experienced Windows XP by learning how to install drivers and adding new hardware and dealing with the problems associated with each task. Trust me, there were problems -- like trying to install a new Ethernet adapter driver, having the New Hardware Wizard ask if I was connected to the Internet and for it to fail once I clicked "No". The laptop had no Internet connection. Each time I attempted the driver installation, it would fail at the same place and not just on my system but others.
Fifth in a series. We continue our series about Windows XP's release to manufacturing 10th anniversary with a quick look at codenames for this product and others around it.
This picture is me, sitting in the terrace of the Long-Horn Saloon in Whistler, British Columbia. The photo is also the Windows roadmap. On the right side of the terrace, the slopes are coming down from Whistler Mountain (Whistler = codename for Windows XP).
Fourth in a series. I remember something from the Windows XP rollout in New York City. At the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, Gateway gave out these. Mo-o-o-o-o.
I recall that it was common to criticize XP early on as being a minor update to Windows 2000, as in Windows 2000.1. There may have been something to that, but the operating system developed into much more.
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.
Second in a series. I remember my Windows XP experiences like it was just yesterday. I became aware of Windows XP when it was called Whistler back in 2000. There was a technology television show on ZD-TV called "The Screen Savers" with host Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton. During many call-ins, persons would ask, should I upgrade from Windows 98 to ME or 2000. Leo would often suggest that users shouldn't bother since Whistler would be coming out next year.
I wondered what this Whistler was about, so I decided to do some web searching about it and came across Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows. I started following his chronicles with the early betas from early development phases into what became Windows XP with the well-known Luna theme around beta 2.
First in a series. It was an innocent time. There was fun, fanfare and pride. Thousands of people worked together to complete something that would affect billions of lives -- that would be the most successful product of its kind. Ever. Eighteen days later the world they knew changed.
Ten years ago today, Aug. 24, 2001, in Redmond Washington, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Jim Allchin, then vice president of the platforms group, officially released to manufacturing Windows XP. The RTM marked a huge achievement for Microsoft, which finally had a consumer operating system based on the NT kernel. Windows XP marked the end of the DOS/Windows 9x legacy and the beginning of a new lineage of Microsoft operating systems, continuing the path paved by Windows 2000 some 18 months earlier.