Many businesses and individuals still use Windows XP
July 19, 2010
by Mark Ollig

Everyone still running personal computers with a nine-year-old operating system, raise your hand.

Your humble columnist has his hand proudly raised high into the air.

The Windows XP OS (operating system) was released to the public Oct. 25 2001. This same year, I had purchased a new desktop computer bundled with XP.

Microsoft has said XP stands for “eXPerience.”

The next computer I bought (my current laptop since 2006) also came with the Windows XP OS.

In 2007, Microsoft released its new operating system, called Vista, to the general public.

At that time, I was seriously thinking about upgrading my computer to it – until I started reading the horror stories from users who had done this and ended up having nightmarish problems with their programs not working.

However, the folks who bought new computers with Vista already installed did not report many problems.

I ended up deciding to hold off on upgrading my computer.

It is 2010, and I am still deciding on whether or not I really need to upgrade my computer.

I am not alone in staying with XP. Microsoft’s Corporate vice president, Tammi Reller, just released a statement saying their own internal data shows 74 percent of business users still operate with XP.

Why haven’t I upgraded to the new Windows 7 OS yet? Well, a couple of reasons. One is because what I have works. The programs operate fine using XP; and two, just because something gets a little older, it doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to replace it.

As I find myself growing a little older, I have come to like number two a lot more.

Those of us using the Windows XP OS with Microsoft Service Pack 3 (SP3) are still safe for a while, as this OS version will be supported with critical updates by Microsoft until 2014.

It is important to note July 13 Microsoft announced they would no longer be updating Windows XP SP2 with critical security patches support, so if you are using XP with SP2 make sure you upgrade it to SP3.

To check what version build of Windows XP SP you currently have on your PC, just go to the start menu, click “run” and then type “winver” in the open window and click “OK.” You should then see the version and the service pack number.

If you need to upgrade your OS to SP3, just go to Microsoft’s website and download and install SP3 via Microsoft’s Windows Update.

I read, Microsoft will be issuing its next XP SP3 security patch around Aug. 10.

According to Microsoft, continued XP SP3 support includes “. . . security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software, which can steal your personal information. Windows Update also installs the latest software updates to improve the reliability of Windows - new drivers for your hardware and more.”

To find out what you need to do to stay up-to-date automatically with your Windows XP OS, visit this shortened URL link tinyurl.com/y3a9xh. This will take you to Microsoft’s step-by-step procedure.

This next link will take you directly to the Microsoft automatic update web page used to keep all your Microsoft applications (including MS Office) updated tinyurl.com/uzka2.

Microsoft says, “a computer’s bit count indicates how much data it can process, the speed with which it can process the data, and the memory capacity. In order to optimize the computer’s performance, the bit count of the operating system that is installed on the computer should match the bit count of the computer itself.”

My computer is running a 32-bit version of Windows XP Media Center Edition with Service Pack 3.

To determine if your Windows XP is running with a 32-bit or a 64-bit version, you can use one of two methods.

Method one views the system properties in the control panel click “start” and then click “run.” Type in “sysdm.cpl” and click “OK.”

Under the general tab, if you see the words “Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Version” the “x64” indicates a 64-bit system. If you only see “Windows XP Professional Version” this means you have a 32-bit system.

Method two is what I used on my laptop. This method views the system information window Click “start” and then click “run.” Type in “winmsd.exe” and then click “OK.”

A “system information” window box appears. Look under the “item” column for “processor.” If the line next to “processor” (under the value column) starts with “x86,” then your computer is operating with a 32-bit version of Windows. If the value corresponding to “processor” starts with “ia64” or “AMD64,” the computer is running with a 64-bit version of Windows.

The new Windows 7 OS has had good reviews, so when I buy my next computer, it will come with it – unless I wait too long again and Microsoft comes out with the Windows 8 or the Windows 9 OS.

“Just because an operating system is getting a little older, as long as it still functions and runs its programs correctly, you need not replace it,” says this grinning columnist.